If you are looking to install a flagpole around your home, workplace, or another establishment, you might be overwhelmed by the wide variety of flagpoles. It can quickly turn into hours of research trying to determine what will work best for you depending on where you want to place it.
Instead of you spending so much time on your own trying to determine what flagpole you should get, here is a cohesive guide to help you understand the different parts of a flagpole and which you should buy.
With that in mind, let’s begin!
How Many Types of Flagpoles Are There?
There are 4 different types of flagpoles that you can choose from in addition to their different banners and accessories.
There are commercial flagpoles that are meant to be placed near a business, office or a government building. Because of these, these flagpoles are very tall, durable, and can hold heavyweight flags for long periods of time.
A residential flagpole is meant to be placed in front of or near your home. This makes these flagpoles very light so they can be installed without an expert’s assistance. These come in a bit wider range of heights and are meant to carry lighter flags.
An indoor flagpole is much smaller than the other flagpoles listed so far and carry only light flags. These are meant to fit in a home, gymnasium, or other room where you may need a flag displayed.
A wall mounted flag pole can only carry very small flags. It is meant to both save space and to be used in areas where there is a lot of movement, like in a classroom with younger children.
Next, there are the different banners that can be used on a flagpole. These banners tend to display a type of advertising for a company and are sometimes referred to as feather flagpoles. They also might contain the different sales that are currently available at that establishment.
Another thing to consider when looking at the different flag poles are the accessories. Accessories include the flagpole toppers, any lighting you may want in order to light up your flag pole all hours of the day, the various internal halyard parts, accessories needed for a parade flag pole, and the flagpole base. There are more accessories that you can pick from in particular for different occasions. For example, you can pick different toppers or markers to go on your flagpole for different events, including military ceremonies or funerals.
What Material Are Flagpoles Made From?
Flag poles are made from four different types of material. These materials are aluminum, stainless steel, fiberglass, and wood.
Aluminum is probably the most common material that will be used for a flagpole. Aluminum is good to use because it’s very cheap for manufacturers to sell and also shapes very well. Aluminum is capable of holding and withstanding reasonable amounts of weight and wind pressure. This makes aluminum a good choice for residential poles. However, if you live in very high wind conditions, even if it’s only part of the year, you will need to fortify the aluminum to ensure it won’t bend.
Stainless steel is perfect outside of businesses or if you simply need an extra sturdy flag pole. It’s great if it will be a permanent fixture or if it is in likely to experience rough weather. Because of the durability of the stainless steel, it will have a long life and higher than the other materials available. It is fairly easy to maintain as it stays pretty rust free. If you do intend to keep a flagpole for a long period of time, this is the best material to choose.
Fiberglass flagpoles are very lightweight and easy to find. It can be cost-effective to choose; however, it might need to be reinforced with other materials to increase its strength. These types of poles are difficult to repair on your own. They tend to splinter whenever they break, which will make them hard to splint again. If you want a very strong but very lightweight fiberglass pole, this costs extra money. This is good if you are not intending to keep a flagpole as a permanent fixture or if you are keeping your flagpole inside at all times.
Finally, there are wood flagpoles. Wood flagpoles are perfect if you are going to install it and care for it on your own. If it is placed in an area that is likely to experience high winds or is in an area with a harsh environmental climate, this is the material you should pick. If the pole were to fracture anyway, it can be fixed easily with wood glue. Keep in mind that wood is unable to handle large amounts of weight unless it is very thick wood or high-grade wood.
How Many Parts of a Flagpole Are Available In the Market?
There are actually many different parts to a flagpole. This includes parts like the truck, ornaments, halyard, cleat, and retainer ring. There are a few more parts to a flagpole, but these are the basics you need to know.
The truck is what holds the flag in place. It mounts to the top of the flagpole and it has a pulley with an opening that will receive the ornament. There are two types of trucks that you can pick from. There are the revolving trucks that have the bearing that let it turn with the wind. Then there are stationary trucks which do not rotate with a flag.
The ornament is the top fixture on top of the flagpole. These are typically a rounded ball of some kind. However, some may have other fixtures, including an eagle or a cross.
The halyard is the rope or cable system that the controls if the flag is going up or down. It can either be an external halyard, which raises and lowers to flag with a rope on the outside of the flagpole, or an internal halyard, where the rope or cable system is inside of the flagpole. External halyards tend to be the most common. But if you intend to keep the flags permanently outside, you may want to consider an internal halyard. These halyards are accessed through a hinged door and are secured with a winch for a cable or a cam cleat if it is rope.
A cleat is attached to the flagpole around four or five feet above the ground. This is where the rope is wrapped around in order to keep the flag in place.
A retainer ring is used with internal halyard flagpoles to keep the bottom of the flag close to the pole. It also helps the flag move up and down the pole.
How Tall Is a Standard Flagpole?
Your standard flagpole tends to stand somewhere between 6 feet and 80 feet tall. For most residential and indoor flagpoles, expect to get a 6 to 10-foot tall pole. However, for commercial establishments, you should expect to buy a pole closer to 80 feet tall. Depending on where you are looking to purchase a pole, you might even find some that stand at 200 feet or taller.
Part of the reason for the different heights is the flag to flagpole ratios. For example, a pole between 15 and 20 feet tall should likely have a 3 feet x 5 feet flag.
What Does a Flagpole Retainer Ring Do?
While I mentioned them briefly already, let’s go into more detail now.
A flagpole retainer is typically made from stainless steel aircraft cables and is strung with a series of 1-inch nylon beads, 1-inch nylon beads with spaces, or 1-inch and 2-inch beads.
The purpose of a flagpole retainer is to keep the flag close to the pole so it doesn’t drift too far in the wind or even fly off in high wind conditions.
They also aid in reducing tension with the flag grommets or eyelets, which are small metal rings that help to reinforce the holes made within fabric so it won’t tear when the cable is threaded through it.
And, as I mentioned earlier, they help lower and raise the flag because it keeps the flag at an even distance away from the pole, meaning there will be less resistance to fight against.
Which Type of Simple Machine Raises the Flag On a Flagpole?
You use a pulley system to raise the flag. The pulley on a flagpole works the same way you would expect a pulley to work, it just has an object attached to the side rather than at the bottom.
On a flagpole’s pulley system, you have 2 snap hooks fastened to a lanyard loop that goes through the pulley. Once this has been done, the flag will be fastened to the lanyard with the snap hooks. The lanyard is pulled through the pulley at the top, which raises the flag.
How to Choose the Right Flagpole for You?
I mentioned for a second earlier the flag to flagpole ration. Essentially, the length of the flag should be somewhere between a quarter and a third the height of the flagpole it is on. Because of this, the flagpole restricts what size the flag should be.
If you already have a flag, you should measure that and then figure out what type of flagpole you should get. If you do not have a flag yet, remember to measure your flagpole before you buy the flag.
The flagpole’s height should also be based on what building it is near. If it is a single story, you should likely get a 15 or 20-foot pole. If it is two stories high, then you should get a 25 to the 30-foot pole. If it is three stories high, get a 30 to the 40-foot pole.
If you have an indoor flagpole, simply keep in mind how tall the room it will be kept in is or how much space there is in the area it will stay in. You don’t want to get a 10-foot tall flagpole for an 8-foot-tall space.
Each flagpole will also have a recommended wind speed listed in mph on their product page. This will help better determine which pole you should buy.
If you live in an area with high winds, like tornado prone areas or islands, you will need a much sturdier flagpole. If you live in an area with very little wind, you do not need to worry about the wind grade of the pole and can get other options, such as telescoping flagpoles, that may not be an option in windier areas.
How to Install or Mount a Flagpole?
Depending on the type of flagpole you decide to purchase, there may be a different way to install your flagpole. For the most part, here are the basics you should do when installing your flagpole:
- Choose a location – The location of the flagpole should be a good balance between where you can enjoy seeing your flagpole, a place where others can see it, and where your flags can wave in the wind. You might also want to place it in a naturally bright spot away from trees or buildings so it is even easier to see
- See if you can dig there – There are lots of various pipes and wires connecting underground so we can enjoy our modern appliances, like air conditioning and running water. If you break one of these pipes or wires, it can cost you a lot of money to repair and cause you to lose a service to your building, like power. If you call 811 – Call before you Dig, they will send a technician out to check the area and make sure there aren’t any wires or pipes there.
- Digging the hole – Once these first two steps have been done, you can start installing your flagpole! You should use a post hole digger or an auger if you are installing several poles or want the job done quickly. You can rent these tools at your local Home Depot. When digging, make the hole 4 to 6 times the size of the bottom diameter of the pole. The depth of the hole is based on the ground sleeve the flagpole came with, where the sleeve sticks up about 2 inches above the ground.
- Make a strong foundation – Once the hole has been dug out, you should place gravel at the bottom of the hole, making sure to measure the depth against the ground sleeve again. Using shims or wood pieces and a level, make keep the ground sleeve sure in the center of the hole. Cover the ground sleeve opening or stuff wadded up paper into the opening to make sure no cement falls inside. Associates at stores will help you decide what cement you should buy and how to mix it. Once this has been done, shovel it into the hole around the sleeve and pack it down lightly. Fill the hole until about 1 or 2 inches below the ground level so you can add top soil after the cement has been cured.
- Prepare the flagpole to stand – This is where you assemble the pole. Attach the trunk to the top of the pole, screw on the ornament, and thread the halyard through the pulley. Don’t trim the halyard yet though. Attach the cleat to the bottom section of the pole where there should be pre-drilled holes for you. Loosely wrap the halyard around the pole.
- Step/stand the flagpole – This can be dangerous to do alone, so have someone else with you. Make sure there are no power lines above you where the flagpole could hit on the way up before you start. Move the butt of the pole near the opening in the ground sleeve and, with help from the other person, guide it into the sleeve and slowly stand it up slowly. Keep up the downward pressure to make sure it stays in the sleeve until it is all the way in the hole. To level off, you should use sand and a level. Slowly add sand into the sleeve until the pole slowly becomes more stable. Fill it within a ½ inch of the top. Once it has been packed in the tube, you can add a layer of sealant.
- Raise the flags – Connect the two ends of the halyard rope into a giant loop. The tied halyard should hang about 2 feet below the cleat, so you should trim it if it hangs too low. To tie it, you should use double fisherman’s knot. Once it is tied, attach the snap hooks to the halyard and then attach the top snap hook to the top grommet of the flag. Attach your flag and you’re finished!
What Are the Top 5 Rated Flagpoles
Here are 5 examples of the best flagpoles you can pick from on Amazon!
- Super Tough Heavy Duty 20-Feet Residential Flagpole with Valley Forge Nylon Flag
This particular flagpole has a 4.3 out of 5 rating on Amazon at this moment. It is from the US Flag Store and will come in two different shipments: one with the flag and one with the pole. This Heavy Duty 20-foot residential flag poles are available on Amazon and come with a U.S.-made nylon flag. It has anodized aluminum sections, a strong header and brass grommets.
The pole itself tapers from 2 inches on top to 3 inches on the bottom. It is incredibly easy to install on your own and has all of the pieces and accessories you will need. Keep in mind that it does come in 6 separate pieces of tubing you will need to attach together before you begin placing it into the ground. Standing at 20 feet tall, this aluminum pole is perfect for anyone’s home!
The con of this flagpole is that it is not meant to fly a flag in severe weather conditions. If you would like to have a flag up all year long but live where there are storms, this isn’t meant to be the flagpole for you.
- Online Stores Indoor Oak Flagpole, 8-Feet
This flagpole from Online Stores also has a 4.3 out of 5 rating on Amazon. It is an 8 feet pole meant to be used as an inside flagpole.
This pole is made from straight grained hardwoods and has solid brass screw joints. While it isn’t a very heavy pole at around 4 pounds, it will be able to handle slightly heavier flags with ease. It comes in two separate pieces, making it easier to move around, transport, and get into your home. The poles are 1 ¼ inch in diameter and taper down to a 7/8-inch diameter.
However, this flagpole does not come with mounting hardware or a flagpole ornament. If you want an ornament, you will need to purchase it elsewhere with hardware that is at least 1.25 inches big.
- Flagpole: Tangle Free Spinning Flagpole Residential or Commercial 6ft Flagpole
This flagpole sold by Grace Alley currently has a 4.7 out of 5 stars. As it says the name, this flagpole stands at 6 feet tall. This model comes with white or silver poles, so you have a little bit of customizability when purchasing it.
This is a great flagpole to get because your flag won’t be tangled or furled with its “free spin action,” as the manufacturer refers to it. This helps to extend the life of your flag and prevent tears. This flagpole is meant to be used with 2.5′ x 4′ or 3′ x 5′ Grommet flags and 2.5′ x 4′ or 3′ x 5′ sleeved flags. It is also very rust and wind resistant due to its aluminum coating.
The cons of this pole are that it is not a very tall pole to place outside your building, so it may not stand out as much as you may want it to.
- 25 ft Outdoor Flagpole – 4’x6′ USA Valley Forge Flag (Satin)
This product is currently rated 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Completely aluminum ground set flagpole with silver aluminum tubing and various sections that wedge together in order to make a smooth exterior to the flagpole. It stands 25 feet tall and comes with all of the fittings for the pole. It is suitable for high wind areas and businesses.
It is easy to install on your own, so you don’t need to worry about professional help, although you will need help installing it from a friend. The flag and the pole are sold separately.
Due to the pole coming in several pieces, this is not good for areas with high wind areas. Again, if you want a pole you can install on your own, this is not the pole for you. Due to its height and weight of about 30 pounds, you should have 2 or 3 people helping you install it.
- Flagpole to Go for Trucks – Pole Mounts to Hitch- Fanpole
The flagpole will fit any size flag and is incredibly easy to install. This pole is very durable and produced from heavy gauge rock-solid steel. Perfect for the professional environment.
All you have to do is attach the two poles together, add it to your hitch receiver, put in the locking pins, and attach your flag! It stands at 6 feet tall but remains road legal. This lets you show off pride for your country or favorite team all year round.
The cons many people have noted with is that it tends to wobble a lot. Some have even reported that it can fall apart if you live in higher wind conditions due to the top metal ball on top.
Where Your Flagpole Should Be Hanged?
There are some places that you should hang your flagpole to ensure that it is both easily seen and looks nice. Here are some additional tips if you are deciding to hang up the American flag.
You should place it somewhere it angles out of the front wall or on a balcony, for example. When doing this, make sure the union is at the peak of the angle, staying displayed at the top of the flag.
When displaying the flag horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be at the top and to the left.
If you want to display it in the window, the flag needs to be hung. In that case, the union will be on the left side when you see it from the street.
How to Choose the Best Rope?
There are many different types of rope that are great to use with your flagpole. There is polyester, nylon, cotton blend, polyester with the wire core, and polyester with Kevlar core.
Polyester is a very common type of rope to use on your flagpole. It doesn’t stretch very much, which is what makes it great for areas without high winds. It also has great UV and abrasion resistance while being relatively inexpensive.
Nylon is also popular but is more durable than other ropes due to its superior UV and abrasion resistance. It has a high stretch which makes it much better for areas that experience high winds.
Cotton blend has a much more classic look and feels when compared to the other ropes. The cotton blend means that it will stay strong while retaining some of the stretches of regular cotton and its feel.
Polyester with wire core adds on to the regular polyester rope by making it tamper resistant to cut off any chances of vandalism. This makes it a good choice if your flagpole is in an easily accessible or public area.
Polyester with Kevlar core actually adds on further to the wire core rope. It is much more lightweight and has a lower stretch to it, making it extremely good for flying flags in public areas with low winds.
You should also keep in mind the halyard length. The length of the halyard should be about twice the above ground height of the flagpole. If you aren’t entirely sure how much rope you’ll need, you should add at least 10 feet to the rope.
How to Care for Your Flagpole?
You need to keep up routine cleaning and maintenance. Check your flagpole every now and again for any dirt or debris and wash it off with either a cloth or garden hose. Every so often you should check all of the different cables and parts to make sure nothing is loose or broken.
If you have a bronze flagpole, it will typically start to lose its color and start developing a green coating. Apply can use different commercial products or homemade solution, like 2 tablespoons baking soda mixed with a drizzle of lemon juice, to the pole.
You can remove rust or old paint with a wire brush. You can also protect the flagpole with 2 coats of a rust-inhibitor primer. Once that has dried, apply new enamel paint.
You can also remove water stains by washing the stain with a hose and rubbing it with a soft cloth, using a mild soap, and scrub in a circular motion.
You can even remove scratches my pulling an aluminum oxide sanding belt back and forth over the scratched area. However, this technique only works if the surface has already been directionally sanded.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you figure out what flagpole you would like to get and works best for you. There may be extra materials you need to assemble or keep clean for your particular flagpole, so make sure to check out your materials! You should also replace your flag or take it down if the weather conditions get too severe.