Ask yourself the following questions when looking for a flagpole:
Lets start with the different types of flagpoles and how they work:
These flagpoles are made from one size of tubing with one end of the tube tapered to fit inside the next tube. These poles are made of two different materials; either painted steel or anodized aluminum. Both materials can wear at the joints and loosen over time. In addition, steel tends to rust, especially in the joints, which are contact points. Single sized tubing decreases in strength in direct proportion to height. The taller the flagpole, the less strength it has. Examine a commercial pole; notice the taper from top to bottom, this makes them stronger than if they were the same diameter all the way to the top. Sectional poles are economical, usually costing from $50.00 to $120.00. Ropes are used to raise and lower the flag and wear out over time. The ropes and clips can produce a clanging noise in windy situations. These poles typically last 3 to 7 years or longer if not flown in wind above 25 miles per hour. Heights range from 15ft. to 20 ft.
Telescoping flagpoles are made from different diameter tubes that slip inside each other. Each section is raised and locked into place, starting with the smallest section. Due to the tapered effect, telescoping flagpoles maintain their strength to height ratios. Telescoping flagpoles do not have ropes to tangle and wear or hardware to constantly clang in windy conditions. Telescoping flagpoles are manufactured in heights from 16 ft. to 35 ft. Prices range from $100.00 to $350.00. These poles are manufactured out of aluminum and have an anodized finish. The life expectancy of the telescoping flagpole is 10 to 30 years with minimal maintenance.
These flagpoles are made of a single piece of tubing and the taper is spun or rolled into the tube. These are the strongest flagpoles made as long as they have the correct wall thickness and diameter to height ratio. There are two styles: poles with external ropes and pulleys or poles with internal ropes and pulleys. Commercial flagpoles are made of aluminum and anodized. Pricing for commerical grade flagpoles start at $900 and can go as high as $2,500 or more.
What Material and Finish to look for:
The best all around material for a flagpole is aluminum. Look for aircraft grade (6000 series) aluminum with T6 temper. The best overall finish is hard anodized or architectual grade anodized finish as it is the most resistant to wear and scratches.
What to look for in a telescoping pole:
Strength of a flagpole is mainly determined by the diameter of the tube used. When comparing flagpoles of the same height look for the largest diameter tubing in each section as this will provide the strongest flagpole. Wall thickness has some benefit to strength but not nearly as much as the diameter size.
Locking systems will vary among different manufacturers since most manufacturers have a patent on their processes. Look for a system that is self-indexing and self-locking. That means when each section is raised it is automatically guided into the locking position. The locking system should be a positive locking system and not a friction or expansion based. Look for a system with minimal moving parts for reduced failure.
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