Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Content
Call Us Today! Experts now available 24/7.

What’s the Difference Between Dock Plates & Dock Boards?

 Posted on: October 9th, 2019

What’s the Difference Between Dock Plates & Dock Boards?

Dock plates and dock boards look similar, but as designed with different levels of usage. Dock plates are meant for lighter use; dock boards are designed to hold much heavier weights and are better in heavy duty industrial and commercial applications. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

What are the Differences?

Dock PLates

Dock Plates

  • Use with: Lighter equipment like hand carts, pallet jacks and foot traffic
  • Construction: Aluminum
  • Weight: Usually lighter than dock boards
  • How to Transport: One or two people can carry them using built-in handles
  • Special Features: Legs to prevent the plate from shifting out of place
Dock Boards

Dock Boards

  • Use with: Heavy-duty machinery like forklifts
  • Construction: Aluminum or steel
  • Weight: Heavier, can be moved using a forklift
  • How to Transport: By forklift
  • Special Features: Carrying chain or cutouts, legs, curbs on both sides to prevent equipment run-offs and increase dock board strength

What are the Similarities?

Dock PLates


Legs that prevent the plate from shifting or popping out once it’s been placed between the dock and the truck.

The legs are not intended to be used as ground support, they are a failsafe. Using equipment on a dock board or dock plate with the legs as support can result in bending or warping.
Traction surfaces

Traction surfaces

Traction surfaces such as diamond plate or high-traction grit coating to prevent slipping in inclement weather conditions.

Hi-visibility markings

Hi-visibility markings

Hi-visibility markings to keep employees on alert as they work on or around the dock.

How do I Choose Which One is Best for my Facility?

Think about the equipment your team uses on a daily basis, as well as your work environment. If you are moving pallets from a dock to a truck with a pallet jack, a dock board is probably sufficient because it will have a weight capacity within your working range. If you know that sometimes you’ll need to load a heavier pallet using a forklift, then definitely invest in a dock board since it can be used in both scenarios and will be able to handle the heavier weight capacities.