Skip to main content


Pallet Definitions


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z





Annular nail - Pallet nail with circular-ring threads along its body



Banding Notch - See Strap Slot

Bin - Four-sided structure upon which boards are mounted to a pallet base with or without a cover. Often referred to as a box or container bin pallet.

Block -Rectangular, square or cylindrical deck spacer, often identified by its location within the pallet as corner block, end block, edge block, inner block, center or middle blocks

Block Pallet - A pallet type featuring blocks between the pallet decks or beneath the top deck

Butted Deck board - An inner deck board tightly installed against an adjoining lead deck board during assembly

Bottom Deck - Assembly of deck boards comprising the lower, load-bearing surface of the pallet



CAD - Computer-aided-design software that allows the design of the "right" pallet at the best value; see Pallet Design System© (PDS©)

Captive Pallet - A pallet intended for use within the confines of a single facility, system or ownership; not intended to be exchanged

Chamfered Deck boards – Deck boards with edges of one or two faces beveled, either along the full or specified length of board or between the stringers of blocks, allowing easier entry of pallet jack wheels

Closed distribution system - Shipping system restricted to moving goods between specified plants and facilities.

Collar - Collapsible wooden container or bin which transforms a pallet into a box

Cost-Pass-Through - A cost-share system where the partial cost of a pallet is passed-through from the purchaser to the receiver of the pallet

Cost-Per-Trip - Average cost of pallet use for a single one-way trip



Deck - One or more boards or panels comprising the top or bottom surface of the pallet

Deck Mat - Assembly of deck boards and stringer boards, forming the deck of a block pallet

Deck board - Element or component of a pallet deck, oriented perpendicular to the stringer or stringer board

Deck board Spacing - Distance between adjacent deck boards

Deck board Span - Distance between deck board supports (stringers, stringer boards or blocks)

Deflection - The amount of deformation or bending in a pallet or pallet component under load

Dimensions - See Pallet Dimensions

Double-Face Pallet - A pallet with top and bottom decks

Double-Wing Pallet - A pallet with top and bottom deck boards extending beyond the edges of the stringers or stringer boards

Drive Screw Nail - Helically (continuous spiral) threaded pallet nail



Economic Life - Output from PDS© program, which identifies the number of trips the pallet will make, provided it is properly repaired, which maximizes a return on investment.

Exchange Pallet - A pallet intended for use among a designated group of shippers and receivers where ownership of the pallet is transferred with the ownership of the unit load; common pool pallet

Expendable Pallet - A pallet intended for a series of handlings during a single trip from shipper to receiver; it is then disposed of; see Shipping Pallet



Fastener - A mechanical device for joining pallet components such as nails, staples, bolts or screws

Fastener Shear Index - Relative measure of shear resistance of the pallet fastener

Flush Pallet - A pallet with deck boards flush with the stringers, stringer-boards or blocks along the sides of the pallet

Fork Entry - Opening between decks, beneath the top deck, or beneath the stringer notch to admit forks.

Four-Way Block Pallet - A pallet with openings at both pallet ends and along pallet sides sufficient to admit hand-pallet jacks; full four-way entry pallet

Free Span - The distance between supports in a warehouse rack





Hand (Wheel) Jack Opening - Space provided in the bottom deck to allow pallet jack wheels to bear on the floor

Handling - A single pick-up, movement and set-down of a loaded or empty pallet

Hardened-Steel Nail - Heat-treated and tempered steel pallet nail with a MIBANT angle between 8 and 28 degrees

Hardwood - Wood from broad-leaved species of trees (not necessarily hard or dense)

Helical Nail - Helically (continuous spiral) threaded pallet nail, see also Drive Screw Nail



Inner Deck board - Any deck board located between the end deck boards



Joint - Intersection and connection of components, often identified by location within the pallet as the end joint, center joint and corner joint





Length - Refers to the stringer or stringer board (in block pallets) length; also refers to the first dimension given to describe a pallet, i.e., 48" x 40", where 48" is the pallet stringer/stringer board length

Load Bearing Surface - Actual area of material in contact with and supporting a unit load



MIBANT angle - The bend angle in a fastener shank when subjected to a MIBANT test

MIBANT Test - (Morgan Impact Bend Angle Nail Tester) - Standard impact nail tester used in the pallet and lumber industry as an indication of impact bend resistance of nails or staples



Nail- Fastener made from endless wire by cutting a point and forming a head at the shank end opposite the point.

NATIONAL WOODEN PALLET AND CONTAINER ASSOCIATION - A national association to promote the design, manufacture, distribution, recycling, and sale of pallets, containers, and reels.

Non-Reversible Pallet - A pallet with bottom deck board configuration different from the top deck.

Notch - Cutout in the lower portion of the stringer to allow entry for the fork tine, usually 9" in length, 1 1/2" depth.

Notched Stringer - A stringer with two notches spaced for fork-tine entry, (partial four-way entry)



Opening Height - The vertical distance measured between decks, from the floor to the underside of the top deck, or from the floor to the top of the stringer notch

Overall Height- The vertical distance measured from the floor to the top side of the top deck

Overhang - The distance the deck extends from the outer edge of the stringer or stringer board; wing; lip; the distance the unit load extends beyond the deck.



Pallet - A portable, horizontal, rigid platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load, often equipped with a superstructure

PALLET DESIGN SYSTEM© - (PDS©) - Reliability-based computer-aided design (CAD) program, for determining the safe load carrying capacity, performance, life and economy of wooden pallets

Pallet Dimensions - When specifying pallet size, the stringer or stringer board (block pallet) length is always expressed first; for example, a 48" x 40" pallet has a 48" stringer or stringer board and 40" deck boards

Pallet Jack - Hand-propelled wheeled platform, equipped with a lifting device for moving palletized unit loads

Pallet Life - The period during which the pallet remains useful, expressed in units of time or the number of one-way trips

Panel Deck Pallet - Pallet constructed with composite or structural panel top deck

Partial Four-Way Stringer Pallet - A pallet with notched stringers

Post Pallet - A pallet with posts or blocks between each deck or beneath the top deck; see block pallet



Quality - Consistent performance of a uniform product meeting the customer's needs for economy and function



Racked Across Deck boards - The PDS© program defines the maximum load capacity and deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the deck boards.

Racked Across Stringers - Output from the PDS© program describing the maximum load-carrying capacity and deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the stringers or stringer boards

Repair - To restore to a reusable state.

Recycling - A pallet, container or reel  that is reused after having been, abandoned or used, recovered and restored

Rental Pallet - A pallet owned by a party other than the pallet user

Returnable/Reusable Pallet- A pallet designed for multiple trips

Reversible Pallet - A pallet featuring identical top and bottom decks



Shipping Pallet - Single-trip one-way pallets sent from shipper to receiver; it is then disposed of; see Expendable Pallet.

Shook - Pallet parts cut to select sizes, which can be assembled into pallets.

Shook Grade - The classification of the quality of pallet parts relative to performance characteristics based on size and distribution of defects, independent of wood species

Single-Wing Pallet - A pallet with top deck boards that extend past the edge of stringers or stringer boards with the bottom deck boards flush (if present)

Skid - A pallet with no bottom deck

Slave Pallet - Pallet, platform or single, thick panel used as a support base for a palletized load in rack-storage facilities or production systems

Soft Nail - Pallet nail designed with a MIBANT angle of at least 47 degrees

Softwood - Wood from coniferous or needle-bearing trees (not necessarily soft or low density)

Solid Deck Pallet - A pallet built with no space between each deck board

Span - The distance between stringer or block supports

Stevedore Pallet - A pallet explicitly designed for use on seaport shipping docks. These pallets are often heavy-duty and of double-wing construction

Stiff-Stock Steel Nail - A pallet nail created with medium-high carbon steel without heat treatment and tempering with MIBANT angle between 29 and 46 degrees

Strap Slot - Cutout along the upper edge of a stringer or the underside of the top deck board designed to help with the tying down a unit load to the pallet deck 

Strapping - Heavy-duty bands used to secure the load to a pallet.

Stringer - Continuous, longitudinal, solid or notched beam-component of the pallet used to support deck components, often located on the outside or center stringer

Stringer board- In block pallets, continuous, solid board member extending for the full length of the pallet perpendicular to deck board members and placed amidst deck boards and blocks



Take-It-Or-Leave-It Pallet - A pallet furnished with fixed cleats to allow fork truck tines to pass beneath the unit load and remove it from the pallet

Top Cap - Panel placed atop a load to allow for tighter strapping, increased protection and decreased damages

Top-Deck of the Pallet - The construction of the upper, load-carrying surface of a pallet

Trip - Consists of four to six handlings of a pallet

Two-Way Entry Pallet - An un-notched pallet with solid stringers that allow items to enter from either end



Unit Load - Assembly of goods on a pallet for handling, moving, storing and stacking as a single entity





Warehouse Pallet - A double-face multiple trip returnable pallet designed for general warehouse use

Wing - The overhanging portion of a deck board. Also the outside edge of a stringer or stringer board