What Size Pallet Rack Do I Need?

Not sure what size pallet rack you need? There are many variables that factor into deciding what size pallet rack will work best for you. Be informed to make sure what you purchase will work best for you and your facility. The guide below will serve as a guide for helping you size your selective racking, but if you are needing a more complex racking system such as Pushback, Pallet Flow, Drive-In/Drive-Thru a consultation with one of our experts will be necessary. 

Pallet Racking Terminology

Before we get started, below are some pictures of racking components with their most common names to help you following along with the guide and what dimensions are referred to.

Teardrop Pallet Rack Upright Green

Upright or Frame

Teardrop Pallet Racking Beam Orange


Pallet Racking Wire Deck Grey with 3 Channels

Wire Deck

Pallet Racking Crossbar Galvanized

Crossbar or Pallet Support Bar

Sketch with Pallet Rack Upright Height and Depth
Sketch of Pallet Racking with Width and Height

Sizing Your Pallet Rack Upright

The most common pallet rack upright depths are 24", 36", 42", and 48". For special items you may see another size, but 99% of rack out there falls into one of these sizes. 

When putting pallets onto racking, the racking is designed to have the pallet hang off the front and the back of the racking 3" so the load of the pallet is securely over the beams of the racking not just sitting in the middle of the wire decking. This is a common misconception among customers as many want to have the pallet flush on the front and the back of the racking. 

On image 1 shows how a standard 48" deep pallet should be situated onto a 42" deep rack with 3 inches of overhang in the front and the back. By far the most common pallet size is 48" deep and therefore the most common upright depth size is 42" deep. 

That being said there are several occasions where 48" deep rack is preferable. If that is the case you just have to make sure your wire deckings capacity is sufficient to hold the load by itself. This also the case if most of your pallets are 48" deep but you have a couple of 40" or 36" deep pallets.

Image 1

Sketch of Pallet Racking with Correct 3" Pallet Overhang

Sizing Your Pallet Rack Beam Width

Image 2

Sketch of Correct Sizing of Pallet Racking to pallets

When choosing pallet rack beam widths the width of the pallet or item you are trying to store needs to be taken into consideration. Image 2 shows the most commonly seen configuration of (2) 40" pallets sitting on a 96" wide beam. This leaves a total of 16" of extra space to keep from damaging your product or racking. 

If your pallet is 48" wide you will need to go to a 9' wide beam to give yourself adequate space to get pallets in and out of the racking. Something to be aware of is to make sure that your pallet doesn't have any overhang. If it does, that will need to be factored into the overall width of the pallet. 

Also pictured in imaged 1 is the 6" of lift off in between the top of your pallet and the bottom of the beam above it. This is to provide adequate room for the forklift driver to lift the pallet up and remove it, without damaging the product or beam above it. 

The most common beam sizes are as follows 4', 8', 9', 10', and 12'. 

Choosing The Right Size Wire Decking

The depth of your wire deck will just be decided by the depth of your upright. The correct wire deck widths for beams are as follows:
 4' wide beam = (1) 46" wide wire deck

8' wide beam = (2) 46" wide wire decks

9' wide beam = (2) 52" wide wire decks

10' wide beam = (2) 58" wide wire decks

12' wide beam = (3) 46" wide wire decks

Choosing the right size wire deck image

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