JIT Toyota-Lift Blog

Warehouse Racking Systems – Simplifying the Options

  • February 8, 2019
  • Joyce Schwob

Warehouse Racking might seem quite simple to a casual observer… especially when it works. However, racking choices are complicated. New and better racking solutions are always being developed. There are already multiple types of racking for various applications.  Here are some of the most popular options:

Selective Racking

When most people think of racking, this is probably what they think of. It’s the most common type of racking. It gets its name from letting you be selective. It’s only one pallet deep so you can select any pallet at any time.

Ideal For:

Selective Racking is great if you have lots of different products, and they are always within reach.  However, if you only have 1 or 2 products to store in an area,  you’ll miss out on the ability to go multiple pallets deep. You’ll need more aisles as a result and sacrifice precious warehouse space.


Push Back Racking

Push Back Racking is different than Selective Racking because materials are stored multiple pallets deep. This is accomplished by pushing pallets already in the rack backwards via a cart system. A pallet is set on the exposed cart at the front of the rack and the next pallet is used to push it backwards. The racking is normally at an angle down towards the entry point so the remaining full carts move towards the load point when a pallet is removed. Pallets can be stored up to 6 deep.

Ideal For:

Push Back Racking is great for deep storage of multiple pallets of the same item. This depth eliminates the need for multiple aisles and saves space.


Drive-In Racking & Drive-Through Racking / Drive-Thru Racking

Drive-In Racking is similar to Push Back Racking but it relies on the forklift physically moving through the rack to place the pallets multiple levels deep. Instead of relying on a decline and wheels to move the pallet to a reachable position, the truck moves inside the racking itself to remove it.

Drive-Through or “Drive-Thru” Racking has both sides of the racking open, allowing forklifts access from both sides. This is great for First In First Out (FIFO) needs for perishable products. Items can enter the racking on one side and be removed from the other.

Note: It is essential to check with your forklift provider before choosing this racking. Standard forklift overhead guards typically will not fit.  Forklifts need to be fitted with a special “drive in overhead guard”  ensuring clearance with a smaller frame.

Ideal For:

Both Drive-In and Drive-Through Racking are great for deep storage of multiple pallets of the same item. This depth eliminates the need for multiple aisles and saves space.


Pallet flow racking

Pallet Flow Racking allows pallet entry on one side of the racking system and exit on the other side. It relies on sloped rails and a controlled wheel system to reach the other side. Pallet Flow Racking is often very large and a more complex and costly system than some of the others, but for the right application it can save plenty in the long run. Some solutions can fit 20 pallets in the same row.

Ideal For:

Pallet Flow is great for First In First Out (FIFO) storage. It’s also great for high density storage with incredible depth.


Cantilever Racking

Cantilever Racking is perfect for long items.  The arms accept and support long loads.

Ideal For:

Cantilever Racking is great for bars, pipes, tubing, lumber, metal sheets, rods, shafts, drywall, plywood, and other long storage items.