Which outdoor sidewalk sign stand is “the best”?

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Asking which outdoor sidewalk sign stand is “the best” is a little like asking a carpenter “which tool is the best”. They’d likely say “it depends on what you’re trying to do”.

Other than print size, there are four main considerations when picking an outdoor sign stand.

  1. What kind of print do I want to use?
  2. How much do I want to spend?
  3. Do I need high Wind Resistance?
  4. Do I need a certain aesthetic?

Print Type:

When users ask “what kind of print can this stand hold” they might be saying they want a stand that holds a paper print because that is a limitation of the large format printer that they have available. Prints can be divided into TWO types.  They are either “thin flexible prints” or “rigid prints”.  Typically “thin flexible prints” are either made with laminated paper (card stock) or 030 styrene. The outdoor sign stands that work with thin flexible prints will almost always have a snap-frame to hold the print. The other type of print is a “rigid print” and signs that hold a “rigid print” will have either a slot to slide your panel into or they may just have a flat surface that you screw your rigid panel onto.  The a-frame signicade (pictured above) is a perfect example of a widely used rigid print sign stand. It is holding a 4mm thick corrugated plastic sign panel. While a person could tape a paper print onto it, that is not its intended use.

Cost:

This is a bit of a loaded question. For example, the signicade is usually about $10 cheaper than the signicade deluxe. So, while the regular signicade looks cheaper at first glance …the regular signicade requires that you come up with a way to attach your sign.  After you buy velcro or “well-nuts” or two sided tape to attach your sign to a regular signicade …you likely could have purchased the signicade deluxe which comes with a quick-change feature to hold your sign panels.  Another example is “snap frame stands”. They can cost two or three times the cost of a signicade, but unlike the signicade ….they hold thin paper prints.  So, if you have the equipment to print on laminated paper real cheap in your print room, then over the long run you’ll pay more for the signicade after you’ve purchased a large number of more expensive rigid prints from a printing company (signicades typically use prints on 4mm corrugated plastic panels).

Wind Resistance:

The stands that don’t hold water and have no springs and don’t swing will have the least resistance to the wind.  One example would be the poly “Quik Sign” stand. It is light weight and a light performer in the wind.  The fancy systems for fighting the wind (like springs) also tend to add a lot to the cost of the stand.  For example, the “wind master” line of stands performs great in the wind but also comes with a higher price tag than most of our other outdoor stands.  All of them are waterproof.

Aesthetics:

This is a very subjective consideration. In most cases you’ll want a neutral aesthetic so that you can switch your graphics around without ever clashing with the sign stand.  The black and white signicade a-frames are probably the most neutral in appearance.  The QLA and sidewalk swinger stands have a noticeably modern look.  The wind master line of stands have a certain cold/sterile/utilitarian appeal and look at home in front of industrial complex or corporate looking franchise. If you need something incredibly warm and rustic, I’d recommend crafting an a-frame stand out of well warn barn boards and a few hinges and a bit of chain.  For a country appeal, no plastic product will match that handmade look.

As always, if you still don’t know what sign stand to order, call Signs Direct for advice ..toll free 877-706-4601

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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