Pallet Materials: The Pros and Cons

Pallet Materials: The Pros and Cons

When choosing pallets for shipping, the easy go-to material is wood. The trusted and ubiquitous wooden pallet has been the industry standard for nearly a century, but is it the best? Any time someone says that something is the best, one should always ask for whom or what it is the best. Sometimes plastic is better than wood, and other times, aluminium beats both wood and plastic.


The advantages of wooden pallets are that they are cheap and can easily bear heavy loads. The downside is the fire risk that wood presents. A less obvious disadvantage is that wood requires regular fumigation to protect it from insect infestation, which could lead to more unexpected expenditures. There is also the added risk of water damage. Wooden pallets might be cheaper, but the cost of maintenance and replacement might offset the savings.


Plastic pallets are lighter than wooden ones, and this can bring down shipping costs based on weight. They are also impervious to insect infestation and water damage; however, fire codes do apply. Another great feature of plastic plastics is that the smooth, hard surface of the pallets make them easier for the pallet wrapping machines to wrap. On the downside, the rigid nature of plastic can lead to pallets bending under weight, while the more flexible wooden rival bounces back against heavy loads.


The new aluminium pallets match wood for weight to reduce shipping costs and can handle heavy loads better than plastic. There is also the savings on fire insurance because both wood and plastic burn. Like plastic, aluminium pallets are more versatile with pallet wrapping machines. However, the initial outlay for aluminium pallets is more expensive despite the long-term savings.

Pros and Cons

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The environment where the pallets are to be used is an important consideration. Aluminium, for example, is better for sea voyages. Consider the warehouse environment and the other equipment that will be used in conjunction with the pallets. Internet sites such as offer assistance in finding the best options.

When choosing the right material, pallet cost is potentially the greatest concern. Wood is cheap, but its maintenance can be expensive. Plastic can save on maintenance costs, but the pallets might need to be replaced more often due to breakage. Aluminium is the best long-term option, but it can be expensive in the initial outlay.

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