A Complete Overview of the Standard Pallet Size and Dimension

standard pallet size

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Pallets are common in logistics, serving a crucial role in the safe and efficient transportation of goods.

Understanding the measurements of a pallet can help you decide the best type to use.

What is a standard pallet size? Which one should you use?

The standard pallet sizes depend on several factors, such as:

  • Your industry

  • Your location

  • The type of goods

In this guide, I’ll discuss the most common sizes, different types, and a brief history of pallets.

Let’s begin.

What Are Pallets?

standard pallet size

Pallets, also called skids, are flat transport structures that support freight and goods. People use them to carry heavy and bulky items easily with a forklift, liftgate, pallet jack, or front loader.

They come in different materials, such as:

  • Wooden pallets

  • Plastic pallets

How long and how wide are pallets? The average pallet size is 48″ x 40″ (W x L).

However, there are other variations. We’ll look at these variations in more detail later in this guide.

Types of Pallets Based on Function

Types of Pallets Based on Function

These are some of the most common types of pallets and their purposes.

  • Block Pallets
    Block pallets use cylindrical posts to stabilize the deck of the pallet. A block pallet can be a four-way entry pallet.

  • Solid Deck Pallets
    Solid deck pallets have a solid wood sheet on their top surfaces. Other types normally have a series of planks with spaces.

  • Stringer Pallets
    These have stringers or boards that add load support. Forklifts can enter a stringer pallet from two sides if it has a two-way design. Like a block pallet, a stringer pallet can also have a four-way design.

  • Double Face Pallet
    This type has two top sides, which you can use alternately. The bottom face also adds to the strength of the pallet.

  • Double Wing Pallet
    This type has deck boards that extend beyond the stringers, which appear like wings.

  • Legger Pallet
    Designed for single-use, this type is a non-reversible pallet with no perimeter base.

  • CP Pallets
    A CP pallet is a heavy-duty pallet. Its original purpose is for transporting goods in the chemical industry. Today, various other industries use it, as well. A certain type of this pallet is CP8, which has a hole in the middle for a bulk bag discharge.

Why Companies Ship with Pallets

Logistics and shipping companies use flat pallets for two reasons: their function and their cost.

  1. Pallets serve as a stable foundation for the unit load. They allow efficient and safe goods movement around a cargo area, warehouse, or loading bay.

  2. Pallets are cost-effective. Most pallets are wooden pallets, which are low-cost and sturdy. Some companies also use plastic pallets. In general, these structures allow businesses to maximize truck space for more savings.

A Brief History of Standard Pallet Sizes in the United States

Pallets in the past referred to any wooden slab that can help effectively transport goods. The design evolved, but the forklift’s invention in 1915 is what led to the standard version of the common pallets employed today.

Howard T. Hallowell created the patent and called it the Lift-Truck Platform. It allowed forklifts to raise and carry them easily.

consumer Brands Association

However, pallets manufactured didn’t have standard sizing. The length and width of a pallet varied. Some were too small or too large for the forklifts.

George G. Raymond, the founder of the Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation, filed a patent in 1939. The new design paved way to standardizing pallet measurements.

World War II further led to the design enhancements. Afterward, pallets became common in the shipping industry.

During the 50s to 60s, several groups and organizations developed their own standard wood pallet size. Here are some examples.

  • Euro pallets
    European railway companies developed the first European dimensional and quality standards.

  • GMA pallets
    Consumer Brands Association (CBA), formerly Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), designed a standard pallet dimension of 48 x 40 inches for the nationwide distribution of goods.

  • ISO pallets
    The International Organization for Standardization also developed a standard ISO pallet list. Most wood pallets produced follow these measurements.

international organization for standardization

What Is the Standard Pallet Size?

What is the size of a standard pallet?

New wood pallets typically follow the standard GMA pallet dimensions.

The most common dimensions of a wood pallet today are 48 x 40 inches. The height of standard pallet pieces is around 6.5 inch.

The standard pallet size in feet is about 4 x 3.33 feet.

However, standard pallet sizes vary considerably worldwide.

Let’s take a closer look at standard pallet sizes.

ISO Standard Pallet Size Chart

The ISO has six pallet dimensions used in many parts of the world.

Here’s an ISO pallets dimensions table.


Pallet Dimensions (Inches)

North America

48.00 x 40.00


47.20 x 31.50


45.90 x 45.90


43.30 x 43.30

North America, Europe, Asia

42.00 x 42.00

Europe, Asia

47.24 x 39.37

Standard Pallet Sizes per Region

Standard Pallet Sizes per Region

Pallets vary in size and dimensions across different regions. Some follow ISO pallet sizes standards, while other’s dont.

1 – America

The standard American pallet size follows the GMA standards of 48 x 40 inches, which fit well with most forklifts, pallet jacks, and other loading equipment.

Here are some other common US pallet size standards.

  • 42 x 42 inches: used for goods like paint

  • 48 x 48 inches: for transporting larger shipments

  • 48 x 20 inches: half pallets for the retail industry

You might also see other measurements, especially for automotive pallets. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Mexico automotive half pallet: 39.37 x 23.62 inches

  • Argentina automotive pallet: 48.90 x 45.87 inches

2 – Australia

The standard pallet dims in Australia are around 45.90 x 45.90 inches.

In New Zealand, pallet mercosur is the standard. It has dimensions of 1200 x 1000 mm (47.24 x 39.37 inches).

3 – Europe

How big is a pallet in Europe?

Here are the European standard pallets sizing.

  • EUR pallet dimensions: 47.2 x 31.5 x 5.7 inches (1200 x 800 x 144 mm)

  • Switzerland plastic pallet size: 47.2 x 31.5 x 5.7 inches (1200 x 800 x 144 mm)

  • UK (New Zealand wooden pallet size): 47.24 x 39.37 x 5.7 inches (1200 x 800 x 144 mm)

  • American pallet size: 48 x 40 pallet dimensions (1219 x 1016 mm)

  • EUR-6 (half pallet): 24 x 31 inches (600 × 800 mm)

4 – Asia

The most common pallet sizes in Asia follow ISO standard pallet dimensions:

  • Japan and China wooden pallet size: 43.30 x 43.30 inches

  • India wooden pallet size: 47.24 x 39.37 inches

  • China timber half pallet size: 47.24 x 20 inches

5 –South Africa

The typical pallet dimensions (W x L) you’ll see in Africa are:

  • South Africa wooden pallet: 47.24 x 31.5 inches

  • South Africa plastic pallet: 47.24 x 39.37 inches

  • South Africa bearer pallet: 47.24 x 47.24 inches

Why Are Standard Pallet Sizes Important?

Standard pallet sizes make it easier to ship and handle freight in different locations. It creates predictability and eliminates many disruptions when reboarding products to local pallets.

With standard pallet dimensions, supply chain professionals can streamline the transportation of goods.

Multiple sizes would lead to incompatibilities, slowing down the supply chain.

Industries That Use Standardized Pallet Sizes

Industries That Use Standardized Pallet Sizes

Any logistics, warehousing, or delivery industry use pallets. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Warehousing and Logistics

  • Manufacturing

  • Retail and Supermarkets

  • Agriculture and Farming

  • Construction

  • Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare

  • Food and Beverage

  • Chemical and Petrochemical

  • E-commerce and Fulfillment Centers

  • Recycling and Waste Management

Applications Where Standard-Sized Pallets Don’t Make Sense

Applications Where Standard-Sized Pallets Don't Make Sense

Some applications can’t benefit from standard pallet sizes. If your business has special requirements, you can order custom pallets to handle your specific load capacity and product type.

Consider the following:

  • Weight and size of your freight

  • Mode of transportation

  • Storage requirements

  • Recycling plans

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is the Most Common Pallet Type?

The stringer pallet is the most common type, especially in the United States. Its popularity stems from its versatility and widespread adoption within various industries nationwide.

How Do I Find Free Wood Pallets?

How Do I Find Free Wood Pallets?

You can contact builders or contact construction site managers to see if they have pallets for disposal. Some warehouses or transportation hubs could also let go of some pallets.

What Are the Common Uses for 48 x 40-inch Pallets in North America?

  • Moving and storing goods in warehouses and distribution centers

  • Displaying and transporting goods in grocery stores

  • Holding and transporting construction materials and equipment

  • Transporting parts or finished products within a factory

  • Storing items on shelving units

Are Pallets Safe To Use?

Are Pallets Safe To Use?

Pallets might come with risks, and some aren’t appropriate for reusing. Follow these tips when taking used pallets.

  • Look for any signs of damage, such as broken or cracked boards, protruding nails, or splintered wood.

  • Check for any signs of pests.

  • Don’t use a pallet with a strong chemical odor. Chemically-treated pallets release toxic fumes.

  • Stick to natural pallets, and avoid colored ones.

  • Use heat-treated pallets, which don’t carry toxic chemical fumes.

  • Avoid pallets with signs of spills or stains.

  • If you’re not sure where a pallet came from, it’s safer to avoid using it.

What Does Palletizing Mean?

Palletizing refers to loading and unloading goods onto a pallet. The palletizing process also includes wrapping, strapping, or other means to ensure the shipment’s stability during transport.

The Bottom Line

I hope this guide can help you streamline your transportation processes.

Understanding standard pallet sizes and dimensions is vital for shipping and logistics businesses. Some benefits include positive impacts on supply chain efficiency, cost savings, and smaller environmental footprint.

Which type and size is perfect for your business?

Written by: Omar Deryan

Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

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