How to Choose the Right Metal Barricade

How to Choose the Right Metal Barricade

The Metal Barricade Buying Guide

At Walmart on Black Friday.

Lining the stages at summer music festivals.

On the concession line at sports stadiums.

Anywhere large crowds appear, so too do metal barricades.

Metal barricades (sometimes called pedestrian, police, or bike rack barricades), are a stable, long-lasting, highly effective crowd control solutions. Brick and mortar retail businesses, public schools, government buildings, universities, and event management companies all use metal barricades to create boundaries and manage crowds.  

However, contrary to popular belief, not all metal barricades are created equal.

Metal barricades come in different sizes, have different types of feet that grip particular kinds of terrain (bridge bases for uneven surfaces and flat bases for pavement), are offered in hundreds of colors, and constructed with different heights.

Not sure which specifications would work best for your needs? Keep reading.

Today we’re breaking down the seven questions you need to ask to figure out which type of metal barricade you need.

Metal Barricades: The Basics

Nearly all metal barricades have the same basic shape.

Pedestrian barricades are comprised of:

  • A rectangular steel frame that is either 8 ft., 7.5 ft., or 6.5 ft. long,
  • Feet on either end of the frame (flat or bridged) that grip the ground,
  • Metal uprights supporting the center of the frame that look similar to bars on a window, and,
  • Hooks on either side of the frame that allows for the interlocking of multiple metal barricades to form a single line.

They come in two types: economy and heavy-duty.

Compared to economy metal barricades, heavy-duty metal barricades weigh more, last longer and endure more abuse.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Metal Barricades

1) Should I rent barricades or buy them?

For some, the upfront cost of purchasing metal barricades can feel like a big number to swallow when compared to the cost to rent.

But as with any financial decision you make for your business, it’s important to consider which option is more cost effective in the long term. And unless you’ll only be using metal barricades on three days throughout the entire life of your business (unlikely) purchasing metal barricades is a sounder financial decision.

The cost of renting a metal barricade starts at $15 a day for 6.5 ft. barricades and goes upwards from there.

To create even a modest barrier or queue, you would need to rent at least 20 barricades at 300 dollars a day, plus the related costs of delivery, setup, and removal.

Even if you decide to arrange your barricades yourself, most barricade rental services will charge you the related service fee as a part of their rental “package.”

Combined, you’re looking at a minimum cost of 500 dollars a day, or $25 a barricade.

On the other hand, the cost to purchase a metal barricade starts at $89, and you can use your own employees to set up and take down the barricades saving you the cost of the service fee.

That means you only need to use your barricades 3.5 times to make purchasing the barricades more cost effective than renting them.

Even better, when you own your barricades, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not the delivery guys will show up on time.

2) Which length metal barricade do you need? 8 ft., 7.5 ft., and 6.5 ft.

After deciding between whether you’re going to rent or purchase your barricades, the next important decision you’ll need to make is which length barricade to choose.

Keep in mind: it's better to purchase barricades that are all of the same lengths than barricades of varying lengths. 

Barricade storage carts (rolling carts designed to maneuver and store barricades) work best when loaded with uniform metal barriers. Barriers of multiple lengths aren’t designed to stack up against one another and will jostle around when the cart is moving.

The best barricade length for your business or event will depend on whether you’re setting up a queue (a line that filters crowds from an entrance to an exit point), or a barrier (one unbroken line of metal barricades blocking a crowd).

If you’re setting up a queue… Purchase 6.5 ft. or 7.5 ft. barricades. The smaller lengths are more efficient for setting up a winding queue (learn how to set up a queue here) to create tight corners.

If you’re setting up a barrier… Purchase 8.5 ft. barricades. The longer the barricade, the less you’ll need to set up your barrier, which is particularly beneficial when setting up a very long straight line.


3) Which barricade height should you buy?

There are two barricade heights: standard (3.5 ft.) and extra tall (6 ft.).

In most cases, standard height barricades are sufficient for your crowd control needs. However, if you’re a difficult crowd control situation, like a crowd surge, or need to protect pedestrians from a construction site hazard, extra tall barricades are the better option.

4) Standard steel colored barricades or colored powder coat barricades?

Metal barricades come in two finishes: hot-dipped galvanized steel (silver) or a powder coat color finish.

Both varieties are weatherized and rust resistant. The main difference between the two is that the colored variety costs slightly more.

So how do you decide between the two finishes?

For events like political rallies and concerts or places like public parks, national parks, and local schools, standard steel finishes are the standard. Because the standard color is so popular, they blend into their environment and control crowds without standing out (more on why it’s essential to utilize non-invasive crowd control tactics here).

For construction zones, facilities, or warehouses, orange colored barricades are the standard. The bright orange color is a universal signal for caution, providing an extra layer of protection around potentially dangerous areas.

For universities, large retail stores, and sports complexes, colored metal barricades allow you to match your barricade’s color to your brand or school’s colors.

5) Which type of barricade feet should you choose?

There are two types of barricade feet: flat feet and bridge feet.

Flat foot barricades have long, flat surfaces on the bottom of their feet. These work best on city streets, sidewalks, tarmacs, and outside stadiums and sports plexes, because they grip onto flat surfaces.

Bridge foot barricades have two, pointed bridge feet on either end of the barricade. These work best on uneven surfaces like at beaches, on golf courses, on gravel, on grass, and in public parks.

6) Will you need swing gates?

Steel metal barricades interlock and form a strong barrier when set up in a line. By design, it’s difficult to remove one section of the line from the others when a barrier or queue is set up.

When you need to allow pedestrians, small vehicles, or supplies through a line of metal barricades, barricade swing gates allow for efficient, passage through your barriers.

Barricade swing gates are “gates” with wheels that swing open and lock closed. They come in two sizes: standard width, which allow for small groups or public service officials, and extra-wide width, which allows for small vehicles and loads of equipment or supplies.

7) Should you buy barricade covers?

Barricade covers are customizable slipcovers that slide on top of metal barricades and can be printed with logos, phrases, or other advertising materials.

If you want to take your team pride up a notch by putting your mascot directly on your barricade, or want to generate extra advertising revenue outside by additional ad space, barricade covers can help you do that.



Want to learn more about metal barricades? Check out Which Type of Barricade Do I Need? A User’s Guide and FAQs: How to Set Up Pedestrian Barricades.

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