New vs. Used Warehouse Pallet Racking Systems – Which is Best?

Warehouse Pallet Racking Systems

Pallet racking systems are a key part of the set-up and operations of any warehouse – they make storing and accessing your goods as easy as possible and let you make the most of often limited space.

Buying industrial pallet racking systems can require a lengthy review process to get the right system for your space and operations. Among the very first decisions you will want to make, though, is between buying new or repurposing old. The choice between new and used pallet racking systems involves factors like technology, reliability, suitability to specific warehouse requirements, and budget (of course).

In this blog, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of both new and used pallet racking systems, aiming to give you all the tools you need to make the right choice for your warehouse.

Advantages of New Pallet Racking Systems

Latest Technological Features

New pallet racking systems incorporate cutting-edge design and technological advancements. These features enhance performance, efficiency, and durability, presenting a long-term investment.

Warranty and Reliability

New warehouse racking systems will generally come with a manufacturer’s warranty, offering a safety net against defects and ensuring a smoother operation with fewer unexpected maintenance issues.

Customization Options

Tailoring to specific warehouse needs is a significant advantage. Whether it’s handling diverse product sizes or maximizing vertical space, new storage racking systems can be customized to optimize storage and streamline operations – for difficult spaces, the operational efficiencies may quickly provide a return on investment.

Integration with Advanced Management Systems

These systems can be integrated with modern warehouse management systems, enhancing tracking, inventory management, and overall control – as with the benefits of customisation, the return on investment due to better stock control and management can make the initial outlay more than worth it.

Disadvantages of New Pallet Racking Systems

Higher Initial Cost

The investment in new industrial racking systems can be substantial, impacting the financial planning of businesses, especially smaller ones. The price difference between a brand-new and a used system could be inhibitive if you are working with particularly tight budgets.

Longer Lead Times

Customized solutions will likely mean lengthy waiting periods before your units are delivered, installed and operational – if you need a rapid deployment for a new warehouse or an expansion, then this will likely be a dealbreaker.

Depreciation Factor

Like most new purchases, warehouse racking systems lose much of their value over time, which can affect long-term financial planning.

Need for Specialized Training

Implementing new technology might require additional training for staff, adding to the overall cost and effort (as well as the time it takes to see a return on your investment).

Advantages of Used Pallet Racking Systems


Used systems are a lot more budget-friendly, making them suitable for businesses with limited financial resources.

Immediate Availability

These systems are typically ready for installation without the delays of manufacturing new units, which is ideal for urgent setup needs.

Environmental Benefits

Opting for used systems supports recycling and reduces the environmental impact associated with new production – perfect for companies that want to establish their credentials as being green in business.

Proven Durability

If well-maintained, used systems can offer reliable performance based on their track record in other operations – they’ve been a workhorse for many years, and they won’t let you down now.

Disadvantages of Used Pallet Racking Systems

Unknown History and Wear

The previous use of these systems can raise concerns about their structural integrity and safety – you can’t know how well they have been maintained or if the previous owner has covered up any issues to inflate the value, for example.

Limited Customization

Used systems offer minimal (or, often, no) customization, potentially leading to space utilization inefficiencies or challenges in accommodating specific storage needs. Making the most out of every square foot of floor and air space is of the utmost importance in warehouse management – so this can be a deciding factor.

Absence of Warranty

Without manufacturer warranties, any system failures or maintenance fall on the business, potentially negating initial cost savings (if there is an issue).

Increased Maintenance

These systems may require more frequent inspections and maintenance, adding to operational costs.

Compatibility Issues

Integrating used pallet racking with existing systems can be challenging, potentially impacting warehouse efficiency. It can also mean there is a need for additional training for staff, and if there are variances in load capacities, there is a new potential for human error on both types of racking.

Making the Right Choice for Your Warehouse

Choosing between new and used pallet racking systems hinges on evaluating your warehouse’s specific requirements. Consider factors like budget, space configuration, and the nature of goods stored – balancing these elements will guide you toward a decision that best supports your operational efficiency and financial health.

Think of your racking system like buying a car: buying new is the best option if you want all the bells and whistles, the warranty, and the ability to customise – but you will pay a lot more for these privileges. Buying used can be a great opportunity to grab a bargain but at the expense of some of the newer technologies.

Whether you choose new or used, you will need to ensure your racking is assessed by SEMA-approved racking inspectors. Get in touch with the team at SEE Racking Inspections today to book your consultation.

What Should You Know About Pallet Racking Installation in the Warehouse?

Pallet Racking Installation

Pallet racking systems offer organised and efficient ways to store a wide variety of goods in warehouses and distribution centres. These systems maximise storage space and streamline inventory movement and management – but their effectiveness is based on proper installation.

Correctly installing pallet racking is essential for ensuring the safety and operational efficiency of the warehouse. Inadequate or incorrect installation WILL lead to significant safety hazards and operational disruptions, which is why there needs to be such a strong emphasis on attention to detail and adherence to best practices during installation.

Types of Pallet Racking Systems

Pallet racking systems come in a variety of designs, each catering to specific storage requirements and warehouse configurations. Each of these systems has distinct advantages and can be tailored to meet the specific demands of different warehouse operations.

  • Selective pallet racking offers easy access to every pallet, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of goods. It’s particularly suited to warehouses with a high variety of stock items.
  • Drive-in racking systems are ideal for storing large quantities of uniform products and excel in maximizing space usage. They are particularly beneficial for items with longer shelf life and fewer turnover requirements.
  • Push-back racking offers both high-density storage and better selectivity, suitable for operations dealing with bulk storage and rapid stock rotation. Each new pallet pushes the previous one deeper into the racking lane, allowing for efficient use of space.
  • Cantilever racking is designed for long, heavy, or awkwardly shaped items (like timber or piping). With no front columns, it allows easier handling and is adjustable to fit varying sizes of goods.

Planning and Design Considerations of Warehouse Racking Installation

Effective planning and thoughtful layout design are vital components in pallet racking installation. This involves assessing the available warehouse space to maximize storage capacity while ensuring ease of access and movement within the facility. Remember that proper utilization of vertical space is as important as the horizontal, particularly in warehouses with limited floor space.

Accessibility is another key consideration. Racking systems should be designed to allow for the smooth operation of material handling equipment, like forklifts and pallet trucks, without compromising safety – this includes considering aisle width, turning circles, and clearance heights.

Additionally, the type of goods being stored plays a key role in the design process. Factors such as product weight, size, and turnover rate dictate the type of racking system required – for example, high-turnover items need to be easily reachable, influencing the choice of racking type and its placement within the warehouse.

Considering these factors in the planning phase (before purchase and installation) will ensure that the racking system is efficient and aligns with the operational workflow and safety needs.

Understanding Load Capacity and Distribution

Load capacity refers to the maximum weight each shelf and overall racking system can safely hold – exceeding this limit risks structural integrity, potentially leading to collapses that can endanger both personnel and goods. Understanding (and sticking to) the specified load capacities is essential for maintaining a safe warehouse environment.

To calculate load capacity, both the weight of the stored items and the distribution of this weight across the shelves must be considered. Distributing the load evenly across the shelves is critical to prevent imbalance – uneven distribution can cause excessive stress on certain parts of the racking, increasing the risk of structural failure.

Regular training for warehouse staff on understanding and respecting these load limits is the only way to ensure ongoing safety and operational efficiency.

Pallet Racking Safety Standards and Compliance

Safety standards and regulations play an integral role in guiding pallet racking installations. These standards are designed to ensure that racking systems are safe, reliable, and capable of handling specified loads with a much-reduced risk of failure. They cover various aspects, including material quality, design, installation procedures, and load capacities.

Adherence to safety and compliance standards helps prevent workplace accidents and associated liabilities – it also protects businesses from legal repercussions that might arise from non-compliance, such as fines or legal actions in the event of accidents.

Importantly, following these guidelines assures the safety of employees and the security of stored goods. It instils confidence among staff and management, knowing that their work environment meets established safety criteria and is regularly reviewed to maintain these standards.

The Pallet Racking Installation Process

The installation process of pallet racking requires precision and expertise. Initially, it involves a thorough assessment of the warehouse space to determine the optimal layout for the racking system. Following this, the ground will need to be prepared to ensure it can adequately support the total weight of the racks and stored goods.

The actual assembly begins with erecting the frames and beams according to the manufacturer’s specifications – this step must be handled with precision to ensure the structure’s stability and alignment, as even one incorrectly fitted part or loose bolt can compromise the overall structure. After the racking is in place, additional components like bracing, safety locks, and load-bearing shelves should be added.

Throughout this process, the importance of professional installation services cannot be overstated. Engaging experts means that your racking installation meets safety standards and that your kit is set up for optimal performance and longevity. Professionals bring the necessary experience and tools to handle complex installations, significantly reducing the risk of errors that could compromise safety.

Pallet Racking Maintenance and Inspections

Regular maintenance and inspections are vital for sustaining the safety and longevity of pallet racking systems. Post-installation, it is essential to routinely check the structural integrity, including examining for any damage or wear, ensuring bolts and braces are tightly secured, and verifying that load limits are clearly displayed (and respected). These inspections help in identifying any potential issues early, preventing more significant problems down the line.

Consistent maintenance extends the life of the racking system and ensures the ongoing safety of warehouse employees and the protection of stored goods – and should be considered a core aspect of responsible warehouse management.

Pallet Racking Installation: Common Mistakes to Avoid

During pallet racking installation, common mistakes to avoid include neglecting to level and secure racks properly, underestimating the importance of load capacity limits, ignoring manufacturer’s guidelines, and overlooking regular safety checks.

Additionally, failing to consider aisle space for material handling equipment can lead to operational inefficiencies and safety hazards (don’t forget that forklifts may need to pass each other, turn, or reverse out of the racking with a load).

Next Steps

The installation of pallet racking systems is an extremely important step in establishing a safe and efficient warehouse. This process involves understanding the various types of racking systems, careful planning and design, adherence to load capacity guidelines, and compliance with safety standards.

Professional installation and regular maintenance and inspections are essential to ensure the longevity and reliability of these systems – which is why you should reach out to SEE Racking Inspections. Our SEMA-approved team can help ensure that your warehouse environment is safe and legally compliant – protecting your people, stock, equipment, and business.