Best Wood Pallets For Industrial Transport: An In-Depth Guide

forklift carrying wood pallets

In the realm of industrial transport, wood pallets have long stood as a cornerstone in the efficient and effective movement of goods. This simple yet indispensable tool is a testament to human ingenuity in logistics and supply chain management. 

Initially conceived as a simple solution for storing and moving goods, pallets have undergone significant evolution over the years. The continuous utilization of wooden pallets for transport reflects not only advancements in material and design but also a deeper understanding of logistical efficiency and sustainability in industrial practices.

Throughout the years, these pallets have become integral in ensuring that products are transported safely, efficiently, and in an organized manner. 


What Are Industrial Wood Pallets?

stacks of wood shipping pallets

Wood pallets, often referred to as wooden shipping pallets, are flat transport structures that provide a stable foundation for goods during storage, handling, and transport in various industries. These pallets are crafted from several types of wood, ranging from common lumber to more specialized materials.

Types of Wood Pallets

There are different types of wood pallets used in the transport industry. Each type of wood pallet has its place in the logistics and supply chain industry, chosen based on factors such as load requirements, shipping distances, environmental considerations, and budget constraints.

  • Common wood pallets, often made from readily available softwoods or hardwoods, are the most widely used type. Softwood pallets, typically cheaper and lighter, are preferred for single-use applications but can carry substantial weight. Hardwood pallets, on the other hand, are more durable and suitable for repeated use. Regardless, common wood pallets are favored for their strength and resilience, capable of supporting heavier loads over multiple trips.
  • Plywood pallets stand out for their smooth, uniform surface which makes them ideal for shipping fragile items that require a stable base to prevent slipping or damage. The layered structure of plywood offers excellent strength and durability while keeping the pallet lightweight. These pallets are also resistant to moisture and can be used in damp environments without significant degradation.
  • Engineered molded wooden pallets are manufactured by molding wood fibers and resin under high heat and pressure. This process is designed to create highly durable, consistent shipping pallets that are lighter than traditional hardwood pallets. These pallets are particularly useful for heavy-duty applications where uniform size and shape are critical for automated handling systems.
  • Presswood pallets are made from wood fibers that are compressed and bonded together using heat and pressure, creating a solid and lightweight pallet. These pallets have a high load-bearing capacity relative to their weight and are completely recyclable, making them an environmentally friendly option.

Wood Pallet Treatment Procedures

Another key factor in the use of wooden pallets in industrial transport revolves around wood treatment. This is a crucial process used for ensuring the longevity and safety of wooden pallets, especially when used across international borders. There are two primary methods for treating wood pallets: heat treatment and chemical treatment. Each method serves to protect the pallets from pests, decay, and mold, thereby extending their lifespan and ensuring they are safe for transporting goods.

Heat treatment effectively eliminates pests from wood pallets by heating them to at least 56°C for 30 minutes, making it an eco-friendly choice. This method ensures compliance with ISPM 15 standards, crucial for international shipping, indicated by the "HT" mark on treated pallets.

Chemical treatment involves applying pesticides to wood pallets to guard against pests and fungi, with methyl bromide once being a popular choice. Due to environmental and health concerns, its use has declined, and such treatments now require strict adherence to safety regulations.

Beyond traditional methods, wood pallets may receive alternative treatments like staining or painting to resist moisture and UV damage, or sealing to enhance durability and ease of maintenance. These processes aim to extend the pallets' lifespan and improve their functionality in industrial settings.


Best Wood Pallets For Transport and Logistics​

1. Mayton Heavy Duty Wood Pallets

Mayton Wooden Pallets, designed for commercial use, stand out for their strong structure and ease of handling. Its sturdy build ensures that goods will be well-supported and protected during transportation. The 2-way entry design simplifies loading while ensuring stability and safety during transport, making them a practical choice for various industrial needs.

Key Features:
- Even wood spacing for even load distribution capability for safe multi-stacking.
- Constructed with superior quality raw materials for longevity.
- Jerk and drop resistance ensures the safe transportation of goods.

Size: 38 x 36 inches Forklift entry: 2-way Item weight: 50 lbs Design: Stackable Load capacity: N/A


2. Treaton 4-Way Wooden Pallets

The Treaton 4-Way EPAL Pallet is a great choice if you need a consistently sized, well-made wooden pallet that can be maneuvered from all four sides. With their easy-to-use design and fully assembled structure, these pallets save both time and effort. The strong and sturdy construction ensures that they can withstand heavy loads, making them reliable for transporting goods. The 5-piece set is convenient for businesses that require multiple pallets.

Key Features:
- Superior quality raw materials ensure durability and reliability.
- Features jerk-and-drop resistant structure which enhances the safety of transported goods.
- The flat structure supports efficient loading and multi-stacking.

Size: 40 x 36 inches Forklift entry: 4-way Item weight: 50 Pounds Design: Stackable Load capacity: N/A 


3. Vestil Nestable Presswood Pallet

Vestil's PWP-4840 Nestable Presswood Pallet is a lightweight, eco-friendly solution for shipping and logistics, offering excellent durability and compliance with ISPM 15 standards. Its nestable design allows for efficient storage and transportation. Also, it comes with rounded corners which increase longevity and safety, making it ideal for professional and industrial environments.

Key Features:
- Manufactured from recycled wood, promoting environmental sustainability.
- 4-way fork entry allowing operational flexibility.
- 60% lighter than traditional wood pallets, reducing shipping costs.
- ISPM-15 compliant, suitable for international shipping and logistics.

Size: 48 x 40 inches Forklift entry: 4-way Item weight: 42 lbs Design: Nestable Load capacity: 2000 lbs

4. Pallectic Hardwood Pallets

Pallectic's Hardwood Pallets are engineered for heavy-duty use, offering unmatched strength and versatility in commercial and industrial settings. Built with heavy-duty hardwood, these pallets are incredibly durable and can withstand rough handling and stacking. Their 4-way entry design, coupled with a significant load capacity, makes them ideal for efficient shipping and storage.

Key Features:
- Sustainable eastern hardwood construction for eco-conscious durability.
- High dynamic and static load capacities accommodate heavy-duty applications.
- Stackable and rackable features enhance storage and transportation efficiency.
- Compliant with GMA pallet standards.

Size: 48 x 40 inches Forklift entry: 4-way Item weight: 200 lbs  Design: Stackable Load capacity: 4400 lbs

Operational Standards For Industrial Wood Pallets

warehouse workers moving items using wood pallets

Pallet Entry Points

There are several different configurations for pallet entry points used in shipping and logistics operations. The number of entry points influences utilization, handling practices, and design. Here's a brief overview of the different types of pallets based on their entry points:

  • Two-Way Entry Pallets: Feature openings on only two opposite sides, suited for lifting and moving with forklifts and pallet jacks in those directions. Their simpler, more robust design supports heavy loads, though their utility might be limited in constrained spaces.
  • Four-Way Entry Pallets: Have openings on all four sides, enhancing flexibility in handling and positioning. This versatile design facilitates access from any side, streamlining operations in diverse warehousing and shipping environments.
  • Partial Four-Way Entry Pallets: Merge elements of two-way and four-way entry pallets, offering standard openings on two sides and partial openings on the others. They provide increased flexibility over two-way pallets, yet access may be somewhat restricted compared to full four-way pallets for specific handling equipment.

Standard Pallet Sizes

The effective and safe use of wood pallets in industrial transport hinges on adherence to operational standards and safety considerations. These guidelines ensure that pallets are used efficiently while minimizing risks to goods and handlers. Wood pallets come in various sizes, tailored to meet the requirements of different industries and regions. Key standards include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Grocery Manufacturers' Association (GMA) in the United States, and the European Pallet Association (EPAL).

  • ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Pallet Sizes

The ISO has established six pallet dimensions, designed to fit into ISO standard containers used in international shipping. These sizes aim to optimize container space and facilitate efficient handling and transport worldwide. ISO Standard 6780:2003 is the regulation that establishes the standard dimensions for flat pallets used in intercontinental shipping and logistics.

ISO Classification Area/Region of Use Measurement (Width x Length) in inches Measurement (Width x Length) in millimeters
ISO 1 North America 40 x 48 in 1016 x 1219 mm
ISO 2 Asia, Europe 39.37 x 47.24 in 1000 x 1200 mm
ISO 3 Australia 44.88 x 44.88 in 1140 x 1140 mm
ISO 4 North America, Asia, Europe 42 x 42 in 1067 x 1067 mm
ISO 5 Asia 43.30 x 43.30 in 1100 x 1100 mm 
ISO 6 Europe 23.62 x 31.49 in 600 x 800 mm
  • Grocery Manufacturers‘ Association (GMA) Pallet Sizes

The GMA standard pallet, at 48" x 40", is a logistics industry benchmark, especially in the U.S., favored for its efficiency and compatibility across various sectors. Its size optimizes space in shipping containers and trucks and aligns with warehouse racking systems, enhancing supply chain utility.

  • EPAL (European Pallet Association) Pallet Sizes

EPAL oversees Euro pallet standardization in Europe, ensuring efficient goods transport with the most common EUR1 pallet size at 1200mm x 800mm, designed to maximize space in trucks and containers. This, along with EUR2 and EUR3 sizes, caters to diverse industry needs, streamlining the regional logistics chain.


Safety Considerations in the Use of Wood Pallets

a man handling wood shipping pallets

Stacking and Storage Practices

In the shipping and logistics industry, the stacking and storage practices of wood pallets are paramount for ensuring both safety and efficiency. Uneven stacking can lead to instability and potential collapse, posing significant risks in a warehouse setting.

Storage of wood pallets is also critical to safe and efficient operations. Wooden shipping pallets should be stored in a dry and ventilated area to prevent moisture accumulation, which can weaken the wood and lead to mold growth. Furthermore, the orientation of pallets during storage is equally important. Wooden shipping pallets should be aligned in a manner that does not obstruct warehouse aisles or emergency exits, ensuring both accessibility and compliance with safety regulations.

Loading and Unloading Techniques

Proper loading and unloading techniques are pivotal in the use of wood pallets within the shipping and logistics sector to ensure the safety, efficiency, and integrity of goods. Mastery of these techniques and strategies is essential for minimizing the risk of damage to both the products and the pallets, and for safeguarding the well-being of the workforce involved in these operations.

The loading process begins with an assessment of the goods to be transported, considering their weight, size, and fragility. This assessment helps determine the most suitable pallet type and the best way to distribute the load evenly across the pallet. Some of the common patterns include block stacking, brick stacking, and pinwheel stacking. Furthermore, load can be secured through strapping, wrapping, or using corner boards. These methods prevent movement of the goods during transit.


FAQs on Wood Pallets

What is a wood pallet used for?

Wood pallets are primarily used for the storage, handling, and transport of goods in various industries. They provide a stable platform for assembling, storing, and moving products efficiently, ensuring safety and facilitating logistics operations.

What are wood pallets made of?

Common wood pallets are typically made from softwood or hardwood. Softwoods are commonly used for disposable pallets, while hardwoods are preferred for reusable pallets due to their greater durability and strength. Other types of wood pallets use plywood, molded wood, and pressed wood.

What is the lifespan of a pallet?

The lifespan of a pallet varies based on its material, usage, and maintenance. A well-maintained hardwood pallet can last up to 10 years or more, while softwood pallets have a shorter lifespan, often used for single trips or a few cycles.

How heavy is a wood pallet?

The weight of a wood pallet can vary depending on its size and the type of wood used. On average, a standard 48" x 40" hardwood pallet weighs approximately 30 to 48 pounds (13.6 to 21.7 kg), while softwood pallets are slightly lighter.


TRADESAFE is an established American company well-versed in industrial safety standards and regulations. We offer workplace signs, lockout tagout devices, and other safety solutions to ensure manpower and workplace security for efficient processes and operations.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.