Drive In Pallet Racking is installed in warehouses and distribution centers that need a cost effective, high density storage solution for their pallets and products. Because of its design, drive-in pallet rack is a first in, last out (FILO) storage system. Drive in racking is best used with a large quantity of like-products that are not time sensitive, in order to best utilize warehouse space. Warehouse access aisles are kept to a minimum with drive-in rack, often allowing users to achieve double or more storage capacity.

Drive in pallet rack systems can be designed to store anywhere from 2 to 10 pallets deep per pallet position. If you’re curious about how a drive in rack system can help maximize your warehouse or distribution center space, contact one of our Minnesota-based pallet rack design specialists. We’re based in Minnesota, but have shipping points located the country so you can take advantage of shipping savings.

How Drive In Pallet Racking Works

Drive In pallet rack systems store pallets that are driven into the rack system by forklift operators and loaded onto horizontal rails. Drivers then remove the pallets from the same entry point at which they were loaded when it’s time to move them. Drive in rack systems are typically placed against a wall or are otherwise closed at one end of the system. Drive Thru pallet storage systems are based on the same concept but are located in an open area so that forklifts can drive completely through the rack system.

Drive in rack storage does not come without its potential disadvantages, though. It’s not the best option in terms of selectivity or accommodating the need to rotate inventory, because all of the product in a given bay must be unloaded to reach the last pallet. The other potential downside is that, if you do not ship enough truckloads of like-product, you can get a “honeycomb” effect by not utilizing enough of the racking.

Drive-In Pallet Rack System Optional Features:

Rails, Heavy Duty Supports, Cant Leg, Set Back Leg, 2 to 10 Pallets Deep Storage

drive in rack
Drive In Racking

Advantages of Drive-In

  • Maximum pallet storage

  • Virtually unlimited depth of storage
  • Limited aisles, resulting in more efficient use of space
  • Cant-leg or set-back leg designs can help defend against forklift damage
  • Utilizes density over selectivity
  • Custom-designed for your pallets & forklifts
  • Cost-effective storage strategy

  • Can be integrated with pushback pallet rack to form a combination system
Empty drive-in system utilized for high density storage in warehouse.

Drive-Thru Pallet Rack

Also called “Drive Through Racks” this style of pallet rack features the same design as drive in pallet rack but instead of being closed off at one end, the rack system is open at both ends, allowing forklifts to drive through it. This turns what would otherwise be a LIFO pallet storage system into a FIFO rack system as the pallets flow through the system. One side of the rack system is used most often to load product while the other side can be used to unload the product.

Like drive-in pallet rack systems, the “honeycombing” effect is somewhat common among drive-thru rack systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Because drive-in pallet rack requires forklift operators to drive the forklift into the system itself, drive-in rack systems are especially prone to lift truck damage. The risks of lift truck damage can be kept in check, however, by following a few simple safety precautions.

One these safety measures is to utilize reinforced frames or cant-leg frames — or both — to offer a more protective angle and a more robust frame structure. Another popular and cost-effective option is to install column guards in order to shield frames from potential forklift collisions.

Because drive in systems are manufactured on a per-project basis, lead times typically lie in the 8 to 12 week range. The only real variable that may affect the length of a given lead time is the approval process being dictated by regulatory bodies or the customer themselves.

It is possible to reconfigure drive-in rack systems. However, there are going to be limitations, such as the adjustment of lane width.

Combinations of drive-in rack with other rack systems, particularly pushback pallet racks, are fairly common, and can provide a highly customized combination of selectivity and storage density.

Drive In Pallet Racking Safety

Safe Loading

Safe loading of all types of pallet rack systems is necessary in order to protect your personnel, your product, and your racking. With forklifts entering and exiting the rack system, the importance of being attentive to safety when loading pallets in drive-in systems can’t be overstated. Operators should enter the system slowly and deliberately, and should carefully avoid hitting the system’s upright frames. Prior to system use, it should be verified that the forklift that will be used is compatible with the rack system’s dimensions.

Safe Unloading

Safe unloading of drive-in pallet rack is similar to safe loading. Drive-in rack systems can be quite deep, and forklift operators must take great care when reversing out of the system. While speed is important in most operations, safety always takes priority, and colliding with an upright frame while underneath a system is unsafe by any measure.


Because forklift operators are driving inside the rack system itself, it’s extremely important to ensure drive-in pallet rack systems remain in stable condition. While drive-in rack systems generally require very little maintenance, it’s highly recommended to perform regular safety checks to confirm that no damage has been done that could compromise structural integrity or operator safety. When performing the check, focus on checking for damaged frames, loose anchors, and damaged pallet rails.

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