As the breeze catches the folds of the star-spangled banner fluttering high above, few symbols represent America's values of freedom and democracy more boldly than the majestic sight of Old Glory atop a towering commercial flagpole.
For businesses, nonprofits, government facilities and other organizations wishing to proudly display their patriotism, allegiance or solidarity by flying a large American or ceremonial flag, choosing the ideal 50ft pole to showcase their spirit takes some consideration.
While models and options abound when it comes to selecting a commercial-grade 50ft flagpole, the most vital decision comes down to whether you need an external or internal halyard system. I'll explain the key differences between these two types shortly.
First though, let's quickly review the three main material choices available—aluminum, fiberglass and stainless steel—along with the pros and cons of each.
Aluminum Commercial Flagpoles:
Pros - Lightweight, affordable, low maintenance, won't rust.
Cons - Can bend in high winds if not thick enough; prone to abrasions.
Fiberglass Commercial Flagpoles:
Pros – Strong, lightweight, won't corrode.
Cons – More expensive, can shatter if impacted.
Stainless Steel Commercial Flagpoles:
Pros – Very strong, excellent corrosion resistance.
Cons – Heavier, requires painting to prevent long-term rust.
While all three materials work well, aluminum flagpoles offer the best durability and value for most applications. Now, let's look at the two halyard systems.
External Halyard Flagpoles:
With external halyard flagpoles, the rope (halyard) used to raise and lower the flag is routed on the outside of the pole. This allows easy access for raising and lowering the flag manually.
- Simple, inexpensive, easy to operate. Just attach the flag and pull the halyard.
- Allows flag to be taken down easily in storms to prevent wind damage.
- Exposed halyard is unattractive and prone to wear. Needs frequent replacement.
- Makes a metal-on-metal noise when flag is flying in wind that can be distracting.
- Easier target for vandals to mess with flag or steal halyard.
Internal Halyard Flagpoles:
As the name implies, internal halyard systems have the halyard routed inside the flagpole. This protects the rope and provides a cleaner, more professional look.
- Sleek, smooth aesthetic without visible halyard.
- Halyard protected inside pole; lasts 5-10 years vs 1-2 years for external.
- Quiet operation with no banging halyard noise.
- Harder for vandals to target.
- More expensive than external halyard models.
- Raising/lowering must be done manually at the base of the pole.
- Cannot easily lower flag in high winds.
- If halyard breaks, repair is complicated by internal access.
So which type is better for most 50ft commercial flagpole needs?
While external halyard models are fine for more cost-conscious applications where periodic halyard replacement and noise are not concerns, most organizations will probably prefer the cleaner, safer, more professional look and functionality of internal halyard systems.
With their halyard discreetly concealed within the pole, internal halyard flagpoles are ideal for businesses, government facilities, parks, schools and anywhere else that aesthetic appearance and security are priorities. Their higher cost is offset by lower maintenance requirements and longer halyard life. Just be sure your flag can be safely lowered in extreme weather conditions.
Beyond the halyard system, commercial flagpoles have additional factors to consider:
Mounting base - Choose an in-ground mounted pole with concrete footing for permanent installations. Go with a stationary or hinged base plate for portable mounting on decks or patios.
Wind speed rating - Your flagpole should have a wind speed rating at least 20% higher than your area's strongest winds.
Flag size - Make sure your pole is rated for the flag size you intend to fly. Most 50ft poles can handle 4'x6' or 5'x8' flags.
Material thickness - Go with a thicker-walled pole for maximum wind resistance. Look for 0.125" or 0.188" wall thickness aluminum.
Finial - Adornments like ball, eagle or truck finials add stately style. Or go for a modern, streamlined look with a flush-fit finial.
With this overview of the factors involved in selecting the ideal 50ft commercial flagpole, you now have the knowledge to make an informed choice that meets your application needs.
Whether in front of a car dealership flaunting Old Glory, atop a resort billowing its logo flag, or outside a school sporting the colors of its mascot, a towering flagpole makes a bold, powerful statement for any organization.
And as that majestic banner catches the wind, rippling with the ideals and values it represents, the sight never fails to instill pride, purpose and meaning. A commercial flagpole displays to all who see it what your business or organization stands for.
So when you're ready to elevate your message high for all to see, remember the factors covered here. Then get that perfect flagpole installed, hoist your colors up top, and let freedom ring!
Also, if you need a great, smaller option, check out our 40' flagpoles that work great for homes and offices!