Five types of pallet racking systems to optimise your warehouse

Unless you’re preparing a presentation on this topic (in which case, best of luck!), understanding the difference between the most common types of pallet racking systems will allow you to figure out which one is best suited for your warehouse.

Obviously, each type comes with its pros and cons. The most important thing is finding one that matches both your needs and the layout of your premises.

Selective or adjustable pallet racking (APR)

We wouldn’t be surprised if this were what you pictured when you first thought of pallet racking. In fact, selective racking systems are still the most popular and versatile.

They consist of simple metal shelving designed to store pallets and, especially, to reach them with forklifts.

The most common type is wide aisle adjustable pallet racking: you can place each of these racks immediately behind another one, increasing storage capacity up to 40%.

Narrow or very narrow aisle pallet racking

As the name suggests, these types of pallet racking systems compromise on the aisle width between racks to fit more of them in busy warehouses where horizontal space isn’t a luxury. 

Basically, narrow aisle racking gives you increased capacity and reduces the storage cost per pallet in tall but not very wide warehouses.

Drive-in or drive-through pallet racking

These types of pallet racking systems maximise the integration with forklifts and other mechanical devices. 

Instead of a traditional horizontal shelving system, they consist of open surfaces with rails on the sides, onto which the pallets rest. 

Because they can easily be pushed to the rear of the rack, this extremely high-density option is best suited for warehouses relying on a last-in-first-out approach or with multiple pallets containing the same products.

Dynamic types of pallet racking systems

These ergonomic types of pallet racking systems can better adapt to the specific situation and needs of a fast-paced working environment that relies on frequent restocking… or help you reorganise your existing layout even if you thought you couldn’t possibly fit in anything else!

There are various types of dynamic pallet racks:

Push-back pallet racking

Relying on a gravity-based system, this pallet racking features carts on inclined steel tracks, pushed back into them by forklifts. When a pallet is retrieved, gravity pushes the next one down.

Optimising both cubic and floor space, this system allows you to store the pallets in blocks of two to six.

Pallet-live system

This is one of the best solutions for warehouses that rely on a first-in-first-out system and stock rotation, such as in the food and beverage industry.

It consists of lanes of sloping rollers with individual brakes in specific positions: the pallets are loaded at one end, allowed to roll forward by relying on gravity, and retrieved on the other end of the lane when needed.

With separate loading and picking areas, pallet-live racking can further improve warehouse productivity and ensure efficient stock control.

Mobile pallet racking

One of the highest-density types of pallet racking systems, this solution involves standard racking but mounted on electronically controlled mobile bases. 

After being loaded, the aisles can be condensed by being moved left to right, leaving only one aisle open and no room in between the others.

This is the most space-saving solution and particularly helpful for products that require very specific storage conditions such as temperature-controlled air, where every cubic metre matters.

Shuttle pallet racking

This system is designed for high concentrations of the same pallet type similar to the pushback or drive-in solutions.

It consists of lanes of pallets stored along rails but are moved in and out of their position by an automated shuttle. The operator would locate the pallet at the end of the designated lane and the shuttle will feed the pallet next to the empty position. If pallets need to be recovered the shuttle would be placed into the lane and using a remote controller the shuttle will bring the pallets to the unload point. 

Multi-tier pallet racking

Mainly designed for tall premises with a fairly limited floor area, multi-tier pallet racking systems allow you to make the most of what would be unused vertical space by creating several levels of aisles. 

This pallet racking solution usually involves stairs and maximises picking operations, but it can still be incorporated with mechanical devices. Either way, it’s particularly suitable for warehouses with several stock-keeping units.

Regardless of your industry and the size of your premises, the right type of pallet racking system for you is the one that allows you to streamline your warehouse operations and increase productivity while maximising capacity.

Since we offer every single one of them, at Raxel, we can design the perfect pallet racking system for your specific premises. Let’s take you one step closer to a hassle-free warehouse with increased capacity: give us a call on 01476 569392 or contact us at