Guide to Automatic Gate Openers

Whether you reside in a mansion with a large parking space or a mid-sized house with a front porch, a gate is an ideal solution to keep your belongings secure and maintaining your privacy. And, if there’s gate on your property, it can be a worthwhile consideration to install an automatic gate opener.

Automatic gate openers are fantastic way it easier for everyone (and everything) to exit and enter your property, as they remove the need to close or open the gate physically. Some gates are even designed to give off an alarm in case of an intrusion, so homeowners can simply invest in an automatic gate opener instead of hiring a security guard.

Plus, these gate openers can increase the resale value of your home (several home buyers prioritize convenience), and make the overall residence look expensive and regal. And, in most instances, you won’t need any professional help during automatic gate opener installation. You just have to follow the steps mentioned on the manual that’s present in the gate opener’s package.

With their cutting-edge functionality, high-tech capability, and convenience, modern-day automatic gate openers are a blessing in disguise.

What to Look for in an Automatic Gate Opener

Openers come in a variety of shapes and sizes for automatic gate systems. The current safety needs of your home along with the power source can also determine what kind and brand of opener you should go with. Popular brands include Aleko and Mighty Mule. You can find their reviews on the web, but it is also helpful to know about the common features of these openers. Here’s what you should look for when researching an automatic gate opener for your residence.

  • Swing arm or slide operator: The two most common types of property gates are sliding and swinging gates. The first type opens on the sides and features wheels. Hence, an automatic gate opener for these gates usually rely on a chain located at the gate’s bottom, connected with an operator that pulls open the chain to close and open it. Swinging gates, on the other hand, are compatible with both ram arms (with jackscrew-powered or hydraulic pistons) and arm swing operators.
  • Power Source: Gate openers for all automatic gate systems can be powered by alternating current or ‘AC’. They plug into the main electrical unit, and may also include battery backups. However, AC powered gate openers require homeowners to have an electrical unit near the location of their gates. However, if you live in a region where electricity supply isn’t reliable, you may want to consider either getting a solar powered automatic gate opener, or install electricity wiring for powering it.
  • Frequency of Use: The ideal power source may also depend on how frequently you close or open the gate. The more times you do, the more power your gate needs. However, high frequency usage can increase the wear and tear of the opener’s mechanical moving parts. If you’re certain that the frequency will be high, you may want to invest in a heavy-duty automatic gate opener that has the durability and torque to withstand heavy use and stress.
  • Stop & Reverse Function: The best gate openers come with a stop and reverse function, which activates upon detecting a human, car, or another intrusion. The function relies on infrared photo beams, which tell the gate that there’s an obstacle in the opening pathway. This protects the main gate from impact, which could result in property damage or even human injury.
  • Remote Control: All modern gate openers come with a remote control, which can be kept anywhere and offers access to the gate from a distance. Some gates even rely on a card reader or keypad to function, although that’s more common in apartment-based residences and commercial buildings. The vendor may also offer a mobile application, making it even more convenient to open and close the gate. Lastly, some models come with an ‘auto-close feature’ – this allows the gate to close automatically within a specific time frame after you open it, as long as any obstructions aren’t detected by the infrared bean.

Note:

It’s also important to have a fair idea of the weight and size of your gate when choosing an automatic gate opener. That’s because each opener offers support for a maximum weight, which buyers would be able to know by reading the technical specification offered by the vendor. Also, the motor will have to be installed on the property’s ground, and a rack and pinion has to be present to support the gate’s lateral movement. The rack (toothed) should be linked with the gate, as well as the pinion of the motor that allows for its movement.

Best Automatic Gate Opener Options

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

Mighty Mule Automatic Gate Opener FM350

ALEKO AC1400NOR Sliding Gate Opener

Popsport Electric Sliding Gate Opener

USAutomatic 020320 Sentry 300 (Commercial Grade)

Ghost Controls TDS2

 

 

1. Mighty Mule Automatic Gate Opener FM350

This is one of the industry leading gate openers that can support automatic gates weighing up to 550 pounds and are 16 feet in length. It works with all types of gates including tube, vinyl, chain link and wood. Also, it’s equipped with both solar and AC power to meet the demands of every homeowner. 12-Volt Marine Type or Automotive Battery can also be used to power it (this option is ideal for optimizing the gate’s performance in extreme weather). Another beneficial aspect of this gate opener is that the vendor offers a 30 percent Energy Efficient Property Tax credit, which homeowners can use for specific installations. The gate opener is ideal for medium duty single swing gates.

What makes it stand out?

The all-inclusive package doesn’t need the services of an electrician or welding professional. Buyers can just follow the DIY instructions. There’s also an interactive DVD for those wanting additional guidance.

2. ALEKO AC1400NOR Sliding Gate Opener

The second opener that deserves a mention on this list is the ALKEO AC1400NOR. It comes with a steel-made chassis that can support gates up to 50 feet long and boasting a weight of up to 1400 lbs. However, ALKEO AC1400NOR itself is quite light and can be installed with a single-hand operation. The opener’s exterior is basked with resistant material (corrosion); these ensure the opener is able to withstand prolonged usage. Additional features of the ALKEO AC1400NOR include a long chain and a high-performance motor that comes with a long base and a couple of sensor.

What makes it stand out?

The gate opener has a safety feature that makes the gate stop and go back to an ideal position there is an intrusion encountered upon opening or closing.

3. Popsport Electric Sliding Gate Opener

This gate opener can support sliding gates weighing 3100 pounds. It offers a frequency range of 100 feet that comes with a limit switch. There’s also two wireless remotes (containing four buttons to stop, close, open, or idle the gate), and an ‘auto-close’ feature which features can set between 36, 24, and 12 seconds. Of course, the feature can be deactivated altogether when not in use. Additionally, the Popsort Electric Sliding Gate opener requires a 110V AC power supply. The motor speed is 66 rpm, and the gate moving speed is 43ft per minute.

What makes it stand out?

This automatic gate opener has the farthest reaching remote control frequency and is quite easy to install and use.

4. USAutomatic 020320 Sentry 300 (Commercial Grade)

If you live in a commercial residence and are looking for a heavy-duty automatic gate opener, then USAutomatic Ssentry 300 should be the ideal choice. It can support swing gates up to 20 feet long without requiring the buyer to deal with intricate wiring and other similar hassles. This is also the reason why this gate opener can be installed within 45-60 minutes. The Sentry 300 gets power from a 12-volt DC battery, which doesn’t come with the package. However, you get a transformer that works with an AC power supply. An extra extension cable is required if this power is 10 feet away from the control box.

What makes it stand out?

The Sentry 300 also offers an option of solar panel power, which is ideal for those gate types that do not have an immediate power source nearby.

5. Ghost Controls TDS2

12V batteries power this 44.5 pounds swing gate opener. It’s ETL certified and is one of the fastest gate swing openers present on the market. It can support swing gates that are up to 20 feet long. Available for this opener is an individual solar panel that keeps the gate functioning in low sunlight conditions or during a power outage. Plus, the opener works with all tube gates and most types of swing gates installed in homes.

What makes it stand out?

The vendor offers a lifetime warranty on gear and motor assembly.

Bottom line

When you decide to purchase an automatic gate opener, leave the local welders’ advice behind, and make a buying decision, yourself. Follow the advice and recommendations in this buying guide to find the right fit for facilitating automatic gates at your home and implementing the security you and your family members need.