4×4 or 6×6 For Pole Barn: Which One Is Better?


Pole barns are the jack of all trades in the residential industry. It can be used for so many purposes that many prefer it over regular buildings.

Being an enthusiast, you might want to build one. But you will be confused between the pole barn post size.

You will be thinking,” Which pole size should I choose?4×4 or 6×6 for pole barn?”

4×4 and 6×6 have their own advantages and disadvantages. 4×4 poles are economic and ideal for small to medium barns. It has decent spacing and provides strong support. 6×6 poles are ideal for big barns and windy areas. It has a greater wind loading and load support making it ideal for large builds.

That was a quick summary. Keep reading the article to know more about the in-depth comparison.

Let’s begin.

4×4 vs 6×6 for Pole Barn: Quick Comparison

Before we jump into the head-to-head comparison, let’s have a look at this quick comparison.

Aspect  4×4 Posts  6×6
Wind Loading Less More 
Privacy  Less  More
Spacing  6 feet on center 8 feet on center
Load Limit  1,000 lb  2000 lb
Price  Cheaper Relatively Expensive


Now let’s head to the detailed comparison.

4×4 or 6×6 for Pole Barn: Detailed Comparison

Choosing posts for your pole barn can be quite challenging. Especially, when you are choosing between a 4×4 and 6×6. It can be as confusing as choosing between Norseman and Viking drill bits.

To make things easy, there are some factors you need to consider. Deciding on these factors will ease up the choice process.

Here we have discussed the key factors for your convenience.

Wind Loading

Wind load is an essential aspect of designing and building a new pole barn. It plays a vital role in structural integrity. 

You will always want a post that can withstand more windy conditions. Here the 6×6 posts shine. 

They have a greater wind loading factor than the 4×4 posts. Hence, if you are living in a windy area, this is your option.

Otherwise, the 4×4 posts will just do the job in normal conditions.

Winner: The winner of this segment is a 6×6 post for its superior wind loading capacity.


Privacy is a concern for some people. It varies from person to person. 

Today, 4x4s are the norm for pole barn posts. If you want some privacy for your yard, a fence with 6×6 posts will be adequate. A “good neighbor” fence, built with 6×6 posts, looks great.

But if you want to go with the norm, choose the 4×4 poles. It will cost a lot less and offer standard privacy. 

Winner: The winner is 6×6 posts for better privacy.


Spacing is one of the most important factors for a pole barn. The posts are the core foundation of a pole barn. Proper spacing is essential to avoid hassles and increase durability.

The distance between 4×4 posts is 6 feet. You place them 6 feet apart for the best durability.

However, the distance between 6×6 posts is 8 feet. This means the posts will be less densely placed than the 4×4 ones. The overall cost will come down if you use the 6×6 posts.

Winner: The winner of this segment is the 6×6 poles. It is less dense and costs less overall.

Load Limit 

Load limit factor directly contributes to the durability and withstand capacity. Posts with better load limits provide more rigid support and a strong foundation.

In this case, a single 6×6 with a 12′ span may hold around 2000 lbs. This is for a conservative permissible bending stress of 1400 psi. On the same condition, a single 4×4 pole will hold 1000 lbs. 

This makes the 6×6 poles stronger than the 4×4 ones. Hence, it is more popular among barn builders.

Winner: 6×6 pole is the undisputed winner of the load battle.


Price is a key factor in decision-making. The price itself can dictate the whole decision.

In tezms of price, the 4×4 are cheaper than the 6×6 poles. This makes them economically viable for budget users. If you want to build a small to medium pole barn, this will be ideal. Examples include building a pole barn sized 40x64x14

However, the 4×4 poles are densely placed which increases the overall cost of the build. Hence, these are not ideal for large builds.

Winner: We can call this a draw as there is no clear winner. Both of them are situational and the cost varies on the usage.

So, Which One is Better? 4×4 or 6×6?  

In most of the cases, the 6×6 pole beat the 4×4 poles by a good margin. 6×6 poles are very popular and widely used.

If you are looking for an economic build, you can choose the 4×4 poles. These are good for small to medium garages. 

But if you are looking for a sturdy build, pick the 6×6 poles. These are good for bigger builds too. Plus, it will give you more load support and wind loading. This is an ideal choice for windy areas.


Do Pole Barn Posts Need to Be in Concrete?

Yes, it is recommended to put them in concrete. Your pole barn’s safety will be compromised if you don’t use sturdy posts. It is crucial to the longevity of your pole barn to have quality posts. Keep them in good condition, as a building is only as strong as its base.

Do I Need a Footer for a Pole Barn?

The poles of a pole barn should be anchored to concrete footings. To keep the pole barn from sinking under its own weight, and the required minimum load. The footings need to be sufficiently wide. It is essential for good structural support.

How Thick Should a Pole Barn Slab Be?

The recommended thickness for a pole barn slab is 4”. This is the industry standard for a residential pole barn. You can keep light to medium equipment here. However, heavy equipment may need 6″ thick flooring for improved wear and tear.


That will be all on 4×4 or 6×6 for pole barn. Hopefully, you will be able to pick the suitable poles for your barn.

Do not forget to maintain the footers regularly for a strong and sturdy barn.

Have a great day.

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