When you're in the business of transporting goods, one of the first things you need to understand is the use and significance of pallets (also known as skids). Pallets are flat structures utilized in supply chains to support goods in a stable fashion while they are being lifted by forklifts, pallet jacks, or other lifting devices. They are crucial to streamline the process of loading and unloading, whether it's in a warehouse, a delivery truck, or a container for shipping.

Among the variety of pallet types available, the most common materials used are wood and plastic. The type of material chosen depends on various factors, including the requirements of the goods being transported, the load capacity, and costs.

Wooden Pallets vs. Plastic Pallets

Wooden vs plastic pallets
Wooden vs plastic pallets

Wooden pallets are often used due to their cost-effectiveness and availability. They have a high load capacity and can carry heavy loads easily, making them a staple in the logistics sector. They are the most common form of pallets and you can find the wood pallet dimensions next up in this article.

On the other hand, plastic pallets, made from recycled materials or virgin plastic, are gaining popularity. They are a preferred choice for the chemical industry because they are resistant to acids, fats, solvents, and odors. Additionally, plastic pallets can be sanitized easily, making them ideal for use in industries with stringent hygiene standards. The measurements of a pallet made of plastic usually do not differ from those made of wood. Therefore, the standard pallet size table in the next chapter will still be relevant.

While plastic pallets can come at higher prices compared to their wooden counterparts, their durability, reusability, and ease of maintenance make them a viable choice for long-term use.

Standard Pallet Sizes & Dimensions

When it comes to standard pallet sizes, there are universal standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO pallets are designed to fit in ISO containers used for international shipping, making them essential in facilitating international trade. In addition, there are many non-standard pallet dimensions, some of which have become used quite commonly.

Europallet size & height

The most common pallet size, often referred to as the standard pallet size, is the ISO's EUR pallet, or the Euro pallet. This pallet measures 120x80 cm, with the maximum loading height usually being 220 cm or roughly 87 inches, and is widely used across Europe and South Africa. Its popularity stems from the way it optimizes space in standard containers, minimizing extra space requirement and maximizing efficiency.

Another common pallet type used in various regions is the industrial pallet or the EUR2 pallet, measuring 100x120 cm. It's the most common UK pallet size, but is also commonly used in the rest of Europe, Asia, India and South America, as well as in international trade between many regions.

EUR/EUR1 pallet vs Industrial (EUR2) pallet
EUR/EUR1 pallet vs Industrial (EUR2) pallet

American pallet dimensions

In North America, the standard pallet dimensions are slightly larger: 48 x 40 inches (dimensions in cm: 121.9x101.6). This American pallet is typically made of wood and is designed to fit perfectly in standard-sized trailers and rail cars.

Oversized, half & quarter pallets

In addition to the standard sizes, you will also find oversized pallets, half pallets and quarter pallets. The size chosen often depends on the type and volume of goods to be transported, the available storage and transportation space, and the specifications of the handling equipment.

In the following tables, you can find different pallet dimensions in cm and in inches.

METRIC: Standard pallet dimensions and pallet weights
Name Dimensions (cm) Max weight (kg)
EUR/EUR 1/ISO1 120 x 80 1500
EUR 2 (UK pallet) 120 x 100 1250
EUR 2/EUR 3/FIN/IPL/ISO2 100 x 120 1500
UPL Pallet 120 x 110 1200
HPL (EUR 6 / ISO0) 60 x 80 500
QPL (Quarter Pallet) 60 x 40 250
PXL Pallet 120 x 120 1200
American Standard Pallet 121.9 x 101.6 2087
American Square Pallet 42" X 42" 106.7 x 106.7 1678
American Square Pallet 48" X 48" 121.9 x 121.9 2087
Australian Standard Pallet 116.5 x 116.5 2000
Asian Standard Pallet 110 x 110 1200

IMPERIAL: Standard pallet dimensions and pallet weights
Name Dimensions (inches) Max weight (lbs)
EUR/EUR 1/ISO1 47.24 x 31.5 3300
EUR 2 (UK pallet) 47.24 x 39.37 2756
EUR 3/FIN/IPL/ISO2 39.37 x 47.24 3300
UPL Pallet 48 x 43.3 2646
HPL (EUR 6 / ISO0) 23.62 x 31.5 1102
QPL (Quarter Pallet) 23.62 x 15.75 551
PXL Pallet 47.24 x 47.24 2646
American Standard Pallet 48 x 40 4600
American Square Pallet 42" X 42" 42 x 42 3700
American Square Pallet 48" X 48" 48 x 48 4600
Australian Standard Pallet 45.9 x 45.9 4409
Asian Standard Pallet 43.3 x 43.3 2646

Most common regions for pallet types
Name Regions where used
EUR/EUR 1/ISO1 Europe (most common)
EUR 2 (UK pallet) Europe (most common in the UK)
EUR 3/FIN/IPL/ISO2 Europe, Asia
UPL Pallet Europe
HPL (EUR 6 / ISO0) Europe
QPL (Quarter Pallet) Europe
PXL Pallet Europe
American Standard Pallet North America (most common)
American Square Pallet 42" X 42" North America, Europe, Asia
American Square Pallet 48" X 48" North America
Australian Standard Pallet Australia
Asian Standard Pallet Asia

Most common pallet sizes by region
Most common pallet sizes by region

Pallet Entry points (two-way vs four-way)

Two-way vs four-way entry pallets
Two-way vs four-way entry pallets

Another aspect to consider when choosing a pallet is the number of entry points it offers. 2-way pallets and 4-way pallets refer to how a forklift truck or other lifting device can access the pallet. Two-way pallets can be accessed from two opposite sides, while four-way pallets can be accessed from all four sides, offering more flexibility in handling and stacking.

Understanding Pallet Loads and Weight 

The load capacity of a pallet is an essential consideration. This refers to the maximum weight that the pallet can safely carry. For instance, heavy-duty pallets are designed to support heavy loads without breaking or causing safety concerns. The load capacity varies based on the pallet's design, size, and material, among other factors.

In Conclusion

Whether you're looking at pallet size options for your supply chain or are a cargo mover exploring the best type of pallet for your needs, understanding different pallet sizes, dimensions, and characteristics is fundamental. With the right knowledge, you can make informed decisions that could lead to more efficient systems and potentially lower costs. Remember, the best pallet for your needs will balance requirements, costs, and convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between EUR 2 and EUR 3 pallets?

Both EUR 2 and EUR 3 share the same dimensions (120 x 100 cm) and design standard, but they differ in terms of their construction. The EUR 3 shares the same dimensions as the EUR 2, but is constructed in the other direction (100x120 cm vs 120x100 cm). The EUR 2 pallet has seven top boards, whereas the EUR 3 pallet has five top boards. These differences slightly affect their load capacity, with the EUR 2 being more robust. The EUR 2 is also the most common UK pallet size (120x100cm). Nonetheless, both are versatile and widely used across Europe.

Euro pallet vs US pallet: what's the difference?

The US standard pallet (48x40 inches or 121.9x101.6 cm) is about 27% wider than the Euro 1 pallet (47.24x31.5 inches or 120x80 cm).
Unlike the US pallet, the Euro 1 pallet can fit comfortably in European trains and standard doors (commonly 33 inches or 85 cm in width). 

What is the maximum height of pallets?

It's crucial to consider the height when loading pallets, especially for shipments in the UK and Europe where the maximum loading height is usually 220 cm or roughly 87 inches. A rule of thumb is to safely stack 2-3 pallets to a height not exceeding this limit. To ensure the stability of the load, it's advised to arrange the boxes in even columns and distribute the weight uniformly across the pallet. Heavier cargo should be placed at the bottom and lighter items on top. For pallets exceeding 220 cm in height, a custom solution may be required, classifying it as a non-stackable pallet shipment.

What are the advantages of EUR pallets?

One of the main advantages of EUR pallets is their suitability for typical door sizes. The width of an europallet is 800 mm or 31 inches, allowing it to fit through standard doors comfortably (the most common DIN door type is 850 by 2,000 mm or roughly 33 by 79 inches). This compatibility makes the loading and unloading process much smoother, reducing the likelihood of damage to goods during transit. Additionally, their uniform dimensions and widespread acceptance across Europe make them an efficient choice for international shipping.

Simplifying Shipping with a Transport Management System

Ever feel like shipping is just one big jigsaw puzzle? You've got goods to move, carriers to coordinate, and a whole lot of information to keep track of. It's enough to make your head spin. But what if you could bring all those pieces together in one place? That's exactly what Cargoson's transport management system is all about.

Imagine this: all your carriers, all their options, all in one spot. No more digging through emails to compare transport prices, transit times, or even transport CO2 emissions. It's all there, ready for you to make the best decision for your business.

But we aren't stopping there. Cargoson is like your very own all-seeing eye on every shipment. You'll always know where your pallets are, when they'll get to their destination, and who's at the helm. All this info is just a click away.

And the beauty of it? The transport management system not only gives you full visibility but also makes it a breeze to share transport updates with your team and your customers. That means everyone stays in the loop and your goods keep moving smoothly.

If you're ready to swap the stress of managing shipments for a simpler, smarter way, let's chat. With Cargoson, you can finally make shipping one less thing on your worry-list.