What are pallets?
Pallets (also known as crates) are used to help transport goods around the country. They do this by providing a solid base on which to place and secure the goods, keeping from the sustaining damage. Also, they provide a solid base to both stack and move goods using a forklift truck.
Traditionally pallets have been made of wood, but in recent years with the increase of developments in plastics, they have been made out of this material.
The advantages of timber pallets
If you choose wood, here's what advantages it gives you:
Cost: Timber pallets made from common and easily available wood can be very cheaply manufactured, which means that can be cheaper to buy, compared to plastics which require a more sophisticated manufacturing process.
Easier to find: If you want to own the pallets yourself then wooden pallets are very easily sourced from most builders' merchants or hardware stores. Custom plastic pallets are much more specialized and not so readily available to buy.
In fact, with timber crates, you could even make them yourself.
Easier to fix: Pallets can have quite a hard life, so often get damaged. However, with wooden pallets, you can often easily fix them yourself by simply replacing sections of wood or nails.
Strength: Wood can be very good at taking very heavy weights, which might place too much stress on some plastic crates.
Disadvantages of wooden pallets
Lifespan: Even though wood is quite strong, they will become damaged and wear out relatively quickly. Although they are easy to buy and fix, this can become costly if you need a lot of pallets and you use them constantly.
Storage: Wood can be damaged by water, so if you wanted to keep your wooden crates in top condition then you would have to keep them dry; otherwise they will become damaged even quicker.
Environmental issues: Because wood is a natural resource, and wood pallets have a short lifespan, they use a lot more raw material.
As you can see, wood can make a good choice for short term or smaller businesses. They are cheap and easy enough to repair. However, the bigger your business the more problems and higher costs wood will give you due to their short lifespan.