Grade of GMA Wooden Pallets
There are generally two grades of wood pallets, though some sellers use the third grade. It is possible to break each of these grades down further into categories based on more specific criteria. Visual appearance and state of repair may not be considered by the company offering the pallets. Therefore, top-tier wood pallets can still be ordered with stains or other discolorations that don’t make them suitable for retail display. GMA pallets are most commonly graded as follows:
Grade A: Also known as grade #1. In general, Grade A pallets do not need any repairs and have never been repaired. In the grade A category, the AAA or “club grade” pallets are in good condition, look brand new, and are suitable for retail display. There are pallets in the lowest tier of the A category that are not in need of repair, but may need them in the near future.
Grade B: Also known as grade #2 pallets. There have been repairs to grade B platforms in the form of replaced deck boards, plates, or plugs. Although unsuitable for display, they are still structurally sound and should be suitable for use in supply chains.
The third grade is also known as grade C. Pallets in this grade are not in good structural shape and have a poor appearance. They have usually been repaired multiple times and the deck boards may not be completely intact. Many pallet sellers don’t even offer this GMA pallet grade because it has a relatively high failure rate. The use of pallets of this grade isn’t recommended for high-value or easily damaged items.
There is a great deal of variation across pallet grades within each grade. It is important to keep in mind that pallet grading is rather subjective—a top-tier pallet is simply one that hasn’t needed any repairs so it is graded solely on its looks. A pallet can be inspected before shipping, but a visible stain may be missed, and there’s no foolproof way of detecting a faulty board or stringer. It has led many in logistics and transportation to seek a pallet material that is more consistent and reliable due to the unpredictability of wood used to make pallets.