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Comprehensive Comparison of Cantilever Pallet Racking with Standard Pallet Racking.

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Pallet racks are important in warehouse floors as they provide the much needed storage space to store unit loads and maximize your warehouse floor. In this article, we will look at two types of pallet racking: the cantilever pallet racking and standard pallet racking and you can tell which one is the best fit for you afterwards.

cantilever rack
cantilever rack

Cantilever pallet racking is a type of pallet racking that is suitable for the storage of loads that are long, awkward and bulky. These loads will otherwise not fit in a regular pallet and will take up a large space in the warehouse floor if you store them on the floor. This type of loads include pipes, plywood, long steel, long plastic tubes, long machine apparatus, cemboards, long carpets, among others. 

Cantilever pallets have racks otherwise known as arms that vertically stretch out from a horizontal frame. These arms serve as the storage space for the materials. The arms typically can have up to 6 steps, depending on the height of the cantilever upright frame, which largely depends on your warehouse space.

Cantilever pallets are made of steel and are sturdy enough for high storage density and heavy materials. You can store materials as heavy as 10,000kg on a cantilever pallet rack structure. Further, Cantilever pallet racking has no vertical obstructions. Aisles surround the cantilever racks, which allow for easier accessibility of racks from the front column for loading and unloading of unit loads. Also, Cantilever pallet racking is easily operable with any type of forklifts. 

With a Cantilever pallet rack structure, you do not have to worry about storing long materials that might otherwise prove difficult to store because of their shape and length and also you can easily do an inventory of your warehouse because it is easily accessible and visible. You can see all your stored materials from any angle.

standard pallet rack
standard pallet rack

A standard pallet racking is a regular type of pallet racking system used to store standard types of pallets. Standard pallets are usually 1,165mm both in depth and width. People mostly use it to store unit boxy type of pallets. Typically, the size of a standard pallet is 48 inches long and 40 inches wide. Also, standard pallets mostly weigh 45 lbs. They are usually 6 inches tall and can hold up to 4,500lbs of materials.

There are different varieties of standard pallet racks. They include: double deep pallet racks, single deep pallet racks, selective racks, narrow-aisled pallet racks and adjustable pallet racks.

The adjustable pallet racks are the most common type of standard pallets. Adjustable pallet racks allow for the storage of pallets with forklifts in a wide surface for the rack. The selective racking is also a common pallet system for standard pallet racking. A standard selective pallet racking is made of steel with wield trusses. Their beams are sturdy enough to withstand a high capacity of load. It has an opening from either side and so, you can bring out any load you want from the pallet. That is, you can access every part of the pallet racking from the aisle.

A standard pallet racking typically ensures that you maximize your warehouse space due to their large storage capacity, easily access unit loads and ease up of inventory system. Standard pallet racks are also adaptable and versatile. That means that you can store any type of unit loads in them regardless of their size and density. However, they may not be able to store the long types of loads cantilever pallet racks can hold.

There are two types of cantilever pallet racks. The standard pallet racks are also of two types. For the cantilever pallet racking, you may choose either the single-sided or double-sided cantilever pallet racking. On the other hand, for the standard pallet racks, you may opt for the single-deep or double-deep pallet racks.

Single-sided cantilever pallet racking: Single sided cantilever pallet racks have arms stretched out from one side of the upright column cantilever structure while the other side rests against a wall. This means that you can only store materials/loads on one side of a single sided cantilever pallet rack.

Double-sided cantilever pallet racking: double sided cantilever pallet racks have two arms stretched out from either side of the upright column of the cantilever structure. It means that you can store materials on both sides of a double sided cantilever pallet rack. That way, you have room for more storage. Also, they do not have to rest on a wall. You can place them in the middle of the warehouse floor. However, they require more aisle space for easier accessibility in order to load and unload materials from both sides of the pallet racks.

Single-deep standard pallet racking: Single deep pallet racks are a one pallet rack structure shaped horizontally and vertically and made of steel with wield trusses. They have openings at the front for loading and unloading of materials. Unlike double deep pallet racks, they do not have two depths of storage which means that they can easily be accessible from both sides with a common forklift or a lift truck. It also means that they require wide aisle space.

Double-deep pallet racking: you will commonly see double deep standard pallet racks are commonly in warehouses and retail stores with dry products or loads with longer shelf life. It is a structure with two pallet racks stacked on two levels on top of one another and one pallet is placed behind another pallet. The inner part of the pallet rack is called deep and the outer part is called shallow. The setup of a double deep pallet is against a wall with two deep rows. A single pallet is placed at the back of another pallet to achieve two storage pallet racks.

double deep warehouse rack
double deep warehouse rack


FIFO is an acronym for first in, first out, while LIFO is an acronym for last in, last out. FIFO and LIFO are inventory systems which you can use in your warehouse to determine how you store materials, transport materials and ship materials out of your warehouse. It allows you to determine how loads are stored in pallet racks and the order with which they come out. The inventory system keeps you up-to-date with goods that come into your warehouse and take note of perishable materials or loads that can expire.  

In FIFO, the first unit load to arrive at the warehouse goes into the pallets first and also comes out first when unloading the pallets. In the LIFO inventory system, the last goods/unit load that arrive in the warehouse are taken out of the pallet racks first.

Whether you opt for the single sided or double sided cantilever pallet racks, the decision to use either the FIFO or LIFO inventory system rests solely in your hands. This is because the cantilever pallet racks have a wide opening which is directly accessible by a forklift and can easily be moved inside a truck directly from the forklift. Also, depending on the type of material you store in your cantilever pallet racks, you may not even require a forklift to load and unload the material. Thus, the ease of accessibility translates that you may opt to take out materials that come in last or first.

The type of inventory system suitable for a standard pallet racking mainly depends on the type of pallet racking structure you opt for. If you opt for the single deep pallet racking, then you may use either the FIFO or LIFO inventory system. This is because you can easily access any part of the racks from the open and wide aisle when using single-deep pallet racks. The structure is also directly accessible from both sides just like the double sided cantilever pallet racking.

However, when you are using the double-deep pallet racking structure, then the LIFO inventory system is the most suitable.  This is because if you access the loads on the depth of the pallet racks, you will have to take out the load on the front rack. Also, you will need a special forklift to access the load on the second depth of the double deep standard pallet racking.

There are different advantages attached to using the cantilever pallet racking or the standard pallet racking. Aside from the general advantage of increasing warehouse storage space, organizing your warehouse, and ensuring safety in your warehouse, these racking structures have their own unique advantages that you may need to consider in opting for which one is best for you.

Storage of awkward materials: Long and bulky materials are usually very difficult to store. This is because other types of pallet racking cannot accommodate the length of these materials as they are structured to hold boxy types of pallet loads. This means that these materials require a special type of pallet racking structure. If you do not store these materials, they will take up large space in your warehouse floor, and are also hazardous to the workers in the warehouse as they may cause someone to trip and fall. They also generally are an eyesore as they make the warehouse look disorganized. Cantilever pallet racks solves this problem. They are designed to hold long and heavy materials.

cantilever racking system
cantilever racking system

Versatility: You do not just need to use cantilever pallet racks for storage, you can also use them outdoors and indoors to display goods or loads. This means that you can use them as a sort of display set or show glass in a retail store. You can also use them to store round materials like electrical wires, cables, coiled steels, which you can hang into the out-stretched arms of the cantilever pallet racks. You can even use them to display cars which means if you own a car slot and you want more storage space to display your fleet of cars, then you can opt for a sturdy cantilever pallet racking.

Adjustability: You can choose to remove the arms of the cantilever player racks in order to readjust them to the length and size you want them to be. If you want the arms longer or shorter, depending on the length of materials you want to store, then you can do this. The design of cantilever pallet racking is simple enough.

Durability: Cantilever pallet racks are made from steel. They are durable and sturdy enough. You can use a cantilever pallet rack structure outdoors and leave it under the sun and in the rain. It will still last for many years without any dent. Cantilever pallet racking is sturdy enough to hold 5000 kg of materials. Structures made from steel with at least 10 vertical arms horizontally can hold materials of about 10,000kg

Ease of accessibility: Cantilever pallet racking structures have wide openings without any obstacles. You can access the double sided structure from both sides of the racks. This means that all sides are visible and it is a lot faster to load and unload materials from the cantilever pallet racks. You do not need a special forklift to access a cantilever pallet racks. You also can easily take an inventory of your loads and can see which load you want to unload from the racks without any special tool.

Increase in warehouse storage space: This is one common advantage of all pallet racking structures. They allow you to store more materials/loads in your warehouse than you would have if you are keeping your loads on the warehouse floor.

The advantages of standard pallet racking is heavily dependent on the type you opt for. This is because each type has its own unique advantages.

Storage of heavy and dense loads: standard pallets allow you to store heavy and dense loads which other pallet racking structures might not hold. A single standard pallet rack is strong enough to hold up to 2000 kg load. That number is double when you use the double deep standard pallet rack. This is because you are storing loads in two depths. 

Flexible inventory system: Depending on which type of standard pallet racking you opt for, you may choose to use the FIFO or the LIFO inventory system. For the double deep standard pallet racking, the LIFO is the most appropriate. It is important to note that the LIFO has its own advantages. It allows for easier mobility of loads in the warehouse and loads do not have to stay long on the racks.

Increase warehouse storage space: Just like the cantilever pallet racking, the standard pallet racking also ensures that you maximize your warehouse floor. You get to save loads that you otherwise will keep on the floor if you had not had any structure for them. More so, the back-to-back pallet structure of the double deep standard pallet rack can be accessed from the one same aisle. Thus, there is no need for a big aisle space and this space can be used for more pallet racks or for any other use.

standard pallet storage rack
standard pallet storage rack
  • It is a less expensive structure to install compared to other types of pallet racking structures
  • It is the ideal pallet racking structure for goods with a long shelf life
  • A double deep pallet rack is extendable to accommodate any type of unit load or allow for more storage space
  • It is safe and easy to use
  • A selective pallet racking is fast to load and unload loads
  • There is direct access to loads from both sides of the aisle 
  • All parts of the pallets are visible
  • It optimizes warehouse space as you can catalog the storage of loads based on the type of the load
  • It does not require the use of special forklifts thereby saving money
  • It is easier to maneuver forklifts because it has a wide aisle

Although pallet racking has numerous advantages, there are also disadvantages which you must consider. 

  • They are not suitable for all industries and warehouses
  • You may need to dismantle and readjust the design to fit the type of material you want to store and this may waste time and result in high maintenance cost
  • Cantilever racks are more expensive than other racking structures
  • If you are storing materials that are 48″× 40″ or shorter in size, then the cantilever pallet racking is not suitable for you
  • Cantilever pallet racking required a wide aisle which means it requires more warehouse storage floor than other pallet racking 
  • Although cantilever pallet racking is durable, structures like the cold rolled steel are light Thus, forklifts can easily damage them
  • They cannot store long and bulky materials
  • They are not as versatile as the cantilever pallet racking. For example, you cannot use them to store cars for display.
  • Double-deep standard pallets require a special type of forklift to load and unload.
  • The height of the storage is limited to just 10m

Type of materials: If you are storing long and bulky or round materials, then you should just get the cantilever pallet racking. If your unit load is about 48″× 40″ or shorter in size, then you should opt for the standard pallet racking.

Type of warehouse/industry: Cantilever pallets racking is good for all types of warehouses. Also, if you want to use your pallet racks as a display set, then you should opt for the cantilever pallet racking. 

Warehouse floor space: This heavily determines not only if you should get a cantilever or a standard pallet racking but also the type of cantilever or standard pallet racking you should get. If you have a wide warehouse floor space, then you can get the double sided cantilever pallet racking. This is because you will not have to worry about floor space for the aisle. But if your floor space is limited and you need the cantilever pallet racking, then you should opt for the single sided structure.

In the same vein, your floor space can influence if you should opt for the single deep or double deep standard pallet racking. The double deep structure manages warehouse floor space as you can only access it from one aisle unlike the single deep which will require more floor space.

Cost/Budget: Your budget also plays a huge role in determining the type of cantilever pallet racking and standard pallet racking structure you should opt for. Generally, Cantilever pallet racking is not as expensive as standard pallet racking. When you now go for the cantilever pallet racks made from hot-rolled steel, then your budget increases. Also, the adjustability of cantilever to desired length also brings about maintenance cost.

Standard pallet rack structures are a little cheaper than cantilever pallet rack structures. Further, the double-deep pallet rack is more expensive than the single deep pallet rack. This is because the double deep structure is sturdier and has more storage capacity than the single deep standard pallet racks.

In conclusion, opting for either the cantilever pallet racking or the standard pallet racking is largely dependent on the type of load you want to store. This is the first thing to consider. All others are secondary. However, once you know the type of material you want to store, then you have to piece in every other information about cantilever pallet racking and standard pallet racking to make your decision on what to opt for in your warehouse.

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