Pallets come in all shapes and sizes - different widths, different lengths, different heights, different construction, different materials. It would be a fair assumption that a pallet stacker should be able to lift all pallets, that’s what it was built to do, but this isn’t always the case. Many pallet stackers have their legs situated under the forks which make them incapable of lifting many pallet types - for these situations you need a straddle pallet stacker.
Pallets typically are a variation of one of two styles: Block Pallets or Stringer Pallets.
Block pallets provide four-way access to a pallet, and are designed with four to twelve column supports to hold the load off of the ground. They can be supplied with no bottom boards, bottom boards across two sides or bottom boards across all four sides.
Stringer Pallets are in either two-way access without bottom boards, or four-way access with bottom boards. The blue NZ CHEP pallets are a very commonly-used stringer pallet with bottom boards.
To know which type of pallet stacker you need, you must first know whether your pallet has bottom boards or not.
No Bottom Boards
For the sides without a bottom board, a normal pallet stacker with legs under the forks can be used. This is because when the forks raise, there are no bottom boards going underneath the legs to catch and break.
Bottom boards across sides
However, to be capable of picking up the pallet from the sides that have bottom boards, you need a straddle leg pallet stacker. The legs of the stacker fit around the outside of the pallet, “straddling” it, while the forks can freely move between the gaps over the bottom boards for lifting.
Another feature to take into consideration with your pallets is whether you need forks that have adjustable positions. Some pallets are narrower than most standard pallet stackers have their forks, so models with adjustable fork positions provide an easy way to ensure you can pick these up as well.
These are available in both straddle and straight-leg configurations depending on your pallet type.
Knowing your pallets
The type of pallet stacker you need is greatly determined by the types of pallet you work with and how you need to access and move them around.
- Straight-leg pallet stackers only capable of picking up pallets from the sides without bottom boards.
- Straddle-legs pallet stackers are capable of picking pallets up from every available side.