What Is a Stanchion: A Stanchion Definition Complete Guide!

Safety Sticklers Guides What Is a Stanchion: A Stanchion Definition Complete Guide!

What Is a Stanchion: A Stanchion Definition Complete Guide!

From construction to events and hospitality, folks across industries can benefit from using stanchions as an effective crowd management measure. Here’s a quick but comprehensive guide!

While crowd control and queue management measures vary widely depending on the application, one you’ll see often is the stanchion and belt. They’re commonly used in retail stores, hotels and convention centers, airports, and event venues. But what is a stanchion exactly

A stanchion is used to keep crowds safer and more organized. It’s a compact, versatile, and effective way to create queueing areas. And they can also be used for safety measures in and around construction sites. 

In this guide, you’ll have all the information you’ll need to get started on this affordable crowd management solution.

What is A Stanchion: Definition of Stanchion Post

A stanchion is an upright pole or wall-mounted housing unit that typically contains a retractable belt or a rope hook. The purpose is to create specific areas for queueing or to keep folks away from restricted areas.

That’s why stanchions are most often seen in businesses where lining up is standard practice, or where regular cleaning and maintenance is part of everyday operations. It’s also a common sight in work zones.

How Long Is a Stanchion?

The standard length for a retractable belt stanchion is 6.5 feet, and the typical width is 2 inches. The standard length for a rope stanchion is 4 feet, and it’s typically 1.5 inches wide.

However, the longer the stanchion belt or rope, the fewer stanchions you need to complete your crowd management needs. For example, if you need a 26-foot queue line, you’d need four 6.5-foot stanchion belts. But if you have 13-foot queue belts, you could accomplish the same with just two.

But usually, the extra-long belt barriers are utilized to block off specific areas. These can quickly and easily stretch the length of an entry or hallway, and you can find hi-vis options with custom messaging. For example, “DO NOT ENTER” or “CLEANING IN PROGRESS.”

The more posts, the most secure the line as well. An extra-long belt can encourage line ducking. Further, more posts means more versatility. Places like hotels and airports will be best served with more retractable belts to create longer or shorter paths according to immediate needs.

Read The Article: What’s the Difference Between Crowd Control and Crowd Management ?

Stanchion in Construction vs. Retail and Hospitality

A construction stanchion usually features both a high-visibility post and belt. It should also be made for both outdoor and indoor use. On the other hand, a retail stanchion is used to create orderly queues to serve customers quickly and efficiently. Standard black posts and belts and non-weatherized materials are fine for most hospitality and retail applications.

Choosing the Right Post Material

The most popular option for a stanchion post material is powder-coated steel. This will last for years of constant use and looks great even when placed to the side. Because it’s powder-coated steel, you can usually choose from a variety of finishes and colors, from red or blue to stainless steel.

Weatherized Posts and Reinforced Bases

If you’re using your post for outdoor applications, you’ll want it to be weatherized, even if you live in a temperate climate. At Sonco, we offer weatherization as an add-on for some stanchions. With others, it’s a standard feature.

An extra-heavy cast iron base can also prevent compromise during high winds and other settings, like maritime environments. For construction applications, both will likely be essential.

Don’t Discount the Quality of the Belt and Base for Indoor Applications

The durability is especially important for outdoor applications, but it shouldn’t be discounted if you’re using stanchions indoors. The retractable belt should be made of herringbone weave, and the base should feature a rubber floor protector that prevents damage. Anything less can mean replacing stanchions becomes routine.

Read Too: Crowd Control For Stores | Retail’s Complete Guide

Stanchion Post Types

The stanchion and rope or belt combo is a broader category of crowd control equipment that’s typically broken down by retail, hospitality, and event applications and construction projects. 

Retail, Hospitality, and Event Stanchions

Traditional Post and Rope Stanchions

stanchion definition red carpet events
A Classic Stanchion Post!

Traditional post and rope stanchions grace the floors of amusement parks, museums, and movie theaters. This classic pole and rope barrier provides any venue with an elegant feel to manage queues. The rope attached to the post serves as an effective queueing area, but also adds a feel of exclusivity that many find appealing.

Types of Stanchion Ropes

We’ve all heard of the velvet rope, but usually these are made of velour for repeat use and cost-efficiency. It has the same look as velvet, and it comes in a variety of colors, not just the traditional red.

Other options include the faux leather naugahyde, the luxurious braided ropes, and the twisted polypropylene, which are ideal for outdoor use.

Choose Finish, Top, and Base Design

The finish of a rope stanchion is often significantly more important than a retractable belt stanchion because of its more upscale environment. Choose from polished bronze to satin chrome and several options between.

The top design is another important component. You can choose from crown, ball, and flat top in your finish of choice. And the base can be domed or flat as well, giving you the freedom to customize your post in a variety of ways.

Retractable Belt Stanchions

Retractable Belt Barrier Stanchion
A Versatile Queue Solution!

The retractable belt stanchion is a favorite for crowd control professionals. These are multi-purpose, modern stanchions that can be found in a great number of businesses and venues.

Retractable belt stanchions come in a variety of colors and finishes, and the belts can be embellished with graphics, logos, or specific messages.

For example, the custom belt stanchions are a great tool to encourage physical distancing in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, with messaging about keeping a six-feet distance across high-visibility, high-contrast colors.

Belted stanchions are extremely versatile and easily expanded or retracted depending on the ebb and flow of traffic. A four-way receptacle on top of the stanchion allows belts to expand in any direction. It is also quite easy to deploy additional stanchions and belts to existing set-ups.

Read Too: How to Manage Crowds at Events After COVID-19

Construction and Safety Stanchions

Work areas need products that can last in all weather conditions, meaning durability is a key component. Further, the need for extra-high visibility and precaution means the need for special double belts, wider options, and even retractable belt housing units that can go right on top of a traffic cone. Here are some key examples:

Wall-Mounted Stanchions

what is a stanchion wall mount belt
Wall-Mounted Stanchion

A popular choice to restrict access to hallways and doorways is the wall-mounted retractable belt, perfect for applications where posts would be cumbersome. 

Extra-Wide Retractable Belts

Rather than the standard two-inch width, you may be better served by a three-inch belt. Combined with high-visibility colors, commanding messaging, and a construction post, the unmissable belt can even be spotted from afar.

Extra-Long Retractable Belts

As mentioned above, the longer the belt, the fewer you need to create long barriers. For construction applications, you can quickly and easily keep people away from a hazardous area with an extra-long belt. 

At Sonco, we offer retractable belt barrier stanchion posts with up to 35-foot belts. We think that longer than 40-feet can get too cumbersome, but it may make sense depending on your preferences.

Twin Belt Stanchions

The twin belt stanchion can be used to prevent queue ducking and as an ADA friendly line area. But more often it’s used in construction sites for more effective barriers without upgrading to the bike rack steel barricades. The SONCO SafetyPro 250 Twin is a great example.

Cone Topper Stanchions

what is a stanchion cone pro 1
Cone Topper Stanchion

The cone topper stanchion is similar to the wall-mounted stanchion in size but sits on top of the safety cone to create effective barriers on the fly. This is an item that is often seen with a 40 foot belt length in case it’s called for. Remember, the belt can be extended a few inches up to its full extension.

Stanchion Post Accessories

When people are in line within retractable belt or rope queues, accessories can serve to encourage additional purchases or for convenience purposes. These sit directly on top of the post with minimal installation effort too.

Typically, retail and hospitality industries utilize the accessories. Municipalities, such as post offices, airports, and banks, can also take advantage of the features of stanchion accessories. 

Here are some of the most popular and effective options:

Stanchion Sign Frame

wat is a stanchion: Sign Frame
The Very Important Stanchion Sign Frame

The stanchion sign frame comes in all shapes and sizes. You can even have an etched acrylic sign that doesn’t require additional signage. 

But normally, managers utilize the frames to switch out the messaging specific to the current situation. Perhaps there’s a special going on, or important health and safety information needs to be presented.

A stanchion sign frame is compatible with both retractable belt posts as well as rope stanchions (except for ball top posts).

PRO TIP: If you’re just ordering the sign and not the stanchion posts, make sure the sign finish matches the post. (A mismatch looks terrible.)

Display Bowls and Literature Holders

stanchion definition: display bowl
Prepared to Sell More?

The second most popular stanchion accessory after signage is the merchandise and advertise options.

Display bowls can house impulse purchase items to encourage queueing customers to add more to their cart. Make sure the bowl is large, clear, and has pricing areas you can easily switch out.

Literature holders come with two to four pockets depending on what type of literature you produce. Standard paper size is great for the two pocket (one on each side), whereas the four-pocket is ideal for tri-fold literature.

You can utilize literature to distribute coupon books, brochures, and other promotional materials. 

Writing Tables

Most common in banks and post offices, the writing table is an excellent addition to queues to ensure people can fill out paperwork without losing their place or holding up the line.

The writing table from Sonco fits directly onto the posts and comes in one solid piece, so assembly is minimal and no tools are required. It’s also made with a durable, scratch resistant material while still looking like elegant hardwood, perfect for any setting.

For an improved customer experience, it doesn’t get much easier than the writing table.

Should You Choose a Vertical or Horizontal Stanchion Cart?

=What is a Stanchion: Posts Storage Cart
The Essential Stanchion Cart for Mobility!

A stanchion cart is essential if you’re regularly moving stanchions in and out of storage – or out of the way for cleaning. You want to find a kind that’s as durable and reliable as the posts themselves or moreso. But you’ll also probably have your choice between a vertical or a horizontal cart as well.

The vertical cart is easier, as you simply place the posts on the cart and go. But it’s not very compact, making it a bit less ideal for storage.


The horizontal cart requires you to turn the posts horizontally, which can add a few extra minutes to the breakdown process. But it’s far more compact in storage, especially for the long-term.

Which is better? That’s up to you. The type of transport cart is wholly based on preference.

Look for the Bundle Deals

Since most people need multiple stanchions when they’re placing an order, you’ll want to go with a supplier that can provide the bundle deals that save you money per item. If you’re buying several, you shouldn’t pay the standard price. And if you’re getting a pallet or truckload, you should receive a significant discount.

When the supplier has a “request an online quote” option, you should be able to add a limitless variety of items. Then click submit and see what is a stanchion bundle deal is. If you find a better offer elsewhere, let your preferred supplier know too. Chances are, they’ll match or beat the competing price.

Expert Tip: Take a Look At Sonco Stanchion Bundles!

What Is a Stanchion: Balance Quality with Affordability

In some cases, a specialty retractable belt stanchion or rope and post combo can be a bit of an investment. But for most applications, you’re going with a standard stanchion to create straightforward queues. You want it to last for years and have the features you look for, but you don’t want it to break the bank.

We hope this guide helps if you question about “what is a stanchion”! Good luck on your search, and please reach out for no-obligation expert advice!

Giuliano Marinho
Giuliano Marinhohttps://www.soncocrowdcontrol.com/
Specialist in Crowd Control and Perimeter Security, I am in charge of the largest portal of the segment in the USA. We provide the latest in crowd management products. We are in business of designing products that will enhance the security and safety of YOUR people and assets. Our ultimate goal is to give our customers’ peace-of-mind.
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