Pallet vs Skid vs Crate [Infographic]

Pallet, Skid and Crate differences

What are the differences between pallet, skid, and crate?

[Updated June 2023]

Not sure if you need a pallet, skid, or crate? It’s easy to get confused because people often use these terms interchangeably. All three can be used for shipping and storing materials. All three can be made of wood, plastic or metal.

Ultimately, it depends on what your shipment is, and how big and fragile it is. For more fragile items such as wooden furniture, crating is recommended. For well-packaged clothing, for example, boxes on pallets are sufficient. Here are the differences explained infographically, so you could make the right decision for your shipping needs:

 Freightera infographic differences between pallet and skid and crate


  • Top and bottom deck boards
  • Typical size 48”×40”
  • More stable
  • Can carry up to 1000 kg
  • More friction (harder to drag)
  • More convenient for racking


  • No bottom deck
  • Less friction (easier to drag)
  • The oldest type of pallet
  • Because it’s mobile, often used as a permanent foundation for heavy machinery
  • A cheap version of pallets
  • Takes up less space when nested


  • It’s really a box, unlike the other two
  • Has four walls as well as a floor
  • Great for holding products that need to be securely stored
  • Can hold a large volume
  • Very stable
  • Some allow easy pickup by forklifts, while others do not

Need more info about pallets and how to ship them? Read more about how we can help you ship your freight on our pallet shipping services page.

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