Pros and cons of wooden vs. plastic pallets

Pros and cons of wooden vs. plastic pallets

Pallets are a very popular item in the transport and logistics industry. There are various models that differ in size, use, material and load capacity. Although they appear to be a marginal item in the value chain of a product, and for the reasons mentioned above, they require careful consideration when choosing them.

In general, pallets meet common standards in terms of size and format (see the dedicated article). They must also be able to be used with pallet trucks or forklifts and always guarantee adequate and safe support for the goods being transported.

There are two main families of pallets on the market:


Wooden pallets were the first to arrive on the market and their first uses date back over 100 years. Over the years, they have evolved to adapt to increasingly universal transport patterns, resulting in the EUR or EPAL Pallet standard, which corresponds to the 80x120 size and is ideal for road transport. With international trade and the spread of maritime container transport, the PHILIPS standard of 100x120 was introduced.

However, with the development of international trade, wooden pallets have shown critical points in terms of their resistance to moisture, as they are often vectors for parasites and nesting insects.

For this reason, in recent years international regulations have been introduced for wooden pallets which provide for fumigation treatments to eliminate any risk of carrying unwanted organisms.

Over the years, pallets have found use in different sectors than those goods to be transported, such as in the automated warehouses, chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries where hygiene is required. These new requirements have led to the development of plastic solutions.


Plastic pallets offer clear advantages in automated warehouses, food transport and all these applications where hygiene is an important factor.

In the transport sector, the plastic pallet offers the advantage of not requiring fumigation and the introduction of recycled plastics gives these pallets an additional value in terms of eco-sustainability.

To conclude:


  • more economical in comparison to the same load capacity
  • more suitable structure in case they are used on shelves


  • dirty and splintering
  • requires fumigation for use in international transport
  • cannot be stored outside
  • cannot be coloured or personalised
  • difficult to sanitise / wash
  • in order to be recycled, metal parts (nails and staples) must be removed
  • cannot be used for food purposes
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