The Essential Guide to Understanding Standard Pallet Dimensions

Standard Pallet Dimensions

There is no one universal pallet sizing standard across the globe. Pallets are built for their specific region or industry. For example, a 48″ x 40″ pallet meets the footprint of returnable totes the Grocery Manufacturers Association uses and allows containers to be shipped efficiently in sea containers.

Choosing the right pallet size will make it easier for your business to expand its operations in the future. It will also ensure that the pallets fit into your racking properly.

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If you’re in the freight shipping industry, it’s important to understand standard pallet dimensions. These flat structures support shipments during transportation and storage and are critical for streamlined inventory management. They are also essential in freight shipping for less-than-truckload (LTL) and full-truckload (FTL).

Pallets are made from various materials, including wood, plastic, metal, and recycled paper. Some are designed to be used in specific industries or environments. Others are intended for one-way shipping or are trackable. In addition, many are subject to various tests, such as stacking, sling, forklift, and pallet jack tests, drop tests, impact tests, and water-retention tests.

The most common pallet size in the United States is 48 x 40, developed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). These are commonly called GMA or CHEP pallets.

Other standard pallet sizes include the 42 x 42 pallet, which is often used to transport drums of paint and coating. The 48 x 48 pallet is often used to transport 55-gallon oil, other liquid containers, and telecommunications equipment. The dairy industry often uses 40 x 40-inch pallets to ship their products.

The amount of access points is crucial when selecting a pallet size. Four-way pallets provide more excellent handling and storage versatility than two-way pallets, which can only be reached from two opposing sides.


In supply chains, pallets are flat structures that help streamline loading goods into trucks, ships, or storage containers. They also provide the structural integrity needed for goods to be lifted by forklifts or pallet jacks. For this reason, pallet dimensions must be standardized to ensure they fit safely and efficiently into a truck or ship’s container or a warehouse’s shelving or racks.

The most commonly used standard pallet size is 48 inches long and 40 inches wide. These are called GMA or CHEP pallets in North America and Euro pallets in other parts of the world. These pallets are the most widely accepted and compatible across all modes of transport.

However, there are other standard wood pallet sizes available. For instance, a 48 x 42-inch wooden pallet will be heavier than the GMA pallet because it has more stringer boards. These are the 2×4-inch pieces that connect the top and bottom of the pallet.

Other standards include a PB or ‘block’ pallet with flush baseboards that are fully perimeter-based or the 3-legger pallet with no extra bases. Selecting the appropriate pallet size might help you save money when scheduling shipments, as many carriers base their freight shipping prices on these standard measurements.


Pallets are flat foundations on which goods are loaded and secured for shipping. They help minimize product loss during transit and significantly reduce load and unload time for trucking companies. They are typically made from wood but can also be constructed of plastic, paper, metal, or recycled materials. Standard pallet dimensions are essential for business owners because they allow carriers to maximize truck space. When selecting a pallet, you’ll want to consider the size of your goods and how much weight they will weigh. Knowing how high you can stack your goods on a pallet is also essential. Many trucking companies have maximum pallet height allowances they require their customers to adhere to.

The most common pallet in North America is the 48×40 GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) style pallet. This standard pallet has 48″ stringers and 40″ deck boards. However, there is a lot of variation in the design and construction of these pallets, including component thickness and width, lumber grade, wood species, fasteners, repair techniques, and allowable damage tolerance. Because of this, businesses should communicate detailed pallet expectations to their suppliers or inbound shippers to prevent issues down the line.

The ease of access to the pallet for forklifts and other handling equipment is another critical consideration. Pallets with four entry points can be reached from all four sides, but pallets with two can only be accessible from two opposing sides.


A pallet’s depth matters because it helps determine how well it fits into a truck or shipping container. It also shows how easy it is for forklifts and other lifting equipment to access the pallet’s contents. A deeper pallet may need to be supported from the front and rear, which can increase its weight and cost.

The type of materials that make up a pallet can also influence its depth. For example, a wood pallet may have a different depth than a plastic or paper one. Understanding the variety of options available is essential to ensure you choose the correct pallet dimensions for your specific needs and industry.

Standard pallet sizes are helpful for freight shippers as they develop plans for transporting goods. They help carriers maximize space in their trucks while ensuring that each load has the same-sized base so that items can be loaded and unloaded quickly.

The most popular pallet size in North America is 48 inches x 40 inches, which is also the standard pallet size internationally. It’s referred to as the GMA pallet because it conforms to standards set by the Grocery Manufacturers Association. It can hold up to 4,600 lbs., which makes it ideal for consumer packaged goods. Other standard North American pallets include the 42-inch x 48-inch and the 48-inch x 40-inch.