A Guide to Pallet Racking Systems

Author: Mike Klaer
A Guide To Pallet Racking Systems

A Guide to Pallet Racking Systems

No matter how far evolved the modern warehouse becomes, traditional pallet racking will always have a place within the material handling environment as a cost-effective and ROI-producing investment for pallet storage. Pallet racking systems are used to optimize warehouse floor space, increase storage capacity and density, and improve operational efficiency.

While there are many different types of pallet storage solutions available, it is essential to select a racking solution that is applicable to your inventory management method (FIFO or LIFO) and synchronizes with operational goals.

If you have any questions about the Pallet Racking Solutions list below or need help selecting the right system for your facility, contact us!

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Continue reading to learn about the many types of pallet racking systems!

Types of Pallet Racks

There are several types of pallet rack systems, including:

Selective Storage

Selective storage is the most common type of pallet racking system due to its affordability and scalability. Selective racking is a go-to pallet storage solution for warehouses and distribution centers by providing direct access to every pallet in storage, making it ideal for operations with high SKU counts requiring quick product accessibility. Selective storage is also the most cost-effective pallet storage solution due to its:

  • Lowest cost per pallet position compared to other rack types
  • Ease of use since no special material handling vehicles are required
  • Adjustability for multiple pallet sizes

Selective Storage is available in single-deep, double-deep, and also very narrow aisle (VNA) for space-saving applications.

Selective racking consists of upright frames and horizontal beams. Many selective racking system configurations can be uniquely customized for your business’s needs, such as load size, dimension, and weight. Because workers can access any pallet at any time, the handling time decreases. Warehouse handlers can move more quickly and enhance their efficiency with heightened access.

Drive In and Drive Thru

Both Drive In and Drive Thru racking systems are high-density storage solutions that are similar in design and benefits. These systems allow material handling equipment to traverse the entire length of the pallet racking, reducing the need for space-demanding aisles while enabling better use of available space through high-density storage.

While both of these systems provide cost and space reductions, they have a few key differences:

  • Drive In: Drive In is a high-density pallet racking solution to optimize storage space by maximizing floor area and vertical space within a facility. Drive In systems reduce overall square footage requirements by utilizing deep-lane storage for stocking large quantities of a limited number of SKUs. To operate, material handling equipment loads and retrieves pallets from the same side, achieving last-in, first-out (LIFO) access.
  • Drive Thru: Drive Thru racking is a high-density racking system for first-in, first-out (FIFO) applications. With a Drive Thru system, pallets are loaded on one side and unloaded on the opposing side to ensure the oldest material is picked first.

Drive In and Drive Thru racking is available in both single-wide and double-wide options. Dual systems allow you to load two pallets at the same time, increasing productivity and lowering the opportunity for wear and tear. These options help companies solve storage density issues.

Pallet Flow

All pallet rack systems seek to streamline warehouse efficiency. Pallet flow systems are a great way to maximize storage space for FIFO stock scenarios for storing pallets in single SKU lanes. Using sloped lanes, pallet flow racks utilize gravity to move pallets along rollers from the load end toward the unload side. Options such as wheel type and size, wheel pattern configuration, pallet separators, and brakes are used in these high-density and deep-lane pallet flow systems.

Pallet flow systems are ideal for helping companies increase productivity while saving on labor costs. As the racking solutions work on opposite sides to retrieve and load new products, they maximize warehouse efficiency. You can also combine a pallet flow system with other material handling equipment to create an integrated warehouse solution.

Push Back

Push back racking systems offer high-density storage for operations requiring high selectivity, high throughput, and LIFO inventory management. With these systems, pallets are loaded onto free-rolling carriages and then pushed back within the lane by subsequent pallet loading, resulting in single SKU lanes with multiple pick faces. To unload, simply unload the last stored palled and gravity will move the remaining pallets gently towards the aisle. In push back systems, each level and lane is independently accessible.

Other benefits of push back systems include:

  • Increased space utilization
  • Durable construction
  • Improved warehouse productivity

You can optimize your storage space and handling times with a push back racking solution. The ability to store two to six pallets at a time increases output. Since each level and lane is independently accessible, fewer aisles and forklifts are needed to operate this storage system. Businesses can maximize storage capacity with up to 90% more storage space than traditional pallet racking systems.


Gen2 is an extremely strong and durable racking construction. The innovative design includes a closed tube structure that matches and exceeds seismic regulations, making it especially beneficial for warehouses located in areas with high seismic activity. Due to its structural steel construction, GEN2 provides maximum impact resistance against all disturbances. You can find the right solution for any facility with options available in both single- and double-deep configurations. GEN2 racking is also compatible with any type of racking system.

Gen2 racking installations improve warehouse efficiency in numerous ways. The dual pallet system allows handlers to load or unload pallets two at a time, increasing productivity by up to 50%. These systems can assist with your efforts to improve space utilization, reducing overall warehouse pallet ownership costs.

Whether businesses use Gen2 racking systems for the food industry, agriculture industry, or any other application, they can optimize efficiency and protect against seismic interferences. For companies trying to navigate the threats of earthquakes while keeping their inventory safe, Gen2 racking systems provide an innovative new answer.


Cantilever racking solutions are ideal for items that are oversized or unique in shape. These racks elevate large objects, making better use of your facility’s floor space. Cantilever solutions are highly customizable, with options for various sizes, safety accessories, and single- or double-sided storage. This characteristic makes cantilever racking systems suitable for items of different weights, depths, heights, and widths.

This racking system’s easy loading and removal features, coupled with its unique ability to store large, oddly shaped items, makes it ideal for storing building materials, furniture, tires and many other products.


Other Storage Solution Types

While pallet racks are available in a wide variety of styles that benefit facilities requiring specific storage solutions, some warehouses benefit from other racking types.


Mezzanine Racks

Mezzanine racks offer an additional way to maximize vertical storage space in warehouses. With this racking system, warehouses add various mezzanine platforms between the ceiling and existing storage shelves. Professionals can customize access points, work systems, and pick modules to maximize the use of available warehouse space. Mezzanines allow companies to expand their available space cost-effectively.

Implement accessories like stairs, gates, or lifts to simplify the working process for warehouse employees. These racks provide an innovative storage solution for warehouses.

Case Flow

Case flow racking systems, also known as carton flow racking, are racking systems for picking less than full pallet loads. These high-density systems are designed for maximizing depth space by using an inclined conveyor to allow gravity to move cases easily along a sloped plane. Case flow converts static systems into high-capacity gravity flow rack picking systems, enabling items to be rotated on a first-in, first-out basis and always keeping products visible and within reach.

A case and carton flow system equips warehouses to improve productivity by streamlining the picking and replenishment process. Merchandise stays organized, making it easier for warehouse handlers to find products. Case Flow systems can be combined with other rack types such as Selective to achieve additional product storage and close proximity to replenishment.

Keg Flow

Keg flow racking is a storage solution specifically for breweries and beer distributors to increase storage capacity and accessible pick faces. The 24″ wide flow lanes are specially designed for sixth barrel kegs to accommodate craft brew inventory. Keg flow significantly improves picking and replenishment, as SKUs are separated into different lanes. Kegs move to the rack’s front for more secure and accessible handling.

Built with high-quality structural or roll-formed steel, Keg flow can be added to new or existing racks for affordable keg storage combined with the benefits of gravity-driven systems. First-in, first-out product flow is simplified, allowing you to load kegs in the back of racks and retrieve them from the front. If you have shorter rack depths, front-loading is also a choice.

This solution allows businesses to find the most efficient and quick way to handle kegs. The durable steel construction provides a long-lasting solution for your facility’s storage requirements. The materials are designed for warehouse handlers, allowing for comfortable use no matter the location.

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Contact Twinlode Automation to Learn More About Pallet Racking Systems

Ready to upgrade your existing material handling system? With over 40 years of experience, we partner with our customers to design and integrate turnkey pallet racking systems for every industry. Please contact Twinlode Automation for more information about our different system options! We can help businesses find the best pallet racking solution for their needs.