The pallet diagrams below show the basic 3 pallet types. Pallets are manufactured according to a client’s needs and as such, size and configuration options are endless. We hope that these pallet diagrams will provide some insight as to the basic components of pallets but please keep in mind that the number of top deckboards, bottom deckboards, and stringers will depend on what your requirements. Your pallet supplier will be able to make educated suggestions.


Pallet Diagram 1 – 4-Way Stringer Pallet


Let’s review the pallet diagram above.


Top Deckboards – In this diagram, there are 9 top deckboards. Sometimes, the top deckboards are all the same width. Other times, the two outer lead boards are wider than the inner deckboards. The number of top deckboards used in a pallet depends on the requirements of the client.

Bottom Deckboards – In this diagram, there are 4 bottom deckboards. Like the top deckboards, sometimes the widths of all of the boards are the same and sometimes the two outer lead boards are wider. This pallet has single 1 by 4s on each end and two 1 by 4s butted up against each other in the middle.

Stringer – Pallets can have various numbers of stringers depending on the load requirements but the most common configuration is 3 stringers with 4 stringers being used for heavy duty loads. In the pallet diagram above, 3 stringers have been used. Stringers run the length of the pallet. Stringers can be notched as in the above diagram or solid (no notches).

Notches for Forks – In a 4-way stringer pallet, the stringers are notched to allow fork access. If you need to be able to lift the pallet from any side using forks, this is the way to go. The downside to notched stringers is the reduced strength of the stringers where the notches are placed. Cracking or breakage is most likely to occur where the wood is narrower. Pallet/pump trucks are not able to lift the pallet from the notched stringer sides but the notches are suitable for forks to enter and lift.

Openings for Forks or Pallet Trucks – At both ends of the pallet, you will find the openings for either pallet/pump trucks or forks to be inserted in order to lift and move the pallet.

Lead Boards – These are the deckboards located at both ends of the pallet, top and bottom. They are sometimes the same width as the inner deckboards but sometimes, they are wider. Using 1 by 6 lead boards can add durability and reduces the chance of the outer boards cracking or breaking during handling. Forklift operators quite often angle the forks slightly when lifting a pallet which can put additional stress on the lead boards.

Pallet Length and Width – In Ontario, pallet dimensions are indicated as length x width. The stringers run the length of the pallet so if a pallet is 48″ length by 40″ width, the stringers are 48″ long. The top and bottom deckboards run the width of the pallet so in the pallet diagram above, the top and bottom deckboards are 40″ long. In Quebec, pallet dimensions are indicated as width x length. It’s important to properly label the length vs the width when requesting a quote from a pallet supplier.

Pallet Diagram 2 - 2-Way Stringer Pallet

2-Way Stringer Pallet Diagram

The above #pallet diagram shows a 2-way, 3 stringer pallet. It has top and bottom deckboards and leadboards and 3 solid stringers. This is called a 2-way pallet because it can only be picked up from the two ends. The stringers are not notched. The solid stringers provide more strength because nothing has been cut out of them. 2-way stringer pallets are usually less expensive than 4-way stringer pallets. If being able to lift the pallet from all 4 sides is not a priority, this type of pallet is a great choice.

Pallet Diagram 3 - Block Pallet

The pallet diagram above shows a block pallet. A block pallet consists of top and bottom deckboards and leadboards, and hardwood blocks.

Obviously, the big difference between this pallet and the preceding two is the use of blocks instead of stringers. This allows the pallet to be picked up from all 4 sides using either forks or a pallet/pump truck. Block pallets are more expensive to manufacture because of the cost of the hardwood blocks and the additional labour involved to fasten each block. If you need to be able to lift the pallet from all 4 sides using a pallet/pump truck, this is the way to go.

If you have any questions not covered in our blog, please drop us a line. We will be happy to provide assistance.