The Difference Between Teardrop and Interlake New Style Pallet Rack

There is a lot of familiarity in many industries including the material handling industry. While sometimes helpful, it can lead to some confusion. For example, have you ever heard of old style teardrop racks and new style teardrop racks? Both are indeed pallet rack, but that is where most of the similarities end.

The Hole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

What’s the difference between the Interlake “new style” and “old style” pallet rack? This question is raised every few years, so now is a good time inform those new to material handling and provide a refresher for those of you who may have forgotten.

“Old style” teardrop is just your common teardrop racking. The term teardrop refers to the openings (slots) that connect the beams of the rack to the upright frame. The shape of those openings resemble a teardrop (roundish at the top, then tapers down to hold the connector pin in place). A round-shaped pin inserts into the teardrop.

On the other hand, new style rack is not teardrop rack. Some in the industry maybe get a little lazy in using the terminology; but the new style has an entirely different connecting system. It has a different shape connector used to attach beams and posts together.

That opening (or slot) looks more rectangular at the top and also tapers downward. A new style pin is more oblong than round to accommodate the new style opening. A new style beam is compatible with the teardrop frame but the opposite is not true.

Teardrop frame (old style, traditional) and an Interlake New Style frames side by side
A traditional teardrop style pallet rack frame (L) and an Interlake New Style pallet rack frame (R).

Which is better?

Both the teardrop and new style racks perform well. Both offer the ability to assemble racks and hold products. The two types use the same materials possessing comparable strength. It would be hard to argue one is better than the other.

However, key differences are compatibility and availability (teardrop wins both!).

It is possible the new style racking is still being manufactured but not by any major material handling company. In many ways, the new style pallet racking went the way of Betamax VCR tapes (if you’re old enough to remember videos before online streaming or even DVDs). It is not that new style racks were inferior to teardrop racks—customers chose teardrop more frequently so manufacturers built what the market wanted.

Buyer beware

There is still plenty of new style racking available in the marketplace and is sold by companies specializing in pre-owned equipment. If you are in the market to purchase racking and want to go the pre-owned route, you should be careful.


Teardrop and new style racking are not totally compatible. We explained the differences between the two rack styles above. The shape of the teardrop pin will not fit the narrower, oblong-shaped opening of the new style racks. On the other hand, you can use a new style beam with a traditional teardrop frame.

Can you use teardrop frames with new style beams?…….YES

Can you use new style frames with teardrop beams………NO

Therefore, it is important to know the type of racking you currently own along with the style being considered before investing in the pre-owned racking. You could of course attempt to fit the proverbial round pin in a square (or in this case, rectangular) opening.

We do not recommend this as that method tends to create more problems than it solves. Some companies also offer adapters allowing one to fit the other, but not all adapters are created equal.

This may be something to consider if time allows, but again, it is better to use all of the same kind of product than attempting to save a buck in the hopes this type of solution works.

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Please fill out the form below and we will usually respond to your inquiry on the same business day.

  • Please fill out the form below and we will usually respond to your inquiry on the same business day.