Choosing Automatic Gate Openers: A Buyer’s Guide

It’s hard to beat the convenience of automatic gate openers. Especially if you have a gate surrounding your property, and you need to open the gate in order to pull your car into the driveway.

This is pretty common for those who live in rural areas and have dogs that like to spend the day outside. An automatic gate opener would save you so much hassle of having to get into and out of your car in order to open the gate, move the car through, and then close the gate again.

But this isn’t the only use for a gate opener. If your front yard has a gate, and you know a package delivery driver is coming, you can open the gate for them to bring your package to the door, since they likely won’t open the gate themselves.

So if you’re sold on the idea of a remote gate opener, then keep reading to figure out which type you need and which model to choose.


What Type of Gate Do You Have?

Not all gates are created equal. Most gates either swing open or slide open. Depending on what you have, you’ll need a specific gate opener that works with that gate.

An electric gate opener for swinging gates can come in different styles, as well. You could choose an opener with arms that extend in order to push the gate open. Or you can choose an opener with jackscrew-powered pistons to push the gate open.

Some gates open from the center, which means you have two doors, while others open from the side, as one big door. You’ll need to get the right type of opener, essentially one or two depending on your swinging gate setup.

A sliding gate opener typically uses a wheel attached to the chain, which is operated by a small, enclosed motor.

As you can see, a gate opener for a swinging gate won’t be compatible with a sliding gate, so you need to be sure you select gate opening systems designed for your specific gate.


Choosing Automatic Gate Openers: A Buyer’s Guide


Important Safety Features for Gate Openers

Because gates can be quite large, heavy, and powerful, it’s important to consider safety features, especially when installing an automatic gate opener. You don’t want it to hurt someone or cause unnecessary damage to your car, right? Gate opener accidents do happen, often leading to serious injuries.

The most common safety feature is the object detection feature that many modern gate openers have. If the gate detects or bumps into an object or person, it should immediately stop, and reverse to either the open or close position until the coast is clear.

If an electric gate opener didn’t have this feature, there’s nothing to stop it from pushing people and children aside or denting vehicles.

Gate Opener Convenience Features 

Electric gate openers come with plenty of convenience options depending on your specific needs. Of course, you can keep it simple, and choose a gate opener that functions just like a garage door.

You have a remote control that you keep in your car, golf cart, or off-road vehicle, and push the button to open the gate when you approach. Then, you push the button again to close it once you are through.

A better option is to choose an opener with an auto-close feature. It’s obvious that you would need to close the gate after coming through it. A gate that does so automatically after a minute is a nice touch.

Some of the latest gate opener models also offer wifi or cellular connectivity, so that you can open and close the gate using an app on your smartphone. This way, you can open the gate, even if you are a hundred miles away.

This could be useful if you have a service provider coming to your home, such as a plumber or cleaner. Plus, it gives you the ability to see if your gate is open or closed at any given time. It’s a great feature for those who feel like they forget to close the gate from time to time.

Keypad Opener

Larger properties, or commercial properties and private neighborhoods, frequently use gate openers that have a keypad in front of them. Visitors can type in a passcode in order to open the gate.

This passcode can be reset at any time, and multiple passcodes can also be generated. This can be useful if you have delivery drivers visiting your property.

For most delivery companies, you can include delivery instructions, which can include the passcode to open the gate.


Choosing Automatic Gate Openers: A Buyer’s Guide


Consider Your Power Source

Electric gate openers only work when they are connected to a power source. Often, they need to be connected to multiple power sources.

The most reliable would be an AC connection, using your house’s power. But if the gate is far from the home, you may need an electrician to run power to the gate’s location.

You can also install a small solar panel near the gate for a renewable power source. This can also act as a backup power source.

Pay Attention to the Weight of the Gate

Some gates, such as those made of iron or steel, can be very heavy. Others, such as those made with wood or vinyl, can be much lighter.

And some gates might use fence posts to support the weight, while others will use larger stone columns. You’ll need to choose a gate opener that can handle the weight of the gate. After all, it’s going to need to push and pull the gate multiple times every day.

You don’t want it to be super slow. Therefore, you’ll need to match the gate opener with the weight of the gate, as well as the support offered by the columns next to the gate.

Start Living Hassle-Free 

There are many different types of gate openers to choose, and different brands that offer reliable options. Now that you know what you are looking for in a gate opener, and what features are important to you, you can start shopping around with confidence.

The sooner you get that gate opener installed, the sooner your days will be a lot less of a hassle. That’s always worth the expense.

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