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Guide to GMA Pallets | Pallet Consultants

Guide to GMA Pallets | Pallet Consultants

Insider  |  Pallet Management  |  Business Tips

GMA pallets are the most popular pallet in the North American market. Let's learn more about this ubiquitous package.

The acronym GMA stands for The Grocery Manufacturers Association. Although the organization has been renamed the Consumer Brands Association, it once established a set of standard guidelines for all food industry transportation, including pallets. This pallet standard GMA recommended became so commonplace it is now the de facto "standard" pallet in the United States. To learn more about GMA pallets and the many applications they are used for, start a conversation with us. The GMA pallet:

  • Measures 48 x 40
  • Comes in new,  recycled, hardwood and softwood varieties
  • Can be stringer or block
  • Are always four-way
  • Weighs approximately 35-45 lbs.
  • Can hold up to 4,600 lbs. depending on design

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Today, "GMA pallet" describes a broad range of pallet designs, as long as they measure 48 x 40. They can be made of hard or soft wood, have blocks or stringers, have different deckboard arrangements and more. Over 40% of pallets made in the U.S. are GMA. They're are also popular in global supply chains and are recognized as a standard size by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization).


Historically, GMA pallets had to be made from hardwood, have a certain kinds of deckboards, use only stringers and other specific design features. As 48 x 40s became more popular, these standards laxed and now only the overall length and width measurements determine what is a GMA pallet. 


Inventory Storage-1An inventory of stringer GMA pallets.


GMA Pallet Grades

New GMA pallets are high-quality, have guaranteed performance and do not have any signs of wear. Recycled pallets, or ones that have been previously repaired, are classified by a quality grade. This grading is based on the number of repairs the pallet has received.


In very general terms, most pallets are put into either "A" or "B" grades. However, this naming scheme and the characteristics for each grade are not universal, and differs between pallet manufacturers. For example, Pallet Consultants has eight grades of recycled GMA pallets with detailed descriptions, so our clients always know exactly what they get. Other companies will have different ways to grade, and may also use different naming conventions than we do.


“A” grade GMA pallets have no stringer damage. The deck board configuration is typically 7 top and 5 bottom boards with specific lead board sizes.


“B” Grade GMA pallets have damaged stringers repaired with a corrugated metal plate and/or attaching a companion stringer (plug/runner) alongside the damaged one. The standard “B” Grade reconditioned pallet generally has multiple stringer repairs. The deck board configuration is not always consistent since the pallet has been repaired several times.


 Wooden Pallets | Pallet Consultants


GMA pallets used to be a very specific type of pallet, but now refer to a general family of pallets that are all the same length and width, 48 x 40. Within this family, pallets can be made of different materials or have different features or construction options. To find the specific GMA pallet that best suites your needs, pallet types and grades must be compared to your application. For help with this process, contact our team of pallet experts and we can recommend a pallet solution for your manufacturing or distribution operation.

Pallet Consultants is a national pallet manufacturer offering a wide variety of pallet products including recycled pallets, specialty pallets, custom-sized pallets, new pallets and more. We provide quality pallets and pallet retrieval services to industries around the country. Start a conversation with our expert team to see how we can meet the pallet needs of your operation.