Pallet Rack Sizes and Possible Issues


Welcome back to Shelving Concepts Online, where you go for all of your shelving and racking needs! We receive many requests from customers that ask for specific pallet rack upright depths from us. Without knowing, a customer may order the wrong depth upright based on their pallet size. The difference between 6″ pallet depth too large or too small could make or break any safety inspection. There are multiple different depths of uprights out there ranging from 12″ through 60″ and larger even. In this post, we will primarily focus on the two most common pallet rack sizes for uprights in the material handling industry and how to confirm you have the correct pallet for your upright depth.

Most Common Upright Sizes:

The most common sizes we see as a manufacturer are 42″ & 48″ deep uprights. These upright sizes are what you will see mostly anywhere. The 42″ & 48″ depth uprights are the more common sizes based on the types of pallets stored on crossbeam levels themselves that are attached to the uprights. Primarily, a 42″ deep upright supports a 40″ x 48″ pallet with the depth of the pallet being 48″. The 48″ deep upright supports a 52″ deep pallet. The more common depth of these two sizes is the 42″ deep upright. This information is based on the most standard size pallet that companies carry are predominantly the 40″ x 48″ size pallets. Therefore, You may ask why are the pallets larger than the uprights? Would the pallet not sit on the crossbeam level unevenly? Those would be great questions to ask your rack provider. The more knowledge you know about the material that you are using for storage; the safer your company and workplace will be.

 Pallet Overhang:

Expanding on this further, this is where the pallet overhang comes into effect and evenly distributed loads. As a safety conscientious company, the company would want pallets to be evenly distributed across the crossbeam level and to have the proper overhang on the front and back. Pallet racking is designed in order to have a 3″ overhang on the front of the rack and the back of the rack. This allows for the weight of the pallet to sit on the crossbeams supporting the pallet versus the pallet support or wire decking, on the beam level, mainly supporting the weight of the pallet. A pallet is designed to have the pallet resting on the crossbeams to support the weight of the product on the pallet. This allows for the weight to be evenly distributed throughout the system. A pallet support or wire deck is not manufactured to carry the entire weight of the pallet because they are there as support to the level or a safety factor.

Problems With Wrong Depth Uprights:

Lastly, some of the issues that may come up if you have the wrong depth uprights for your pallet sizes. Some issues may be unavoidable if the company carries multiple different sized pallets. There is one major issue that can be avoided with proper upright depths. The main issue that will come up is the pallet being too large or too small for the upright. If the pallet is too large, the pallet could rest too far off the back side which could cause the pallet to fall back off of the beam level. This also can be reversed, if it is not placed far enough back, it would then fall forwards into the aisle. Furthermore, the pallet may be too small for the upright. For instance, there is a 36″ deep pallet on a 42″ upright, so the pallet is solely supported by the wire deck or pallet support. This can be acceptable in some cases as long as the pallet does not exceed the load rating of the deck or support. The case in which this is not acceptable is when the pallet exceeds the wire deck or pallet support capacity. This can cause failure in the deck or support if improperly loaded. The pallet rack beam level is manufactured for the crossbeams to carry and distribute most of the weight evenly throughout the unit.


It is very important you get with your pallet rack provider and confirm which upright depth best works for the company you are purchasing for. Whether or not you are a dealer or the end user for the product, you want to make sure you are purchasing or selling the correct material for the project at hand. All in all, it will help you and the company sleep better at night knowing your rack is safely storing materials.

Safe Storing!

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