The 10 Best Automatic Gate Openers
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in October of 2017. If you have a gate protecting your property, be it residential or commercial, an automatic opener will save you time and effort when you enter or exit your place. These electric and solar-powered models will work with single and dual-swing gates of varying sizes and styles. When using one, always make sure you're aware of your surroundings to prevent injuries and collisions. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 18, 2020:
We made several changes to our recommendations, largely to reflect updates in modern technology and smart connectivity. The Mighty Mule MM371W has several benefits over its predecessor, such as solar power capabilities and control from smart devices, it is also available with a range of optional accessories.
We also updated the Co-Z Driveway to a model that now includes a backup battery, preventing inconvenience with power outages.
Finally, we added the Eco-Worthy Solar, which is a complete kit that includes a solar panel for charging its two 12-volt batteries and, with the addition of a Wi-Fi control module, can also be operated using your smart device.
July 12, 2019:
Once we took a close look at the Mighty Mule EZGO, we decided to take it off the list due to reports of a tendency to break down quickly and difficulty making necessary repairs. Since this model is solar-powered, we made sure to include a similar option when we made new additions to the list: the Topens DK1000S includes a solar panel, which drives its reliable battery and minimizes power consumption.
We also added the Gatexpert AT1350; it’s a formidable machine for such a budget-friendly model, capable of moving gates that weigh up to 1,350 pounds. Users appreciate its quiet motor and a quick, straightforward installation process.
Businesses and homeowners who frequently host customers and guests will probably want a model with a keypad, which allows visitors to open the gate using a code. The E8 400MM (another new item on the list) offers this feature, and it has a useful infrared safety beam function that will force the gate to stop moving if it detects any sort of obstacle in its path.
Viper Systems This versatile option is available in several styles that are designed to work with residential sliding gates of various sizes and types. They’re all weather-resistant, and some versions are even compatible with WiFi. The manufacturer also offers helpful accessories, such as remotes, exit sensors and keypads. vipergatesystems.com
Assessing Your Property’s Perimeter
If you’ll be using it several times per day, you’ll probably want a heavy-duty gate opener with the power and durability to withstand stress and damage.
In an ideal society, we’d all live blissful lives in harmony with our neighbors and fellow citizens, never worrying about burglars, trespassers, and predators intent on invading our privacy and attacking our children, pets, or livestock.
Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal society.
A strong, sturdy fence — whether it’s for a residential property or a commercial one — is your first line of defense against these potential hazards. In decades and centuries past, opening the gate in your fence to grant people access to your property was a manual, often rather laborious process.
Today, automatic gate openers simplify this task significantly. By simply tapping a button or punching in a code, you’ll enable people to enter the premises without leaving their vehicle or unlocking a lock box, saving both time and frustration.
But how do you determine which style of opener to install? As your first order of business, consider the type of gate you already have.
There are two primary gate types: swinging and sliding. A swinging gate opens like most doors in your home, while a sliding gate operates with integrated wheels to open and close side-to-side, like a sliding glass door. Some swing gates open as one piece, while others — these are called dual-swing gates — are separated in the middle, which means they open and close as two pieces.
Many people choose sliding gates for use in their driveways, especially if cars will be parked close enough to interfere with a swinging gate. They’re particularly useful in areas where space is at a premium. Swinging gates, on the other hand, are typically quieter and come with fewer repair issues, as they’re more straightforward in design and feature fewer moving parts.
Many solutions are only suitable for use with gates of a certain size and weight, so make sure you take that into account. You should also think about frequency of use; the more often you open and close your gate, the more power your gate opener will require, and the risk of mechanical wear and tear will increase, as well. If you’ll be using it several times per day, you’ll probably want a heavy-duty gate opener with the power and durability to withstand stress and damage.
Installing And Using Your New Tool
As with any automated system, your gate opener will require a power source. Most of these solutions run on AC power, solar panels, and battery backups, and some models even incorporate all three to help prevent a total power outage.
If you’ve decided to go with an AC-powered gate opener, hopefully electricity is readily available near the gate. If not, you may need to run some electrical wire from your main power supply to make things work. Handy individuals can opt to take this on themselves, but the less mechanically inclined among us will likely need to hire a professional.
One such function is auto-close, a setting that will automatically shut the gate once a certain amount of time elapses in the event it’s accidentally left open.
Solar power is an option as well, and several manufacturers offer this eco-friendly choice in the form of openers with built-in solar panels. Over time, opting for this path will save you money on your electric bill, and the prospect of using a clean, renewable source of energy is appealing to many folks in its own right.
Today, the vast majority of these systems come equipped with a remote control for quick, easy access. Once you program the remote, you can use it from inside your vehicle without having to take a step outside. Several systems even allow you to sync controls to your mobile phone, making entry and exit that much more convenient.
Most models offer additional programmable features that you can choose to utilize depending on your situation. One such function is auto-close, a setting that will automatically shut the gate once a certain amount of time elapses in the event it’s accidentally left open.
Loop detectors can be helpful as well, which incorporate magnetic fields located just under the ground to detect vehicles or obstructions above the ground. For instance, you would install an exit loop a sizeable distance from the gate (say 50 to 75 feet) within your property, so when you cross the loop’s location in your car, the gate automatically opens as you approach.
Safety And Security
Loop detectors can also come into play as effective safety features. For example, reverse loops, which you would install closer to the gate, will detect an obstruction as the gate is opening or closing, triggering the gate to reverse its direction to avoid a potential collision.
Your method for personally activating the gate is an important factor, too. Remote entry — which we’ve already touched on — is the most common way to trigger the gate to open and close. Card entry is also popular, particularly with commercial properties like apartment buildings. With this system, you'll use a card with a built-in chip to initiate the process.
It’s also a good idea to install the main control panel a safe distance from the gate itself.
For instances where tight security is absolutely paramount, code and telephone entry are quite effective. Code entry models feature a box with a keypad on which you must enter a number code to gain access. Telephone entry is perhaps the most secure option, as it requires a call from a specific phone number for activation.
It’s also a good idea to install the main control panel a safe distance from the gate itself. This way, whoever is operating the panel is not at risk of getting hit by the gate while it’s moving. Of course, plenty of models already use infrared photo beams to detect obstacles — humans, cars, or other structures — to trigger stopping and reversing to prevent accidents.
If you have a gate, you obviously care about protecting your home or business. Automatic gate openers are most effective when used in tandem with additional safety measures.
Security cameras allow you to monitor your property remotely and record footage that can be used in the event of a break-in. You can install cameras individually, but many come as part of a larger alarm system package. Working together, a gate and a security system won’t absolutely guarantee your property can’t be accessed, but they’ll serve as a major deterrent.