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Close up photo of 550 Pipe Picket Railing with 500 handrailing attached.

500 Vs. 550 Filling in the Difference

  •   Posted on June 30, 2021

Minor changes can make a big difference, especially when it comes to railing. With Superior offering different modifications and designs, what exactly makes the 500 and 550 series' different?

As we explored previously when we investigated the small yet significant differences in 9000 (9P) and 9100 (9S) series railing, small changes can a big difference. Today, let’s dive into another series of railing that can cause some confusion because of the subtle yet significant differences. Join us as we take a look at what exactly separates Superior Aluminum Series 500 (5H) and Series 550 (5P) pipe railings.

What’s the Same?

500 (5H) and 550 (5P) railing can be seen as brothers of sorts, with similarities between the two mostly obvious. For starters, both products are built with the same 1-1/2” Schedule 40 aluminum pipe and are designed to meet various OSHA, ADA, and ICC safety requirements. The railing styles each utilize the same concealed fastener design, eschewing welding for clean lines and a mechanical finish. These similarities between 500 (5H) and 550(5P)  are pretty straight forward and easy to see but there are also differences between the two that make them unique in their own way.

Series 550 Pipe Picket Railing used for a wheelchair ramp and stairs Series 500 Pipe Railing used as an assist railing for a wheelchair ramp

Similarities between 550 (5P) (left) and 500 (5H) (right) are clear once compared side by side

What’s Different?

When comparing the two products, the differences between them are just as stark as the similarities. Series 550 railing utilizes pickets to fill the vertical space whereas its series 500 (5H) counterpart does not, instead opting for much more negative space and horizontal pipe as needed, sometimes featuring nothing more than a single line of pipe. Each product’s design represents a stark contrast in applicable uses. Series 550 (5P) Pipe Picket railing can be used as a guardrail in commercial, residential, educational, and additional applications. Meanwhile, Series 500 (5H) Pipe Railing is often used more as a handrail or on industrial sites where guardrail requirements are less strict such as a water treatment plant. In an interesting twist these two products can team up to make an excellent pair! By utilizing pipe picket railing as a guardrail on steps or ramps and mounting pipe assist rail to said guardrail you create a code compliant system with style and function.

Series 550pipe picket railing with series 500 handrailing attached at a high school stairway

550 & 500 can be combined for a great combination!

Why it Matters

By knowing how each product is designed and utilized, it becomes easier to ensure ordering is a simple and accurate process. Utilizing the correct product in the correct application is vital in maximizing the value of said product in any scenario, railing included.

To learn more about Superior’s pipe railing options check out our 500 (5H) Series Railing or 550 (5P) Series Railing. If you have further questions, please feel free to fill out our contact form. For a quote, please utilize our railing quotation tool.

Further Readings

9000 vs. 9100

Taking the LEED

How Does Handrail Meet ADA Guidelines?