BlogPlastic Pallet Benefits over WoodKnowing the difference between a static load vs. dynamic load.

In the warehouse, knowing the difference between a dynamic load and a static load can mean the difference between endangering employees and products and keeping them safe. The simplest definition of a static load vs. a dynamic load is that static loads don’t move and dynamic ones do. In the context of the supply chain, a static load refers to a loaded pallet on the floor, while a dynamic load is a loaded pallet being moved by a forklift, pallet jack, or other equipment. Since a pallet will generally need to be both dynamic and static at different points in its journey, knowing the specifics of each load capacity for the pallet you are using is crucial. Different pallet materials and pallet designs have different dynamic and static load ratings. Understanding the differences can help you choose the best possible pallet to meet your supply chain’s unique needs. 

Static Load Vs. Dynamic Load: The Basics

Dynamic load on conveyor belt.Every shipping pallet will have at least two different maximum weight ratings: a static load rating and a dynamic rating. The risks of not observing maximum load ratings on pallets are high. A pallet that fails could create a warehouse hazard that injures or kills employees. That is why it’s vital to understand the difference between these two ratings when determining the maximum load per pallet

Static Load Rating

This is the load rating for a pallet when it is not moving. An example would be pallets holding stock in storage on the warehouse floor. This number tells warehouse personnel how much weight a pallet can handle per stack, as the bottom pallet will bear the brunt of the weight in a stack of multiple loaded pallets. Static load capacity is typically higher than dynamic, so products may need to be offloaded from the pallet to get it under the weight requirement for movement. 

Dynamic Load Rating

The dynamic load rating gives the maximum weight capacity for a pallet being moved. Typically, this means the pallet is being lifted and carried using a forklift, pallet jack, or stacker crane. Load distribution is of vital importance, as unevenly distributed weight can cause the pallet to tip or flip during movement.  

Edge-Rackable Load Rating

The edge-rackable load capacity refers to how much weight a pallet can support while stored on a pallet racking system. Since warehouse racking usually involves racks that support pallets by only two edges, a pallet’s racking capacity is generally lower than either its static or dynamic capacity. Racking capacity is also dependent on the strength of the warehouse racking itself, which is often the limiting factor.

A pallet’s dynamic capacity will usually only represent a fraction of the static rating.

In most cases, the static weight capacity of a pallet will far exceed its dynamic capacity or edge-rackable capacity. This is because, in a static load, the force of the load on the platform remains constant. In a dynamic load, it might change abruptly during acceleration or deceleration or weight may shift from one area to another. Pallet jacks and forklifts also place concentrated pressure on pallets, rather than supporting the loaded pallet’s weight evenly. As a result, a pallet’s dynamic capacity will usually only represent a fraction of the static rating.

Choosing Pallets That Support Loads Under Any Condition 

Plastic pallets support greater static and dynamic loads.A pallet’s load capacity comes from its underlying material and basic design. As many of these designs are standardized, their dynamic and static load capacities are relatively consistent and predictable.

Type of Pallet
Static Rating
Dynamic Rating
Wood stringer: These are typically the cheapest pallets available for commercial use. These pallets use notched boards or “stringers” to support top and bottom deck boards.   2,500 pounds 2,500 pounds
Wood block: Block pallets are more durable than stringers as they’re constructed using more substantial boards and wood blocks. This increased stability also boosts their weight capacity.  5,500 pounds 4,600 pounds
Plastic: A high-quality plastic pallet usually weighs under 50 pounds. Since it’s molded, rather than fastened together, there are no screws or other hardware and each pallet is uniform with every other pallet. 30,000 pounds 5,000 pounds

Many factors can impact a pallet’s dynamic and static load capacities. This includes the age of the pallet, type of wood used (in the case of wood pallets), and whether they’ve had any damage or repairs. Ideally, it’s best to round the weight up when loading pallets to limit the risk of overloading them. 

Plastic pallets typically have a dynamic capacity that exceeds that of their wood counterparts.

Comparing the static load vs. dynamic load of different pallet materials and types, it’s clear that high-quality plastic pallets are the strongest. Their high static load capacities make plastic pallets excellent choices for storing products in the warehouse. As plastic pallets also typically have a dynamic capacity that exceeds that of their wood counterparts, loaded plastic pallets can be moved without first taking products off the pallet. The greater strength and durability of plastic pallets ultimately reduces the likelihood of product damage as a result of pallet failure as well, saving businesses money and time over the long-term.

Renting iGPS plastic pallets is a smart way to maximize storage space while also ensuring safe, easy pallet handling. Their static and dynamic load capacities have been proven under many different conditions, so you can be confident you’re getting one of the most trustworthy platforms on the market. For more information, contact us at 1-800-884-0225, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.