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Posted by Stephanie on March 10, 2016

Loading dock equipment comes in various shapes and sizes, and it can be confusing trying to figure out what’s right for your facility. Dock boards and dock plates are similar in appearance and, as a result, customers often get the two confused. We get many questions about the differences between the two. We want our customers to be as knowledgeable as possible so we’ve created this guide to help you understand how to compare these kinds of dock equipment.

Dock boards and dock plates are both designed with diamond plating. However, this is one of the only things they have in common. Dock boards and dock plates have many differences, the most obvious being that a dock board has curbs where as a dock plate does not. Each is designed for completely different applications and capacities. It is essential to know their purposes to determine which one you need for your warehouse/facility.


Dock boards

Steel dock boards are designed for moving heavier materials and perfect for forklift and vehicle use. They are strong, durable, and built to withstand high capacity. Components include curbs, a lifting chain to maximize safety, and locking devices. A dock board can be relocated throughout your facility to allow for usage in multiple locations.

Key features of dock boards:loading dock equipment dock plates

  • Curbs, Legs, and Lifting Chain are included
  • From American-Made Steel
  • Mobility For Your Investment
  • Safety For Your Workers

Locking device styles to choose from: drop pins, locking rings, and fixed legs.


Dock plates

Dock plates are rectangular, constructed with a locking leg, and feature either hand holes or handles for manually moving around. They are designed to handle lighter loads and ideal for pallet jack and hand truck use. Since they are lightweight, they are easy to move around and don’t have curbs that might get in the way. Dock plates are NOT designed for power equipment, since they are much lighter than dock boards and built with aluminum diamond plating. Choosing a dock plate over a dock board would be a cost effective solution to bridging the gap between the loading dock and the truck for light to medium duty loads.loading dock equipment dock plates

Key features of dock plates:

  • Handles that Allow for Easy Movement
  • Aluminum Diamond Plating
  • Cost effective compared to Dock Boards
  • Safety For Your Workers


Choosing the Right Loading Dock Equipment

First consider what you will be using your dock equipment for. If you have a forklift or other vehicle transporting heavy materials, a dock board would be the best fit for you. If you just need a ramp for transporting materials with a pallet jack or hand truck, a dock plate would be better suitable for your needs. Dock plates are easier to move around and offer more versatility for movement than dock boards because they don’t have curbs. It’s important to keep in mind however, if you plan on working with very heavy loads, a dock plate has limited capacities.


Custom Designs Available

We carry a wide selection of new and used dock equipment, including steel dock boards, aluminum dock plates, yard ramps, wheel risers, dock bumpers, and more! We can custom manufacture and fabricate dock equipment for you. If you have any questions or need custom dock equipment, call to speak with one of our dock equipment specialists today 800-404-7225.


Questions? Call 800-404-RACK (7225)

Learn more about Dock Equipment
Talk to a Dock Equipment Specialist


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with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs.

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About Us

With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.