Does Pallet Weight Really Matter?

We all know that weight affects shipping costs. And, while the product accounts for most of the weight, the pallet on which the product sits also factors into the equation. But, at a fraction of the total load, does pallet weight really matter?

close-up of pallet scale

To get to the bottom of this weighty issue requires a little mathematics. On average, standard wooden pallets weigh 50 lbs. each and standard plastic pallets weigh 15 lbs. each. And, on average, standard wooden pallets can bear 3,000 lbs. while standard plastic pallets can bear 1,500 lbs.

For comparison purposes, if we needed to ship 100,000 lbs. of cargo, we would need 34 wooden pallets or 67 plastic pallets. At an average weight of 50 lbs. each, wooden pallets account for 1.7% of the total load. At an average weight of 15 lbs., plastic pallets would account for 1.0% of the total load.

As you can see, that’s not a big difference.

The sweet spot is to pick a pallet that will provide the highest capacity at the lowest weight possible in order to maximize the amount you can ship cost effectively. Of course, weight is determined by the pallet’s construction and materials used. For example, deck board thickness and quantity as well as stringer boards or blocks will alter the weight. With the help of sophisticated pallet design software, it is possible to design and analyze different pallet types and specifications to find the closest match without expensive testing or trial-and-error.

Ultimately, however, when choosing a pallet type, there are more factors to consider than weight alone. Be advised that lightweight pallets generally cost more up front than their heavier counterparts. And, while they are easier on fuel, they may not have the same capacity or durability of the heavier variety.  It is important to consult with a reputable pallet provider to help you determine which pallet is right for your organization.

Rose Pallet offers custom pallet and crate designs to optimize your shipments. Contact us today to get started!

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