Should You Opt for Hardwood or Softwood Pallets?

When it comes to new pallets, you have many options to choose from. Most people choose between hardwood and softwood. So, what type of pallet wood suits your operation?

For many years, hardwood has been the preferred type of wood in pallets; however, recently pallets made from softwood have become famous because of the wood’s availability and material. If you are on the market for wooden pallets, you should consider the Spec Wood pallet components that are best for your specific applications.  The following are important factors to think about to help you decide between hardwood and softwood as your pallet material:

Hardwood vs Softwood

In general, hardwood is denser and stronger than softwood. Even under high pressure, it can retain its shape. Also, it can withstand more stress before it can bend and break than softwood. Globally, hardwood trees are more common than softwood trees, although they tend to grow more slowly. They include species such as mahogany, walnut, oak, teak, maple, and hickory. 

While softwood is not weak, it does not possess the resilience and strength of hardwood. Also, it makes up a significant portion of the world’s timber. Compared to hardwood is easier to work with and cut by saws. Softwood trees include pine, juniper, Douglas fir, and spruce.

Factors to Consider to Compare Hardwood vs Softwood for Pallets

  • Availability and cost. Hardwood tends to grow more slowly than softwood and replacing it can be harder, making it more expensive. The prices of lumber on the market can fluctuate rapidly; however, hardwood is always costlier than softwood. So, think about the kind and quantity of hardwood pallets you would keep in your inventory. 
  • Pallet weight. Compared to softwood, hardwood is denser, which makes it more durable and stronger. Also, hardwood is heavier than softwood, making it costlier to transport. Both hardwood and softwood can significantly vary in weight, depending on the specific species utilised. This increases the shipment’s total weight, which may result in higher fuel costs. 
  • Weight capacity. The total weight capacity of softwood is lower than hardwood; however, it can support thousands of pounds if built into pallets. The majority of applications can utilise softwood pallets without substantial downsides. However, for applications that require high weight and special use, hardwood’s sturdiness may be necessary.
  • Reparability and lifespan. Cutting, repairing, and replacing is easy with softwood. The majority of recycled pallets are made from softwood due to its ease of repair and affordability. But hardwood pallets do not always get repaired due to the cost of lumber and the pallets’ longer lifespan.