Plastic Pallets vs Wooden Pallets
Published On:December 11, 2020 Revised On:March 16, 2023

Plastic Pallets vs Wooden Pallets

Pallets are vital packaging for any business that transports goods regularly. It helps to ensure that goods arrive safely at the destination, improve logistics and save costs. Plastic pallets and wood pallets are the two most common pallets used in the market. Read more to understand how these two differ for different requirements and understand how Plastic Pallets stack up against Wood Pallets.

Plastic Pallets

People and companies generally use plastic pallets to transport frozen and fresh foods and other pharmaceuticals with stringent hygienic requirements. Plastic Pallets are not porous and are very simple to wash, clean, or sterilise. Plastic Pallets are around three times more costly than wooden pallets. The packaging material is light, but their smooth and slippery exterior surface makes them less stable to stack. Thus, they are not appropriate for goods that weigh more than 1500lbs. For shipping goods internationally with no way to reuse and return them, Plastic Pallets will incur a higher cost. Plastic Pallets are often used in countries that prohibit the importation of Wooden Pallets. The primary advantage of Plastic Pallets is that you can reuse them for a considerably long time without any breakage. They are ideal for reuse and storage in warehouse facilities. They are light, sleek, splinter-free, and easy to handle manually. Plastic Pallet durability makes them perfect for usage on machines people use for pallet wrapping. Plastic Pallets also have a considerably longer lifespan compared to wood.

Plastic Pallets vs. Wooden PalletsAdvantages and Disadvantages of Plastic Pallets


  • Can clean them easily
  • Longer lifespan compared to wood pallets — usually more than ten years
  • No nails or screws make them more secure to handle
  • More lightweight compared to wood pallets
  • It makes logistics and in-process usage easier
  • Fully Recyclable


  • Greater initial expense
  • Making repairs is very challenging

Wooden Pallets

A Wooden Pallet is around three times less costly than plastic ones and about ten times more prevalently used. They can accommodate greater weight than plastic and can use them for weight between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds. Also, Wooden Pallets are easy to reuse and repair. However, these pallets are not suitable for fragile goods. Fasteners in Wooden Pallets can harm the products. Moreover, Wood Pallets lack the same higher fire safety rating as plastic pallets; the last burn at a considerably larger temperature than wooden pallets. Hence, manufacturers must check the fire codes of the building when deciding which pallets to buy.

Plastic Pallets vs. Wooden PalletsAdvantages and Disadvantages of Wooden Pallets


  • Lower cost of acquisition
  • Recyclable
  • East to repair


  • Harbour bacteria such as pathogens
  • Screws, nails, and splintered wood do not make them too secure to handle
  • Needs replacement them more frequently

Wooden Pallets vs Plastic Pallets: Some Important Aspects to Consider

Unfortunately, there is no particular answer to whether it is better to use plastic or wood pallets. The best choice depends on several different important factors. Be sure to go through these vital aspects for consideration.

Do You Intend to Ship Goods that have to Meet Specific Standards of Sanitation?

If you are shipping goods that fulfill hygiene standards, consider opting for plastic pallets rather than wooden ones. If a particular material accidentally spills, hygienic plastic pallets are easier to clean. Chemicals and food cannot leak into the plastic and pollute any future shipments as well.

Are Your Shipping Expenses Contingent on Weight?

Wood pallets weigh more than plastic ones. That can be an essential factor to consider if your shipping expenses are contingent on weight. The standard Wooden Pallet weighs between 30-70 pounds. On the flip side, Plastic Pallets can weigh as little as 3 pounds.

How Heavy are the Goods You are Shipping?

The weight of the goods you are shipping can be critical when choosing between plastic and wooden pallets. Plastic Pallets can hold material weight up to around 1500 pounds. On the other hand, Wood Pallets are more appropriate for heavier goods weighing between 1500 and 3500 pounds. When you use pallets with the correct weight capacity, you can lower your other shipping materials requirements. Those materials safely packed on suitable pallets have more excellent stability. They are less likely to fall during transport, and you do not have to rely on extra additional packaging to safeguard your precious goods. Putting on greater weight (than experts recommend) on the pallet can damage the plastic or wood. It will lead to a breakdown very soon. This is precisely why it is crucial to use pallets with a load capacity appropriate for shipping goods.

To summarise, it is true that both Plastic and Wood Pallets have their benefits. Deciding which one is better is contingent on a combination of different factors. These include the goods to ship, industry, applicable regulations and standards, long-term economics, and the budget.