Should You Purchase New Or Used Industrial Pallet Racks?

It’s a question that we get all the time: “With pallet racks being so rugged, should we go with new or used pallet racks?” And to tell the truth, it’s a legitimate question. Here at DAK Equipment and Engineers, we carry new industrial systems for double-deep pallet racks, pallet flow racks, push-back racking, drive-in pallet racks, pallet flow racks, and more. But we also sell used pallet racks at The Used Rack Warehouse. So we know a thing or two about both used and new industrial pallet rack shelving.

Today we’re going to discuss new vs. used pallet rack systems. What are the positives and negatives of each? One thing is for sure: there’s not always a clear-cut answer. Let’s talk about it a bit more.




This is often the first aspect of new and used pallet racks that people will consider. After all, there’s always a budget involved when it comes to outfitting a warehouse. What that budget is can help determine if the warehouse will be two-thirds full of new industrial pallet racks or 100 percent full of used pallet racks. Maybe someone in the company is insistent that the warehouse only contains new racks, so buying most of them now and then filling out the warehouse later might actually make sense.

On the other hand, if a company knows they need a completely full warehouse right away and the budget can only afford used pallet racks, then the answer is obvious: go with used. Used racks can get the job done now and be upgraded later. If you need a warehouse full of racks for inventory, you can’t let the desire for new racks get in your way.

Finally, consider the depreciation of pallet racks. If you buy new racking today, you’ll be able to resell it later. If you’re the second owner of used equipment, trying to sell it to a third owner might be harder than you think.


Aesthetics can actually play a surprisingly large role in determining if a company chooses a new or used pallet rack system. Yes, old racks can get the job done, and some companies won’t care at all if there are a few superficial scratches and dents. That’s especially true if the warehouse itself has its own share of scratches and dents!

But consider a brand new warehouse for a growing company. If it has built a new, bigger warehouse, then everyone who’s coming over from the old warehouse is going to be excited. But if they put old racks in a new warehouse — with the scratches, dust, rust, and missing pieces that come with it — it’s actually going to bring them down a bit and might hurt their feelings toward the company. Sometimes a company with a strong connection to a specific color will actually make their pallet rack decisions based on that! (Finding that color in used racks might be an impossibility.) Strange as it may seem, new pallet racks can actually help with warehouse employee morale.

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to pallet rack systems. How employees feel about the industrial conveyor system or the mezzanine can also affect how they respond to a new space. And speaking of mezzanines…

The Add-Ons

If your warehouse is a warehouse in the strictest sense of the word — that it contains your “wares” and nothing else — then used pallet racks might be just what you need.

But that all changes when you want interconnected pieces such as mezzanine decks. If you need that mezzanine, the chances of you finding used pallet racking that also contains the mezzanine is very slim. And if your inventory requires both standard forklift-accessible racks and gravity-fed pick modules, it’s unlikely you’ll find used equipment that has both of these together. Getting exactly what you need can be difficult when buying used equipment.


The History

When you buy new pallet racks, you know exactly what you’re getting: pallet rack shelving that has never been used before. You know that no forklifts have ever rammed into it, and you know that the beams were never overloaded as to put them on the edge of structural collapse. You also know that they don’t contain lead paint.

When you buy used pallet racks, you can never be completely sure what you’re getting. Now we’re not saying that you shouldn’t buy used racks based on this aspect alone. But you do have to be much more careful when you’re buying industrial racks that have been used before. It’s important to ask questions: What were the racks used for? How old are they? Were they ever involved in any specific damage? If possible, get this information in writing from the seller.

Better yet, buy your used pallet racks from us. Because we’re so familiar with industrial storage racking (we offer professional preventive maintenance rack inspection services, after all), we know what to look for when it comes to used equipment. The racks we buy are carefully inspected for damage before being sold to our customers. And while it might have the expected scratches, it’s still going to be able to support its intended load.


When you find the used pallet racks you’re looking for, you can usually just pay for them and have them delivered. Basically, if you can see it on a website, it’s in stock. Typically, it’s fast and easy.

When it comes to new pallet racks, there are sometimes delays. Not everything is always kept in stock in the same quantities, mostly because a supplier like us doesn’t know if our next buyer to come along will need to fill a 10,000 square foot warehouse or one that’s 250,000 square feet.

Design Doesn’t Always Match Space

Buying used racking equipment is very much a “what you see is what you get” sort of experience. Is it meeting the facility’s height, width, and depth needs? Does it have the capacity necessary in order to meet the warehouse’s inventory needs? For many warehouses with second-hand pallet racks, there can be some leftover spaces in the warehouse that aren’t used efficiently. (Simply putting some used Stanley Vidmar cabinets in that space might make sense horizontally, but it’s not making use of the vertical space very well.)

When you buy new pallet racks, you’re able to get a much more customizable pallet rack and conveyor system. If you have an oddly shaped warehouse, customized pallet racks can be built to accommodate the strange twists and turns. If there are barriers in strange places, or doorways that were built for old storage racks that used storage racks would block, you’ll probably need a new racking system with professional warehouse design.


Like we just talked about above, used pallet racks come with their limitations. But it’s not always about the size or shape of the pallet racks… it can be about the inability to get them repaired.  

Sometimes there are new designs of pallet racks that just don’t go anywhere. You’re familiar with Legos, we’re sure. Well, there have been hundreds, if not thousands of toys that have come out over the decades claiming to be the next “Lego killer,” an interlocking toy that kids will enjoy more than Legos. And most of those toys just fade away.

It can be the same with pallet racks systems. A new design will come along and some warehouse will buy it. But when they go to sell it, the racks aren’t as useful as they once were. This is mostly due to the lack of replacement parts available, and again it comes down to “what you see is what you get…because you can’t get any more”!


With new pallet racks, you’re almost certainly going to get a warranty. If something goes wrong with a particular piece, the company you bought it from will step in and replace it for a specified amount of time. 

In most cases, you’re simply not going to get a warranty on your used pallet racks. Pallet racks are almost always sold as-is, with no warranty. Now we don’t want to let this scare you away from used pallet racks entirely, because you can save quite a bit of money and feel confident in them if they’ve been inspected by professionals. Just know that there is some risk associated with older racks and you’ll have to foot the bill to get them repaired.



It’s important to know that codes are always changing at every level, including city, country, state, and federal. Sometimes an old pallet rack system will be perfectly fine under these codes, and sometimes they might satisfy the legalities of one level while violating another.  

Our used pallet rack company serves 10 states, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Tennessee. If you have questions about whether a particular type of used pallet rack will work in your area, talk to us and we can help you decide if it will satisfy codes wherever you are.

Either Way, Get Inspections

Here’s the important thing to remember when it comes to your industrial pallet racks: get them inspected. Even the best used equipment that’s been pre-inspected for faults can have problems show up over time, and any racking system (new or used) can get damaged by forklifts without you knowing it.

Having racks inspected periodically by a professional helps your business in so many ways. It can catch small problems before they become catastrophic problems, protecting your inventory and, more importantly, your employees. No matter whether you buy new or used, make sure to have them inspected by a professional to make sure they’re still solid.

Should You Choose New Or Used?

As you can see, there are advantages to either option when it comes to purchasing either new or used pallet rack systems. We can’t tell you which to buy, but once you find out what your budget is, the answer might become more obvious. If your budget allows, buying new pallet rack shelving is probably your better option. While it might cost a little more at first, the customization and warranty that comes with it will give you peace of mind.

On the other hand, if you choose used pallet racks, a lot of it comes down what’s going to be available at the time you need it. Start shopping early; if you find the perfect batch of used pallet racking, it’s best to buy now and store it rather than lose it to a competitor. With steel prices up, used equipment is looking more and more enticing to companies trying to save some money.

Let’s Get Started!

When you work with Dak Equipment and Engineering, you’ve got someone who knows every aspect of the industry. We can help you choose everything from the racks to your conveyor system, and all the while we’ll keep your warehouse safer as well.

When you’re ready to get the best in either or used pallet racks, work with the experts. Get the process started by calling DAK today!





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