Modern manual forklift and wooden pallets in warehouse

What Are the Differences Between Wood Pallets & Skids?

Shipping is a vital part of the manufacturing process for many industries. Ensuring the safe and secure transportation of goods relies heavily on the choice of tertiary packaging materials. Two such materials commonly used are wood pallets and skids. Despite their similar appearance, they serve distinct purposes and have different benefits.

Wood Pallets: Uses & Benefits

A wood pallet is a flat structure, typically composed of multiple wood planks, used for transporting goods. It provides a stable base, allowing for stacking and easy handling by forklifts, jacks, and front loaders. 

Wood pallets can be custom-tailored to fit the precise dimensions and weight requirements of products, enhancing transportation safety. Wood pallets can also be repaired if damaged and are reusable, making them a cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice.

Their flexibility, strength, and affordability are why they’re commonly used in the shipping and packaging industry.


  • Distribution Centers: Wood pallets are frequently used in distribution centers due to their versatility and ease of handling. They allow efficient movement, storage, and transport of goods.
  • Grocery Chains: Custom pallets are commonly used in grocery chains where products of different shapes and sizes need to be transported and/or displayed.
  • International Shipping: Wood pallets easily conform to international shipping standards, making them suitable for global trade.
  • Recycling Programs: Many industries use wood pallets in their recycling programs because they’re reusable.

Skids: Uses & Benefits

Often mistaken for pallets, skids are the original form of pallets and are the oldest type of load platform. Unlike pallets, which have both a top and bottom deck, skids only have a top deck. Skids are typically used as a permanent foundation for heavy machinery or as a platform for items stored in one place for a long time.

Because of their structure, skids are stronger than standard pallets and provide more stability, making them suitable for heavy or awkwardly-shaped items. While they lack the versatility of pallets, their durability makes them a reliable option for certain applications.


  • Heavy Machinery: Skids are often used as the base for heavy machinery. Their durable construction provides a sturdy platform that can support considerable weight.
  • Long-Term Storage: Items that need to be stored for extended periods often find a home on skids. Their single-deck design makes them more stable for long-term storage.
  • Transport of Large Items: Skids are ideal for transporting large, bulky items, as they offer superior stability compared to pallets.
  • High-Value Goods: High-value or fragile goods often benefit from the extra stability provided by skids, reducing the risk of damage during transport.

Choosing Between Wood Pallets & Skids

The decision to use wood pallets or skids for shipping largely depends on the nature of the goods being transported, the shipping process, and storage conditions. As previously mentioned, custom pallets are great for different product sizes and weights. They are also more accessible for forklifts from multiple sides, making them ideal for situations that require frequent movement of goods.

Comparatively, skids are the go-to solution for transporting heavier items or when the goods need a permanent or semi-permanent foundation. They are simpler in design, stronger, and more stable than pallets.

Turn to Export Corporation for Custom Wood Pallets & Skids 

At Export Corporation, we understand the intricacies of industrial packaging. We’ve designed and built custom wooden packaging for clients in many industries since the mid-1940s. 

Whether you need custom wood pallets or skids for heavy-duty items, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to schedule a project consultation.