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Plastic pallets vs Wood pallets

Filed under: Materials Handling

Pallets are an important part of the materials handling industry used in most aspects of the supply chain.  This type of packaging is widely used in the storage and transport of goods.  Pallets can be made from wood, plastic or metal; each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. 

The aim of this blog post is to consider and compare two most commonly used types of pallets in order to assist in finding the right type of pallet for your warehousing and transportation needs; keeping in mind costs, environmental sustainability, hygiene and manoeuvrability. 


Wood PalletPlastic pallet
Advantages of using wood pallets:
  • Less expensive
  • Easy to repair, as they are made with various boards which can be removed and replaced if broken or as necessary.
  • Can be resold
  • Materials for the pallet can be collected from recycled materials. 
  • Can be recycled into mulch and paper.
  • Quick and easy to construct
  • Have high friction compared to plastic and metal pallets

Advantages of using plastic pallets:

  • No interruption in delivery due to timber pallet regulations.
  • 100 % recyclable and can be ground up and turned back into a new pallet.
  • More than 10 years life span.
  • Resistant to chemicals such as acids and alkalis.
  • Safe to handle; no screws nails, splinters and chipping.
  • Forklifts have a four way entry to pick the pallet up.
  • Usable in all climate conditions
  • Save space by sliding together to stack and store.
  • Can be easily cleaned (hot washed, steam cleaned or chemically sanitized) to remove any bacteria.
  • Approximately 30% lighter than wood pallets. reducing the cost of shipping;

Disadvantages of using wood pallets:

  • More for air freight weight
  • Very difficult to clean and, if they become wet, actually encourage growth of bacteria and fungus
  • Splinters, protruding nails, warping, or shrinking are common issues for handlers
  • Continual reordering costs: Because wood is an organic material, it easily splinters and can quickly warp or weaken

Disadvantages of using plastic pallets:

  • If a plastic pallet cracks or breaks, repairs are not as simple because the material would have to be melted down and remolded in order to make a repair.
  • More expensive than wood pallets.

When choosing a pallet type that is best suited to your warehouse needs you may consider both the wood and plastic pallet.  Although plastic pallets are seen as more expensive than wood pallets; the extra costs may be outweighed by keeping your product well ventilated and protected from chemicals and bacteria.  Hygiene and ventilation may not be as important for some products however; in this case wood pallets may be more beneficial to your specific warehouse needs.  It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of each pallet type to best suit your needs including cost, impact on the environment, life span and hygiene.



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photography course
January 05, 2012 - 5:11 pm

Hi there,

We sure do, you can find it at:

AAL Admin
January 19, 2012 - 11:41 am

    Dear Sir/Madam

My name is Randy Morris, I would like to know if your company can supply me with a Pallets in the following types and measurements…:

#1. 48 x 40 ( 4 way grade B ) Wooden Pallet

#2. 15’ tall x 36” deep with 11’ long Beams Pallet Rack

#3. 40 x 48 General Purpose Plastic Pallet, 40” x 48” x 5.8” HDPE, structural foam molded heavy-duty two piece plastic pallet with four-way forklift and two-way pallet jack entry.

If you do have these kind of Pallets in stock, kindly get back to me with the pricing information for supply only… also kindly confirm the Types of Credit Cards you do accept.

Best Regards,

Richard Neil

Best Regards,
Randy Morris

January 25, 2012 - 1:35 pm

Hi Randy,

We specialise in pallet moving equipment, but unfortunately we don’t supply pallets directly. We can however recommend that you get in touch with Plain Pallets. They can supply plastic, custom and standard pallets made to order.

Pallet Sales: Matt Troy
Pallet Hotline: (03) 9545 7344
Pallet Fax : 1300 302 524
Address: 88 Garden Road, Clayton, VIC 3198

Hope that helps.

AAL Admin
January 30, 2012 - 10:26 am

Thanks Randy for providing info of Used plastic pallets

July 04, 2012 - 6:50 pm

Thanks for the information in your blog article is very helpful to our understanding of plastic pallets, plastic pallet advantages especially compared to wooden pallets.
December 18, 2013 - 6:37 am

              This post is very helpful in my decisions for a pallet choice.  I have wondered if one or the other was more eco-friendly, and it seems it depends on what I am using them for.  I guess in the mean time I can keep using wood for weighted freight and keep the plastic ones for local.  This will color coat my process and help it work more efficiently too.  Thanks for the info.

linda Prin
July 07, 2016 - 4:35 am

          That’s awesome that plastic pallets can be used in all type of climate conditions. That’s one advantage over wood that is very appealing. It would be really beneficial for areas that have extreme climates.

Zequek Estrada
July 27, 2016 - 1:32 pm

I have never thought about using plastic pallets before. I think for what I need, I would have to stick with wood pallets. I love how versatile they can be!

Katie Anderson
August 18, 2016 - 4:24 am

That’s why I love wooden pallets! .Pallets are an important part of the materials handling industry used in most aspects of the supply chain.  nice ideas thanks for sharing us.

Adam Harrington
June 07, 2017 - 4:09 am

                Hello sir..
can we make make plastic pallet less expensive or use any other material to avoid damage .. please share your experience i am doing research on it..

Jalil Ahmed
October 04, 2017 - 2:44 am

It’s interesting to learn that when it comes to pallets that there are advantages to the different materials that they are made out of. I never knew that when it if they were to be made out of wood that one benefit that comes with this is that they can be made out of recycled material. It makes me feel better to know that companies are doing all they do even the littlest of things to help the environment.

Harper Campbell
October 13, 2017 - 5:18 am

                    The place I work at is actually switching from plastic to wooden pallets, mostly because my boss is trying to make our company more eco-friendly. The fact that wood pallets can be recycled into paper or just resold is definitely a major plus, and I didn’t know that it also has higher friction compared to plastic. It’ll be nice to have pallets that area easy to repair, as well, because our plastic ones would crack rather frequently and we kept having to replace them.

Rhianna Hawk
November 29, 2018 - 5:11 am

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