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UK pallet sizes – what are they, and do they affect your packaging?

Richard Coombes: Last Updated 27th March 2024
Posted In: Efficiency & Productivity | Guides and Advice | Transit Protection
https://www.gwp.co.uk/author/Richard-Coombes/ xx 31623

UK vs Euro pallets

What are the standard UK pallet sizes, and how do you select the right one?

A common question you may have if you need to bulk ship many smaller products or particularly large items, is what are UK pallet sizes?

A UK standard pallet is 1200 x 1000mm. These dimensions refer to the pallet footprint (i.e. length x width). A full UK pallet height is a maximum of 2,200mm, a half pallet 1,200mm, and a quarter pallet 800mm.

But even knowing this information, is a UK standard pallet the right option for your business (and for use as part of your industrial, transit or export packaging)? This guide details all the information your business needs when considering the best pallet for your specific application.

UK standard pallet sizes
UK standard pallet sizes can influence the effectiveness of your packaging.

Contents

UK pallet sizes

Standard-size pallets used in the UK

The base or footprint of a standard UK pallet is 1.2 x 1 metres (1,200 x 1,000mm). In imperial measurements, a standard pallet used in the UK is 3.94 x 3.28 feet or 47.24 x 39.37 inches. These dimensions allow UK standard pallets to be used seamlessly with most warehouse racking and forklifts and are well-optimised for transport.

UK standard pallet size diagram

Euro pallet sizes

Pallets used throughout Europe

Besides UK standard pallets, the other most commonly used size is a Euro pallet.

A Euro pallet is 1.2 x 0.8 metres (1,200 x 800mm) in size. This footprint makes euro pallets 20 per cent smaller than UK standard pallets. The use of euro pallets is commonplace across the whole of Europe, including the UK.

A diagram of Euro pallet sizes

UK vs Euro pallet sizes

What is the difference between UK and Euro pallets?

The main difference between UK standard pallets and Euro pallets is their size. At 1,200 x 1,000mm, UK pallets are 20% larger than the 1,200 x 800mm Euro pallet. However, both pallets are among the six accepted sizes for international export defined by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

As such, the pallet size you select for your business is primarily influenced by two factors. These are the size of the goods you are shipping (i.e. which pallet is the closest fit in terms of size) and which format your customer would prefer you deliver the items on.

Standard pallet heights

Quarter, half and full pallet sizes

Besides the pallet’s footprints, it is common for loads to be referred to as full, half and quarter pallets. This terminology refers to the height of the load on the pallet.

A full pallet has a maximum height of 2.2 metres (2,200mm), a half pallet has a height of 1.2 metres (1,200mm), and a quarter pallet has a height of 0.8 metres (800mm). These heights apply to both Euro and UK pallet sizes.

Less common is a light pallet, which has the same height as a full UK pallet but a lower weight allowance (maximum weight of 750kg vs 1200kg for a full pallet). Some suppliers also provide micro pallets with a height of 0.6 metres (600mm).

Full pallet size

Full size pallet

A diagram showing half pallet sizes

Half pallet

A diagram showing quarter pallet sizes

Quarter pallet

Less common is a light pallet, which has the same height as a full UK pallet but a lower weight allowance (maximum weight of 750kg vs 1200kg for a full pallet). Some suppliers also provide micro pallets with a height of 0.6 metres (600mm).

Standard pallet weights

Maximum loads for different pallet sizes

Various pallet sizes can accommodate different weights. A UK standard full pallet can have a maximum load of 1,200 kilograms, whilst a half pallet can carry 500kg and a quarter pallet 250kg. These weight limits are the same for Euro and UK standard pallet sizes.

Full pallet weight

Full pallet weight

Half pallet weight

Half pallet weight

Quarter pallet weight

Quarter pallet weight

Oversized pallets

Using custom-size pallets for shipping

There are many applications where a standard pallet size is unsuitable for a specific product. For example, businesses shipping furniture, industrial parts, aerospace components, large medical devices, or any number of large products will need to use oversized pallets.

Oversize pallets are any custom pallet larger than the UK standard 1,200 x 100mm size. Goods shipped on custom-size pallets are often called “ugly freight” in the transport industry and may incur additional costs.

Other potential issues include being unable to store oversized pallets in warehouse racking, difficulty loading and unloading with forklifts, and disposal after delivery.

However, using custom-sized pallets (and bespoke pallet boxes or composite packs) is unavoidable for specific products.

Pallet packaging

Pallet sizes and impact on packaging

The size of the pallets that your business uses can significantly impact the success (or otherwise) of your packaging.

Whilst a range of standard cardboard pallet boxes are available, optimising your pallet loads can sometimes be challenging. While there are processes you can follow to do this, working with a packaging manufacturer that can analyse, design, and manufacture pallet-optimised boxes can be crucial.

There are many applications where using bespoke pallets is unavoidable.

Pallets are often an essential part of other types of packaging, too. For example, they are integrated into composite packs combining foam, corrugated and timber used for specialist, high-value equipment and products. Many wooden shipping crates, such as plywood cases and softwood crates, have an integral pallet base to aid manoeuvrability.

Pallet packaging in a warehouse
Optimising your pallet packaging can have a number of significant advantages

Summary

Using UK standard pallet sizes

Knowing Euro and UK pallet sizes and details of allowed heights and weights can help you decide on the most suitable option for your business.

If you are struggling to decide on the most suitable pallet sizes and boxes for your application, including whether a custom-size pallet may be more cost-effective, please get in touch with us at GWP. With extensive experience in industrial packaging, our experts can provide unbiased advice on the best pallet size and compatible packaging for your business.

Further reading

About the author

Richard Coombes

Richard Coombes

General Manager | GWP Protective

Having originally joined GWP Protective back in 2004, working on the factory floor, Richard now heads up the business as General Manager.
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