In our modern world, there is a large need to have materials shipped from one location to another. Sometimes, these loads are small and managed by a simple cargo vehicle, and other times the load may require a much larger vehicle. It is important to understand the load capacity of different vehicles, especially when it comes to the number of pallets they can hold.
To find how many pallets can fit in a truck, divide the cargo area length by 2, and round down to the nearest even number. Standard-sized pallets are 48″ inches long by 40″ inches wide, and 2 can sit side by side inside a 96″ wide truck.
Here is what you should know about getting the most out of the space in your truck or trailer when moving pallets.
Dimensions of Box Trucks & Number of Pallets
Trucks come in a wide variety of sizes. Before examining pallets and how to best load a vehicle, it is key to understand the different dimensions of each of these trucks. Trucks tend to remain between 16 and 24 feet. A 16-foot truck can carry 8 pallets, and a 24-foot truck can carry up to 12.
Some trucks are 26 feet long, but you won’t be able to fit 13 pallets into them because the pallets are 4 feet long one way and 40 inches the other way. So, when it comes to pallets, the only thing that a 26-foot truck has over a 24-foot truck is that there’s more room between the pallets, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s just 2 extra feet of the truck to maneuver and leaves room for items on pallets to fall.
|Box Truck Size||Dimensions- Feet||Dimensions- Inches||Pallets (48” x 40”)|
|Pick Up Truck||7’10” x 5’2||94″ x 62″||2 Pallets|
|Cargo Van||9’6″ x 5’7″||114″ x 67″||2 Pallets|
|10 Foot Box Truck (U-Haul)||9’11” x 6’4″||119″ x 76″||2 Pallets|
|12 Foot Box Truck (Penske)||12′ x 6’6″||144” x 78″||3 Pallets|
|15 Foot Box Truck (U-Haul)||15′ x 7’8||180′ x 92″||6 Pallets|
|16 Foot Box Truck (Penske)||16′ x 7’7″||192″ x 91″||8 Pallets|
|17 Foot Box Truck (U-Haul)||16’9″ x 7’8″||201″ x 92″||8 Pallets|
|20 Foot Box Truck (U-Haul)||19’5″ x 7’8||233 x 92″||8 Pallets|
|22 Foot Box Truck (Penske)||21’11” x 8’1″||263″ x 97″||12 Pallets|
|24 Foot Box Truck (Enterprise)||26′ x 8’5″||312 x 101″||12 Pallets|
|26 Foot Box Truck (Penske)||25’11” x 8’1″||311 x 97″||12 Pallets|
Dimensions of Trailers & Number of Pallets
Trailers tend to be available in smaller cargo trailers and semi-trailer trucks, ranging between 8 feet to 53 feet long. An 8-foot trailer can hold 2 pallets, and a 53-foot trailer can carry up to 26.
This is a good time to point out why you can’t divide by 2 to find the number of pallets that will fit in the truck or trailer. Each pallet is 4 feet long, so the bed will have to be a multiple of 4 if you want to maximize the space. If it’s not a multiple of 4, then some of the space in the bed will go unused, as you won’t be able to fit another pallet in that extra space.
It’s true that some pallets are narrower than others, but most are at least 40 inches wide, which is more than 3 feet of space, so even having an extra 3 feet won’t give you space for another pallet.
Enclosed Cargo Trailer
|Enclosed Cargo Trailer||Dimensions – Inches||Pallets (48” x 40”)|
|4 x 8″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer (U-Haul)||97″ x 49″||2 Pallets|
|5 x 8″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer (U-Haul)||96″ x 56″||2 Pallets|
|6 x 12″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer (U-Haul)||139″ x 72″||2 Pallets|
|7 x 14″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||168” x 80″||6 Pallets|
|7 x 16″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||192” x 80″||8 Pallets|
|8.5 x 14″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||168” x 102″||8 Pallets|
|8.5 x 16″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||192” x 102″||8 Pallets|
|8.5 x 18″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||216” x 102″||10 Pallets|
|8.5 x 20″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||240” x 102″||12 Pallets|
|8.5 x 22″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||264” x 102″||12 Pallets|
|8.5 x 24″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||288” x 102″||14 Pallets|
|8.5 x 26″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||312” x 102″||14 Pallets|
|8.5 x 28″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||336” x 102″||16 Pallets|
|8.5 x 32″ Enclosed Cargo Trailer||384” x 102″||18 Pallets|
Dry Van Semi Trailer
|Dry Van Semi Trailer||Dimensions – Inches||Pallets (48” x 40”)|
|28′ Semi Trailer (Dry Van)||336” x 102″||16 Pallets|
|35′ Semi Trailer (Dry Van)||420” x 102″||20 Pallets|
|45′ Semi Trailer (Dry Van)||540” x 102″||26 Pallets|
|46′ Semi Trailer (Dry Van)||552” x 102″||26 Pallets|
|48′ Semi Trailer (Dry Van)||576” x 102″||28 Pallets|
|49′ Semi Trailer (Dry Van)||588” x 102″||28 Pallets|
|53′ Semi Trailer (Dry Van)||636” x 102″||30 Pallets|
Regulations and Exceptions
There are national regulations that limit the width of a truck or trailer to 8.5 feet wide and 13.5 feet tall, so there won’t be many variations in that vein. That’s good because it means we can calculate pallets purely with the length of the truck and not have to worry about other variables.
In some areas of the country, states have different guidelines and regulations. For example, in Texas, trucks can be 59 feet long. That is 6 feet longer than the national standard of 53. However, those extra 6 feet will only give you space for another 2 pallets. A 59-foot trailer can fit 28 pallets, with 3 feet of unused space.
Other states require that trucks or trailers be smaller and remain around 48 feet long, which gives room for 24 pallets. Drivers should be aware of the laws of the state they are driving through. National regulations apply and are enforced on inter-state roads. Loads that do not match or follow the national limit should avoid driving on inter-state roads to avoid legal issues.
There are a few exceptions to these regulations. These exceptions are called oversized loads and require much more work to be done by the driver and the company. It doesn’t change the formula for calculating the number of pallets you can carry unless the width of the truck changes.
Any vehicle that is outside of those regulated sizes needs to be labeled an oversized load and the driver needs to have the proper license and permit to drive it. They also must be more aware of the road and cars around them, as the load can cross over lane markers or make turning much more difficult.
Depending on the height of the cargo on the pallets, you may be able to double the number of pallets your truck or trailer can carry by stacking them. You would need to be careful about it, using proper loading techniques and straps to secure the stacks, and you usually shouldn’t stack them more than two high, but this could be a great way to maximize your space.
The first thing to keep in mind when you want to stack pallets is that you should only stack pallets of the same type. Try to use pallets of similar design, and make sure that they’re the same size. The standard pallet is 40 inches by 48 inches, but that doesn’t mean every pallet is like that. Don’t stack a standard pallet on top of a 48″ by 48″ pallet and vice versa.
Second, you’re going to want to secure the pallets with good straps. The first stack of pallets into the truck should have two straps. All of the ones in the middle should have at least one strap, and the last should have two.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the weight limit of the truck or trailer. If you want to fill it to capacity, you’re going to need to know the weight limit and keep the load under that. Each truck or trailer has a certain weight capacity, and it’s unsafe to put more weight on it than it can handle.
So, keep careful track of the weight of your cargo and make sure that it doesn’t exceed the weight limit.