The answer to this question would be simple when there’s one standard pallet size. It has been found that standard pallet size varies with industries and countries and, sometimes, the materials used in producing the pallet.
Even with many standard sizes, the discussion and search for a single size among manufacturers and supply chain professionals persist. The reason is that standard pallet size allows seamless equipment switching between manufacturers and supply chain professionals.
It also helps retailers and groceries to standardize their shipment and decrease space wastage while allowing forklifts and pallet jacks to move effortlessly. A standard pallet size also means that grocery and building companies can outsource their pallet from different vendors since they all make the standard size. Presently, the common 48″ x 40″pallet is the standard pallet size in the United States and Northern America.
The history of the standard pallet size
A standard pallet size was one of the inventions after World War II. Before the war, groceries were shipped in cases of different sizes and were loaded into the trucks by hand. You can easily imagine how difficult and time-consuming it was for manufacturers and groceries to unload cases of various sizes. The CBA, which used to be the American Specialty Manufacturers Association (ASMA), introduced pallets to ease manufacturer pain. Even then, there were pallets of different sizes made from other materials.
After the war, many things changed in the grocery and supply chain industry, including changing ASMA to Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and selecting wooden pallets as the standard pallet material. Out of all the pallet sizes, the 48″ stringer and 40″ deck board pallet became the standard pallet size. It’s often referred to as the GMA pallet, even after the organization’s name was changed to Consumer Brand Association (CBA).
Around this period, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sat down to determine the standard pallet size, which has been the reason for chaos between transportation and warehousing companies across the globe. Six different sizes, including the standard American size of 48″ x 40″, were chosen by the ISO as the standard pallet sizes.
Meanwhile, the agreement to have a standard pallet size does not make the other sizes useless. Suppliers and distributors can use those to meet the need of new customers and utilize new warehouse technologies. Also, some shipments require custom pallet sizes, and using the standard size can damage products.
Standard Pallet Sizes
The table below lists GMA standard pallet sizes and sizes used in various industries. You should know that not all companies stick to standard sizes. Some prefer custom pallet sizes to protect their products.
Dimensions (W x L in inches)
|48 x 40||Grocery|
|36 x 36||Beverage|
|48 x 20||Retail|
|48 x 45||Automotive|
|48 x 42||Beverage, Chemical|
|48 x 48||Drums|
42 x 42
ISO Standard Pallet Sizes
The table below shows the six standard sizes according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). However, some companies and industries use other custom sizes.
|Dimensions (W x L in inches)||Regions Used|
|48 x 40||North America|
|42 x 42||North America, Europe, Asia|
|39.37 x 47.24||Europe, Asia|
|43.30 x 43.30||Asia|
|31.50 x 47.24||Europe|
|44.88 x 44.88||Australia|