What's The Difference Between a Flag Header and Sleeve?

Linda Snyder ·

Understanding the differences between these flag finishes and components may seem a bit confusing & difficult at first, but we promise it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

Maybe you’re new to the flags community and weren’t aware of all the different components to consider when making a flag purchase or maybe you just want to know which finish is right for you. We will explain the differences between header and sleeve finishes, best uses, and recommended flagpole parts.



Let’s start off with understanding what a header is and where it can be found on the flag. The header is a double-fold material placed along the hoist (pole side) of the flag. If you’re looking at our Outdoor American Flag, you will see that the header is the white strip of fabric along the blue field and red and white stripes. The header is made of heavy canvas-type fabric.


On the top and bottom of the header, you will find that there are brass metal grommets inserted. The grommets or eyelets are small metal rings used to reinforce the holes in the header so it does not tear when the rope or halyard goes through it. The grommets are how the flag attaches to the flagpole. 


When attaching the flag to a flag pole you will need snaps or rings to hold the flag in place. Flag rings are typically used when flying lighter flags. Our clear plastic flag rings can be used to attach your flag to fiberglass or free spin poles. If you plan on mounting your flag on a building or house, we recommend using our tangle-free flag pole, which comes with a pair of clear plastic flag rings included.

For larger in-ground flagpoles we recommend using either plastic snaps or zinc snaps to secure the flag to the grommets. Snaps are typically used when flying heavier flags and banners. 

Recommended Use: Header and grommets finishes are recommended if you plan on flying your flag outdoors. 


A pole sleeve is as it sounds. Imagine the pole is your arm and the pole sleeve is the sleeve of a long sleeve shirt! The sleeve is the opening on the pole side of the flag that goes over the pole. Instead of having a white band along the hoist (pole side) like a traditional header, the flag material is extended so that the flag colors stretch onto the pole hem.

The pole hem refers to the extended or added fabric used to create the sleeve. For example, a sleeve finish on United States’ flag would extend the material of the flag so that the colors of the stripes and blue field appear on the pole hem. 


These finishes are commonly used in courtrooms or school auditoriums and are often adorned with fringe; such as  Indoor Flag Display Sets. Although this finish is mostly used for indoor flagpoles, it's also popular with our house-mounted flagpoles. When shopping for decorative house flags you can see that most of these flags have sleeves.

Recommended Use: Sleeve finishes are strongly recommended if you plan on displaying your flag indoors. 

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