Last Updated on 2023-12-06

Amazon XL Warehouses Explained For Workers

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

author image

Shane Lynch

T1 Asssociate with experience working both a Delivery Station and Sortation Center working in the XL Associate, Receive Dock, Waterspider, Picker, Problem Solver, and Packer roles.

author image

Vaughn Winslow

One year of experience working in an Amazon XL warehouse

author image

Jason Reed

9 years of experience working as an XL associate

author image

Phil Grossman

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

An Amazon XL (extra large) warehouse is a subtype of warehouse that handles oversized items and packages. All three of the main types of Amazon warehouses have XL variants: that means there are XL fulfillment centers (FCs), XL sortation centers (SCs), and XL delivery stations (DSs). 

Compared to standard FCs, SCs, and DSs, XL versions all serve the same functions, but handle larger items: XL FCs store inventory and package orders, XL SCs sort packages by destination to optimize delivery times, and XL DSs get packages ready for final delivery. 

Shane Lynch, who has experience working in XL warehouses, says that there is a “massive difference in daily delivery volume” between XL warehouses and standard warehouses. “You’re talking 1,500-2,500 packages daily for a building with 80 routes. Compare that to around 40,000 packages for 150 routes in a standard delivery station.”

Associates at XL warehouses are never required to lift more than 49 lbs on their own.  However,you’ll regularly need to lift 85-150 lbs as part of a team lift, and 150+ lbs with the help of specialized equipment, called powered industrial trucks (PITs). 

Unsurprisingly, working at an XL facility is a lot more strenuous than working at a regular warehouse, and there’s also a greater risk of injury. But there are some benefits: the performance benchmarks you’ll be expected to hit to “make rate” are much lower than at standard facilities, which leads to a more relaxed environment. 

How do Amazon XL fulfillment centers work?

Amazon XL fulfillment centers stock extra large inventory and package extra large items for delivery. 

In brief, with a few steps omitted, here’s the general outline of an FCs process (all the steps are the same, the packages are just bigger than normal): 

Receive dock workers unload boxes from Amazon trucks and send them off to decanters, who open them up and place their contents into yellow bins called totes. Stowers then store them in inventory, where counters verify the quantities. 

When an order comes through, pickers grab the items, send them off to packers who put them into a package, and problem solvers, SLAM operators, and jam clearers take care of any issues that crop up. At the end of this process, the package is sent off to an SC.

For a more detailed look at what happens in an FC, check out our full post about Amazon fulfillment centers

How do Amazon XL sortation centers work?

Amazon XL SCs are where large packages are sorted for optimized delivery times. 

Here’s the SC in short, with a few steps omitted (again, the process is the same, but the packages are larger): 

Unloaders and sideloaders working in receive dock unload packages from Amazon trailers and place them on conveyor belts that bring them to splitters, who divy up the packages based on their delivery destination. Scanners scan the packages and stack them on pallets in the buffer zone. Waterspiders wrap the stacks of packages, and stagers bring them to the staging area, where receivers will finally load them onto trucks that will take the packages to delivery stations or other last-mile carriers. 

You can read about SCs in more detail in our full post about Amazon sortation centers

How do Amazon XL delivery stations work?

Amazon XL delivery stations are where extra large packages are prepared and loaded onto trucks for final delivery. They function just the same as standard DSs, but they handle XL packages.

Here is the general overview of how a DS functions, with some parts left out for brevity:

Receivers take packages off trucks coming from SCs. Inductors check the incoming packages for damage and scan them to identify the route they will be sorted to.

Jason Reed, who has 9 years of experience working at Amazon, goes into more detail: “Packages arrive in full-size 52-foot trailers either on pallets or as ‘Fluid Loads’ (packages that are loaded directly in the trailer on the floor). Pallets are brought to a staging area where associates called downstackers break the pallets down and place them on flatbed carts and stage them for inductors to scan. Fluid Loads are unloaded by placing packages directly on flatbed carts and staging them for inductors to scan.”

He says that “downstacking is one of the most physically demanding jobs in an XL DS due to the packages that come on pallets tending to be heavier than those in fluid loads.”

“My facility did not allow associates to actually load packages into trucks, but we were allowed to assist DSP's (Delivery Service Partners) by stacking and loading carts closer to the proper dock door for the DSP driver to actually sort and load for their daily schedule.”

For a full overview of what happens at a DS, take a look at our full post about Amazon delivery stations

How do XL warehouses differ from standard warehouses?

XL warehouses process packages and items that are too large for standard FCs, SCs, and DSs to handle. Consequently, workers at XL facilities need to lift heavier packages — XL workers need to lift up to 85 lbs using equipment, 85-150 lbs as part of a team lift, and 150+ lbs with the help of specialized machinery, called powered industrial trucks (PITs). 

There are six PITs that are used at XL warehouses:

  • Order picker: The order picker looks like a mini elevator — there’s a platform you’ll stand on, which raises you up so that you can reach high-up items. 
  • Stand up: The stand up is essentially the same as a forklift, but instead of sitting, you’ll be standing up — hence the name. 
  • Clamp truck: The clamp truck is very similar to the stand up — it looks a lot like a forklift, but you operate it while standing up. However, unlike the stand up, the clamp truck has two large, parallel, vertical sheets of metal that are perpendicular to the ground on the front where the fork is, which grab items by clamping them. 
  • Walkie: Also called the “pallet rider,” the walkie is a bit like a mini pickup truck or a reverse forklift that’s only a few inches off the ground. At the front, there’s a steering wheel and a platform to stand on. Behind the platform are two long metal rods that packages and items can be placed on top of. 
  • Reach: The reach is almost exactly the same as a forklift, but the operator stands instead of sitting, and it reaches higher than forklifts normally do. 
  • Turret truck: The turret truck is a mix between the order picker and a forklift. The operator sits on a platform that raises them into the air so that they can operate a forklift-like device from high up. If you imagine a forklift on an elevator, you’ll basically have the right idea. 

Who works at Amazon XL warehouses?

Amazon divides all of its roles into levels and tiers. The lowest level is Tier 1 (T1), and the highest level is Level 12 (L12). Most people who work in an Amazon XL warehouse are T1, T2, T3, and L4 workers. 

T1 associates have jobs like:

  • Picker
  • Packer
  • Problem solver
  • Waterspider
  • Stower
  • Unloader
  • Inductor
  • Downstack

T2 jobs are rare, but include roles in HR.

T3 roles include:

  • Process assistant
  • Ship clerk
  • Shift assistant
  • ICQA data analyst

L4 roles are typically managerial, and include:

  • Area manager
  • Operations manager 
  • Learning area manager

There are a few other jobs in higher tiers as well:

  • Operations Manager (L6)
  • Senior Operations Manager (L7)
  • Operations Site Manager (L7)
  • General Manager (L8)

Where are Amazon XL warehouses located?

Here are a few examples of XL warehouse locations:

  • XLAA: 5691 E Philadelphia, Ontario, CA 91761
  • XLAG: 2115 S Sinclair Ave, Stockton , CA 95215
  • XLAK: 18875 E Bromley Ln, Brighton, CO 80601
  • XLAH: 580 Raco Pkwy, Pendergrass, GA 30567
  • XLAB: 1701 Normantown Rd , Romeoville, IL 60446
  • XLBA: 1123 4th ST SW, Conover, NC 28613
  • XLAE: 5330 Crosswind Dr, Columbus, OH 43228
  • XLAJ: 3440 Meyers Rd, Memphis, TN 38108
  • XLAF: 1600 Roe St, Dallas, TX 75215
  • XLAI: 7650 S 228th St, Kent, WA 98032
  • XLX1L: 3931 Lakeview Corporate Dr, Edwardsville, IL 62025
  • XLA2: 6725 Kimball Ave, Chino, CA 91708
  • XLX2: 3565 N Airport Way, Mantecca, CA 95336-8696
  • XLX3: 4375 N Perris Blvd, Perrisa, CA 92571
  • XLX4: 4701 Commerce Rd., Richmond, VA 23234
  • XLX7: 18580 Gateway Dr, Victorville, CA 92394

Get started

Can you see yourself as an Amazonian? Apply now to a position near you. 

Keep Learning...