The Difference Between Wood and Plastic Pallets

The Difference Between Wood and Plastic Pallets

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    Pallets are a crucial component of the supply chain.

    Companies can use pallets for warehouse storage, transportation, and in-store product displays.


Wood and plastic are two of the most common materials used to make pallets. Take a look at the differences between wood and plastic pallets to get a better understanding of which is better for your business.

Wood Pallets

Wood pallets are much more widely used than plastic palettes. Wood pallets are much more durable than plastic, can hold much more weight, and can be repaired much easier if they do incur any damage.While wood pallets are more durable and less expensive, they also have a few disadvantages.

Wood pallets can easily damage products during transportation and storage, as their fasteners can break and puncture goods. These pallets also have a reduced safety rating, due to their higher flammability as well as their need to be treated for fungi.

As compared to plastic pallets, wood pallets also have a slightly shorter life span, though there are some measures you can take to extend your wooden pallet’s life.

Plastic Pallets

While wood pallets are commonly used in general manufacturing, plastic pallets are often used in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and chemical manufacturing and transportation because they are easy to clean and sterilize. Plastic pallets also have a significantly longer lifespan than wood pallets and can be used for extended periods without damage.

However, they are much more expensive and are generally not stable enough to handle large loads. Plastic pallets are also much more difficult to recycle than wooden pallets. Plastic pallets must be melted down before they can be recycled, whereas wood pallets are typically biodegradable.

Which One Is Best for You?

Both pallet materials have a long list of advantages and disadvantages. Determining which one is best will depend on many factors specific to your business function.

  • Shipping

    If you need the pallets to ship goods, base your decision on the weight of the products. For larger shipments, you’ll want to have wood pallets.

  • Purpose

    Will you use your pallets for shipping and display? If so, plastic pallets are a smart option.

  • Industry Specifications

    As mentioned above, the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries need materials that are nonporous and easy to sterilize. If you are in one of these industries or have similar needs, consider using plastic pallets.

other valuable tips:
  • Fire Codes

    Look into the fire codes associated with plastic and wood pallets. Wood burns at a much lower temperature, but there are fire codes to consider for both options. Make sure your warehouse will stay up to code.

  • Cost Trade-Offs

    Wooden pallets can often damage fragile goods. For this reason, be sure to determine the cost trade-off before investing in expensive plastic pallets. If broken products or shipping delays are less costly than plastic pallets, it might not be worth the higher investment.

The differences between wood and plastic pallets highlight the advantages of both options. Consider how the advantages and disadvantages of each will affect your specific business needs when making your decision.

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