Hardwood vs. Softwood Pallets

March 13, 2018
wooden pallets, hardwood pallets, softwood pallets, herwood

When selecting the best pallets for your business, one of the things you need to consider is whether you should choose hardwood pallets or softwood pallets. Until recently, only hardwood pallets have been used. The wooden pallet industry has been expanding its services to offer softwood options as well. The differences between the two types of wood are based primarily on their physical structure, making it unrealistic to assume softwoods are only soft and hardwoods are only hard.

To help you determine the best option for your company, here is a breakdown of the differences between the two types of pallets.


Hardwood pallets have traditionally been used because of their durability and strength. Compared to metal or plastic, they are cheaper and biodegradable making them the best economic and environmental decision. Often, hardwood pallets can be used multiple times without issue. Other benefits of using hardwood for your pallet needs could include:

  • Hardwoods come from flowering plants, such as Oak, Maple or Walnut trees,
  • Most often used in construction, high-end furniture, flooring and other projects that are designed to last,
  • Higher in density than softwoods.

Generally, hardwoods are more expensive. However, products made from hardwood last longer due to the durability from their higher density. When selecting the proper type of wooden pallet for your business, what you’re transporting is extremely important to consider. When transporting lighter materials, such as plastic or paper products, a less dense material would be more suitable. If you are transporting food grade items however, the higher the density, the less susceptible to mold and damage it will be.


Softwood pallets started growing in popularity when a shortage of hardwood began in the United States. Most manufacturers kiln dry their pallets to remove any risk of mold or fungus growth. Aside from its preferred color, other benefits of using softwood pallets could include:

  • Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, such as Pine or Spruce trees,
  • Making up 80% of all timber, you won’t need to worry about shortages,
  • Wider range of applications compared to hardwood, including windows, doors, paper and furniture for easy pallet recycling,
  • Lower in density and usually less expensive than hardwoods

Herwood Inc. is a family owned and operated business from Quebec and is one of North America’s leading wood pallet manufacturers. We urge you to get involved in our pallet recycling program to help your business stay environmentally friendly. You’re just one phone call away from being supplied with the pallets your company needs, if you’re unsure which type of pallet is appropriate for your company, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you figure it out.

Nature Packaging
National Wooden Pallet & Container Association
Herwood Inc. Palettes - Pallets 198, rue Principale nord, Windsor (Quebec) J1S 2E3
Tel: 1 800 884-4907 | Fax: 819 845-7582
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