Plastic vs Wooden Delivery Pallets: Which is Right for Your Business



The timber delivery pallet has been a staple of shipping and logistics for decades. They’re cheap to manufacture, lightweight and can be recycled with ease. Despite these advantages, the plastic pallet is becoming increasingly popular with many companies now and for good reason.

If you’re wondering which is right for your company, keep reading and we’ll go through the pros and cons of each.

What is A Delivery Pallet?

Just in case you’re new to freight and transportation, a shipping pallet is a simple device on which you place goods, usually in the form of boxes, for easy relocation. The way in which they’re designed makes it easy for them to be moved with a simple forklift, facilitating easy access onto lorries and into shipping containers.

The Wooden Pallet

The wooden pallet is a simple structure of timber boards and MDF which have been nailed together to form a low profile horizontal platform. Their strength comes from the way each piece of timber is sandwiched together. The benefits include;

  • Low Cost – Wooden pallets are very cheap to produce and are therefore great for those on a budget. They can also be bought in bulk, reducing costs further.
  • Recyclable – At the end of their service life, wooden pallets can be broken down and reused elsewhere.
  • Friction – The surface of each piece of timber is non-finished, providing a great non-slip surface for goods that would otherwise be prone to moving around.

There are some downsides to the wooden pallet. Whilst durable, they are known to splinter and break if treated poorly which will require repair or replacement meaning significant downtime if it keeps happening. Wooden pallets are also very difficult to clean which means that they end up looking grubby very quickly and can harbour bacteria. When shipping internationally, you may also be required to ensure that each pallet has been sprayed for insects.

The Plastic Pallet

Plastic pallets work on the same principal but are made from a type of plastic and are constructed slightly different although they can vary in design. Their advantages include;

  • Durability – Plastic pallets can last for a very long time with limited maintenance requirements.
  • Low Weight – Shipping costs are based on weight as well as overall size. Plastic pallets are much lighter and can reduce loads by up to 30%, saving you money.
  • Chemical Resistance – Plastic pallets are not susceptible to acidic chemical spills meaning that they can quickly be cleaned up and put back into commission.

Your start-up costs will likely be higher due to the increased cost of each pallet. Plastic pallets also can’t be repaired easily, resulting in expensive replacement in the event of breakages. Finally, plastic pallets rarely come with a slip resistant surface, requiring you to be careful when loading and unloading.

Either option makes a great choice for shipping and transportation. We would start by figuring out what you’re prepared to spend as well as the required lifespan you have for each pallet. Your next step is to get a courier quote and compare the costs for both options. We suggest you contact a few companies as some will likely be able to tailor a solution to your exact requirements.

All that’s left for you to do is watch your goods being transported around the country or internationally, safe in the knowledge your products will arrive in good condition.