Pallet Types –
Hardwood vs. Softwood Pallets
Most pallet providers will offer a variety of species of both hardwood or softwood. Hardwood has a higher density which increases the pallet strength. However, softwood pallet can mimic hardwood strength by increasing the thickness of the boards. The lumber species will be dependent on which region(s) you are located.
At FALM, we use a pallet design software that takes into account the density of the lumber and determines which type of wood/density of wood is needed to safely carry the load. Unit load weight = weight of pallet + total weight of the product loaded on the pallet.
2-Way vs. 4-Way Pallets
When determining if you need a two or four-way pallets, you need to consider how they will be transported? Via forklift, pallet jack?
Two-way pallets have forklift openings on only two ends and are also referred to as “unnotched.”
Four-way entry pallets have forklift openings on all sides for full accessibility.
Stringer vs. Block Pallets
Both stringer and block pallets are able to handle heavy loads, so when choosing which design is best for you it may, again, depend on how you plan to transport the pallets.
Block pallets are thought to be more durable, but may come at a higher price because they are more difficult to assemble and require more lumber to achieve better strength ratings. Block pallets have a four-way forklift entry and use blocks of solid wood to support a load.
Stringer pallets have two-way forklift openings and use stringer boards to support a unit load. Stringer pallets can also have notches in the side to create a partial four-way forklift entry.