Estimated reading time: 11 minutes 

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 barrier systems or retractable 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 or queue barrier systems – and we’ll give you the solutions to them, too.

Low-cost 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, which is often used as part of queue management systems:

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 but some retractable belt barriers can cause just that.

Fast webbing retraction can cause injury

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 chances of injury

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

Watch the video below to see the difference

Slower webbing retraction is better

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

Tensabarrier® has patented braking technology built-in

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.

Tensabarrier® cassette with patented braking technology

Tensabarrier® cassette with patented braking technology

Buy direct and save 

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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.

Some competitor products don’t use anywhere near the same quality materials

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 doesn’t last as long

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

Some competitor products can quickly become unusable 

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.

Taller barriers lead to more queue-jumping more often

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

Tensabarrier®‘s optimum height discourages queue jumpers

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

Barriers with taller posts are easier to knock over and less stable

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.

Aluminium posts are more prone to damage and wear and tear 

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

Not all barriers are equal – note how high the base edge is – this could be a trip hazard

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

Tensabarrier® bases have the lowest leading edge on the market

Tensabarrier Airport

Tensabarrier Retractable Barrier – has the lowest leading edge on the market

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. 

Tensabarrier® is designed and built with accessibility in mind

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.

Some competitor barrier bases increase the chances of your customers or staff tripping or injuring themselves

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 queuie barriers 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.

Some competitor barriers have been taken apart by people in the queue

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 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.

Check the tape end and look for the Tensabarrier® logo

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 Tensabarrier® – the original retractable belt barriers

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 the problems we’ve laid out here.

Do you own a cafe or restaurant?


Cafe barrier starter kits

cafe barrier

Cafe barrier starter kit

We have recently introduced a great range of cafe barriers. Our starter kit is perfect for restaurants or cafes it’s available in either stainless steel (for outdoor locations) or polished chrome (for indoors).

Cafe barrier in red

Cafe barrier in red

For the banner material, you can choose from mesh (select for high wind areas) or PVC.
As for banner colours you can choose from four UV stable colours. They are available in Black, Blue, Green or Red.

Our starter kit cafe barriers can cover any area of any size, so why not order yours today.

Bespoke cafe barriers – add your own branding

We also offer bespoke cafe barrier systems where you can add your own brand and logo. Or if you prefer you could add a supplier’s branding or even customer-centric messages or advertise a new product.
The large banner design allows for saleable advertising space for your business.
Our bespoke cafe barriers are also available in stainless steel or polished chrome.

Cafe barrier add your own brandingCafe barrier add your own branding

Cafe barrier add your own branding

For outdoor areas select a stainless steel cafe barrier system.

We can literally cover any size so why not request a quote today.

The benefits of having cafe barriers

Cafe barriers are a great cost-effective way for you to create space and install a queue management system with minimal disruption.

They can be used for extending or creating indoor or outdoor spaces.
Ideal for use at indoor/outdoor events, exhibition halls, shopping centres, pubs, clubs and restaurants, museums, bars and cafes, hotels, leisure clubs and schools.

As with all Tensabarrier® bases our cafe barrier bases have been designed with accessibility in mind.

Looking for something elegant

We have an excellent range of rope barriers. Our Lawrence® rope barriers provide a versatile and stylish solution to queue management they are a great way to discreetly guide your customers.

These rope barriers are available in either chrome or polished brass finishes.

Rope Barriers

Rope barrier from Lawrence

The barrier ropes are offered in braided or velour in multiple colours, which are both popular rope barriers for high-end events and venues.

Tensabarrier®  – is not just the market leader but can also be fully recycled 

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.

Lower-priced barriers will always end up costing you more

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

visit tensator shop

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