Pallet racks are an essential material handling component of any warehouse or storage facility. They are used to store pallets of goods and materials and come in a wide range of types and configurations. The type of pallet rack used will depend on the facility’s storage needs, available floor space, and the type of inventory being stored.

In addition to traditional pallet rack systems, many other versatile pallet storage racking options are becoming more popular because they help warehouses save space and increase efficiency.

Read on to learn about the benefits of the following nine types of pallet storage racks:

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What is Pallet Racking?

Pallet racksPallet racking, sometimes called pallet shelving, is designed to store products and materials on pallets in a warehouse or storage facility. Selective racks consist of vertical rack uprights, horizontal beams, and diagonal braces, creating the framework for shelves or pallet supports. Unlike smaller shelving systems, pallet racks are typically loaded and unloaded by forklifts rather than by hand.

Pallet racking systems have several configurations, including selective, drive-in, push-back, gravity flow, cantilever, and more. These warehouse rack storage systems optimize storage space and provide efficient access to inventory. Pallet storage racking systems are commonly used in industrial and commercial applications to improve inventory management and warehouse efficiency.

Selective Pallet Racks

The selective rack is the most common rack on the market today. This traditional warehouse racking system allows for easy access to individual pallets. It is ideal for warehouses that handle a large variety of SKUs. Selective racks are typically made of steel and store pallets of various sizes and weights.

tear drop pallet rackingThe primary benefit of selective pallet storage racks is that they provide 100% selectivity to your stored materials. They also facilitate good organization of stored products. However, selective racks are the least efficient racking system in terms of warehouse space utilization.

Benefits of selective pallet racking:

  • 100% selectivity
  • Best accessibility to stored materials

Teardrop Pallet Racks

Teardrop pallet storage racking is a type of selective rack that uses a unique teardrop-shaped hole design for its vertical beams. The teardrop holes allow for easy and quick assembly and adjustment of the beams without bolts or other hardware. This design feature makes the teardrop rack a cost-effective and efficient storage solution.

Benefits of teardrop racking:

  • Quick and easy assembly
  • Easy to adjust vertical space openings

Compact Pallet Racks

compact bulk rack systemCompact pallet storage racks are mobile pallet storage systems that mount on heavy-duty motorized carriages. The rolling pallet racks slide back and forth on floor tracks, eliminating static access aisles to create a high-density storage system. Thanks to the system’s design, compact racking can double your warehouse storage capacity in the same footprint as selective racks, reducing your storage space requirements by up to 60%.

Compact pallet storage racks are easy to operate; open your desired access aisle at the push of a button. Remote control forklift access is also available. The moving racks can extend up to 96 feet long with several safety features to protect people and stored materials.

Benefits of compact racking:

  • Significant space savings
  • Customizable design

Drive-In Pallet Racks

push back pallet rackDrive-in pallet storage racks are another system designed for high-density pallet storage. In place of designated access aisles, these racking systems allow forklifts to drive directly into the rack for loading and unloading. The racks consist of storage lanes with heavy-duty rails to support the pallets. Since pallets rest on the rails rather than shelving, drive-in racks should be customized to fit your pallet type.

As forklifts load and unload pallets from the same end of the rack, drive-in racks facilitate a last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory rotation. This makes them a better solution for non-perishable goods or facilities with a high inventory turnover. While drive-in racks provide excellent storage density, they offer limited selectivity and are less efficient than other pallet storage racking systems.

Benefits of drive-in pallet racking:

  • High storage density
  • LIFO stock rotation
  • Cost-effective

Drive-Through Pallet Racks

drive in through rackingDrive-through pallet racks are designed like drive-in racks, except fork trucks can enter both ends of the rack. This design facilitates first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory rotation, as forklifts can load pallets from one end of the storage lanes and retrieve them from the other end. This makes them a good solution for perishable products. Like drive-in racks, drive-through racks have a high storage density but reduced efficiency due to the time required to store and retrieve pallets.

Benefits of drive-through pallet storage racking:

  • High storage density
  • FIFO stock rotation
  • Cost-effective

Push-Back Pallet Racks

Push-back pallet storage racks are ideal for high-density storage of multiple SKUs and allow for last-in, first-out (LIFO) access to inventory. There are two types of push-back rack systems. The most common type uses a series of nested carts pushed back along inclined rails, sliding back to make room for new pallets and sliding forward when a pallet is unloaded. The other push-back rack system features horizontal spring-loaded rails that expand and contract to keep pallets accessible at the front of the rack.

Like drive-in racking, push-back racks have a high storage density with limited selectivity. However, push-back racking is more efficient than drive-in and drive-through racking since all pallets are loaded and unloaded at the front of the rack. This also minimizes the risk of damage to the racks or stored pallets.

Benefits of push-back pallet racking:

  • High storage density
  • LIFO stock rotation
  • Efficient access to stored pallets

Gravity Flow Racks

gravity flow racksGravity flow racks, also called pallet flow racks, are gravity-fed racks that use sloping roller shelves to move pallets from the loading to the unloading end. They are ideal for high-volume, low-SKU storage and warehouses that require first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory control.

With only two access aisles (at the front and back of the rack), gravity flow racks offer up to triple the storage capacity of selective racks. The system provides effortless FIFO product rotation, with pallets sliding automatically to the retrieval end of the rack for easy access. The dedicated loading and unloading aisles also improve the efficiency of a facility’s workflow.

Benefits of gravity flow pallet racking:

  • High storage density
  • FIFO stock rotation
  • Superior efficiency

Cantilever Racks

cantilever pallet racks

Cantilever racks store long, bulky items such as lumber, pipes, and sheet metal. They feature arms that extend outward from a vertical column and can be adjusted to accommodate varying inventory sizes. Cantilever racks can also be converted into a compact racking system for maximum space efficiency, with movable access aisles up to 18 feet wide for safe forklift access and handling of long stock.

Benefits of cantilever racking:

  • Versatile design
  • Optimal storage and accessibility for long stock
  • Wide variety of storage arms

Adjustable Pallet Storage Racks

Adjustable pallet racking systems feature forkliftable beams that allow you to reconfigure your shelving on demand. Ideal for facilities with frequently changing storage needs, adjustable racks offer variable configurations to eliminate the wasted air space common in fixed-height rack systems.

Adjustable racks have beam levels that are sectioned into pallet-sized adjustable shelves with forklift entry slots. Using a standard forklift, you can move the beams up or down in 6” intervals to fit your storage requirements. The storage racking system features durable steel shelving beams that are removable by design. Adjustable racks are available as stationary or mobile storage systems. Visit our online store to see our industrial storage products.

Benefits of adjustable pallet racking:

  • Most flexible pallet storage solution
  • Optimal space efficiency

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Contact Us for Pallet Storage Racks

Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for all pallet storage rack systems. 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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“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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