If variety is the spice of life, height is the spice of portable stages. There is a huge variety of stage height options available in the world of portable stages - fixed-height, dual-height, telescopic, removable.
With so many height options available, you're bound to be asking yourself: Do I need an adjustable-height stage, or will a fixed-height stage do just fine?
It's a great question, and there's really no right or wrong answer. It all depends on your needs and preferences. Let’s take a look at the benefits of each type:
When a portable stage has adjustable-height legs, that means the height of the stage legs can be adjusted within a range. This allows you to set up the stage at a different height each time you use it. It can also allow you to create a multi-level stage, where stage panels set at different heights create 2 or more tiers - for example, a lower tier for the presenter and a raised section for the musicians in the rear.
Adjustable-height legs always include a height range in which the stage will operate. Some adjustable-height stages are dual-height, meaning they can only be set to 2 heights, like this NPS TransFix Stage Panel, which can be set to 16 inches tall or 24 inches tall.
Other stage systems like StageQ, QuickLock and ProFlex Staging have telescopic legs, which can be set to any height within a range, like from 12 inches to 18 inches and every height between. Telescopic legs are especially helpful if you have an exact height requirement. They're also well-suited to setting up on an uneven surface or over a curb or structure, which requires each leg to be set to a different precise height.
Benefits of Adjustable-Height Stages:
- Cost savings - you get 2 or more heights for the price of one
- Flexible - you can use your stage for may different applications
- Easy to decide - you can pick a height range to buy and settle on the exact height once it's assembled
At first glance, it may seem like adjustable-height is the better choice for a portable stage, but fixed-height stages have many advantages too...
A fixed-height portable stage means the height of the stage legs cannot be changed - an 8-inch tall stage system with fixed-height legs can only be set up at an 8-inch height. Some examples are NPS portable stages and Midwest Folding fixed-height stage panels. The primary advantages of fixed-height stages are easy setup, predictable accessories and affordability.
Fixed-height stages are simply easier to set up. They require less training for the setup crew, since you just attach or unfold the legs and go - you don’t have to worry about the additional step of adjusting each leg to the proper height. They also usually have less parts and hardware to keep track of since there is no height-adjustment mechanism on the legs.
Because a fixed-height stage will be used at a predictable height each time, it's also easier to purchase accessories - you only need one height of stairs and skirting to purchase, and you will know in advance if the stage height requires guard rails and/or cross-bracing for safety and stability (check with your fire marshal or township - local ordinances vary).
Finally, fixed-height stages are the all-around cost-effective option. They generally cost less per square foot and again, require accessories in only one height.
Benefits of Fixed-Height Stages:
- Easy setup - less time, training & parts
- Predictable - accessories are only needed in one height
- Cost-effective - usually less $ per square foot
The Best of Both Worlds
Some systems like Biljax and IntelliStage Portable Stages have removable fixed-height legs or risers that can be detached from the stage platform when the stage is disassembled. For this type of stage, it's possible to purchase multiple sets of fixed-height legs in different heights, creating the opportunity to change the height of a fixed-height stage by swapping out the legs. This is a more expensive option because you are purchasing additional legs, but it's a good solution for a retrofit or for gaining the benefits of a fixed-height stage while retaining the flexibility of having multiple heights.
One more important thing to note ... if you need a low height (under 12 inches tall) for your portable stage, you'll need to get a fixed height. Any height below 12 inches is only going to be available in a fixed-height stage model. But if your stage has removable legs, you can always purchase another set in a taller height.
StageDrop offers an extensive selection of both fixed-height and adjustable-height portable stage systems. We work with these products hands-on every day, and we love to talk about this stuff. Get in touch with us today at 1-800-887-8243 or firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our free Quote Request Form, and we'll guide you to the right portable stage solution for your needs.