Selection Guide

Selection Guide

Dock Board Selection Guide


Dock Board Selection Guide


Choosing the correct length, width and capacity of your loading dock equipment helps improve loading dock operations. The following guidelines will help determine the proper dock equipment.


To determine the proper length of dock board / dock plate, three items are required:

  • Dock or Ramp height (D)
  • Height of highest truck (T) (Note: most standard trailers are 55”, most refrigerated and container trailers are 59”)
  • Type of loading equipment used


Height Differential

Dock Board, Plate or Ramp Length

Dock height (D) and Height of highest truck (T) will be used to calculate the Height Differential, which determines the length of the board. To determine the height differential, fill out the Height Differential chart. Use the Dock Plate and the Dock Board or Container Ramp Charts below to determine proper length.



Dock Board, Plate and Ramp Width

Dock board width calculationBluff recommends a minimum product width of 12”- 18” wider than the overall width of the forklift or pallet used. For improved end loading efficiency, consider increasing board width. The diagram beside shows the extra room provided with increasing board width. 




Dock Plate                               Dock Board or Container Ramp

Height Differential Dock Plate Length
1" 24"
2" 30"
3" 36"
4" 42"
5" 48"
6" 54"
7" 60"
8-81/2" 72"
Height Differential Dock Board Length
  Propane Forklift Electric Forklift
3 36" 36"
5 36" 48"
7 36" 60"
9 60" 78"
11 72" 90"
13 84" -
15 96" -


Dock Board or Ramp Capacity

To determine the proper capacity for your board or ramp, determine the forklift capacity that will be using the board or ramp. Review the following chart to find the type of forklift and match that with the correct board or ramp capacity.

3-Wheel Forklift Capacity 4-Wheel Forklift Capacity Board/Ramp Capacity
2,000-2,500 2,000-3,000 10,000
- 3,000-4,000 13,000
3,000-3,500 5,000 15,000
4,000-5,000 5,000-6,000 20,000
6,000 7,000-8,000 25,000
6,500-7,500 8,500-10,000 30,000
8,000-10,000 10,000-13,000 40,000
  • Stackers and other narrow aisle loaders should not be used on a dock board.
  • For Paper roll clamp and multi-shift loading add 5,000 pounds to the board capacity.
  • Capacity rated for single-shift operation at a 3 mile per hour maximum rate of travel.

Dock Plate Capacity

  • Capacity is equal to the heaviest load transported.
  • To increase usability life increase capacity