How to Measure Pallet Rack

Our March blog post discussed what to measure when configuring pallet rack. We heard from many of you telling us that was great information. However, we also heard from others who said, “That was helpful, but I’m just adding on to my existing racks. What do I need to know to match the standard pallet rack dimensions of what I have? What measurements do I need to have in order to call and order more?” Getting that fit between new and existing rack is important

So let’s get more basic.

Here is what you need to measure:

Before starting, it’s important to understand a little about the racks you have. The majority of all rack systems manufactured have a design intended for the storage of standard (traditional) items. These designs define standard pallet rack dimensions. Pallets on your racks typically are standard sizes (40″ x 48″, 48″ x 48″, 48 “x 42″, or 40″ x 40”). The same is true for boxes, cartons and bins. All build upon standard dimensions to ensure maximum storage capacity. Is this an accurate description of your existing racks? If not, you likely have a custom-designed rack.

Standard (selective) racking has incremental beam dimensions of one-foot lengths. Beam lengths for standard racking tend to start in four-foot lengths and increase from there. Custom rack lengths may have dimensions greater than one foot.

With this in mind, let’s start measuring.

Crossbeam measurement

Beam length: There is a right way and wrong way to measure crossbeams. The correct method to measure a crossbeam is starting at the inside of one upright frame and measuring its length to the inside of the opposite upright frame. The typical beam length for standard racks ranges between 4′ and 9′.

Measuring beam length.

Beam face: Next, measure the face of the crossbeam. Do this by measuring the front of the beam from its top to the beam’s bottom. Why is this important? The face measurement provides you with an indication of how much weight the beam can support. A large beam face supports heavier loads while a small beam face supports less.

Measuring beam face.

Upright frame measurement

Frame depth: Your ‘frames’, ‘uprights’ or ‘upright frames’ require several different measurements. The first measures the depth of the rack. While other measurements begin on the inside dimension, you will need to measure the outside dimensions for this one. Measure the depth from one outside edge of the frame to the other (outside) edge. The dimension on a standard rack upright frame should be between 36″ and 48″.

Measuring frame depth.

Frame column: You need to measure the dimensions of the upright frame ‘column’ also. Do this by measuring the very front of the frame column and then the side view of the frame. The two measurements may provide you with the same dimension (i.e. front dimension may be two inches and the side two inches), or one dimension may be larger than the other. This measurement is similar to measuring the face of the crossbeam. It is an indicator of weight capacity.

Measuring the column – measure both the front and the side.

Frame height: The frame height measurement is the distance between the bottom of the upright frame to the very top of the frame. Start at the bottom of the frame column, right above the baseplate and measure to the top, or end of one frame column.

Measuring frame height – start from the bottom of the frame, right above the base plate – all the way to the top of the frame.

Wire decking measurements

Measuring wire decking is easier once you measure your rack’s depth. Both measurements should be the same. So, if you measure using the front of the crossbeam the back of the rack, the wire decking should have the same dimension (waterfall portion of decking not included). All that is left is measuring the width of the decking and that is simply measuring its width from end to end.

Basic measurements to match new racks with existing are not difficult. However, time, not difficulty, frequently creates issues. If you are considering additional racks, contact a professional. They can measure existing racks, recommend options you may not have considered and handle the installation.


Eric Friedman
August 10, 2021

do any racks come in depths of 24 inches?

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Paul Parisi
August 11, 2021

Hey Eric! Yes, they do. Please give Corbin a call @ 732-245-7595 and he’ll assist with finding racks for your needs. He can tell you whether or not we have anything 24″ in stock. Thanks.

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