Businesses that save on plastic pallets end up paying later

Plain Pallets on 13 December 2017

The safety of your goods will only be as strong as the pallet that carries them. A strong and stable pallet is a critical component of freight and warehousing. But quality pallets are routinely skipped in favour of cheap pallets.

All it takes is one incident – a forklift operator overloading, for instance – for these cut corners to bite back. Pallet failure is the biggest risk to warehousing and transportation goods. And good pallet will reduce it.

In this article, we’ll highlight the risks of cheap plastic pallets and what you can do to find the best value plastic pallets instead.

Need advice on selecting the right pallet for your business? Talk to a Melbourne expert in plastic pallets.

What are the risks of cheap plastic pallets?

The number one risk is pallet failure. Cheap plastic pallets increase the risk of failure if they're overloaded, with breakage during transportation being a common failure.

And in all cases, pallets must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications. All plastic pallets should specify a load rating. Overloading dynamic or static lift ratings is a major cause failure, which can lead to stock lose, damage to products, or risk the safety of workers.

In one case, we had a client who quad-stacked plastic pallets against our advice as a supplier and the specifications of the plastic pallet. This overloaded the static weight and the pallets toppled over, causing a significant amount of damage, which cost the business.

How much should you pay for quality plastic pallets?

The cost of a pallet will depend on a range of factors, including the material, the size and the pallet’s export standards. Some suppliers will also offer discounts on large orders.

While new pallets ensure quality and safety, a good pallet supplier often will be able to offer high quality refurbished pallets at a lower cost. The following table illustrates the price ranges you can expect when purchasing pallets.

 Lower price rangeUpper price range

New wooden pallets



Used or reclaimed wooden pallets



Export pallets



Plastic pallets



Custom pallets



Refer to our pallet pricing guide for more information about the cost of pallets.

What should you look for in plastic pallets?

If you’re purchasing plastic pallets, particularly used plastic pallets, then consider:

  • The necessary load rating – Your pallet should have an acceptable load rating. Plastic pallets should come with a specification sheet on their load rating.
  • The use of pallet – The general applications and acceptable use of the pallet should also be specified by the manufacturer.
  • Any signs of damage – Inspect for damage to the corners or platform of the pallet. If the pallet has been ‘speared’ by forklift tines, it may affect the performance and load of the pallet.
steel pallet2

Steel pallet

What are the alternatives to plastic pallets?

Material is a key consideration. Pallets also come in wood and steel construction. Your choice of pallet material will come down to your load requirements, transportation needs, as well as the industry you operate in.

Wood pallets suitable for a wide variety of transport and warehousing applications. They may also be low cost, making them a possible alternative to cheap plastic pallets. Though wood pallets are often less durable than alternatives, are more difficult to sterilise and may not be cleared for cleared for international export.

Despite these alternatives, plastic pallets are the best choice for industries such as medical, food and beverage storage and transportation. Plastic pallets are the most hygienic option, as they can be easily sterilised. Plastic pallets are also ready for export.

What should you look for in a pallet supplier?

Finding the right pallet is also about finding the right pallet supplier. A quality supplier will offer at least:

  • Insurance and liability cover – Public liability insurance from your supplier will protect your business in the event of pallet failure and damage to your products.
  • Delivery – Seek out a supplier with fast dispatch and delivery of your new plastic pallets.
  • Volume discounts – If you’re buying in bulk, check if you can get a discount on your order. Some suppliers offer discounts on larger orders.
  • Custom products – If you have a specific need, some suppliers can offer customised pallets with dimensions and weight capacity to suit your specific needs.

Speak with a pallet expert today.

Reduce your transport and warehousing risk. Speak with one of our experts today. We can offer advice on selecting the right pallet, based on your transportation and storage needs, type of goods and industry.

Get a quote for plastic pallets.