How Much Do Pallets Cost?

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How Much Do Pallets Cost?

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The versatile wood pallet, here repurposed as a landscaping effect, Sayulita, Mexico. Rick LeBlanc

Is the price right when it comes to pallets?

When it comes to pallets, how much should you pay? The answer is that it depends on a variety of factors. Pallet price can be impacted by material choice (wood, corrugated paper, plastic, metal, composite), new versus used, pay per use (rental) versus purchase, pallet size and quality, regional availability, and so on. By way of waiver, I must stress that the prices I am giving are only generalizations, and local pricing in your area is going to be impacted by variables such as those listed above. That being said, let's take a closer look.

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Wood Pallet Pricing

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Wood pallets offer an attractive price point. Add an extra $1.00 for heat treatment (see HT stamp). Rick LeBlanc

Wood pallets are the most popular choice when it comes to pallet selection. For a 48x40" new modified GMA pallet, pricing is often in the $10-12 range, while for a heavy duty block-style pallet such as used by pallet pools, pricing would be expected to be $25 or more. No. 2 recycled 48x40-inch pallets typically are in the $4.95 -6.25 range while No. 1 recycled pallets are frequently in the $6.25-$7.50 range. Heat treated (HT) pallets may be $1 higher per pallet. Of course, you can always get pallets for free, but typically quality, quantity or both can be problematic with this approach. The following price range for recycled pallets is listed from March 2017, as reported in the www.woodpackagingsolutions.ca market report. To subscribe, contact Gordon Hughes at Wood Packaging Solutions.

  • Repaired Non-HT #1 - 48 x 40’s $6.25 - $6.50
  • Repaired Non-HT #2 - 48 x 40’s $4.95 - $5.25
  • Repaired HT #1 - 48 x 40’s $7.00 - $7.50
  • Repaired HT #2 - 48 x 40’s $6.00 - $6.25 

For shorter runs and custom sizes, there may be more setup time and labor to consider that will increase prices versus more common sizes.

As word of caution, fluctuations in material prices can have a bearing on pallet price, as typically over half the price of a pallet is in the wood and another 5 to 10 percent in the fasteners. Some pallet buyers monitor lumber prices from publications, notably Pallet Profile Weekly, to ensure that the pallet pricing they are seeing from suppliers is following market trends. Other options to hold down price include choosing recycled or hybrid pallets (the latter a combination of new and recycled components) or considering a review of your pallet specification and application to see if another, perhaps cheaper to build pallet design could be employed, through such design software as Best Pallet or Pallet Design System. Work with your pallet supplier to explore options.

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Plastic Pallet Pricing

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Two varieties of plastic pallets are shown, including twinsheet thermoform pallets above, and an injection molded pallet below. Rick LeBlanc

Pricing for new plastic pallets can range from around $10 each for the cheapest expendable units (in truckload quantities) to the $80 range and even well over $100 for extremely durable, highly engineered models. The extremely popular twinsheet thermoform distribution pallet (more properly a skid) shown in the photo can range in the $30 to $40 range. Recycled plastic content or other fillers can help  It is important to note, when it comes to very durable reusable pallets, not to develop sticker shock. The durable pallet should last a long time and deliver a low cost per trip, as long as it is properly managed. As one expert told me, over the long life of a durable plastic pallet, the logistics impact of the pallet can far outweigh the initial price.

Due to the time and expense of tooling molds for plastic pallets, custom sizing may prove to be more problematic to provide, at least in the short run. Pallets constructed of extruded pallet components are a better fit for custom sizing. Like for wood pallets, they do not require an expensive mold. One example of an extruded plastic pallet manufacturer is Custom Built Plastic Pallets.

Used plastic pallets are available through vendors, but much less commonly than used or recycled wood pallets. 

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Paper and Presswood Pallet Pricing

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Presswood pallet. Litco International

Paper pallets are prized for their cleanliness, light weight, ease of recyclability when emptied and relatively low price point, typically only slightly higher than a similarly sized expendable wood pallet. Paper pallet size can be easily customized to the requirements of the buyer.

Wood composite or presswood pallets typically have a price point competitive to wood pallets, with benefits of not needing to be heat treated for international shipment, as well as having the benefits of nestability, as do nestable plastic pallets. Pricing for 48x40-inch presswood pallets starts from under $7.00. Presswood pallets are also available in several sizes, including popular quarter and half pallet models. Check out www.litco.com to see listed pricing for various sizes.

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Metal Pallet Prices

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SteelPalletSystems.com

Metal pallets include steel models, as well as more expensive aluminum and stainless steel in specialized applications such as clean rooms or food production environments. As in other materials, pricing is impacted by pallet weight. More lightweight rolled thin steel or mesh pallets typically sell at a lower price point, competitive with reusable plastic pallets. Aluminum and stainless steel pallets can range up to $200 or more.

This concludes this simple discussion of pallet prices. For more information, please note the following links: