Bollards Vs Stanchions – What’s the Difference?

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Bollards and stanchions are two prominent features you’ll encounter regularly when it comes to crowd control and safety. While both serve the purpose of cordoning off areas and directing foot traffic, there are distinct differences between them in terms of their design, functionality and applications. 

We take a look at the key distinctions between bollards vs stanchions, helping you make an informed choice for your venue’s security and crowd management needs.

What is a Bollard?

Bollards are short, sturdy vertical posts that are designed to withstand impact. That’s why they’re primarily used for controlling vehicle access and protecting property. Bollards are typically made of metal, concrete or plastic and come in various styles, including: 

Despite their various available styles, bollards have common identifying characteristics:

  • Solid construction for impact resistance
  • Often filled with concrete or made from heavy-duty materials like steel
  • Permanently installed or semi-permanent with removable options
  • Used to prevent unauthorised vehicle access to restricted areas
  • Can be decorative or purely functional in design

What is a Stanchion?

In comparison, stanchions are lightweight poles or posts used mainly for creating queuing systems or delineating pedestrian areas. They’re often seen in conjunction with ropes, chains or belts. Unlike bollards, stanchions are not designed to withstand significant impact. They’re made from metal or plastic, prioritising functionality over sturdiness. 

Key features include:

  • Relatively lightweight and portable construction
  • Often made from materials like aluminium, chrome or plastic
  • Topped with a flat or curved surface to hold ropes or belts
  • Used to guide foot traffic and create orderly lines
  • Can be freestanding or wall/floor-mounted
  • Available in various colours and finishes for aesthetic appeal

The Main Differences Between Bollards and Stanchions

While both bollards and stanchions are vertical posts, they have distinct differences when it comes to their core purposes, construction and applications:

Purpose

Where bollards excel at controlling vehicle access and safeguarding property, stanchions take the lead in guiding people on foot and managing queues.

Construction 

Bollards are typically heavy-duty and sturdy, often filled with concrete or made from strong materials like steel. Stanchions, on the other hand, are lightweight and portable, constructed from materials like aluminium or plastic.

Permanence 

Bollards are generally permanent or semi-permanent installations, while stanchions are temporary and easy to move around.

Impact Resistance

Bollards are built to withstand significant vehicle impact, whereas stanchions are not designed to resist collisions.

Applications 

Bollards are commonly found in commercial and public spaces, controlling traffic flow and preventing unauthorised vehicle access. Stanchions are widely used in venues like airports, museums, banks and retail stores to organise queues and direct foot traffic.

When to Use Bollards or Stanchions

The choice between bollards and stanchions ultimately depends on your specific needs and the level of security or crowd control required.

Bollards are the ideal solution when:

  • Preventing unauthorised vehicle access to restricted areas
  • Protecting property, buildings or pedestrian zones from potential vehicle collisions
  • Controlling traffic flow in high-risk locations
  • Enhancing overall site security and safety

Stanchions are better suited when:

  • Organising orderly queues and managing foot traffic flow
  • Delineating foot traffic areas or creating walkways
  • Providing guidance and direction in crowded venues
  • Enhancing the aesthetic appeal of queuing systems

In some cases, you might have to use a combination of both bollards and stanchions to get the level of security and crowd control you need.

Trust Macs Bollards for Your Vehicle Security Needs

With over 15 years of experience in the industry, Macs Bollards is a leading supplier and installer of high-quality security bollards across the UK. Our extensive range includes fixed, removable, and automatic rising bollards, catering to various applications and budgets.

Whether you require vehicle access control for your commercial premises, residential estate or public space, our expert team can help you select the most suitable bollard solutions. We prioritise tailored advice, taking into account your specific requirements, risk factors and performance needs.

Call us on 0161 320 6463 or email enquiries@macs-bollards.com, and let our friendly professionals help you find the perfect solution.

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