What Pallet Grade is Right for You?

Recycled pallets are quite common nowadays and they come in many grades. These pallets are an environmentally-friendly choice as they reduce the number of new pallets needing to be built.  By recycling new pallets after they have made one trip, shippers can reduce their pallet costs and help the environment by extending the lifespan of new pallets. Even after recycled pallets are no longer repairable, the vast majority get ground up and used as mulch in the landscaping industry.

Which Are the Best Grades to Choose From?


Most recycled pallets are 48 x 40 “GMA” style pallets. Of this group of recycled pallets there are different grades that determine the quality and type of repairs made to the pallet. Depending on your production and unit load needs, you have to choose a wooden pallet grade that will support the trip of your unit load to the end user. The highest grade are AA or premium A grade pallets and these are most commonly used in the food industry.  A more economical option is B grade pallets, which generally have been repaired more times than A grade and are cosmetically inferior to A grades.

What Are the Characteristics of Grade A and Grade B Pallets


As you might have guessed, grade A pallets are the best when it comes to structural integrity and aesthetics. These are pallets that are refurbished so that they appear as near as possible to their original condition. While used, grade A pallets will have stringers that are intact, i.e., not repaired by use of a double or sister stringer. As previously mentioned, these pallets are most common in the food and beverage industries and are the most aesthetically appealing of the used pallet pool.

Unlike grade A pallets, grade B pallets have experienced some damage to one or more of their stringers. Damaged stringers in these cases are repaired with double or sister stringers that are placed adjacent to the damaged stringer and nailed to the top and bottom deck boards. Generally speaking these pallets have been repaired more often and with more deck board repairs, making these pallets appear less like their original new condition than A grade pallets.  B grade pallets are usually seen in more industrial markets as their appearance makes them less suitable for the food and beverage industries. Despite this, B grade pallets are structurally sound.

To choose the right grade of pallet, your production requirements and end user demands will determine the grade appropriate for your use. For highly palletized equipment, A grades work best but are more expensive. For less automated production B grade pallets can work nicely and be more cost effective.