What's the Difference Between a Pallet, Skid and Crate?

Preparing your packages for shipping is an essential part of ensuring the safe and timely delivery of your shipment. When it comes to packaging a shipment, one of the key aspects to keep in mind is that you use the right materials.

What are you shipping? Do these products need to be extensively secured? How important is the mobility of your shipment? To answer all of these questions, today, we’ll be discussing the differences between skids, pallets and crates, and which one is right for you.

pallet skid infographic

Which Option Is Right for You ?

Deciding between if you should use a pallet, skid or crate, depends on the type of product you are shipping and what you’re looking for while transporting freight. If you want the cheapest and most mobile option then the skid is for you. If you want an option that is secure, stack-able and always reliable then pallets are the way to go. Lastly if you mostly ship items that need to be very secure and you don’t mind a bulky shipment then the crate is your best option. 

You may use these different options to ship different items, though in most cases we’d say the industry standard pallet would be the best and simplest option for most of your shipping needs.

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What is a Pallet?

The pallet is the most common and most utilized way of shipping and storing freight. Typically the dimensions of a pallet are 48” X  40” and they can carry upto 1000 kg of any given product. The major difference between a pallet and a skid is that a pallet has a second flat bottom deck. This makes the pallet easier to move by forklift however, it makes the pallet harder to drag in comparison to skids.

The bottom deck also makes stacking pallets for storage very easy and provides increased cube efficiency and sturdiness. If the bottom deck was not present, it would be more difficult to get the weight distribution correct and would make the shipment more likely to fall while being loaded or unloaded by a forklift.

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What is a Skid?

The skid is the original pallet.  The terms skid and pallet are often used interchangeably though they are not the same. A skid unlike a pallet has no bottom deck. The absence of the bottom deck makes the skid a cheaper version of the pallet and also makes it easier to drag (due to less friction).

Due to this change in design, the weight of the skid does not rest on the bottom deck but rests on its vertical slats or legs instead. This provides the skid mobility in contrast to that of a pallet, which makes the skid a good option to move materials from one place to another. The skid is also good for non mobile use and is often used as the foundation of heavy machinery.

Another advantage of a skid is that it uses less space and can be stored easily when nested. “Nestable pallets,” are also, technically, skids; they still don’t have that bottom deck. Nestable pallets represent a more flexible middle ground between the benefits of a skid and those of a pallet.

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What is a Crate?

The shipping crate is very different from a pallet or skid. The crate is basically a box that has four walls. The crate is used especially for holding supplies, products, or anything else that needs to be more extensively secured and protected.  These crates hold a large volume and are very stable, however they are also bulky and harder to transport.

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Written by freightcom