In our 42 years in business (at the time of writing this), one of the most asked about items is about flag poles. As a result, we've put together this guide to give you everything you need to know when you're deciding to purchase a flag pole.
We're going to split this up into two types of customers. Residential customers (who want a pole for their yard) and commercial customers (who want a pole, or multiple poles for their property).
The decision points are similar, but aren't the same, and for residential poles you actually have more options to consider than you would for commercial flag poles.
Flagpoles for Residential Customers
The things to consider here are really based on four key factors:
- Size of your yard
- Amount of wind you get
- Ease of Maintenance
Below we've broken down the different options and the pros and cons of each.
Residential Flag Pole Options
These are the poles you probably have seen the most and remember from being outside of your school when you grew up. They are the ones that have a rope and pulley system, that uses flag snaps to secure the flag to the pole.
These are the most expensive option but also the strongest option of flagpole that we sell. You have two basic options with them to choose from: stationary truck, or rotating truck.
The difference between these is that a rotating truck, rotates at the top of the pole to allow the flag to rotate more easily to prevent it from wrapping around the pole and be able to move more freely with the wind. A stationary truck stays in one position, it works just fine, it just doesn't rotate to allow the flag to give a bit more.
Either of these are what we recommend for high wind situations, the difference between the two is purely about personal preference. Though a rotating truck may help your flag last a bit longer because of how it allows the flag to give more with the wind.
Yard Size & Pole Size
The residential flag pole height sweet spot is really 15 - 25 ft. Very occasionally, you can go larger than this, but only if you have a lot of land (like for a farm or ranch). If this is the case, you'll want to put it further from your house but you can get away with up to a 40 ft pole. We don't recommend going higher than 25 ft tall unless you have 10+ acres of land.
About 70% of residential flag poles are 20 ft. With the other 30% being made up of either 15ft or 25ft. You're going to want a bigger lot if you're going to go with a 25 ft pole (0.5 acre+). 15 ft poles are reserved for smaller yards.
High Wind Flagpoles
Go with a traditional flagpole. Either a stationary truck or rotation truck depending on personal preference (see above for more details).
Ease of maintenance (low wind)
Go with a telescoping pole or a sectional flagpole. The difference between the two is above. Telescoping poles have become more popular than sectional poles over the years because of the ease of installing it yourself and its flexibility for higher wind situations.
Budget Friendly Poles
Go with either a sectional flagpole or a telescoping flagpole if you're looking for a more budget friendly option.
Flagpoles for Commercial Customers
With commercial flagpoles, you really only have two main options of the type of flagpole to get:
- Traditional rope and pulley poles (stationary or rotating truck)
- Internal Halyard flagpoles
The size of your pole is going to depend on the size of the facility that you're installing it in front of. If it's a small one or two story building, then we recommend sticking with a 20 or 25ft flagpole.
If it's a much larger facility, with much more space, then you can go anywhere from 25ft - 100ft in size. Many companies actually choose to use multiple flagpoles of either the same size or one larger pole in the middle for the American flag and one or two flagpoles that are a size down from the American flag flagpole on either size.
Here is a table with building size and recommended flagpole height:
|Building Height||Flag Pole Height|
|1 to 2 stories||20 - 25 ft|
|2 to 3 stories||25 ft|
|3 to 5 stories||30 ft|
|5 to 7 stories||35 - 40 ft|
|8 to 10 stories||40 - 45 ft|
|10 - 15 stories||50 - 60ft|
|15+ stories||65 - 100 ft|
Because of the potential for high winds causing damage to more property in commercial spaces, we don't recommend going with telescoping or sectional poles at all.
Choosing a traditional flagpole or an internal halyard flagpole comes down to one main consideration: security of the flag on the pole.
Internal halyard flagpoles require a special tool, that is inside a locked area to raise or lower flags and so therefore, only someone from your maintenance staff would be able to raise or lower the flags.
External halyard flagpoles have a lot more risk with someone getting the flag off of the pole, if this is something you're concerned with. There are mitigation steps you can take (raising the height of the cleat or putting a lock box around the cleat where the rope is anchored). However, if you're really concerned about this, we do recommend going with internal halyard flagpoles.
The other consideration is budget. Internal Halyard flagpoles are more expensive up front, but typically require less maintenance/replacement parts than traditional rope and pulley poles. However, traditional rope and pulley flagpoles are also ~50% of the upfront cost of an internal halyard flagpole.
One is more expensive up front, while potentially having a higher maintenance cost over the long haul. The other is more expensive up front, with typically much less maintenance over the long haul (not to mention security improvements making stealing your flag less likely).
Flag Size for Flagpoles
The below diagram shows the maximum size flag to put on a pole based on the flagpole size you have. This is if you are only flying one flag on the pole. If you're flying multiple flags on the same pole, then go one size down for the biggest flag, and two sizes down for the second flag.
For example: if the max flag size for one flag is a 5x8ft flag, we recommend going with a 4x6 ft American Flag and then either a 3x5ft or 2x3 ft flag for the secondary flag on the pole.
Style of Flag to Get
Nylon flags are great for areas that get a significant amount of sun and they tend to fly more easily because the fibers are closer-knit. Polyester flags are great for high wind situations. Both our Nyl-Glo and Tough-Tex American flags come with a one year colorfast guarantee. That means the red will stay red, and the blue will stay blue for a year or we'll replace it.
In summary, there truly are a lot of considerations when purchasing a flagpole. We hope that this article has helped shed light on what these are and made your decision much more simple.
For anything above a 25 ft flagpole, we really do recommend having a professional install your flagpole. This is to ensure its done properly and that you have low risk of anything serious happening like a flag pole falling over and damaging surrounding property.