Drive-in and drive-through racking are popular solutions for businesses requiring high-volume storage of similar products. These unique racking systems allow forklifts to drive into the racking system to store and retrieve products. Both drive-in and drive-through pallet racking systems maximize warehouse space utilization and increase storage capacity, making them an excellent choice for facilities with limited space. To see more industrial storage solutions, view our market page.

This article will discuss the following:

  • Benefits of drive-in and drive-thru systems
  • How drive-in pallet racking works.
  • How drive-through pallet rack works.
  • Differences between drive-in and drive-through racking
  • Applications for drive-in and drive-through racking

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Benefits of Drive-In and Drive-Through Racking

Space Efficiency

drive in and drive through rackingDrive-in and drive-through racking systems optimize your warehouse storage space. Because there are no static aisles between the storage lanes, these racking systems maximize your storage density in your existing footprint. Creating a higher efficiency system in a reduced space. Plus, drive-in and drive-through racking systems are generally more cost-effective than other high-density storage systems, such as mobile pallet racking and gravity flow racking.

Inventory Control

With drive-in and drive-through racking systems, you can choose LIFO or FIFO inventory management. Drive-through racks are especially beneficial for perishable products. This FIFO pallet racking system ensures that the oldest products are retrieved first, reducing the risk of products expiring in storage and going to waste.


Drive-in and drive-through racking are highly customizable solutions. Choose between FIFO and LIFO designs, determine the correct dimensions to meet your requirements, and customize the racking structure for your pallet type.

How Drive-In Pallet Racking Works

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Drive-in racking is a heavy-duty pallet racking system comprised of storage lanes rather than traditional shelves. Forklifts drive into the lanes and place pallets on the sturdy rails for storage. The drive-in racking design facilitates a last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management system, as forklifts enter the rack from one end to load and unload pallets. A drive-in storage racking system is often enclosed at the opposite end or back to a wall.

Drive-in pallet racking is ideal for storing large quantities of homogeneous products that are not perishable or date-sensitive. This system is also well-suited for fast-moving products with frequent rotation.

How Drive-Through Pallet Racking Works

A drive-through racking system has essentially the same design as a drive-in racking system, except there are two access points instead of one. Forklifts enter the aisles from one end to store pallets and retrieve them from the opposite end.

The drive-thru racking system facilitates a first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management system. FIFO makes it beneficial for warehouses storing products with an expiration date, such as food or pharmaceuticals, as it ensures that the oldest products are used first.

Differences between Drive-In and Drive-Through Racking

drive in and drive through racking systemsThe primary difference between drive-in and drive-through racking is their design, as drive-in racking is accessible from one end only, while drive-thru pallet rack is accessible from both ends. The differences at a glance between drive-in and drive-through racking are listed below.

Drive-in racking:

  • LIFO inventory rotation
  • Same exit and entry point
  • Higher storage density

Drive-through racking:

  • FIFO inventory rotation
  • Different exit and entry points
  • Higher selectivity

Applications for Drive-In and Drive-Through Racking

Drive-in and drive-thru racking systems are best for storing large quantities of a low number of product types or SKUs. Due to their high storage density, these racking systems are an excellent solution for making the most of cold or freezer storage space. They are also ideal for efficiently storing products, such as roof shingles, that cannot be stacked.

When considering drive-in and drive-through racking, remember that these racking systems provide limited support compared to traditional pallet racking. We recommend that you have a drive-in or drive-through pallet racking system custom-designed to fit your pallet type. Visit our online store to see our industrial storage products.

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Contact Us for Drive-In and Drive-Through Racking

Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for high-density warehouse storage systems, including drive-in and drive-through pallet racking. We will also provide a free consultation to determine your needs and specifications before the design begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.



Industrial Testimonials


“Working with Southwest Solutions including Matt, Susan, and especially Brad was great. They provide amazing customer service. Brad and the install team were especially great. Very professional, easy to work with, and did the work quickly and very well with very little input from us. If we need help with carousel storage moves, parts, or new equipment we will start with Southwest Solutions. ”

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“The team at Southwest Solutions were nothing short of fantastic. First meeting with Craig, I received a customized design, in person, based on my office needs while still maintaining an efficient layout and being cost effective. Craig explained everything clearly, allowing me to understand that as modular mill-work, I would be able to move it if I ever changed offices, but without the added sales pressure to immediately make a decision. Once I had decided, I worked with Chris who assisted in picking out the finishes and scheduling the delivery and installation. The professionalism of Craig and Chris spoke volumes and I would highly recommend anyone looking to transform or fit-out an office to contact Southwest Solutions.”

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Harvey-Cleary Builders

“I want to let you know that we all really appreciated your team mentality, professionalism and dedication shown on this project. It was a pleasure working with you and your office and we look forward to many more. Please pass along my gratitude to everyone who worked on this project. Thanks! ”

Harvey-Cleary Builders
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“I just want to take a minute to let you know how good of a job your install crew did yesterday. They were quick, fast, courteous and very consensus during the install. They were awesome to say the least. Being in the service business ourselves, we know that you can never hear the words “Good Job” often enough. Please pass this along to your crew.”
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