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Posted by Stephanie on August 28, 2023

If you’ve been searching for a new pallet racking system to install in your warehouse, you’ll quickly discover that there are many types of unique racking systems available on the market. Since nearly every system has its advantages, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which option is right for your facility.

Before you buy a new pallet racking system, keep in mind that each system has specific applications that it’s ideally suited for. Knowing what these applications are can be helpful when you’re trying to narrow your options. This article offers a comprehensive overview of the different types of racking systems you can buy for your warehouse.

Pallet Racking

Selective Racking System

Selective pallet racking is a kind of static racking that’s used in warehouses more than any other solution in this guide. The main reason that it’s widely adopted is because of its affordable cost and expensive selection of beam sizes and upright heights. Your personnel will have full access to every load that’s stored on selective racking.

The benefits of selective pallet racking include:

  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Ample configuration options to accommodate your industrial equipment
  • More affordable pricing in comparison to complex pallet racking systems

The drawbacks of selective pallet racking include:

  • System has many aisles, which makes for an inefficient use of floor space
  • Less storage density in comparison to more modern racking types

Some of the applications this type of pallet racking can be used with include:

  • When personnel need to always have access to every pallet
  • Your warehouse has few pallets for each SKU
  • Picking often occurs at lower levels
  • Industries like pharmaceuticals, general manufacturing, and retail
Pallet Racking

Double-deep Pallet Racking

Double-deep racking systems have two rows of racks, which are installed in adjacent positions. In this scenario, you can take advantage of more storage density in comparison to selective pallet racking systems.

The benefits of double-deep pallet racking include:

  • Many configurations
  • High storage density
  • Easy installation and assembly
  • Low price point

The drawbacks of double-deep pallet racking include:

  • Selectivity reductions by 50%
  • More expensive equipment is necessary
  • Double-deep reach truck must be paired with longer beams

Some of the applications this type of pallet racking can be used with include:

  • Food and beverage
  • General manufacturing and warehousing
  • High storage density requirements
  • First-in, first-out (FIFO) management solution

Drive-in Racking

Drive-in racking systems make it easy for companies to store a large amount of cargo in a relatively small area for better storage density. If you don’t have much warehouse space, this is the ideal racking solution. Operators drive directly into the system to perform loading and unloading processes.

The benefits of drive-in racking include:

  • Increase storage space by getting rid of aisles
  • Less warehouse space

The drawbacks of drive-in racking include:

  • Uses the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method
  • Forklifts are necessary, which leads to more risk
  • Low selectivity
  • All pallet sizes need to be the same

Some of the applications this type of pallet racking can be used with include:

  • General warehousing with low product rotation
  • Warehouse that requires high-density storage
  • Non-perishable product storage
Drive In Racks

Drive-thru Racking

Drive-thru racking systems require the use of a forklift but allow for different sides to be used for the loading and unloading processes. An access aisle is necessary for loading, while the opposite end of the rack is used for unloading.

The benefits of drive-thru racking include:

  • Lower retrieval and storage time
  • Accommodates a more uniform load
  • Energy-efficient storage solution
  • Improves productivity and efficiency

The drawbacks of drive-thru racking include:

  • Not great for high inventory turnover
  • Less pick selectivity
  • Possibility of forklift impact

Some of the applications this type of pallet racking can be used with include:

  • Beverage industry
  • Cooler systems
  • General warehousing
  • Chemical storage

Push-back Pallet Racking

Push-back pallet racking is ideal for warehouses that manage many different SKUs and need to maintain high storage density. These racks consist of pallets that are kept on inclined rails. When a pallet is loaded, it will push any stored pallets to the back. The loaded pallet at the back can then be removed.

The benefits of push-back pallet racking include:

  • Many customization options available
  • Lower labor costs
  • No forklifts are necessary
  • More pallet access
  • High density storage

The drawbacks of push-back pallet racking include:

  • Only allows five to six pallets deep
  • Lower amount of vertical space
  • More maintenance and higher costs
  • Product damage is possible

Some of the applications this type of pallet racking can be used with include:

  • Retail
  • General warehousing
  • FIFO or LIFO operations
Push Back Racking

Pallet Flow Racking

Pallet flow racking uses many of the same components as selective racking. However, these systems also come with roller tracks. At one side of the rack, loading takes place, while the opposite end is used for picking. When a pallet is loaded on the back, it will roll to the front of the queue with gravity rollers.

The Benefits of pallet flow racking include:

  • Accommodates FIFO method, which keeps inventory from becoming stuck
  • Efficient use of space
  • Quick inventory turnover

The drawbacks of pallet flow racking include:

  • Broken pieces can cause jamming
  • Moderate maintenance requirements
  • High cost

Some of the applications this type of pallet racking can be used with include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Freezer warehouses
  • Food distribution centers

Cantilever Racking

Cantilever racking uses upright posts that are attached to arms for the storage of lengthier items, which include everything from lumber to pipes. They use vertical supports to assist with the storage of long loads.

The benefits of cantilever racking include:

  • Perfect for unwieldy and long items in your warehouse
  • Easy installation
  • No vertical obstruction
  • Numerous capacities

The drawbacks of cantilever racking include:

  • Pallets can’t be stored
  • Needs wide aisles
  • Might require reinforced flooring

Some of the applications this type of pallet racking can be used with include:

  • Construction suppliers
  • Plumbing suppliers
  • Metal and wood retail shops
Pallet Racking and Cantilever Racking Installation

Common Questions About Pallet Racking

Before you select any of these pallet racking systems, there are some commonly asked questions to consider.

What Is Pallet Racking?

Pallet racking systems are designed to store pallets of different items in rows that are situated along multiple levels. These systems provide more storage density by using a certain amount of vertical space.

What Are the Most Common Types of Racking?

The most common pallet racking system is selective racking. This system is more affordable and can be used with many different materials.

How Many Types of Pallet Stacking Are There?

The two forms of pallet stacking include block stacking and floor stacking. Block stacking involves placing pallets on top of each other. In comparison, floor stacking involves placing any number of pallets on the floor and stopping at one-pallet high. Floor stacking is the most basic solution.

How Many Types of Racking Systems Are There?

There are seven primary pallet racking systems, which include:

What Are the Various Parts of a Rack?

The many parts that make up a racking system include:

  • Upright beams or posts
  • Cross beams
  • Footplate
  • Crossbars
  • Metal frames
  • Shelf panels
  • Diagonal struts
  • Fastening components, which include clips, row spacers, and fasteners

What Are Storage Racks Used For?

Storage racks are mainly used to store materials and items in warehouses or holding bays. Pallets are placed on horizontal rows that go up multiple vertical levels. You can store everything from grocery items to forklift parts on a pallet racking system.

How Is Racking Measured?

If you want to measure pallet racks, three separate components should be measured, which include the wire decking, cross beams, and uprights. When measuring the beams, focus on the beam length and beam face. The four measurements that you should take with the uprights include the following:

  • Frame height
  • Frame depth
  • Post depth
  • Frame width

You can measure the depth of wire decking by identifying the post depth. The size of wire decking often depends on the specific decking material that you’re using.

What Are the Top Warehouse Rack Manufacturers?

The top warehouse rack manufacturers at your disposal include:

  • QMH
  • Steel King
  • Interlake Mecalux
  • Frazier Industrial
  • Ridg-U-Rak

How Do You Identify Pallet Racking?

It’s possible to identify different racking systems by manufacturer name, product part number, or logo. Look at this pallet rack identifier if there isn’t a label on the system.


From selective racking to drive-thru racking, there are a wide range of pallet racking systems available to you. Weigh the pros and cons of each to determine which system is right for your warehouse. Identify your warehouse needs before making a choice. Do you use the FIFO storage method? If so, push-back racking systems should suit your needs. When weighing your options, keep in mind that efficient storage solutions can boost warehouse productivity, keep your personnel safe, and reduce inventory loss.


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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.