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With the massive choice of plastic pallets now available in the UK, it isn’t always easy to select the best option to meet your handling needs. Totebox explain the benefits of each design, recommend features to look out for and offer some tips to help users improve their handling efficiencies.

Plastic pallets are supplied in two main sizes; UK pallets measure 1,200 x 1,000mm, Euro pallets are 1,200 x 800mm, with half size (800 x 600mm) and quarter size (600 x 400mm) Euro pallets also available. The pallet deck is either solid or ventilated supported by runners or feet.

The are a number of design features that buyers should consider when selecting plastic pallets for almost any application:


  1.     Runners allow pallets to be safely stored on pallet racking beams. Three runner pallets can only be stored in one direction (with the runners at right angles to the beams), while perimeter runner pallets can be racked in either direction.


  1.     Wider width fork entry (the space between the pallet feet) allows faster and safer fork lift access.


  1.     Bevelled runners (featuring a tapered leading edge) make it easier to engage pump trucks.


  1.     Many pallets feature a raised rim to securely locate and retain plastic containers, which have a recessed base to securely inter-stack with each other as well as the plastic pallet deck. The rim can also help to restrict cardboard box movement, but are not ideal if the boxes are stacked to the full pallet width.


  1.     Anti-slip surfaces to the deck and runners help to retain loads and prevent slippage, but they add to the cost and often provide a reduced benefit when wet. 


Light weight distribution pallets

Light weight plastic pallets are ideal for multi-trip logistics operations, making significant fuel savings over heavier pallets. Some models with feet nest for efficient return logistics, providing even greater savings.

Care should be taken to avoid point loading when block stacking palletised loads. This can be avoided by using pallets with perimeter runners that evenly distribute the load or by fitting a plastic pallet lid.


Plastic distribution pallets include a number of identification options. Recessed areas for permanent labels often carry barcodes that identify owner, depot, etc. Textured areas allow removal of adhesive address labels without leaving a sticky residue. Many pallets can also be fitted with RFID tags.


Printing pallets with the owner’s logo and contact details proves ownership, deterring theft, and promotes your business.

Using plastic containers, instead of cardboard boxes, allows users to reduce packaging sundries and speed up handling operations. Unlike cardboard, plastic boxes require no taping or stapling and stack securely on pallets, reducing the need for stretch wrapping or banding.

Lightweight export pallets:

Many countries require timber pallets to be treated to prevent the import of wood born pests, this adds to the cost and risks rejection at customs if paperwork isn’t in order or the pallet has exceeded its use by date.

Lightweight plastic pallets are ideal for export to these destinations, especially if the pallet can be reused for further export duties. Most export plastic pallets are manufactured from recycled material and, like all plastic pallets, are themselves 100% recyclable.

Heavy duty industrial pallets:

Heavy duty plastic pallets rack loads of at least one tonnes, with some models capable of racking over 1.5 tonnes. These pallets typically carry a dynamic unit load of around two tonnes (on forklift or conveyor) and block stack combined loads of up to five tonnes.

Buyers should be aware that stated load carrying capacity usually refers to evenly distributed loads. Point loading, where the weight is concentrated in the centre of the pallet, must be avoided.

Hygienic pallets:

Featuring smooth surfaces, hygienic plastic pallets are designed for the storage, handling and distribution of food, pharmaceuticals and other products where cleanliness and hygiene are paramount.

Manufactured in food-grade high density polypropylene (HDPE), most plastic pallets can be frozen to -20oC, with some models going as low as -40oC. Some pallets include a ventilated deck which promotes air circulation to enable faster cooling.

Pallet collars

Folding plastic pallet collars transform a pallet into a robust pallet box in seconds, and fold flat saving valuable transport space on the return journey.

Pallet collars are ideal for uneven and irregularly shaped loads. Collars are built up in stages to suit size and height of contents, making loading easy, preventing the distribution of wasted space and eliminating the time and cost of stretch wrapping.

When not in use, collars should fold flat and nest inside one assembled collar to save space on return transport.


Half size Euro pallets

With a small footprint of just 800 by 600mm, half size Euro pallets are ideal for any application where speed is essential and space is at a premium. 

They are often used in manufacturing industries to transport products, parts and components direct from supplier to factory floor without double handling. This allows manufacturers to pick straight from the pallets without having to decant parts first.

Half pallets are also frequently used as retail distribution and merchandising units. Carrying produce trays from the distribution centre to in-store point of sale speeds up the distribution process and prevents double handling.

Plastic vs wood

Unlike timber pallets, plastic pallets are free from splinters and metal shards that could damage contents or injure personnel. Plastic pallets are hygienic, have a constant tare and do not absorb moisture or contaminants.

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If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, get in touch today on 01327 340 177 or head over to our contact page for more details.