Push Back Pallet Racks

Push Back Pallet Racks are an ideal way to make optimal use of your warehouse without having to slow product rotation or increase handling time. With a pushback pallet racking system in place, warehouses are able to store a greater number of pallets while retaining more pick faces than lower selectivity systems, such as drive-in racking. When compared to standard selective racks, a pushback rack system can offer up to 90% more storage space. With up to a 90% storage increase you can expect the price of pushback pallet rack to increase as well. Still, many warehouse managers find that push-back racking is a worthwhile investment over time. If you’re looking for budgetary numbers or more information on push back pallet racks for your warehouse, call one of our pallet rack specialists located in Maple Grove, MN and they can offer multiple layouts and budgets for your warehouse.

push back pallet rack quote

How Push Back Racking Works

Pushback pallet rack systems are designed to store pallets on wheeled carts that rest on rails. These systems utilize the force of gravity, and so the rails are slightly tilted towards the load/unloading end of the rack. This enables forklift operators to load pallets onto the carts, as well as push them back as the next pallet is loaded. When unloading, the pallet being unloaded acts as a brake for the pallets behind. Once the pallet is removed, the pallet that was behind it will now be positioned at the pick face for unloading. If you’re interested in seeing a push back pallet rack live demonstration stop by our Minnesota location as we have an operating system in our warehouse. If you’re located out of the state of Minnesota, please call us at 800-722-5908 or send in a quick form and we can show you a rack system near you.

pushback pallet racking carts

Pushback systems are highly conducive to storing SKU’s with multiple pallets, and each lane can accommodate anywhere from two to six pallets. Push-Back systems work with all types of forklifts, including counterbalance, narrow-aisle and swing reach. Because each pallet lane operates independently, pushback pallet storage offers a more versatile pallet storage option than drive-in racking, which is best used for storing like product. In a push-back pallet rack system, fork trucks or lift trucks never actually enter the rack system, limiting the opportunity to cause damage to the racking. Watch the video below to see push back in action.

Push Back Pallet Racks Safety

    • Safe Loading 

The first pallet being loaded into a lane always goes on the highest available rack cart. The pallet should be lifted at least an inch above the footplate, and it’s important to keep the pallet level when loading and unloading. When the pallet is set, it should be centered on the cart — make sure it’s not resting on the push plate. When the push plate is no longer visible, it means the storage lane is full.

    • Safe Unloading 

The most important rule to keep in mind when using a push back system is that the forklift is the only brake when removing a pallet from the rack. As the forklift removes the front pallet from the lane, each subsequent pallet on the rack slides forward. Therefore, the forklift is acting as a brake for the remaining pallets. If the forklift pulls away too quickly, the remaining pallets could slide forward with too much momentum, which could cause them to tip or fall. The end result could span from damaged freight to, even worse, injured personnel.

    • Maintenance 

Pushback pallet rack systems require little to no maintenance, although we always recommend monthly pallet rack safety checks to ensure all of your racking is in safe condition. When performing the check, you should focus on damaged frames, loose anchors, damaged carts and anything else that appears to be out of place.

Advantages of Push Back Rack Systems:

  • Offers better use of available pallet space than most storage systems
  • Minimizes honeycombing effect compared to drive-in rack systems
  • Allows storage of more SKU’s
  • Labor Savings – forklift drivers do not have to remove blocking pallets
  • Enjoy more storage rack area with the single-aisle design
  • Easy & fast loading and unloading of pallets
  • Each lane is LIFO, but FIFO can easily be achieved with proper design
  • Large, coated wheels allow carts to roll smoothly
  • Very low-maintenance, sealed bearings
  • Customizable pallet carts, usually color-coded
  • Low profile cart stack offers max storage height
  • Forklifts never have to enter the rack, preventing rack damage


10 Things to Know about Push Back Pallet Racking:

  1. When compared to standard rack, most forklift operators believe push back is an easier system to operate. It typically takes only 4 hours to become fully acquainted with the rack system.
  2. Because forklifts never enter a pushback system, damage to uprights is minimized.
  3. Pushback aisles usually only need to be 6″ wider than the manufacturer’s minimum aisle requirement.
  4. Push back requires little to no maintenance besides standard pallet rack safety checks.
  5. Pushback is compatible with counterbalance, reach, deep reach, swing reach, and even clamp forklift trucks.
  6. 3000 pounds per pallet position is the standard design but they can be designed with a higher capacity.
  7. The most common pallet style in a push back system is the standard GMA but pushback can be manufactured for multiple styles of pallets.
  8. Typically push back will require an additional 6”-8”’s of height compared to standard selective.
  9. Pushback is often times used in combination with drive-in to maximize space.
  10. Unless noted, most push back rack systems in the US are designed with structural rack.


Frequently Asked Push Back Pallet Rack Questions:

    • How does push back pallet rack work?

Push-back pallet rack utilizes a system of nested carts that allows up to 5 pallets to be stored per pallet position.  Pallets sit atop these carts and when a pallet is loaded, the pallet positioned at the pick face is pushed backward, along with any pallets that are behind it.  The new pallet is then set on the cart that was nested below.  Likewise, when a pallet is pulled from the pick face, the pallet(s) behind it move forward one position. If you are interested in watching a live demo stop by our Maple Grove, MN warehouse or reach out to our Design Group and we’ll find one of our systems in a warehouse near you.

    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of push-back pallet rack?

The biggest advantage of push-back pallet rack is its ability to offer both selectivity (access to different pallets/SKU’s) and storage density by storing multiple pallets per position.  Because of this attribute, push-back pallet rack has steadily gained popularity in warehouses in recent decades.

    • How do I know if push-back rack is right for my warehouse?

Push-back pallet rack systems are ideal for warehouses that store a high volume of product, have a limited number of pallets per SKU, and have a high volume of turnover.  However, they are not right for every warehouse, and it is always advisable to consult a pallet rack professional to help assess your needs and make recommendations as to which system will work best for your application.

    • Is Push-Back Pallet Rack Customizable?

Customized push-back pallet rack systems are, in fact, available, making an already custom-engineered system even more individualized to unique applications.  Push-back systems can be engineered to accommodate special pallets, such as extra-long and extra-wide pallets, as well as pallets that are not strong enough to support themselves.  In the latter situation, push-back carts are outfitted with full mesh supports to create additional surface area.

Download the infographic

Push Back Pallet Rack

Related Pages: Push Back Pallet Rack InstallationPush Back Pallet Rack Design