Types of Pallets In The United States




North American Standard Pallet Sizes
GMA Pallets



The Majority of Pallets used in the united states follow the standard shipping size of 48 x 40.  They conform to standard pallet sizes created by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). Standard GMA. They can typically hold up to 5,000 lbs when new. These size pallets are referred to as GMA pallets. The GMA pallet typically weighs around 40lbs. With a height of 6 ½” tall. Each deck boards measure 3 ½” wide 5/16” thick. Often times when dealing with a used product these dimensions can vary drastically from producer to producer.



Other Common Pallet Dimensions & Sizes


After GMAs, other common dimensions include 42” x 42”, 48” x 48”, and 36″ x 36″. Often times these are used for shipping heavy products or 55-gallon drums. These types are harder to recycle and sell due to them not conforming to standard sizing. Often times they cannot be reused and are scrapped for wood. This is true for larger skids used for solar panels and large construction projects as well

Pallet Types and Bases


Guide to Different Types of Pallets - Used Pallet Recycling


Pallets often come in two differnt types or bases. The stringer and the block base. This construction is determined by how you will be moving pallets, and the weight you need to need to support.

The thin wood on the sides and in the middle are called stringers. The most popular and least expensive pallet type is a stringer. The stringer boards have notches, where the forklift tines enter and lift the skid. Stringer pallets are either a 2-way entry, where the forklift can load the pallet from only two sides. Or they are 4-way entry four sides or a partial 4-way entry. Partial 4-way pallets can be entered from any side with a forklift, but only from two sides with a pallet jack.

For skids that are moved by forklift, pallet jack, or conveyors, and for heavier loads, block pallets are often used. Blocks are more flexible when it comes to handling, as they can be lifted from any side and to a full 4-way entry. Conveyor systems may also require block pallets have bottom deck boards that run in both directions.


Chart of Sizes


Inches (WxL) mm (WxL) Usage Rank Safe Max. Load* Industrial Use Pallets per 48′ Dry Van** Pallets per 53′ Dry Van**
48 x 40 1219 x 1016 1 Up to 4500 lbs. Food Manufactures, Plastic recycling, Metal Recycling, 3pl Shippers, 480 616
42 x 42 1067 x 1067 2 Up to 4300 lbs. Food Plants, contruction sites, Paint Cans 520 616
48 x 48 1219 x 1219 3 Up to 4600 lbs. 55 gallon metal drums, 55 gallon plastic drums, IBC totes, Gaylord Boxes 480 520
40 x 48 1016 x 1219 4 Up to 4,600 lbs. Dryed goods, Dairy, Produce 560 600
40 x 40 1016 x 1016 5 Up to 3500 lbs. Dairy containers 560 600
48 x 42 1219 x 1067 Up to 3500 lbs. Chemical producers, Beverage 500 540
36 x 36 914 x 914 Up to 3544 lbs. Beverage Companies 640 680
42 x 31 1067 x 787 Up to 6585 lbs. Flooring Tiles 780 900
48 x 36 1219 x 914 Up to 5261 lbs. Beverage, Shingles, Packaged Paper 480 520
44 x 44 1118 x 1118 Up to 4,825 Metal Drums, Hazmat Chemical 520 560