New vs. Used Pallets: Pros and Cons

closeup of plastic pallets on factory floor

Pallets have become the bread and butter of any industrial facility. We use them to store, move and lift items all day long, making them an integral part of your company’s operations. But as a manager, you’ll have to decide between new and used pallets. Both can get the job done, but each choice comes with its fair share of pros and cons.

If you’re looking to stock up on pallets for your facility, learn about the many differences between new and used pallets.

New Pallets Pros

As you might expect, new pallets are fresh out the package and ready to go to work. You’ll have more peace of mind knowing that you’re using a brand-new item that can last the test of time. You won’t have to worry about the pallet breaking or falling apart, considering it’s never been used until now. This might be a better choice if you need to support extremely heavy items that might cause used pallets to snap in two.

New pallets are also completely customizable. If you’re looking to make a purchase, you can always find a company that specializes in custom pallets. You can change the shape and dimensions of the pallet to make sure it can meet your specific needs. You can also change the color of the pallet or add your company’s logo or another identifying marker to help you keep track of your new pallets.

If you order new, you will also know that all your pallets will look the same. You won’t have to worry about some pallets having tiny imperfections or not stacking neatly on top of one another. You’ll have a matching fleet that can hold up under pressure.

closeup of aluminum ingot storage

New Pallets Cons

Obviously, new pallets will be more expensive than the used variety, but it might also take longer for your new pallets to arrive, especially if you’re ordering custom pallets that have to be designed and manufactured before they go out for delivery. This might affect your decision if you expect to use these new pallets by a certain date. As you browse pallets for sale, pay attention to the shipping timeline and how long it may take the company to build your new pallets from scratch.

Used Pallets Pros

If you’re looking to save some money on your next round of pallets, used pallets will almost always cost less than new pallets. You can reduce your overhead expenses without limiting your means of production, which results in more revenue for your company.

Buying used pallets also helps save the environment. Pallets represent a large share of all the hardwood consumed in the U.S., and every time you order a new set of pallets, the company manufacturing these pallets will have to use precious resources like water, fuel, wood and electricity. But buying used pallets significantly reduces the need for these resources because the pallets already exist. You’ll also be giving these used pallets a whole new life, ensuring they don’t end up in the local landfill.

cleaning plastic pallet

Used Pallets Cons

Like any used piece of merchandise, buying used pallets comes with a risk. While you’re bound to save money, there’s always a chance that one of these pallets could fall apart after a short while. You never know how long the pallet has been in use or under what circumstances. Even if the seller makes this information available, you’ll still have to go out on a limb and take their word for it. Using these pallets could slow down your operations if they fall apart unexpectedly, so you might want to buy a few extra just to be safe.

To avoid using pallets that might break or fall apart, it’s not a bad idea to test them before you trust them with one of your biggest loads. Put some pressure on the pallet to make sure it can hold its own. This will help you avoid any unforeseen mishaps on the job that could lead to disaster.

You’ll also need to clean any used pallets you might buy to make sure they’re free of toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials. Grab a hose and some disinfectant and thoroughly wipe down these used pallets before you put them to work for your business. Avoid touching the unwashed pallets with your bare hands as they could be contaminated.

Pick What’s Right for You

Choosing between new and used pallets all depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how long you plan on using the pallets. If you want your equipment to last the test of time, you’re better off with new pallets. But if you’re looking for a quick fix for less money, used are your best bet. Keep these pros and cons in mind as you start shopping for pallets.