Guide to selecting Stanchions

In this guide, we will specify all types of stanchions and barriers for crowd control purposes, and help buyers select the most suitable products by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each category. The content will not only include what we sell, but also some industrial products that we don’t carry.

Please refer to the following table of content for topics.

1 Outdoor Stanchions

Stanchions in general are separated into 2 categories: outdoor stanchions and indoor stanchions.

The key to outdoor stanchions is corrosion resistant materials in high humidity, UV light and other corrosive substances such as salt by the beach. Three types of materials are most common for outdoor barriers, which are plastics, stainless steel and galvanized steel.

Plastics are cheap, light, and least durable in terms of physical strength. In the meanwhile they become brittle and start to crack over cycles of temperature change. Therefore plastic outdoor stanchions should be used as temporary stanchions in circumstances like road repairing.

Stainless steel stanchions are durable but too expensive to be widely for outdoor use, the only exception is high end occasions.

Galvanized steel stanchions are strong, durable and relatively cost effective. They can be built into free standing fences, or permanently fixed posts on concrete ground and connected with galvanized steel chains. They could also be strong enough as bollards to block cars.

2 Indoor Stanchions

On top of outdoor stanchions, majority of sales of crowd control system is contributed by indoor stanchions, including retractable belt stanchions and rope stanchions. It is not strictly limited to indoor use though. When corrosive substances can be avoided, they are definitely safe for outdoor use. 

Either retractable belt stanchions or rope stanchions have fixed or free standing versions. Fixed stanchions are anchored on the surface of concrete, or embedded into the ground. Free standing stanchions comes with heavy bases for steadiness. 

Retractable belt stanchions are steel posts connected by polyester belts, the whole purpose of which is to provide the most convenience to move around and set up to preferred layout. The belts are contained in the mechanism within the posts, so the length of extended belts are adjustable. The retraction mechanism can be replaced easily, so it is always recommended to ask your supplier for replacement parts rather than the whole post that is much heavier and costlier, once the retraction mechanism is broken.

The belts are commonly printed with brands, logos and graphics. One special type of stanchion is implemented with 2 retractable belts on top and middle of the post, so that a large sheet of advertisement can be displayed by hanging in between the top and bottom belts.

Rope stanchions are steel posts connected by ropes with hooks at both ends. They are often used for formal events or any places requires an elegant atmosphere. As there is no mechanical gear involved in the construction of rope stanchions, it’s less likely to  break down. Only that the surface wears out, and you may consider replacing the whole stanchion after years of use.

3 Solid Metal Base Versus Hybrid Base

There are 2 main designs of the bases for free standing stanchions: solid metal base and hybrid base. 

Solid metal base refers to steels cast into round plate shape, and then polished, to smoothen the surface. The major characteristic is that it is 1 single piece of metal. The base can be very thin, usually around 1/2″, thanks to the high density of steel. Slim solid metal base is stylish, elegant and minimalistic.

However, it’s not accepted by everybody, due to its high price. Over a period of time of use, scratches and dimples may appear on the surfaces, and the entire base need to be replaced. The solid metal base is expensive, so is shipping fee for the weight, which is why it is necessary to introduce you the more economical option: hybrid base.

Hybrid base is the combination of a heavy mould and a base cover. The mould is usually made of plastic, injected with concrete, and on top of which a thin sheet of steel is attached solely for aesthetic purpose. The contacting surface between bottom of mould and ground is usually covered by rubber insertion, to protect the floors.

Advantage of base cover is that, if the surface of base cover is severely scratched or damaged, it is easy and cheap to replace the base cover for a brand new look, rather than an expensive whole chunk of metal. Concrete infused base is heavy, strong, and never requires repair or replacement. It’s only disadvantage is its low density, compared to steels, so it is slightly thicker than solid metal bases.

4 Which Color To Choose

Struggling on choosing colors of stanchions? It is most visually appealing to have decent amount of contrast between the colors of stanchions and surroundings. We recommend black posts in bright spaces, and silver or golden posts in dim environment.

In terms of colors of belts and ropes, the same method applies. If you want the belts and ropes to stand out, use brighter belts and ropes in dim space. If not, choose the other way around.

5 Accessories

The accessories for stanchions includes but not limited to:

  • sign holders with landscape or portrait layouts
  • ash tray for cigarettes
  • bowl holders
  • velvet ropes with end clips / hooks
  • plastic or steel chains
  • sanitizer holder
  • wall mount belt stanchion adaptor / receiver

We will revise this guide over time, and please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions to improve the quality of this article.