So, you're thinking of buying some used pallet rack it sounds like a deal that is too good to pass up. What are some signs the rack you're being sold is really better fit for the garbage bin than your warehouse? 

1. Visible Damage

If the used pallet rack is visibly damaged, it's been structurally compromised. Visible damage includes everything from dents, to a significant amount of rust or even cuts.

Bent pallet rack beam (this dented beam was hit by a forklift)

While these beams aren't dented, there is rust around the connectors. The connectors on a beam are arguably one of the most important places that a beam needs to be structurally sound as they are the only link between the beam and the upright. 

Rusty pallet rack beams

The beams below were cut. Right in the middle of the beam. If a rusty connector is bad, a cut right in the middle of the beam is probably worse. The cut is going to make the beam want to snap in half right where the pressure is likely to be the greatest. 

Pallet rack beam with a cut

2. No Safety Clips

Beams didn't come with safety clips. 

3. No Documentation

Another bad sign is when a dealer can't tell you where the material you're looking at came from. Poor records typically means poor processes elsewhere such as quality control. 

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4. Bent Uprights

Take a look down the long part of the uprights you're being sold. Do they wave and bend? That's not the best, especially if you consider the sheer downward force they're going to have to hold when you load them up with a dozen pallets that each weigh 2,000 lbs.

Damaged pallet rack upright

Wavy or bent uprights can happen for numerous reasons. Maybe the rack was hit by a forklift in it's previous life. Or it could have just sat outside for too long. Uprights stored outside will not only rust, but they will warp as you stack more and more rack on top of them. 

5. Variations in Color 

Do the beams you're considering look terrible? How do you know if they are just dirty or sunbleached? Sunbleached beams have been stored outside for a while.

Sun damage is not just a question of aesthetics. When beams are stored outside they can rust from the inside out, so you won't know there is something wrong until you install them and they snap in half or water / rust pours out the side.

Sunbleached pallet rack beam


6. No Return Policy

Does the dealer require all sales to be final? What good retailer doesn't stand behind their product? If the material is in good shape and they've been transparent about what they're selling, why not offer the ability to return what you don't need? Could they be hiding the quality of their product or selling you a line that isn't true?

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7. Paint Flakes

Powdercoat paint doesn't flake off.  If the paint is flaking off, it is likely that someone already modified the rack by painting over the original powdercoat finish with something cheaper. What other modifications might they have done that you don't know about? Did they take other shortcuts when they were working the used pallet rack? 


Some people won't care what their used pallet rack looks like. Others want something akin to new rack without the price. But, everyone wants to add safe, reliable storage. So, even if you don't mind a bit of rust or a bad paint job keep these signs in mind to ensure you don't spend a lot of money only to have your system collapse because you were sold garbage that should have been thrown away.

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