There are so many different terms and phrases relating to pallets that it’s no wonder it can be difficult to remember exactly what each definition means, especially for new employees and those just starting out in the industry.
So we’ve put together a useful glossary of common pallet terminology that you can save and refer back to as little or as often as you need. We’ve also created a handy PDF download version too, so you can share with your staff or print a version for your warehouse/site.
American pallet: usually 48” x 40” instead of 1200mm x 1000mm (which would be a UK Standard pallet) – a Partial 4-Way pallet.
Baseboard: A baseboard is a type of board that is fastened directly below the bearers or blocks, to form the base of the pallet.
Bearers: these are the boards that the top/deckboards are fixed to.
Blocks: exactly what they sound like – the blocks that separate the pallet’s top deck/bearers from the bottom deck. The blocks tend to get bigger the more heavy duty the pallets are.
Block stacking: This term relates to storage boxes/loaded pallets being stacked vertically without recourse to intermediate shelves or rack beams.
Bottom deck: The bottom deck is a load-distributing surface that forms the underside of a pallet, that’s flat and horizontal. It can either be solid or slatted.
Box pallet: This is a type of pallet that has solid or close-boarded sides that extend above the pallet top deck. It may have a lid, be hinged or have removable gates.
Brace: A brace is a diagonal strengthening piece that makes e.g. a box pallet more rigid.
Captive pallet: This refers to a pallet that’s designed for repetitive use within a single company, system or facility.
Close-boarded: During pallet assembly, close-boarded boards are fastened in contact with one another (e.g. to form essentially a solid top deck) to ensure light transmission and air passage are kept to a minimum. Some people refer to these simply as “solid-topped” pallets.
Collar: Four boards attached on their short ends so that they form a (usually rectangular) box, which then sit on top of the pallet. They have hinges on all 4 corners so that they can fold flat when not in use. They can be stacked meaning that you can tailor the height of your box. (Also often used in gardening as economical raised beds). The most common sizes are Euro and UK Standard.
Conversion / Converted pallet: see Raised.
CP pallet: Numbered from CP1 to CP9 – pallets with very exacting specifications and sizes, with winged tops- originally designed for use within the chemical industry (find out more about these pallet sizes here).
Disposable pallet: Also known as a one-trip pallet or an expendable pallet, this is a single-use pallet that is intended to be discarded after use.
Double-deck pallet: A type of flat pallet (skid-pallet, semi-perimeter base pallet or perimeter base pallet) that has a top and bottom deck.
Entry: An opening in the side to allow lifting devices (e.g. FLT, pump truck forks) to pass through.
Euro: A euro pallet (or euro-sized pallet) is simply one that measures 1200mm x 800mm. there are very many different exact specifications – have a look at our flow chart for more info (link).
Exchange pallet: The Europallet is a good example of this. An exchange pallet usually relies on an agreement between pallet shippers and receivers. Once an exchange pallet is received, it will be exchanged for another related empty pallet.
Free entry: This refers to an opening in the pallet where the fork arm wheels on a pallet truck can enter without moving off the floor.
Four Way Entry: This means that the forks of lifting device (eg FLT) can access the pallet from all 4 sides.
Gate: A gate allows easy access to the contents of the pallet. It’s usually a section on the side of a box or cage pallet that’s either hinged or can be removed.
Grade A/B/C: This will need further investigation as it can mean something different to each pallet company, depending on context. For example, here at Universal Pallets:
- Grade A Euro usually means a Recon Stamped Euro that has not been used many times and so still looks reasonably new
- Grade B Euro is the same pallet, but it is older, and has a more weathered appearance
- Grade A 4way on the other hand means a 1200mm x 1000mm pallet that is either new or Recon, but is heavy duty and usually has big blocks and 1000mm top boards
- In general, Grade B is more medium duty and Grade C is more lightweight
Heat Treated: This refers to the ISPM15 regulations whereby wooden packaging must be exposed to high temperatures, in a kiln, for enough time to kill off wood-boring insects. The pallet will be stamped with the IPPC logo and the country code (where the treatment was carried out). You can find more information about the regulations here.
Heavy-raised see Raised. A heavy raised is likely to be a version of this pallet with larger blocks so the gaps for your lifting device are slightly higher, meaning pump trucks can usually gain access as well as FLT.
Height: This is the overall external vertical size – including its base.
IPPC: see Heat Treatment
ISPM15: see Heat Treatment
Lead board: This is a type of deckboard that’s situated on the pallet top deck, either at the front or back edge.
Length: This is the dimension of the pallet deck in the direction of stringers or stringerboards (if none, the longer dimension is given as the length).
Non-perimeter based (also known colloquially as a three-legger): A pallet that does not have the extra perimeter base boards, e.g. euro pallets are nearly always the Non-perimeter based style.
Pallet: A pallet is a rigid, horizontal structure used in the process of storing, stacking and transporting goods. It’s usually handled or moved by a pallet truck or fork lift truck.
Pallet skid: This refers to an assembly unit containing the bottom deckboard and at least two blocks that are usually rectangular in shape (sometimes has a centre block too).
Partial four-way pallet: This is a type of pallet that restricts entry on two of its sides (there are just notches in these 2 sides, allowing limited access). It allows a four-way entry for fork lift truck fork arms and only two-way entry for pallet truck fork arms. See also American Pallet.
Payload: This is the approximate load bearing capacity of the pallet. Be careful here – you will need to bear in mind that the payload is massively reduced once the pallet is dynamic (e.g. on the forks of a FLT or up on warehouse racking beams). You will therefore need to ask what the static (just sat on the floor) or dynamic payload is depending on usage. It’s not possible to guarantee payload as it is affected by factors outside of your pallet company’s control (e.g. temperature, loading techniques, stability of load, whether dynamic or static etc). Furthermore, recon pallets can’t be load tested and so any payload advice offered by your pallet company is only a guide based on their own experience. All pallets should therefore be tested in-house.
Perimeter base pallet: Also occasionally known as window pallets, perimeter base pallets have bottom deckboards that are positioned as a complete frame, in the same plane (and with one or two centre boards). So if you turn the pallet upside down the base boards form a frame all the way round the bottom deck, which sits flush on the ground.
Pool pallet: This is a type of exchange/rental pallet that’s maintained by a commercial body either locally, nationally or internationally.
Post pallet: A post pallet has posts that allow other pallets to be stacked above it without putting pressure on the goods that are stored on the lowest pallet. Post pallets are sometimes fitted with horizontal rails that are removable or a gate.
Raised pallet (also known as a Conversion or Converted pallet): A four-way entry pallet that is Non-perimeter based, but that has been adapted or converted by having extra base boards nail-gunned on. As these base boards were not added in such a way to make the pallet fully Perimeter Based, the pallet’s bottom deck will not all be exactly flush to the floor (i.e. it will be “raised” off the floor slightly). Depending on the specification of the original pallet, this might not always be suitable for pump-truck access – see Heavy Raised.
Recon: A reconditioned pallet i.e. a second hand pallet that has been inspected and if necessary repaired.
Reusable pallet: This refers to a pallet that will be re-used.
Stamped: Be careful with this one as it means different things to different people, depending on context. A “stamped euro” usually means a euro-sized pallet that was made to very exacting specifications when new and by only a handful of licenced companies. The “stamp” is therefore usually EUR and also the brand of euro pallet (e.g. EPAL, UIC, MAV etc). Other pallets may be referred to as Stamped if they have been Heat Treated (see Heat Treatment). Bear in mind that Stamped Euros (and CP Pallets) usually also have the Heat Treatment stamps, as they were nearly all Heat Treated when made new.
Standard-size: See UK Standard-size.
Stringer/ Stringerboard: A stringer(board) is a horizontal board that is secured to the blocks and links the deckboards.
Three legger: A colloquial term for Non-perimeter based.
Top deck: The boards forming the top layer of the pallet. Also, a can of shandy that the cool kids drank in the 80s…
Top deck sub assembly or mat: This refers to an assembly of top deckboards and stringer boards.
Two way entry: This is a pallet that can only be accessed by the forks of a FLT/pump truck on 2 of its 4 sides – the other two non-accessible sides will be solid wood timbers.
UK Standard-size: A pallet that measures 1200mm x 1000mm. Beyond that there are very many different specifications – find out more about pallet sizes and specifications here.
White pallet: This simply refers to all pallets that aren’t painted. For example, many rental pallets have been painted blue, red, brown etc for identification and are not therefore classed as white pallets.
Width: The width refers to the deck dimension at right angles to the length.
Please note: This list has been checked by industry experts, but one phrase can mean something entirely different within two different pallet companies, depending on what they have been using colloquially within that company. No liability can be accepted for reliance on this information as it is not intended to be used as a guarantee.