The 101 of Retractable Banner Stands

03/12/19 by Bev

What is a retractable banner stand?

The retractable banner stand, by definition, retracts into a base or housing using a mechanical spring or tensioner to pull the graphic around a roller for storage. The greatest amount of tension is applied to the graphic while in the open, or up, position. The least amount of tension is in the down position.

I always tell our clients that it’s not good for the retractable banner stand to be up for long periods of time as it can weaken the spring that creates the tension. They are not meant for permanent display in lobbies or conference rooms, which is why I suggested using non-retractable banner stands for this purpose at the end of our last blog.

So why do banner stands vary so much in price? How do you know if you are getting a good banner stand or not? This is where I get to use the classic phrase: you get what you pay for. The graphic cost is usually the most expensive part of the retractable banner stand, so the type of graphic material is very important.

Fabric graphics are great for glare-free applications but they can fray along the edges. Other graphic materials include smooth vinyl, curl-free vinyl, standard over-laminated photo paper prints, and blackout polyester. Each has its own price point. In most cases, manufacturers now use a direct print process which does not have a protective over-laminate. The least expensive process we have found is direct print on Styrene, which should only be used for one time or limited presentations. Knowing the difference is important.

Retractable banner stand housings come in two styles – either a compact housing that has swing out feet for stability, or larger base styles that do not need feet. The larger styles are very sleek looking and you see less of the housing when open, but they also tend to be more expensive.

When choosing a retractable banner stand, be sure to ask the following questions:

  1. How does the graphic attach? Can I do it myself? Graphic attachments include snap rail, panel strips, Velcro, clamp bar, bar with set screws, and adhesive with rivets.
  2. Does it have a fixed pole or telescoping pole?
  3. Does it have adjustable tension?
  4. Does it have a removable roller or interchangeable cassette?
  5. What is the maximum height?
  6. Can I connect multiple banner stands together?
  7. Does it have a warranty?

Now, the lifetime warranty on a banner stand is important but doesn’t necessarily guarantee good quality. It just means that the manufacturer will repair defective hardware parts. They will not cover external damage caused by excessive handling which is the most common type of damage. You also have to pay for shipping back and forth to have the repair done. Bottom line: know the features you need and paying a little more for quality materials can save a lot of headaches later on.