What Is the Standard Size of Metal Pallet?

Regardless of material, most pallets are 48 x 40, which was standardized by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (now called the Consumer Brand Association). This size is popular in North American fast-moving consumer goods supply chains.

Pallets come in different shapes and sizes, which serve specific purposes for industries and freight carriers. Choosing the right one can help your shipment move efficiently throughout the supply chain.

The 40-by-48-inch Pallet

The supply chain and logistics industry plays a vital role in the distribution of goods throughout society. A key component of this framework is the pallet, which bears the weight of material loads while absorbing impacts during transportation. These pallets come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials and serve different purposes depending on the type of products being transported. For example, metal pallets tend to be the sturdiest option and can hold heavier loads than other types. They also tend to be more expensive, but they are the safest choice for transporting metal supplies and equipment.

While there are many different pallet size options on the market, the most common is the 48-by-40-inch pallet. This standard was set by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) more than 40 years ago, and it continues to influence shipping pallet dimensions worldwide today. When people refer to North America’s “standard” pallet size, they usually mean a GMA-style pallet.

The GMA-style pallet is one of six standard ISO pallet dimensions, and it is typically made with notched stringers. These notches allow forklifts to enter the pallet at two ends. Pallets that have notches on all four sides are known as four-way pallets. Two-way and four-way pallets are available in both wooden and plastic varieties.

There are also other, more specific pallet sizes that are popular among certain industries or trade routes. For example, the 42-by-42-inch pallet is a common choice for painting and can handle heavy telecommunications equipment. Another popular choice is the 48-by-48-inch pallet, which is the perfect size for transporting chemicals in 55-gallon drums and other liquid containers.

In the past, each industry would make its own pallets to suit their needs. This time-consuming and inefficient process eventually gave way to standardized sizes. Having more standardized sizes has greatly benefited the trade industries and allowed them to scale more efficiently as their businesses grew.

Pallet dimensions vary significantly across regions and industries, so it is important to know the specific type of pallet you need. If you’re shopping for a new or used metal pallet, check out our comprehensive guide to pallet dimensions and types in North America and Europe. It features charts sanctioned by the International Organization for Standardization and describes the various types of pallets common in each region.

The 48-by-48-inch Pallet

In many supply chains, the standard pallet size has become so well established that other options may only be explored to accommodate a special order or take advantage of potential logistics savings. In addition to choosing the right pallet size, you also want to consider its construction and ensure it can support your load. Fortunately, you can find several different metal pallet sizes to meet your needs.

A standard 48-by-48-inch pallet is the most common in North America, but you will also find other sizes used worldwide. These are the most commonly used pallets for freight shipping, and they can hold a large variety of products. The most common are liquids in 55-gallon drums, but you will also see this size pallet transporting electronics, machinery, and chemicals.

No single globally accepted pallet size exists, but most companies and industries use a few of the more popular options. These pallets are designed to easily pass through doors, stack and fit in racks, be accessible to forklifts and pallet jacks and function within automated warehouses. They must also pack tightly inside intermodal containers and vans for trucking and rail shipments.

While no single pallet sizing system governs production, some industry trade associations recommend or promote particular pallet dimensions. For example, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) preferred the 48-by-40 pallet and promoted this standard to its member manufacturers. While the GMA is now known as the Consumer Brand Association (CBA), this basic pallet remains in wide circulation today.

This standard pallet has 48-inch stringers and 40-inch deck boards, although component depths, timber grade, adhesives, and wood species can vary significantly. These factors can affect a pallet’s load-bearing capacity and its reusability.

While you can buy new metal pallets in almost any warehouse, the best option is to invest in a good quality used or refurbished pallet. These will be less expensive than new pallets and will allow you to purchase a high-quality model for your company’s specific application. If you are unsure of the type and size of metal pallets to choose, you can consult with a team of logistic solutions experts like Netrailing HML, who can assess your warehouse space and determine the best option for your business.

The 42-by-42-inch Pallet

Many industries have their own pallet sizes and types that are uniquely suited to the products they produce or handle. However, a few standard sizes are the most common across industries and regions. These standard pallet dimensions are essential to ensuring that your products and supplies get from point A to point B without damage or inefficiency.

The most common standard pallet size is the 48-by-40 pallet, which was developed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). It is also commonly used by other retailers and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers. This standard size is used in shipping throughout North America and accounts for 30% of all wooden pallets.

This type of pallet is ideal for shipping a variety of different products and packages, including food, beverage, and electronics. Its large surface area makes it easy for forklifts to pick up and transport. It can also hold heavier items, such as metal or glass bottles, than smaller pallets. In addition, the 48-by-40-inch pallet is also a good choice for shipping large equipment, such as telecommunications or industrial machinery.

Pallets are often made from wood, but the material they use may vary depending on the industry and product. Steel, for example, is more durable than wood and is able to withstand more rigorous use. Pallets can also be made from recycled or remanufactured materials. This is a cost-effective option that is environmentally friendly.

In the past, each industry created its own pallets, usually bespoke to its needs. However, with the rise of global trade, there was a need for more consistency in pallets. This standardization led to the development of the popular 48-by-40-inch pallet, which is now in wide use worldwide.

Modern pallets are also designed to fit into shipping containers and standard doorways. This saves on both storage and shipping costs. Some of the most popular pallets are known as ‘Euro’ or ‘A-grade’ and can be classified as either PB (fully perimeter-based) or non-perimeter-based with flush baseboards.

The other major standard pallet size is the 48-by-48-inch pallet, which is used to ship 55-gallon drums of oil and chemicals. It is also the preferred pallet for beverage manufacturers, as it can accommodate a variety of sizes and shapes of cans.

The 40-by-40-inch Pallet

Choosing the right metal pallet for your warehouse can make all the difference. Not only will a properly sized pallet keep freight safe, but it can also reduce the time, labor, and cost of loading and unloading. It’s also important to choose a metal pallet that can hold the weight of your products and fit in standard truck trailer openings.

There’s no single, globally accepted pallet sizing system, but many regions and industries have their own preferences. Grocery chains, for instance, prefer 48-by-40-inch pallets. These are often referred to as GMA pallets, and they’re the most popular pallet size in North America.

The 44-by-44-inch pallet is also common. This size is commonly used to transport chemicals, such as those in 55-gallon drums. It’s also sometimes used to transport shingles and paper goods.

Other industry-specific options include 36-by-36-inch pallets used by the beverage industry to transport bottled soda and water. They’re also a good choice for transportation to and from breweries. In addition, some specific military applications use specialized 35×45.5-inch pallets.

While there are many different options available, most warehouses choose to stick with the most common pallet sizes. Those who do explore other options typically do so to accommodate new customer requirements, optimize new warehouse automation, or take advantage of logistics savings opportunities. Regardless of the industry or region, though, choosing the right pallet dimensions is essential to optimizing supply chain efficiency.