The Best Pallet Racking Types | Beginner’s Guide for 2024

Tired of Warehouse Woes? Or are you planning to build a new warehouse? Pallet Racks Can Be Your Efficiency Game Changer!

Maybe order fulfillment is taking forever, or you’re constantly reshuffling things to make space. If you’re nodding your head, then it’s time to consider a game-changing solution: pallet racks.

Selective Pallet Racks

Selective pallet racks are the most commonly used pallet racking system for distribution facilities. It allows you to directly access any individual pallet stored on the rack, without needing to move other pallets around.

As a common storage solution, selective pallet racks can help you build a high-efficiency rack system with pallets. It means your warehouse can maximize the storage space with a First-In, First-Out (FIFO) inventory system.

The selective pallet rack system is ideal for operations with a high number of SKU counts requiring quick product accessibility. You can select any pallet from the rack without moving other pallets.


  • Allow low or high number of pallets per SKU
  • Storage that requires free access to any pallet.
  • Storage that requires picking from pallets at lower levels
  • Specific industries include general manufacturing, retail, fashion and apparel, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals


  • 100% access to all pallets
  • Apply FIFO inventory management system
  • Ability to easily change the storage mix
  • Inexpensive type of racking (based on costs per square meter)
  • Quick access to a large range of SKUs
  • Ability to support more than one truck on the same aisle
  • No unique truck requirements
  • Lower pallet handling or forklift costs
  • Front-loaded, meaning floor level isn’t critical


  • Lower storage density than pushback or drive-in racks
  • Limited storage height
  • Requires an aisle for every row
  • Unsuitable for high-volume applications with limited SKUs
  • Requires large warehouse space for a large stock volume
  • High storage costs for volumes that are medium and higher in scale
  • Longer loading and unloading times for limited lines

Double-Deep Pallet Rack

Double Deep Pallet Racking is a form of selective rack that uses two rows deep for pallet storage. It can increase the capacity and suit for FIFO manager system.


  • General warehousing with many pallets per SKU
  • When greater storage density is required
  • Retail with First-In, First-Out (FIFO) inventory management
  • General manufacturing
  • Food refrigerator warehouse and beverage


  • Increase Pallet Rack System capacity,depend on Size and your route line design,up to 40% higher Capacity than selective pallet racking.
  • Easy to reposition and easy to convert to a single deep system.
  • Cost-effective
  • Supports storage with multiple units of the same stock.


  • Reduced pick selectivity
  • It may require a specialty double-reach forklift for picking, which may add cost if it isn’t part of your current fleet
  • Only supports Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) inventory systems
Selective Pallet Rack

Drive-in Rack

Drive-in Rack a high-density storage solution designed to maximize warehouse space by minimizing aisles. It consists of upright frames with horizontal support rails that create bays for pallets. The drive-in system is designed for forklifts to enter the bays. Pallets are loaded deep within the rack structure, often one behind another. This significantly increases storage capacity compared to standard shelving.


  • Storing large volumes of similar items
  • Limited SKU warehouses
  • Low Pick Rates Product Warehouse
  • Cold storage facilities


Aspect Drive-In Racking Selective Pallet Racking
Storage Density High Moderate
Access Method Last In, First Out (LIFO) First In, First Out (FIFO) and direct access to each pallet
Space Utilization Efficient for high-density storage Less efficient compared to Drive-In Racking
Aisle Space Fewer aisles needed, increasing storage space Requires more aisles, reducing storage space
SKU Variety Best for low SKU variety, high volume Accommodates high SKU variety
Product Accessibility Limited; requires movement of pallets to access inner ones Immediate access to every pallet
Cost Generally lower initial cost due to fewer components Higher initial cost due to more components (uprights and beams)
System Complexity Less complex, easier to maintain More complex due to higher number of components
Load Handling Pallets are stored on rails Pallets are stored on beams
Forklift Requirement Requires specialized driving skills for entering racks Standard forklift operation
Damage Risk Higher risk of pallet damage due to tight spacing Lower risk of damage, more space for maneuvering
Typical Applications Cold storage, bulk storage of similar products General warehousing, distribution centers, retail inventory

Cantilever Racking

Cantilever racking is a type of storage system designed to handle long, bulky, or awkwardly shaped items that are difficult to store using traditional pallet racking systems.


  • Lumberyards
  • Metal service centers
  • Plumbing supply warehouses
  • Furniture warehouses
  • Building materials storage


Aspect Cantilever Racking Selective Pallet Racking
Storage Density Moderate Moderate
Access Method Direct access to each item Direct access to each pallet
Space Utilization Efficient for long and bulky items Efficient for palletized goods
Aisle Space Requires wider aisles for handling long items Standard aisle width for palletized items
SKU Variety Suitable for low to moderate SKU variety Suitable for high SKU variety
Product Accessibility Immediate access to every item Immediate access to every pallet
Cost Higher initial cost due to heavy-duty construction Lower initial cost compared to cantilever racking
System Complexity Simple structure, easier to maintain More complex due to higher number of components
Load Handling Items are stored on horizontal arms Pallets are stored on horizontal beams
Forklift Requirement Requires specialized handling for long items Standard forklift operation
Damage Risk Lower risk of damage due to open design Lower risk of damage with proper handling
Typical Applications Lumber, pipes, metal bars, furniture, building materials General warehousing, distribution centers, retail inventory


Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of pallet racking systems, are you ready to invest in the optimal solution for your warehouse? HEDA Shelves professional team is ready to provide you with a thorough consultation to ensure you get the best racking system tailored to your needs.

Don’t let the complexity of warehouse design hold you back. Contact us today for a professional pallet rack consultation. Let us help you maximize your space, improve your operational efficiency.

Abby Xu
Abby Xu

Welcome to my blog! I'm Abby Xu, with over 20 years of experience in warehouse and supermarket shelving sales. I've dedicated my career to optimizing storage and enhancing retail displays. Join me for insights and tips to streamline your operations and boost sales.

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