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Pallet Rack Wire Decking: Calculating Gauges and Capacity

Wire gauge is a crucial element in wire pallet rack deck design and is also one of the first places manufacturers look to when needing to cut costs, meaning it’s one of the first places you should look when comparing decking for your pallet rack project. Lower cost is great, but only if you’re getting the capacity and durability you need.

Just because two decks are the same size in no way makes them the same deck. That can be all right, so long as both can hold your load and last for the long term.

Pallet rack wire deckingWire gauges can be confusing. At one point, the gauge referred to the number of drawing dies the wire passed through in the production process – higher numbers meant finer wires. But this didn’t help people understand what product they would be installing on their racks. Several standards have existed, also muddying the waters.

Here’s the real number you need to keep in mind: what is the wire diameter? Below are the most common gauges for wire decking:

  • 4-gauge, .222″
  • 5-gauge, .207″
  • 6-gauge: .192″

According to the Moen & Washburn standard, a true 5-gauge wire is measured at .207″ diameter.  Other standards might define 5 gauge as fine as .182″ in diameter.  That minor difference may not seem like much, but every bit of material removed lowers the decks capacity.

But digging through these specs, many of which a provider might not publish, can be time consuming and frustrating. A very cut & dried solution:  look at the weight per part. Deck weights should be listed on all quotes.  If you are comparing two suppliers for a project make sure you are comparing similar parts. Any obscurement that may be going on is ferreted out by the weight. A sturdier deck weighs more. If the difference is more than a pound per deck, double check. Make certain it’s going to hold your heaviest load and that it’s robust enough to take the punishment wire decks are supposed to take.

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Scott Stone Cisco-Eagle's Director of Marketing. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry.