Pallet Dimensions by Industry

By | 2018-03-06T08:18:28+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Packaging Strategy, Packaging Supplies|0 Comments

Common pallet dimensions and use by industry

Pallets are said to “move the world.”  It’s true.  You find them everywhere, in every industry, with all sorts of pallet dimensions.  And just as a small snapshot of our economy, the global value of protective transit packaging products and systems totaled $112.3 billion in 2016 and is forecast to grow to $139.4 billion in 2022.

Protective transit packaging products and systems are vital components in the global $32.2 trillion (2016) commerce in manufactured goods.  You may be wondering why exactly that is so important.  With manufacturing statistics increasing, the protective packaging numbers continue to increase, thus increasing the demand for pallets.

But specific pallet dimensions and planning may not make the top 10 important topics you discuss when planning for improved processes and/or new designs.  Conversely, choosing the best fit pallet for your application can significantly impact the efficiency, profitability, and overall performance.

Did you know? In the United States, pallets commonly measure 48 inches by 40 inches – the size of the Grocery Manufacturer Association’s pallet, which makes up 30 percent of new U.S. wood pallets each year.

Here are a few specific pallet-related statistics to take in as you decide on the pallet size you’ll use in your application.

  • Sales of new and refurbished pallets will expand by 3.5% a year through 2017 to 1.3 billion units, valued at $16.9 billion.
  • Plastic pallet use is rising and will continue to rise in the coming year.
  • Wood pallets account for more than 90% of the pallet market, while plastic pallets account for approximately 4%.

Pallet Dimensions by Industry

Pallet Dimensions Industry Used Notes
48 x 40 Export, Grocery, General Warehousing, Road Shipping, Bulk Bottle Storage and Transport


Most commonly used pallet size in the US

Can support loads greater than 3,000 lbs.

Normally loaded by pinwheel strategy

48 x 43 (similar to US 48 x 40 pallet) Also known as the “Euro Pallet”
42 x 42 Telecommunications, Paint & Technical Coating Industries Originally used by the US military


48 x 48 Chemical Industry, Drum Shipping
48 x 42 Chemical Transport, Beverage Transport, Paint & Technical Coating
40 x 40 Dairy Industry
48 x 45 Automotive / Auto Parts Industry
45 x 45 Chemical Transportation, Ocean Freight
44 x 56 Beverage Industry
36 x 36

37 x 37

36 x 48

Beverage Industry, Retail Industry Used to transport filled containers
48 x 20

40 x 24

Point of Purchase, Store Displays, Retail Industry

What next?

The above chart gives just a general idea of what size pallet you should be using for each different industry.  The fact of the matter is that damaged products can account for up to five percent of sales.  Are you experiencing damages?  Take some time to assess your current packaging process.  Are you using the correct size pallet for your product?  What are the areas where you can change or improve your procedures to be more efficient?

Some key processes you can review includes checking for overhanging packages, how your personnel is handling the product (do they use a forklift?), as well as the loading and unloading process, and the quality of your equipment.

Remember, keeping your packaging consistently up to date will not only prevent damage to your product but will save you money and reduce inquiry.

If this information leaves you with more questions regarding your specific application, then don’t worry, we’re here to help. As members of the #NWPCA, we have in-house pallet and crate specialists that can guide you every step of the way. Learn more about our pallet and crate offerings and give us a call at 877-410-5564 to get started down the path of awesomeness with your pallet program.

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