What is a Pallet Racking System?

Pallet Racking System

Warehouse storage systems can make a significant difference in the efficiency and profitability of your business. The ability to quickly, store, locate, retrieve, and dispatch stock is the lifeblood of many companies. Using the most suitable storage methods can keep customers happy, improve safety, and help your company grow.

Pallet racking systems are an effective storage solution that can bring substantial benefits to material handling businesses. Since there are different types of pallet racking designs, it’s vital to know which is the best fit for your warehouse or distribution center.

Pallet Rack Parts and Accessories

Pallet racks combine upright frames, beams, and accessories to make them a versatile addition to your distribution center or warehouse.

Upright frames

The vertical frames provide structural support and you can choose from a range of heights and widths, depending on your requirements. As most systems are modular, you can start small and add more sections as your business grows.


Pallet rack beams are the rails that run horizontally between the uprights and provide structure for the pallets’ shelves. For added pallet support, you can add cross-beams. They often come constructed from heavy-duty steel, however, some manufacturers use a roll forming machine to make an inexpensive version which is a suitable alternative if you are working on a strict budget.

The beams and pallet rack uprights can connect using several different methods, but a popular format uses teardrop pallet racking with step beams. These provide an added layer of security and meet stringent health and safety requirements.


When choosing pallet racking accessories, one of the most popular options is wire decking, which offers further support for the pallets and offers easy access for fire suppression systems and increased inventory visibility.

You can also add post protectors that help reduce accidental damage from forklifts and other pallets, as well as wall ties to secure your building’s racks safely.

You can add safety panels to ensure your employees are protected when in the workplace, rack shelves, and a range of other accessories to customize your pallet racking system to the needs of your operation.

Types of Pallet Racking Systems

As each distribution center or warehouse has unique needs and available floor space, various kinds of pallet storage systems can be designed to meet your every requirement. Choosing the right one can boost efficiency, whereas the wrong choice could negatively affect your bottom line.

Selective Pallet Racking

Selective racking is one of the most popular types of pallet racking systems due to its versatility, efficient use of space, and the unrivaled access it provides to store and retrieve goods. As you can quickly locate any item and remove it from the rack without moving other pallets out of the way, it is ideal for fast-turnover businesses, such as those in the food industry.

Double-deep Racking

If you need a high-density solution, you can create double-deep racking by placing one selective pallet rack behind another. This is an inexpensive way to increase storage space, although it does have its limitations.

While it is possible to access two pallets from one side of the aisle, you need to move the one at the front to gain access to the pallet at the back. By having a well-organized system in place, and knowing what pallets you need access to next, you can use double-deep racking effectively.

Push Back Pallet Racking

Another high-density storage solution, push back pallet racking enables you to store pallets at greater depth, up to 2-6 deep. The forklift operator loads the first pallet in a cart at the front which is on inclined rails. Each subsequent pallet pushes the previous one to the back of the rack.

The rails are angled towards the aisle so that when the operator is unloading, the pallets move forward. While this requires excellent organizational skills from your warehouse manager, it is also one of the best storage methods for saving space.

Pallet Flow Racking Systems

Using pallet flow rack systems, you can load pallets on at the rear, and gravity transports the goods to the front of the rack for unloading. Ideal for a First-In-First-Off (FIFO) operating system, they are useful for storing perishable products and high-turnover inventory that you need to distribute soon after entering the warehouse.

Drive-in Racking Systems

For reducing storage space costs, these racks are an excellent choice. Staff drive a forklift in between the uprights and use the full depth to store several pallets. This method is optimal for a First-In-Last-Off (FILO) system, or when you have multiple pallets of the same merchandise. Goods are loaded and unloaded in the reverse order that they went in.

It’s beneficial to accessorize these racks with protective covers to reduce damage from accidental contact with the forklift and to have clear safety zones, so other employees don’t enter the frame when a forklift is in operation.

Drive-in Racking Systems

Final Thoughts

When goods arrive, you need to move them quickly to free up space in the warehouse for the next consignment. Using one or more pallet racking systems, stored materials are safe and secure until distribution.

Choosing the most suitable pallet racks for your business requires planning how you can store the pallets in the minimum amount of space. You need to consider how long you need to store merchandise, how quickly your staff needs to access goods when you need to fulfill an order, and if you need a modular design that you can reconfigure for increased storage space in the future.

Often distribution centers and warehouses store different types of goods, and one kind of system may be suitable for one section, but not for another. For expert advice and to request a quote, contact one of our sales professionals at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc at (800) 589-7225.