Common Types of Racking In




Common Types of Racking In Warehouse

Common Types of Racking In Warehouse

Mar 22, 2024

Find racking system in warehouse may be a challenge with a view to pre-built facilities and business objectives. But the following information may shed certain clarity on the choice of the suitable warehouse racking system.

Understanding Warehouse Racking Systems:

Warehouse racking systems are the backbone of efficient storage and order fulfillment. They optimize space utilization, improve accessibility to goods, and ensure inventory safety. Choosing the ideal system depends on several factors, including:

  • Inventory Type: The weight, size, and palletization of your products will significantly influence the racking selection.
  • Storage Capacity Needs: How much inventory do you need to store? High-density systems maximize space but may limit accessibility.
  • Inventory Movement: Do you have high pick rates or require easy access to all items? FIFO (First-In-First-Out) or LIFO (Last-In-First-Out) inventory flow might be a deciding factor.
  • Warehouse Layout and Space: The size and configuration of your warehouse will dictate aisle width requirements and overall racking layout.
  • Budget: Costs vary depending on the complexity and material of the racking system.

Common Racking Systems and Their Applications:

1.     Selective Pallet Racking (SPR):

  • Description: The most versatile and widely used system. It features upright frames with adjustable beams, creating individual bays for pallets. Each pallet is directly accessible from the aisle for easy loading and unloading with forklifts.
  • Applications: Ideal for warehouses with a diverse inventory and high picking activity. Well-suited for storing various palletized goods, from electronics to food items.
  • Pros: Highly flexible, easy to adjust and expand, provides direct access to all pallets.
  • Cons: Requires wider aisles compared to high-density options.

2.     Double-Deep Pallet Racking:

  • Description: A space-saving variation of SPR. It allows storing two pallets deep per bay with an extra set of beams in the front. Accessing the rear pallet requires a forklift with a telescoping fork.
  • Applications: Suitable for warehouses with limited space and high volumes of identical or slow-moving items.
  • Pros: Optimizes storage capacity compared to SPR, reduces aisle requirements.
  • Cons: Reduced accessibility to rear pallets, requires specialized forklifts.

3.     Drive-In/Drive-Thru Racking:

  • Description: High-density storage systems designed for maximum capacity. They utilize upright frames with beams creating lanes where forklifts can enter to deposit and retrieve pallets.
  • Drive-In Racking: LIFO (Last-In, First-Out) system - the last loaded pallet is retrieved first. Suitable for warehouses with a limited variety of high-volume, non-perishable goods.
  • Drive-Thru Racking: Similar to drive-in, but with an access aisle on both sides, enabling FIFO (First-In, First-Out) inventory flow. Ideal for storing perishable goods or items with expiration dates.
  • Pros: Maximizes storage capacity, eliminates wasted aisle space.
  • Cons: Limited access to individual pallets, requires specialized forklifts, safety concerns during forklift operation within the racking structure.

4.     Pallet Flow Racking:

  • Description: A gravity-fed system using rollers on slightly inclined shelves. Pallets are loaded at the high end and roll down by themselves towards the picking aisle at the lower end.
  • Applications: Ideal for warehouses with high-volume order picking operations and FIFO inventory flow. Efficient for frequently picked items.
  • Pros: Provides fast and efficient order picking, minimizes forklift usage in picking aisles.
  • Cons: Limited product type compatibility (works best with uniform, stable pallets), requires a sloped warehouse floor.

5.     Push-Back Racking:

  • Description: A high-density storage system with carts on rails with a slight slope. Pallets are loaded onto the carts at the front, pushing existing pallets back as new ones are added (LIFO flow).
  • Applications: Suitable for warehouses with a limited variety of slow-moving or seasonal items.
  • Pros: Maximizes storage capacity in a smaller footprint compared to SPR.
  • Cons: Limited access to individual pallets, not ideal for frequently picked items.

6.     Cantilever Racking:

  • Description: Designed for storing long, bulky, or oddly shaped items that cannot be palletized. It consists of upright columns with arms extending horizontally on one or both sides.
  • Applications: Ideal for warehouses storing lumber, pipes, furniture, or appliances.
  • Pros: Provides efficient storage for non-palletized items, improves space utilization for long goods.
  • Cons: Not suitable for palletized goods, limited accessibility compared to SPR for some items.


Generally, different racking types accommodate the different storage requirements. For palletized goods with variety, selective racking offers versatility. High-density systems like drive-in racking maximize space for similar, non-perishable items, but with trade-offs in accessibility.

Considering storage needs and pick frequency, push-back racking is ideal for maximizing space with slow-moving inventory, while pallet flow racking benefits high-volume picking with FIFO flow. The best system aligns with your needs, balancing storage density, accessibility, and efficient product flow.

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