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How to choose the best gate opener for your property

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A gate opener adds convenience and security to any property, from single-family homes to multi-tenant gated communities. By installing a gate opening system, you maintain control over who can access your property while sparing tenants the hassle of manually opening the gate.

Read below to learn all about gate openers, how they work, and how you can choose the best one for your property.

What is a Gate Opener?

A gate opener is a device or system that automatically unlocks and opens a gate after receiving instructions from an authorized user.

Automatic gate openers control access at gated entrances, allowing you to keep your gate locked while providing an easy way for authorized people to enter the property. They also add convenience by sparing you the hassle of manually opening and closing a gate. So, for example, a resident entering their property never has to get out of the car to push the gate open.

You can install a gate opener at virtually any type of gate, including small pedestrian gates and large vehicle gates. They’re used in every kind of real estate, from single-family homes to sprawling gated communities.

Electric Gate Openers

Electric gate openers are perhaps the most popular type of automatic opening system. They’re powered by electricity, usually AC power.

If you opt for an electric gate opener, you should make sure it has a backup battery. Otherwise, your gate could get stuck open or closed in the event of a power outage.

Electric openers require wiring to connect the system to electrical power. If you don’t currently have an AC power source near the gate, you’ll need to purchase and lay wiring.

Ultimately, electric gate openers for driveways, parking areas, community entrances, and other gated entryways are generally the most effective solution. 

What to consider when buying an automatic gate opener?

1. Gate type

The type of gate at your entryway is the first thing to consider when buying an automatic gate opener.

Is it a small gate controlling pedestrian access, or a large gate controlling vehicle access? And does your gate swing open or slide open?

These are just some of the questions to ask yourself before purchasing a system.


Swing Gate Opener

A swing gate opens outward or inward to allow entry, similar to how you push or pull a regular door to open it. They tend to require less maintenance than sliding gates, and they’re usually cheaper, too. However, they do require more space to operate than sliding gates.

Swing gate openers tend to work on a ring gear formula. First, the gear turns onto a drive shaft. Then, the drive shaft uses a universal joint to pull an arm attached to the gate, which opens it.

Keep in mind that if your gate is especially large or heavy, you may need a heavy-duty swing gate opener.

Sliding gate opener

Sliding gates move from side to side along a track to allow entry. They require less space than swing gates but tend to be more expensive and may require more frequent maintenance.

Generally, automatic sliding gate openers use a cog and teeth action attached to the gate. You’ll need a guide track or roller guides for the system to work properly.

2. Power source

Every automatic gate opener needs a power source. So, consider what power source is feasible at your property.

If your installation location has access to AC Power, you can choose an electric gate opener that plugs into your electrical main. And if the installation point doesn’t currently have electricity available, consider how costly and difficult it would be to run wiring to the entrance. Depending on the location of your gate, this may or may not be feasible.

3. Frequency of use

You’ll need an automatic gate opener that can withstand and accommodate the traffic at your property.

Ask yourself: How often will people need to open the gate?

If you need a gate opener for a single-family home, you can opt for a less durable system because the opener will only be used a few times per day.

However, if you’re installing one in a gated apartment community with multiple tenants, you should opt for a more heavy-duty opening system.

Also, consider the speed at which the system opens the gate. A particularly slow opener probably isn’t the best option for a (large) gated community where people are coming and going all day long. Otherwise, people might experience car stacking and long wait times to enter the community.