Pallet Rack

How to Determine What Pallet Rack I Need?

Pallet Rack is one of the most common storage products found in warehouses.  It is a staple in places such as Costco and Home Depot. 

As the name suggests, it is ideal for pallet storage. 

It comes in a wide variety of sizes and capacities, so before calling to get an estimate, you will need to know the following information:


  • Depth (front to back): Your pallets should rest of the beams.  If you have a 48” deep pallet, it is common to order 42” deep rack so there are a few inches of overhang in the front and back.
  • Height:  You need to know the height of your ceiling and the height to anything hanging from your ceiling (lights, sprinklers, etc.).  You also need to consider the maximum height that your forklift will reach. 
  • Length:  Know the width of your pallet & the product on top of it.  Typically, you would put 2 pallets on each beam level.  If your pallet is around 46” wide, you would need an 8’ beam.  However, if the product is wider than the pallet, you are going to want your beams to be a little longer in order to accommodate that. 

Beam Levels

  • For pallet rack, customers will normally put pallets on the floor, so the bottom beam level will be just above the height of the floor pallets.  It helps to know the height of your tallest pallets to determine how many beam levels you need.  Commonly, beam levels are installed about every 4 feet.  In that case, a 12’ tall section would have 3 beam levels (one at 4’, one at 8’, and one at 12’). 

Overall layout in Building

  • Drawings or sketches are helpful to determine how the rack will be laid out your warehouse.  Having a plan of where everything goes will help us determine the quantities you need.  It also reduces the chance of over- or under-ordering.
  • If you have trouble measuring or laying out your building, your local material handling company will often provide this service free of charge. 


  • Know the weight of your HEAVIEST pallets.  It is imperative that the rack you buy is rated to hold the weight of your product.  Over-loaded rack is one of the most common reasons for pallet rack failure which can result in serious injury or death.  It is better to buy rack that will hold more weight than you need it to hold.

Wire Decking

  • Wire decks are commonly sold with uprights & beams to create a shelf that can hold smaller items that are not on pallets.  The mesh pattern makes them ideal for fire safety, allowing water to flow through. 
  • Some customers opt to put 2×6 wood supports & plywood on their rack as decking.  Although this method works, it is a fire hazard and would not pass inspections.

New or Used

  • Used pallet rack is a great way to save a good amount of money.  The integrity of rack does not deteriorate over time, unless it has been damaged, bent, or otherwise compromised.  Be advised that used pallet rack inventory can be very limited and often changes as it is bought and sold.  Depending on your sizes and quantities, used rack may or may not be an option.
  • If you are more concerned about the appearance of your rack, new pallet rack is the best route. 

Once you have determined the specifications above, you will be ready to contact your local pallet rack or material handling dealer