Buying cheap queue barriers always seems like a good idea at the time. After all, it’s just a queuing barrier, why would you want to spend any more money than you have to?


The snags you hit after you buy cheap queue barriers lead to you losing money, rather than saving it.

In this post, we are going to dive into 7 specific problems you’ll face when you gamble on low-cost, low-quality queue barrier products – and we’ll give you the solutions to them, too.

Cheap Queue Barriers Exposed  – Piece By Piece

To understand the problems caused by cheap queue barrier construction, it is best for us to show you the anatomy of a queue barrier first:

cheap queue barriers

We will explore the problems from the top down.

1. Poor Braking on Retraction – Leading to Potential Injury

Accidents and near-hit incidents are the last things you want to happen on your business premises.

The webbing on some of our competitors’ queue barriers retracts into their cassettes at up to 2.5 seconds faster than those on our own Tensabarrier® products.  

This is due to the inferior brake technology in their cassettes.

The faster the webbing retracts, the higher the likelihood of injury for anyone who’s standing in the way.

When it comes to webbing retraction, slower is definitely better.

The Tensabarrier®  has patented braking technology within the webbing cassettes.  It has the slowest webbing retraction speed of any queue barrier product in the market.

Which makes it the safest queue barrier in the market.

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We could probably rest our case right there, but we know you want to read about the rest!

2. Cheap Queue Barriers Have Thin Webbing That’s More Likely To Wear And Tear

At Tensator, we use webbing with a 0.89mm thickness, manufactured from military-grade fabric.

Competitor products don’t use anywhere near the same quality of material, and we’ve tested webbing on our competitors’ products that has been as thin as 0.5mm.

Now, a few tenths of a millimetre, not even noticeable to the eye, might not seem like a big deal, so what does this actually mean for you?

Thinner webbing means it wears out faster (especially if you combine this with the fast retraction speed that we mentioned above).

If this thin webbing frays and breaks, your barrier will become unusable and will need a new webbing cassette or an entire replacement. The initial lower price of the product becomes a false economy.

Also, cheaper queuing barriers will often have longer webbing belts than a premium product like the Tensabarrier®.

Although this sounds like a good thing, it just leads to more costly problems for you.

Long belts will:

Force you to space your stanchions further apart from each other, which encourages queue-jumping.

Put more strain on the springs in the cassette, which will make them work harder to retract the extra webbing and wear out quicker.

Often not fully retract into the cassette, because the spring isn’t powerful enough to retract the webbing reliably.

3. Barrier Heights That Encourage Queue-Jumping

Some cheap queue barriers have taller stanchion posts than the Tensabarrier®.

This isn’t a good thing.


A taller stanchion means the cassettes and webbing are set to a greater height.

This will lead to customers ducking under the webbing and queue-jumping more often – inviting exactly the sort of disorderly behaviour you want your queue barriers to discourage.

Our Tensabarrier’s are 38’ tall – their webbing is set at just the right height to prevent people from ducking under or climbing over them.

Cheap queue barriers with taller stanchions are also less stable. Their higher centre of gravity makes them easier to knock over, and they are more likely to get caught on clothing or bags.

4. Cheap Stanchions That Dent & Damage Easily

Tensabarrier’s are manufactured from steel and have a tube thickness of 1.5mm – significantly thicker than the majority of our competitors.

Cheap queue barriers with aluminium posts are more susceptible to damage and wear and tear – just like cheaper, thinner webbing.

Dents and punctures will give off an unprofessional image to your customers.

Tensabarrier’s look better, for longer.

5. Cheap Queue Barriers Have Bases That Are Not Accessibility Friendly & Cause Trip Hazards

The Tensabarrier® Universal base has the lowest leading edge on the market, improving accessibility for all.

The low edges pose less of a trip hazard for the visually impaired and making it easier for wheelchairs, pushchairs, suitcases, and trolleys to pass over the edge of the cast-iron base. 

All of our products are designed with the UK Equality Act 2010 and the USA Americans with Disability Act (ADA) in mind and meet the criteria set out in each ensuring you are always compliant.

Cheap queue barriers use bases with lower-quality, lighter, less durable materials and as a result, they tend to have thicker edges, increasing the likelihood of your customers or staff tripping and injuring themselves or being able to pass through the queue.

6. Unstable Assembly

A lot of cheaper queuing barrier are supplied flat packed and require assembly.

The inefficiency problems here are obvious (if your staff are having to assemble the barriers, that’s lost productivity for your company) but there’s a more serious problem that will arise from this.

Our stanchions are pre-assembled in our UK-based Tensator facility using a pneumatic torque gun (set to 56nM/42lbs of torque, in case you were wondering!)

Queue barriers assembled by hand have nowhere near the same stability – the stanchion will be loose and may rock at the base.

In some cases, cheap queue barrier stanchions have been unscrewed completely by people in the queue who have leaned on the top of the post during busy lines.

This just does not happen with a Tensabarrier®.

Tensabarrier’s come to you fully assembled, eradicating any risk of poor assembly on-site.

7. Ensure It’s An Authentic Tensabarrier®

As Tensabarrier® is the global leading brand on the market our final point is to check authenticity as sometimes it may say it’s a genuine Tensabarrier® and actually it’s not! As the leading retractable barrier on the market, we find that people like to copy us or market cheaper barriers under the Tensabarrier® brand.

So, we have made it easy for you to always check authenticity. Along with the points already highlighted, our tape-ends, the fixing on the end of the webbing, will always have the Tensabarrier® logo and stamp of quality for instant brand recognition. If in doubt, check!

cheap queue barrier

Always Choose Tensator

Here at Tensator, we have a long and proud history of being the first and last word in queue barrier production – our products are designed to avoid causing you problems we’ve laid out here.

We also like to shout about our green credentials and would like to add that when no longer required the Tensabarrrier® can also be fully recycled!

Now you are armed with the facts, you can make an informed decision on your next queue barrier purchase.

Being seduced by lower prices leads to problems that will ultimately cost you more money to solve. Buy once, buy Tensabarrier®!

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