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Banner Stand Buyers Guide


There are so many various types of banner stands on the market today it can feel a bit overwhelming and almost feel like a foreign language. We are here to help you understand the differences and determine what type of display is most effective for your visual branding needs with this comprehensive buyers guide. In this guide Camelback explores the various hardware aesthetics and functionality as well as various print materials.

Banner stands come in a huge variety of types, styles, shapes, sizes and functionality. There are also a myriad of different possibilities for print media that banner stands use from standard scrim vinyl to opaque backed film and full color printed fabric (dye-sublimation). Common types of banner stands include retractable banners stands, L style tension banner stands, X-stands, classic retail banner stands, sail banners, outdoor banners, telescoping, revolving/scrolling banner stands and table top banner stands. Then there are other types of displays that are not banner stands, but are used like them.

Banner stands are used for many different types of marketing presentations. Some of which include trade show displays, point of purchase, informational & directional signage, announcements, product demonstrations, announcements, backdrops for press conferences, restaurant specials and a whole lot more. Banner stands are so widely used, you probably see one every day, wherever you go.


Retractables (aka roll up banner stands) are probably the most popular stands for banners and are used for every type of marketing mentioned above. They work by utilizing a special base that retracts the graphic banner into it using a roller mechanism with spring tension. To set it up, all you do is pull the banner out of the base and affix the top profile to a support rod.

Think old movie projector screen and you get the basic idea. The top profile attaches to the banner to keep it straight and prevent it from getting pulled into the base when retracted. They are great portable banner stands because they take up little space when set up and collapse down to fit in a padded carrying bag (depends on model) that fits practically anywhere.

Let’s say you have a sales force that needs a portable presentation that is quick to set up, easy to pack and is carried around easily, then a retractable may be your best bet!

Types Retractable Banner Stand

The Base:
What is the difference between all of the various retractables? One major thing to look at is the base. Retractable bases set the basic style of the banner stand. Some are sleek and refined; others are basic and no nonsense. All work pretty much the same way but may use different materials, colors, end caps and finishes.

There can be a huge difference in quality too. Some models may be imports that don’t work well and can only be used a few times, while others use the best of everything to keep the banner stand in great working order for years. Some bases offer a single sided version while others offer double sided bases. The double sided retractable banner stands have two roller systems installed in one base.

The Support Rod:
The support rod holds up the banner. It inserts into an opening in the base and attaches to the banner’s top profile. It can be segmented aluminum or carbon fiber tubes that are joined by bungee cord for easy packing or telescopic to offer the benefit of adjustable heights.

This can be very effective for using one banner stand as a table top unit or a floor model. (Graphics need to be planned for using it this way).


Removable Cassettes:
Some retractable banner stands offer removable cassettes that house your banner. This allows you to change your graphic without the hassle. The advantage is that multiple cassettes can be ordered for different presentations without having to buy extra banner stands.


Carry Bags & Cases:
Most models come with a nylon padded carry bag which holds all of the hardware and the retracted graphic. It is not recommended to ship the carry bag without being boxed.


Double Sided Retractable Banner Stands:
Double sided versions have two roller systems built into the base; one for the front and one for the back. They usually share the center support pole, which is positioned exactly in the middle of the base between banners and work exactly the same as single sided models.

Double sided retractables are perfect for two-sided traffic marketing areas where people are going to be able to see it from both sides. They are also a nice addition to island marketing kiosks or demo stations.


Double sided retractable can also allow for more marketing material in the same amount of space by offering 2 different banners you can squeeze twice the material into the same advertising area. Also allowing you to maximize visibility where it is needed.


Extra Wide Retractables:
Extra wide versions are available and can go as wide as 5’. Set up may require two people because two support rods are sometimes needed to hold up the banner, depending on the model. When you need more space to display your message an extra wide banner can make all the difference in achieving your desired marketing effect.



Banner stand spot lights are lightweight and low voltage. Most of the types of available lights allow a certain amount of directional adjustment, making it easy to highlight your banner.

Anytime you add lights to a display, it makes the graphics “pop” more so lighting is always recommended. Banner lights will clip on to the top profile or support rod.

display lights

There are several types of media and print methods involved in producing banner graphics for retractable banner stands. The most popular are scrim vinyl banners, which lower the cost of printing. Scrim vinyl is used on many outdoor banners that you may see being hung outside for various uses. Other types of vinyl are used that help with making sure the graphic is flat once set up.

Opaque backed film with lamination is a step up in value from vinyl. The opaque backing makes sure that stray light from behind is blocked and colors render a little more crisply. However, cost is higher than vinyl. Fabric graphics are now used extensively for banners and offer a beautiful texture and look. They are printed using a dye sublimation process that produces sharp and vibrant full color graphics.

Like film, full color fabric graphics are also a step up in both quality and price. Aside from the media, when designing the art for retractables, always add additional “bleed” at the bottom for the leader that gets rolled into the base. Without bleed, the leader may be visible just above the base.


Additional Accessories:
Shelves, literature holders, iPad holders and other display elements are sometimes incorporated into banner stands; making them more of a portable display than a banner stand alone.

With the accessories available for banner stands you can create showstopping displays that stretch as far as you can imagine. Use accessories to combine banner stands to create display walls as big and wide as you desire, or special lighting to bring special effects to your display. Utilize today’s technology such as iPads, monitors, and computers with your banner stands. By selecting the appropriate accessories you can truly bring your exhibit to life. With a huge selection of literature racks you can offer your clients something to take home, whether it be magazine, flyers, CD’s, or posters, there is an accessory that will fit your needs and turn your display into the latest and greatest on the showroom floor.


Set Up Tips:
As with any display, it’s easy to damage your graphic with mishandling. Be sure to read all set up and care instructions. When pulling the banner out of the base, always grip in the middle of the top profile to avoid rubbing the edges of your graphic on the hardware. You should pull straight up and out. Carefully attach to the connector of the top profile (there are different ways all of them attach). If you are working with a tall retractable stand, it’s OK to tilt the hardware and the graphic (as you pull) so that you can reach the top…but be careful! It’s easier to do this with the support foot in. Use the product as intended. Inside banner stands should be used indoors to avoid damage by wind and weather. (there are special outdoor retractable banner stands available).


If you need to move the stand, carefully grab the support rod and move it smoothly and slowly. If there is not enough tension to carry it like this, either hold onto the base too or simply retract the banner and then move it. Place the stand where it is front lit or add lights to the top to highlight your graphics.

Retractable banner stands offer extremely fast set up and collapse down to a small packing footprint. Also because they are so portable & versatile, they can be used for a huge variety of marketing and promotional events or stay stationary in one location as needed.


Most floor models are as tall as a person (or taller), so they offer an opportunity to attract attention with such a large, mobile canvas. I just watched a news conference that used a large, retractable stand as a backdrop. They are a favorite of department stores who place them in strategic places for branding purposes using various widths and heights.


The only negative regarding this style of banner holder is that on some styles, it is difficult to change out graphics for a novice. To be fair, some models make it very easy to change out banners using Hook & Loop or removable cassettes or just good instructions, but for others it is easier to send them back in to your supplier and have new graphics printed and installed.


These types of banner stands encompass a lot of different styles but still utilize the banner graphic in effective ways to reach the same presentation goal of showcasing a product, message, idea or other information.

The outcome is pretty much the same, but the way the graphic is mounted and held by the banner hardware may be drastically different between models. All of the same types of graphic printing media that are used on retractables are used on standard free standing banner stands (Vinyl, Film and Printed Fabric).


L-Shaped Banner Stands:

Banner displays that fall into this category utilize a stabilizer/support foot combined with a tension rod that pulls a banner graphic taut vertically. Sometimes the rod is made of flexible carbon fiber that is segmented into packable pieces that fit together. On other models it is made of telescoping aluminum tubes for variable heights.


The most common design is for the rod to slip into the support foot with the other end attaching to the banner’s top profile. This adds “drum tight” tension for the graphic. Horizontal stability is achieved using the bottom banner profile. All of this results in a lightweight, portable banner that is effective and simple to set up. Combine that with a lower price and a company can launch a large banner stand marketing campaign on the cheap. Most models that are sold as kits include a nylon carrying bag (may or may not be padded) that house the hardware and graphic for each stand.

X-Banner Stands:

A simple banner stand design that pulls the four corners of a banner taut using tension rods that are usually joined together by a connection hub in the middle, making it look like a big “X.” An additional rod holds the stand upright. The design resembles kind of a basic rectangular kite, once it is set up. Because of the design requires graphics be tensioned, most models use vinyl banner or full color printed fabric graphics with grommets on all four corners for the rods to slip into.


Usually laminated film graphics are too rigid for X banner stands, but there are probably a few models that use them too. Kit’s may include a transport carrying bag to house everything. Most models offer a floor to top full graphic image area because top & bottom profiles are not used as they are in L-stands and retractable banners.



Classic Style Banner Stands:
These banner stands were probably the first design to be used extensively, especially in retail. There is usually a round, square or X pedestal base that supports the display and either a cantilever banner support that resembles a flag or a “T” shaped banner support. Vinyl or fabric banners are mounted using dowels and rod pockets. The main vertical pole can be fixed height or adjustable and can house single or double sided hanging hardware.


Cantilever style banner stands can still offer a double sided look by printing double sided banners. Since banner rods protrude off of one side of the banner, Pole pocket banners simply slide onto them for mounting. “T” shaped models can use two separate banners mounted on both sides. Banners are made from vinyl or printed fabric so that pole pockets on the top and bottom of the banner can be used. Dowels are inserted into the pole pockets, which in turn are slid into the banner mounting hardware. This enables the banner to be center hung. Still other Classic models can have graphics mounted with Hook & Loop to a top & bottom profile.


The most common design is for the rod to slip into the support foot with the other end attaching to the banner’s top profile. This adds “drum tight” tension for the graphic. Horizontal stability is achieved using the bottom banner profile. All of this results in a lightweight, portable banner that is effective and simple to set up. Combine that with a lower price and a company can launch a large banner stand marketing campaign on the cheap. Most models that are sold as kits include a nylon carrying bag (may or may not be padded) that house the hardware and graphic for each stand.

Telescoping (Adjustable Height/Width) Banner Stands:
Any type of height adjustable banner stands is technically telescopic but the main type in this category resembles large frames composed of adjustable poles with base plates for support.


There are two uprights, two base plates and two cross pieces. Banners are attached using pole pockets and both height and width can be adjustable up to 12’ x 12’ (That is in feet!) depending on the model being used. Banners can be vinyl or fabric; single sided or printed double sided.


This type of banner frame is great for holding large banners, making temporary walls or rooms, dividing up a space and making a graphic backdrop for press conferences or trade shows. Because of the adjustable sizing, telescoping banner stands are very versatile and can fit almost anywhere. Quality can vary, so choose one that is the most stable and has the least amount of “sway.” Arched connections where cross pieces meet uprights help with this. Add banners, carry bags, lights and other accessories.



Banner holders used for outside take on a bunch of different shapes and sizes and ideas for staying in place. Some simply stick in the ground, others have weighted down bases, some are bolted to cement and some resemble flag poles. The print material used can be fabric, vinyl or nylon and all are made for moderate use outside. Outdoor banner stands of any type are not made to be left out in bad weather, but there are exceptions.


These types of banner holders are great for attracting the attention of drive-by or walk-by traffic. Sail banners for example are sometimes used alongside a road in front of a retail outlet and restaurants may have a banner stand set up in front of their restaurant to draw passersby inside.


Weighted Bases:
Bases for these types of outdoor models may have a container to hold sand or water. The idea is to add a lot of weight to the display to keep it from blowing away or getting knocked over.


The advantage here is that once you are finished using the display banner, just empty the base and store it away. It’s also less expensive to ship lighter weight banner stands sans the water or sand.

Graphics can be printed on vinyl or fabric banners. Be mindful of the double-sided versions that are available. Also take note that these materials come in a  range of qualities. For a long term outdoor display it is best to have the strongest, and most durable, industrial printed banner material possible. If you need help making a selection be sure to give us a call!


Sail Banners:
These types of banners offer you several different options. They are used extensively in outdoor marketing using different shapes such as teardrop, kite, flag, rectangular and more. Now there are new shapes coming out that creatively resemble surf boards, shields and arrows. When buying sail banners, think about ordering them with double sided printing. This insures that the image printed will be seen correctly from both sides.


To save money, you can order what’s called single reverse; meaning that there is only one print on one side, but it is visible from the other side. Unfortunately the graphic on the back side is reversed, which may be OK, depending on the art being displayed. Sail banners offer several methods to stand them up. Most common are the spike and cross bases.


The spike base allows the banner to be stuck in the ground and the cross base allows them to stand on concrete or hard floors (inside or outside). Other bases for some models include a car base that sits under a car tire, metal square base and a pivoting water base. Assembly is quite simple: a carbon fiber rod is pushed through a rod pocket sewn directly into the banner, then attach the base (spike or cross base) and it is ready to be used. Again, don’t leave them out in severe weather!

Retractable Outdoor Banner Stands:
There are several different types of outdoor retractables that work just like their indoor counterparts. The bases are weighted and the parts used are geared for outdoor use. Some models will sway forward and backwards in moderate winds.


Outdoor Banner & Sign Holders:
Grouped into outdoor banner stands are sign holders. You see these at banks, in front of department stores and other locations. They can be A-frame models or rectangular style that is bolted to concrete, which are more permanent installations.


Other Outdoor Banners:

Pop out banners are walking billboard type fabric banners that resemble sun shields for cars. Pop outs have a flexible rod sewn into the perimeter of the banner that pulls it taut into an oval or round shape.


They are available as single or double sided and can be staked to the ground or carried by your favorite human. Another style along these lines are backpack walking banners. These use smaller sail banners and attach them to a lightweight harness that fits over someone’s shoulders.

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