Plastic Pallets vs Wooden Pallets? (Pros & Cons )

On April 14, 2023

The difference between plastic and wood pallets

Modern supply chains require pallets, as they are an integral part of their operation. A pallet is used for storing goods, for transporting them, and for displaying products in the stores. There are two main types of pallets: wood and plastic, with wood dominating the majority of pallets. Both materials have advantages and disadvantages. Purchasing pallets for your business requires an informed decision. Here we discuss the differences.

What are the Advantages of Plastic Pallets?


Food, pharmaceuticals, and other products requiring strict hygienic conditions are typically transported in plastic pallets. Pallets made of plastic are nonporous and easy to clean, wash, and sterilize.

There is a three-fold cost difference between wooden and plastic pallets. In addition to being lighter, their sleek surfaces make them slippery and less stable for stacking. They have a disadvantage in load capacity when compared to wooden pallets In cases where you don’t have any way to return or reuse plastic pallets, they aren’t an economical choice. Shipping via air freight, meeting hygiene requirements, or shipping to countries that prohibit the import of wood pallets may change this requirement.

Plastic pallets are often marketed as eco-friendly, but they cannot be repaired easily. It is necessary to melt them down in order to recycle them. The lifespan of these materials is significantly longer than that of wood, however. Many of the larger pallet recycling companies in america will not recycle plastic pallets. That being said if you can find a buyer, used plastic pallets can be resold for a decent amount of money

Plastic pallets have the advantage of being reusable for a long time without breaking. In warehouses, they are perfect for storing and reusing. Manual handling is easy with their slim design, light weight, and lack of splinters. In pallet wrapping machines, plastic pallets are ideal because of their durability.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wood Pallets


At least 10 times more widely used than plastic pallets, wood pallets are about 3 times less expensive. Compared to plastic, they hold more weight and can handle weights up to 3,000 pounds. They are also easily repaired and repurposed.

They are not recommended for fragile items, however. Their puncture hazard makes them dangerous when transporting hazmat or fragile materials.

Fire safety ratings for wood pallets are lower than those for plastic pallets. When deciding what pallets to purchase, manufacturers should consult the building fire codes since plastic burns at a much higher temperature than wood.

Wooden pallet can also easily be recycled and many companies will pay top dollar for used wooden pallet.

So Which Should My Company Us?


Ultimately it comes down to case by case situation. If your company requires a high quality pallet that can be reused for years, they maybe go plastic. Alternatively if you a re shipping your product one way and will never see the pallet again then a wood pallet can be a great option.

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