News and Articles about Driveway Gates

Pacific Gates Inc Garage Doors, Automatic Driveway Gates, and More


Selecting the Right Automatic Gate Opener for You

Pacific Gates Inc Garage Doors, Automatic Driveway Gates, and More

Selecting the Right Automatic Gate Opener for You

How to Pick the Right Automatic Gate Opener

electric gater opener

 So you have picked out your perfect gate: chosen the material, design, size, and color. Now you have to decide how you want to utilize your fancy new automatic gate. Will your gate slide open? Will it swing open? Do you want to use a remote to open it? Perhaps an intercom system would be better?

There are many options on the market from which you can choose. This article covers the various ways an automatic driveway gate can open, as well as the various automatic gate openers out there.

To Slide, or to Swing

Choosing whether your driveway gate swings or slides will depend on a couple of factors:

  • How frequently the gate is used
  • How much space you have
  • The length of the gate
  • Gate Material
  • If the Gate has horizontal support
  • If the gate is plumb and level

What is an Electric gate opener?

An electric gate opener is the mechanized arm that helps your automatic gate open and close. A signal is sent from an access control, such as a remote control or keypad that tells the motor to open or close the gate. It will automatically reverse in direction if it hits an obstacle and can stay open if instructed.

There isn't much difference between an electric gate opener and a garage door opener. When you click the provided hand-held transmitter in your vehicle, a radio signal is sent to a receiver box which is mounted near the gate. The receiver carries the message to the control box that activates a circuit which initiates movement in the gate opener arm. The arm will physically swing or slide the gate open. The gate can be set to then close by pressing the transmitter button again or to close automatically after an allotted amount of time.

Swing Style Automatic Gate Opener

swing automatic gate opener

A Swing system requires a lot of additional space, because the gate has to have room to fully swing open. Most often times, swing gates are used for residential purposes, rather than commercial purposes due to the wear and strain a swing system has on gates. Additionally, a swing gate can be less secure than a sliding option, due to low resistance to being pushed open. Swing gate openers come in two basic styles: Linear and Articulated. The Articulated Arm style is pad mounted and works better on heavier than normal gates and high use situations. It is not recommended to use a solid wood gate, as wind resistance could pose a problem. It also creates an additional strain on the wood frame.

Sliding Automatic Gate Openers

sliding automatic gate opener

Generally speaking, most people prefer this option over swinging gates due to space requirements, maintenance,  and security. Sliding gates don't need as much space to function, which leaves more driveway room for parking cars. Additionally, sliding gates can actually work on certain slopes where a siwng gate may not be an option. The gate is positioned on a track, and when the remote oe other opening mechanism is used, the gate slides along that track, opening the door. 


Different Methods to Open Driveway Gates

There are a few different ways you can choose to have trigger the gate to open or close. The most common  of these are:

  • Remote Entry
  • Card Entry
  • Code Entry
  • Telephone Entry
  • Proximity Entry

remote entryRemote Entry

Definitely the most common way to open a driveway gate, a remote entry system works by using a remote which, when pressed, transmits a signal to a receiver box which then opens the gate. This type of entry is good for any kind of gate owner. They are great for both commercial and private use, and are relatively easy to maintain and very cost effective. Replacement remotes can generally be found at big box hardware stores, so even repair is convenient.

The only potential problem that is specific to a remote entry system is that the remotes are easy to clone, remotes can be stolen, so if security is your main concern, you may want to go with another option.  Remote entry systems remain the most popular type of automatic gate opener on the market.

card entryCard Entry

This method is very popular with commercial clients such as aparment buildings. With this system, a chip is built into a card. To open the gate, the driver must either swipe the card or tap it to the receiver so the signal can be read.This method eliminates the need for batteries which can  be a problem with remote entry systems.

Much like their remote bearing counterparts, cards can be stolen, cloned, and so they are not the most secure options despite being the most popular.

code entryCode Entry

Another very popular method for our commercial clients, code entry is slightly more secure than the previous two methods. The gate opener is connected to a box with a number pad. The gate is programmed to only open if a specific code is entered via keypad. The downside is that it requires memorizing a code.


proximity entryProximity Entry

Likely the least secure method, this type of automatic gate opener is designed to open the gate whenever a car gets within range of the gate. This means that anyone in a car who pulls up to the gate will have access to what is on the other side. However, this method does eliminate concerns about misplacing cards, needing batteries, or having to memorize a code.

In this system, a magnetic strip is burried under the driveway leading up to the gate. When it senses something the size and material of a car, it triggers the gate to open. Some of these systems use a pressure pad to trigger the gate. For those situations, when a car drive onto the driveway before the gate, the weight of the car triggers the gate to open. 

This type of installation is complicated because it requires for trenches to be dug to install the magnetic strip of pressure pad under the ground. Additionally, maintenance of those parts requires that they be dug up all over again.

telephone entryTelephone Entry

Likely the most secure, most globally applicable type of opening mechanism. These are the boxes you see at most apartment complexes which require you to either have a code, or call someone who then presses a button on their phone, triggering the door to open. This type of system works great in any application - both residential and commercial. Although this method may require a higher initial cost to install than other systems - it is the most secure,


In Closing

Choosing the right type of automatic gate opener depends heavily on how often you use the gate, how the gate opens, the land the gate is on, and many other factors. You will have to live with your gate for many years, so it is important to give this decision some thought.

And don't forget:

Each system, and each gate is different- so be sure to consult with a licensed professional before you decide on what type of automatic gate opener to use. You really need a contractor to look at your gate and the location of that gate to determine which type of system works as the most efficient, secure option for your situation.

Call us at 1-866-750-7777 or contact us to find out more about our services.