We sell a lot of banner stand support poles. I would be surprised if we didn't sell more banner stand support poles than any other company on earth. Part of the reason for that is because we carry support poles and replacement parts for pretty much every banner stand model we sell, and we offer more models] than any other company. Most companies who sell banner stands don't offer parts. This is largely because so many companies only sell cheap junk, so they don't think it's worth selling parts and would rather just sell you a new stand instead. The other reason is that they don't want to be bothered with parts orders. It's true that stocking and selling parts isn't very profitable, but it's part of good customer service and one of the things that sets us apart. That leads to the the other reason we sell so many poles, and that's because we take the time to help customers who need replacement poles for their banner stands, even if they aren't models we sell. As a result of the experience we've gained in working with customers who need replacement poles, and often don't even know what banner stand they have, we've learned a lot and wanted to share some information that might be helpful to those who need to replace the support pole on their banner stand.
The most obvious solution to the need for a new pole is to purchase the one that is made for your stand. That sounds overly simple, but it's surprising how often customers don't do that. With portable banner stands, which are the non-retractable type, you almost always have to purchase the replacement for your specific model. With these stands, the support pole basically is the banner stand, so it's unlikely a different pole would ever work. With retractable banner stands, there's a better chance that a different pole will work for you. We help a large number of customers who know where they bought the stand, but the company they purchased from is out of business, or they don't sell replacement parts, so that puts them in the same situation as customers who don't know what stand they have. Usually we ask for photos of the stand when this happens. Being experts in the field, we can tell from a photo if a stand is one we sell, and often we can recognize stands we don't offer, and find a replacement pole, so it's a good place to start. Even if that doesn't work, there's a lot we can tell from photos of the base and top rail that will help in finding a suitable replacement pole.
The first important bit of information we pass on is that support poles on banner stands are not interchangeable. While there are certainly poles on some stands that will work on others, in most cases that's not true. Each manufacturer has their own designs that can make the pole for one stand unsuitable for use on another. The factor that most customers seem to focus on is the diameter of the pole. If the pole is too large to fit the socket in the base of the stand, it obviously won't work, but if the pole is too small, it probably won't work either. If the pole is too loose in that socket, the stand will lean and not be stable, which won't look good and could also be a safety hazard. Some stands use a pole that's the same diameter all the way to the bottom, and others have an insert section at the bottom of the pole with a smaller diameter than the main part of the pole itself. Our QuickSilver support pole is a popular choice that customers like to order because it has the largest adjustable height range and high-end lever locks that make it easy to use. In designing that pole to have such a large range of adjustments and still be able to collapse down to a small enough size to fit in the bag with the stand, we added more telescoping sections than most other poles. This makes the pole wider at the base than any other pole, which is why it's a problem for customers who try to use it on a different stand. Since we designed the stand, we just made the socket in the base large enough to accommodate the pole, but it would be much too large to work with other models. So, finding a pole with the proper diameter is the first step. This can be a little tricky because precise measurements are necessary and customers don't always provide the exact size, which can obviously lead to problems. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to measure as carefully as you can because our recommendations probably won't work if this information is wrong.
The next thing to look at is how the support pole connects to the top rail on the banner. There are roughly three main styles of connection, but with lots of variations. Several years ago, the most common style of top rail had a hook attached that inserted into the open end of the support pole.
This is still popular on low-end stands from China, but even those are being upgraded as it's not a particularly good option. The hook and the top of the pole end up being visible above the banner when the stand is set up, which doesn't look very good, and customers complained that the hook was dangerous. When setting up or taking down the stand, if the top rail slipped and got away from the person setting it up, it could pretty easily cause a scratch, or even a puncture wound. That being said, there are still quite a few stands out there that use this method, and there aren't many variations on this idea that would affect the selection of a support pole to work with this style of stand.
The second style has a plastic cup attached to the top rail that fits over the top of the support pole. With this style of stand, the size and shape of the top of the support pole needs to match the plastic cup on the top rail in order to work. There aren't as many stands that use this method, but there are still quite a few.
The third style has become the most popular, and that's where the pole has a plastic fitting at the top that inserts into a slot in the top rail. While there are many stands on the market that use this type of pole, they don't all have the same size and shape fitting, and if that fitting doesn't match the top rail, the pole won't work either, so those must be compatible. In many cases, it's possible to replace both the pole and top rail. As long as the pole fits the base properly, this would ensure that the support pole and top rail will work together.
The last thing to consider when selecting a replacement pole is the height. Obviously, selecting a pole that's the same height as the original is the safest choice, but some stands have adjustable height poles, and others are designed to work with fixed height poles, but may have different height options available. Because the height of the banner can dramatically impact the stability of the stand, if you plan to order a pole for an unknown model that's taller than the original, you would be assuming the responsibility for that choice if turns out not to work, so be sure you think that decision through.
If you really need a taller banner, it's probably time to look at a new stand. With some cheap models, you could spend as much on replacement parts as you would an entirely new unit, so keep that in mind. This is especially true if you're replacing both the pole and top rail. When you purchase a new stand, you would get both of those along with a new base and carry bag. Since cheap stands are cheap because they are lightweight and not made particularly well, it might not be a good idea to invest in those parts when the base and retractor mechanism might not last. But, replacing poles on these stands is very common, and it's become so popular we actually carry a Generic Roll Up Support Pole that is the most common size and style to work with these cheap Chinese models that have a hook in the top rail. With more expensive models, it almost always makes sense to replace these parts, as the mechanisms are made to last so replacing some of these relatively inexpensive parts can be much more cost effective in the long run.