What is a standard pallet size? Pretty basic question, right? (Though maybe not if you’re shipping through the post office). Surprisingly, considering the size and scope of the freight and shipping industry, this information is not as known and available as one would hope.
Crazy right? We’re talking about a global industry that rakes in BILLIONS and we don’t have a standardized version of the most ubiquitous packaging item in the world? Well, actually we do…
STANDARD PALLET SIZE IS 48″x 40″
There you go, that’s the end of the blog. Have a nice day!
I’m kidding of course. Though there is a standard pallet size in the industry, that doesn’t mean that there are not multitudes of varying shipping pallet sizes that are used daily.
The second most common shipping pallet size (outside of the standard pallet size) is 48″x 48″. Sometimes this can also be considered a “standard” pallet, and its presence is common in many global warehouses.
How Many Pallets Fit in a Truck?
When it comes to LTL shipping, standard pallet size is very important in loading shipping pallets in the back of the carrier trucks. Most trucks used in LTL shipping are approximately 96″ wide. This means that two standard sized pallets can fit side by side in the truck. It also means slightly larger pallets, up to 48″x 48″, can also be loaded side by side.
In truckload shipping, you often use standard 53 foot dry vans, or in some instances, 48 foot vans. In a 53′ you can fit 26 pallets single stacked. For you math whizzes out there, that’s 52 double stacked pallets. By using a technique known as “pinwheeling,” there is the possibility of fitting more pallets, up to 28 single stacked.
Unfortunately, not many shippers or receivers have the forklifts capable to handle pinwheeling, so it’s safer to keep with the 26/52 split. If you’re using a smaller, 48′ truck, you can fit 24 single stacked pallets, and 48 double.
What Are Pallets Made Of, and Where Can I Find Them?
You’ll usually find pallets made of plastic or wood, though wood is much more common. Plastic pallets are more durable and because of this, more expensive. Considering that they spend their time being bumped and bruised, moved around by forklifts and sitting in hot truck interiors, most people just opt for the cheaper wood version of the standard pallet, and recycle them once they become old or broken.
In terms of finding pallets, you can buy them in bulk from pallet manufacturers all across the country. Many businesses recycle the pallets they receive from other shipments, unpacking their freight and repacking different stuff on the same pallet. Pallets are usually well made and can go for longer than just one or two shipments without breaking.
The pallet is huge in DIY home projects right now, so there can be a bit of a crunch on capacity when it comes to standard-sized pallets, depending on where you’re buying.
Remember, pallets can be customized to come in all shapes and sizes, but try to stick to standard pallet sizes and materials and you should be fine for your LTL and truckload shipping.