Forklift on dock board

Dock Plates vs. Dock Boards

Similar Names but Different Purposes – Which is best for your Application?

Dock boards and dock plates are similar in appearance and function, which can lead to confusion when trying to choose the right one for your situation. Both are essentially flat surfaces, with slight level offs, and both bridge the gap between trailers and loading docks. Despite these similarities, there are significant differences, and knowing the differences between dock boards and dock plates will help you maximize workplace efficiency and safety.

What are the Differences?

Dock boards and dock plates are designed for different applications – either for heavy-duty equipment or lighter loads. With the correct dock component, loading and unloading becomes more efficient and your employees will be better protected from accidental falls.

Dock Plates

Guardian dock plate

Designed for lighter equipment like hand carts, pallet jacks and foot traffic, dock plates are typically made from aluminum, and are lighter-weight than dock boards. Dock plates’ relatively light weight makes it easy for one or two people to move them, and most dock plates will feature hand holds or handles to accomplish this. To prevent the plate from shifting out of place while in use, dock plates feature locking legs underneath. Dock plates are not intended for use with power equipment.

Dock Boards

Guardian dock board

Dock boards are designed for use with heavy-duty machinery, like forklifts. They consist of a plate manufactured from steel or aluminum, with steel curbs on two sides to prevent equipment run offs and provide additional strength and stability for handling higher weight capacities. Heavier than dock plates, dock boards feature either carrying chains or cutouts, so that a forklift can easily transport it through your facility.

Which one is Right for Me?

When trying to decide which is right for you, the most important thing to consider is the weight capacity. For heavy-duty applications requiring a forklift or other powered machinery, a dock board is best. If your facility mostly moves light-weight loads with hand trucks, a dock plate is an easily portable solution.

Discount Ramps offers a wide assortment of both aluminum and steel dock plates and dock boards. Our team of product experts is also available to answer any questions you may have, ensuring you get the correct, cost-effective loading dock solution your facility requires.

Other Helpful Resources

Find more How-to Guides and Articles