Shipping industrial equipment or machinery requires plenty of detailed preparation. And a lot of that preparation is directed towards carefully selecting the right packaging method and material to ensure that even such a heavy load gets to its destination in one piece and without any damage at all.

Wood materials are often chosen for shipping industrial equipment because not only is wood sturdy and able to bear a lot of weight, it is also affordable and easily customized to fit any size. Some wood packaging is also designed to be reused over and over again, which makes them an economical choice for businesses that transport equipment frequently.

Currently, there are two types of common wood packaging options you can choose from: pallets and crates. 

The Difference Between Pallets and Crates

While both are made of wood and are sometimes used interchangeably by people, there are distinct differences between these two. 

Pallets are the most popular method of shipping freight. They’re flat and horizontal structures made to support shipping goods. Some sport top and bottom boards, while others only have a single one (also called skids). These wooden platforms feature notches allowing easy access to forklift tines and pallet jacks. 

Crates, meanwhile, are essentially wood boxes that offer more protection for items than pallets do. Some are called closed or sheathed crates, because the product inside is completely enclosed from wind, air, or water. Others are called open crates because either a side is missing (usually the top), or there are gaps between the boards that make up the box. 

Pallets vs. Crates

The choice of whether to go with a pallet or a crate depends on the type of freight you are shipping. For example, if you are shipping in bulk and frequently, pallets are more ideal because these can be easily loaded, unloaded, and moved, especially when transloading. Crates are better when you need to transport valuables or fragile items. 

Below is a more detailed list of the characteristics of each.


  • More mobile
  • Able to carry up to 1000 kg. of weight
  • Convenient for racking
  • The skid-type pallet is easy to drag
  • Lighter in weight and easier to transport
  • Can be reused many times
  • Takes up less space
  • Requires less manual handling
  • Is usually available in a standardized size


  • For storing items for extended periods
  • Excellent at protecting fragile products
  • Can hold a large volume of goods
  • Is a very stable platform
  • The support structure built inside makes it ideal for stacking

Which one is right for you?

Our shipping specialists will help you choose the right wooden packaging option for your needs. You can browse our selection of wooden shipping materials here or call us at (303) 660-0084 for a quote on a custom order.