Flag Buying Guide

1. Materials 3. Attachment Types 5. Retiring the American Flag
2. Sizes 4. Flag Care


Buying a flag for the first time can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, we are here to help. Let’s go through all the questions that you might have, starting with which material, size and attachment method to choose.


1. Which material should I choose?

Material Light Polyester Nylon Industrial Polyester Cotton
Weather Not recommended for all weather use. Bring in during winds and rain. All weather use in light to moderate winds. All weather use in moderate to extreme winds. Not recommended for all weather use. Colors may bleed when wet.
Location Indoor or short-term outdoor Indoor or long-term outdoor Indoor or long-term outdoor Indoor or short-term outdoor
Use examples Parades, college dorm rooms, holidays, etc. Flying from the side of your house or a flagpole. Flying by the water, open areas, on top of buildings, etc. Re-enactments, retirement presents, framing or caskets.
Durability Weak Strong Very strong Moderate
Appearance Matte / Shiny Shiny Matte Matte
Weight Light Moderate Heavy Heavy
Drying time Quick Quick Long Long
Price $ $$ $$$ $$$


2. What size flag should I get?

Usually the length of the flag should be between one-quarter and one-third the height of the flagpole. If in doubt, go with a smaller size. A flag that is too large will droop on the pole and not look as nice. The most common flag flown on the side of the house is a 3x5ft. Make sure that the flag does not touch any trees, bushes, siding, gutters, door knobs, etc. as that will shorten its lifespan. Avoid overloading the flagpole.

 Height of pole 1/4 1/3 Flag Size
20' 5 6.67 3x5' or 4x6'
25' 6.25 8.33 4x6' or 5x8'
30' 7.5 10 5x8' to 6x10'
35' 8.75 11.67 5x8' to 8x12'
40’ 10 13.33 6x10’ or 8x12’
50’ 12.5 16.67 8x12’ to 10x15’
60’ 15 20 10x15’ to 12x18’
70’ 17.5 23.33 12x18’ or 15x25’
80’ 20 26.67 12x18’ to 20x30’
90’ 22.5 30 15x25’ or 20x30’
100’ 25 33.33 15x25’ to 20x38’


3. How will I attach my flag to the pole?

There are several options when it comes to how you can attach your flag to the pole.

Header and Grommets

This is the most common and cost-effective option for flags sized up to 6x10ft that are flown at a 45 degree angle or from an in-ground flagpole. The hoist end of the flag has a white canvas strip with two grommet holes, one at the top and one at the bottom. The flag is attached to the pole using snap hooks or plastic ties that go through the grommet holes.

Flag Buying Guide

Flags that are 8x12ft and larger in size use a roped heading - instead of grommet holes, the canvas has a nylon rope running through it. The rope includes reinforced galvanized metal thimbles at the top and bottom which attach the same way and serve the same purpose as grommet holes.


Pole Sleeve with Tab

A pole sleeve option is usually more expensive than the header and grommet solution. It includes an unlined sleeve that slides over the pole and covers it for the height of the flag. It has a tab on the inside, towards the top of the sleeve, which attaches to the snap hook of the pole. The sleeve slides over a 1¼ inch diameter pole commonly mounted on buildings at a 45 degree angle.

Flag Buying Guide


Pole Sleeve and Fringe

This option has the same attachment functionalities as the pole sleeve with tab. The sleeve in this case is fully lined. The top, fly end and bottom edge of the flag include a fringe. Colors of the fringe vary for specific flags (e.g. U.S., military, religious, etc.). This option is mainly used to feature flags during parades and indoor displays such as courtrooms, classrooms, lobbies, etc.

Flag Buying Guide


4. How long will my flag last? 

Unfortunately there is no way to predict how long your flag will last. It will depend on the material and size, height of the flagpole, exposure to the elements, the area that you live in and so on.

Here’s what you can do to prolong the lifespan of your flag:

  • Take your flag down during inclement weather - wind combined with additional water weight puts undue strain on the fabric and stitching.
  • Prevent mildew by letting your flag dry thoroughly before storing it.
  • Raise and lower your flag daily instead of flying it 24/7.
  • Wash your flag on a regular basis - always by hand, never in a washing machine. Dry cleaning option is highly recommended.
  • The fly end of the flag will usually be the first to reveal wind wear. When this begins, you may trim off the old hem and re-hem the flag. Do this at the first sign of fraying.
  • Beware of abrasion from a rough flag pole, siding, gutters, door knobs, trees, bushes or other nearby surfaces. This will cause a weakening of the stitching and material.
  • Intense sun along with smog and exhaust fumes will dim the colors of the flag and cause deterioration.


5. Where can I retire my American flag?

It is important to dispose of your worn or faded American flag in a dignified manner. You can take it to a qualified organization such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy and Girl Scouts of America, the U.S. Military, etc. They all retire official American flags per flag etiquette.


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Additionally, you can have a look at our other guides below.

Boat Flag Buying Guide

Signal Flag Buying Guide

Custom Flag Buying Guide

Hardware Buying Guide 

Flag Etiquette

Glossary of Flag Terms