Pallet racks have enabled warehouses to maximize their storage areas by optimizing the use of the vertical space since the 1920s. The different types and designs enable you to customize your approach, but the sheer number of options can be somewhat paralyzing.
Simply Racks has a detailed pallet rack guide available, but you should begin by making a critical decision: teardrop racks or slotted racks: which is the best solution for your space?
Pallet Rack Basics
In pallet racking, multiple levels of horizontal shelves hold palletized items. Forklifts are used to store and remove pallets. This type of racking makes the most of warehouse space and improves loading and unloading efficiency.
The two main structural elements of pallet racking are:
- Upright frames
- Horizontal beams
Horizontal beams are strong supporting rails that attach to their metal frames in standardized holes. “Teardrop” and “slotted” refer to the shape of the holes punched into the upright metal columns where the beams connect and lock in.
This basic pallet rack structure is the one most commonly used by warehouses across the US.
Teardrop Pallet Racks
Teardrop pallet racks occupy the number one spot when it comes to popularity. They are stable, safe, easy to assemble, and uniform in ways that make it easy to expand or swap out components.
The teardrop shape is wider at the top than the bottom. The horizontal beam pin is pushed securely into the hole, and its head is below the wider opening. As a result, teardrop pallet rack beams won’t slip out unless you lift the shelf upward. Even then, a safety catch prevents slipping in the event that a forklift accidentally forces the beam upward.
Because of the wide degree of uniformity, you can mix and match components from different lines, or easily find a functional used teardrop pallet rack system. Just be sure that measurements match your needs precisely.
Benefits of a teardrop pallet rack system:
- Easy to assemble, disassemble, and reconfigure spaces
- Easy to adjust height and width
- Widespread compatibility
- Stable and safe
- Relatively inexpensive
- Versatile and customizable
Keep in mind, however, that teardrop pallet racks are not the strongest or longest-lasting option for warehouse shelving that needs a more permanent solution.
Slotted Pallet Racks
Double slotted pallet racks, sometimes referred to as structural pallet racks, are the second most common type of warehouse storage. Instead of a teardrop connection hole, these racks use narrow, rectangular slots to connect a beam to its frame.
Slotted power racks tend to be made of iron rather than steel. Their heavier and bulkier structure provides strength and durability that teardrop racks can’t match. Some larger warehouses even incorporate power racks into a building's design, where they contribute to its overall structural integrity.
One con is that greater variety between manufacturers makes it difficult to switch in new components. Thus there’s a trade-off between strength and interchangeability to consider once you understand the difference between slotted and teardrop pallet racks.
In addition, slotted pallet racks rarely snap together the way that teardrop pallet racks do. They require nuts, bolts, and washers, which increases the time it takes to assemble. This increased assembly time is another reason that slotted pallet racks tend to be more popular as long-term storage solutions, in contrast to warehouses that need to continually reconfigure their space.
Benefits of slotted pallet racking:
- Can serve as building supports
- Suitable for areas with high forklift and truck traffic
- Good long-term investment
Just as teardrop pallet racks may not be the best choice for people searching for permanent solutions, slotted pallet racks may not be right for those who need greater flexibility.
Which Warehouse Storage is Right For You?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of pallet racks, and a market for each. You need to consider the needs of your business, your long-range goals, your budget, and the space of your warehouse.
You likely need your warehouses and shelves to store a particular type or range of goods. How heavy are the items you will place on these shelves? If your inventory weighs a lot, you might want to invest in the stronger slotted pallet racks.
You should also consider how accessible you need your inventory to be, how often it rotates, and how much it varies. If you will need to continually reconfigure the shelves, you may want the greater flexibility offered by teardrop pallet racking.
On the other hand, if your shelves are going to experience a lot of wear and tear from machine traffic and inventory rotation, it may be worth the time and money you’d invest in slotted pallet racking.
Think about the future as well. Do you want to be able to expand with ease? Teardrop racks will make it easier to incorporate new shelves and a variety of products from different manufacturers.
The difference in cost between teardrop and double-slotted pallet racks stems from a few features. The biggest factor is material. Steel is less expensive than iron, making steel teardrop racks less expensive than iron double-slotted ones.
Another difference is that double-slotted rack systems often require additional components. These systems also take more time to set up.
However, if you want something that will last, the more expensive slotted option may be a wise investment.
You should also consider the dimensions of your building when choosing your racking. How tall is it? How much floor space do you have? Are you going to need to nonstandard widths?
So long as you don’t need to continually reconfigure your pallet racking, a tall but narrow building might lend itself to slotted pallet racks. By contrast, a wider space might work better with teardrop pallet racks.
Making the Purchase
Simply Racks is here to help you with the decision between teardrop and slotted, or any other version, of pallet rack. Contact us to talk to one of our expert representatives. Learn more about your options or move forward with your selection.
We have an excellent selection of pallet racks for sale. Our customers trust us to help them achieve their visions and protect their inventories. See why today.