Difference Between a Skid and a Pallet | Material Handling - Kamps Pallets

Difference Between a Skid and a Pallet | Material Handling

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Difference between a skid and pallet infographic

While some may use the term “Skid” and “Pallet” interchangeably, the two are completely different products and are intended for different purposes.

As your pallet experts, we are here to tell you exactly how and why.

Quick Pallet History

ancient Egyptians using pallets to move pyramid blocks
Ancient Egyptians using simplified version of a skid to move pyramid blocks (Image courtesy of GAT Tours: https://gattours.com/blog/egypt-culture/great-pyramids-building/)

Skids are the oldest type of pallet. In fact, there is some evidence of the Ancient Egyptians using some form of a skid to haul items from one place to another. Since then, skids were in high demand all-throughout history until the invention of the double-faced pallet in the 1930’s.

The introduction of the double-faced pallet was mostly due to the invention of the two fork fork-lift truck and a new-born necessity for vertical support. The addition of the bottom deck-board and center stringer improved vertical support of the pallet and overall space utilization. It also meant that thinner deck boards could be used to provide support, meaning less lumber usage.

Today, double faced pallets are the most common type of pallet used in shipping – and the 48×40 standard size is used to haul everything from groceries  to pharmacy products.

 

Definition of a Skid

Our Pallet Glossary defines a skid simply as a pallet without bottom deckboards or deck.

 

Definition of a Pallet

A pallet is a portable, horizontal, rigid, composite platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling, and transporting goods as a unit load, often equipped with a superstructure.

 

Difference between a skid and pallet infographic

 

When to Use a Skid In Shipping

Skids are more mobile than pallets when it comes to heavy machinery. This is mostly due to the missing bottom deck and the less friction it causes when being moved.

Because of this, it is most recommended to use a skid if you are shipping or storing single pieces of heavy machinery – especially if you are planning on moving the machinery often.

However, keep in mind that what makes a skid more mobile for heavy machinery may make it inconvenient for your operations. Because skids lack a bottom deck, they are harder to be hauled by a forklift or pallet jacks – compared to the double faced pallet. So while moving heavy items is convenient, hauling product in and out of a warehouse using a forklift is not recommended with a skid.

When to use a Pallet

Pallets are more convenient and perform better when it comes to racking, stability, hauling by forklift (or pallet jack), and passing through warehouses efficiently.

If your operations prioritize these factors, and you are shipping multiple pieces (stacked vertically), it is recommended to use a double faced wood pallet.

 

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