By Tony Carrick | Updated Mar 21, 2022 3:28 PM
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While outdoor security cameras and driveway alarms alert you to the presence of visitors on your property, they won’t prevent trespassing or soliciting. And, while a gate will solve this issue, opening and closing a gate manually isn’t practical. Alternatively, an automatic gate opener works with swing-door-style gates and features powerful motors that open or close these gates in seconds.
They allow authorized users to control the gate via keychain remotes, garage-door-style remotes, keypads, and smart devices. This guide includes some important features to consider when shopping for the best automatic gate opener and the top models on the market.
While gate size and weight capacities are crucial factors to consider when shopping for an automatic gate opener, other characteristics, such as power source and remote controls, are also important when choosing an opener for your driveway or commercial space. Ahead, learn more about these critical factors.
Automatic gate openers come in two varieties, those that swing open and those that slide open.
Assessing the gate’s size and weight is crucial to selecting the proper opener, as most electric gate openers are rated to handle specific loads and lengths. The longer the gate, the less weight the opener can handle. For example, an electric gate opener may be strong enough to handle a max weight of 900 pounds for a 5-foot-long gate and 300 pounds for a 20-foot-long gate. Many manufacturers include diagrams listing the weight capacity based on gate length.
Automatic gates use a variety of sources to power the gate. Most sliding gate openers are used in commercial and industrial settings to open wide metal gates. As such, they have larger motors that can handle these heavier loads. These motors typically require a hardwired 115-volt electrical connection to power the motor.
Since swinging gates are typically located at the front of larger residential properties or on rural properties such as farms, they are not usually near a power supply, which makes hardwiring more complicated. With this in mind, most swinging door gates use a rechargeable deep-cycle 12-volt battery with a solar panel charger. This type of battery will generally work for about 100 uses on a single charge. In addition to not requiring hardwiring, this setup ensures that the gate works even during power outages.
Gate openers open heavy metal gates while enduring all manner of weather, which means these mechanical devices are put under a significant amount of stress and wear and tear. Additionally, it’s important to consider how often the opener will need to perform the task of opening and closing the gate.
Gates that are opened and closed twice a day—once in the morning and once at night—need to endure less wear and tear than a gate that must accommodate numerous daily arrivals and departures. Select a model that can handle the frequency of use of the gate.
Gate controls vary from model to model. Some gates are controlled locally via an adjacent keypad. The gate opens when the visitor or resident enters the correct code. Some gates can be hardwired to the home, allowing the user to control it from an interface inside the house.
Other gate openers connect to a smart device or smart home hub, allowing the user to open and close the gates via a smartphone or voice control when paired with a virtual assistant. While the latter offers convenience, an opener hardwired to independent controls is more secure as it is more difficult to hack.
While automatic gate openers have some very useful attributes, select brands also include some additional features for convenience, versatility, and reliability.
The products below take into account the above considerations to narrow the field to some of the best automatic gates on the market. They have large size and weight capacities and can be installed by a competent do-it-yourselfer.
With smart technology that allows the user to operate it via a smartphone app and ample weight capacity that makes it usable for most home applications, this automatic gate opener is one of the best on the market.
These days, most home security ties into smart devices, so it only makes sense that an automated gate should too. Mighty Mule’s model works with the Mighty Mule app, which uses Bluetooth technology to control the gate up to a half-mile away. When it’s coupled with a camera, the user can see who is at the gate and open it from a smartphone.
In addition to smart controls, this swing gate opener includes a small remote that operates the gate. It is also compatible with keypads and other types of remotes, which are sold separately. The Mighty Mule can handle gates weighing up to 550 pounds up to 16 feet long and is wireless, using a 12-volt battery and solar panel charger for power.
With its ability to handle long fences and a high weight capacity, this automatic sliding gate opener can carry big loads without asking for a significant investment. This affordable model will open a 40-foot gate weighing up to 1,400 pounds, making it suitable for commercial use. A powerful 280-watt motor smoothly opens the fence at a pace of 43 feet per minute.
Once open, the user can set it to close after 12, 24, or 36 seconds to maintain security. It comes with two keychain remote controls, which have a range of 100 feet. This system will support up to 23 remotes, making it ideal for businesses and small communities. This gate runs off of 110-volt power and must be hardwired.
With its ability to open two gate panels without the need for wiring, this automatic swing gate opener is a worthy option for residential homes or rural farms. This setup includes two separate control arms, each of which can handle gates up to 20 feet long. Weight capacity varies depending on the gate’s length, from 300 pounds for a 20-foot gate to 900 pounds for a 5-foot-long gate.
Ghost designs its gate openers for DIY installation. This one runs off of a 12-volt battery charged by a 10-watt solar panel, so there is no complicated wiring involved. And universal brackets make attaching the controls to the gate easy. This model includes two two-button remote controls that can open one gate panel or both gate panels simultaneously.
Spending a lot of money on heavy-duty gate openers for smaller lightweight gates is overkill. This set of two gate openers is well suited to lighter duties. Each arm can handle a swing gate up to 16 feet long with a maximum weight of 550 pounds. This gate is also a good option for do-it-yourselfers with a kit that includes multiple brackets for installation on various gate types, ranging from wood to steel and vinyl in panel, tube, and chain-link shapes.
This versatile gate will also open inward or outward and offers several options for power. It includes a power supply that plugs into a standard outlet and works with a 12-amp battery and solar panel. Other features include a sensor that stops the gate if it encounters an obstruction and an adjustable auto-close feature with a range of 3 to 120 seconds.
Large gates require a system that can handle longer spans and heavier weight. This model from Ghost boasts a max weight of 900 pounds, making it suitable for wood, steel, or iron gates, with a maximum length of 20 feet. Like Ghost’s other models, this automatic gate is ideal for DIY installation. It functions off a 10-watt solar cell that powers a rechargeable 12-volt battery, so no wiring is required.
A universal mounting kit fits most gate styles. This model also includes a remote with several useful features, including buttons that open one or two gate panels and a “Party” button that leaves the gate open for more extended periods to facilitate partygoers coming and going. This gate also has load-sensing technology, which causes the gate to stop in the event of an obstruction.
For those that live in the wilderness or need a gate opener that can handle heavy-duty use, the aluminum allow ALEKO Chain Driven Sliding Gate Opener uses a socially-designed, 20-foot gate chain drive for opening and closing. Supporting gates of up to 1,400 pounds and 40 feet in length, this opener can operate with over 100 programmable remote codes with a wide distance range.
With its touch construction, this opener is resistant to corrosion and the elements while remaining lightweight and easy to install. This gate will stop automatically if there is an object or obstruction to prevent any unwanted damage and comes with automated vacuum cleaners that wipe the sliding gate panels clean of dust and debris. This model also includes a AC 110V motor, 2 remote controls, and a user guide.
While many have a dual-gate opener setup in their driveway or commercial space, the Ghost Controls Solar Automatic Gate Opener Kit is for those that have single-gate panels only. Relying on a power supply from a 12V battery and a 10-watt solar panel, this option can be controlled via the three-button remote control from over 1,000 feet away. Supporting up to 900 pounds of weight, this opener can easily open gates of 20 feet long.
This model also includes Tube Gate Brackets for easy installation, a control box with a system controller, and opens and closes your gate quietly. As with some Ghost Control gate openers, this model also has GhostCode software to prevent unwanted interference from transmitters, keypads, or vehicles.
With its high weight capacity and ability to handle long gates, this stout opener is an excellent pick for sliding models. Gatexpert boasts a 1,800-pound weight capacity and 26-foot maximum length, making it suitable for heavy metal gates. The gate works via a single-button remote control with a 100-foot range that opens and closes the gate and will support up to 25 remotes.
An infrared sensor will stop the gate from closing to prevent injury or damage to property, and programmable controls let the user set an auto-close time of 12, 24, or 36 seconds. This model uses 115-volt power, requiring a hardwired electrical connection. A detachable clutch that disengages the gate from the motor serves as a backup, enabling the user to open the fence manually in the event of a power outage.
For a reliable option that works with swing gates, the Mighty Mule automatic gate opener is our top pick. The gate opener can support gates of up to 550 pounds and 16 feet in length, with smart technology integrated for wireless control and a remote control included. The CO-Z automatic gate opener is a worthy and affordable alternative for sliding gates up to 40 feet in length, featuring a 1,400-pound weight capacity and 2 keychain remote controls.
We researched the most sought-after automatic gate openers for your home security in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, weight and size capacity, power source, control type, ease of installation, and other special features included by top brands.
To ensure our list included the best automatic gate openers for multiple gate types, our selected picks are made for swing and sliding gate varieties, with options for single or double-gate systems. Whether you are looking for a light or heavy-duty opener, our featured picks can operate gates of 250 to 1,800 pounds and lengths of 12 to 40 feet. Many of our selected openers are powered by 12V batteries which can be charged hands-free with solar panels, while others must be hardwired or plugged in.
While some of the best automatic gate openers have wireless Bluetooth, smart connectivity, or apps, most come with remote controls that have wide ranges of up to 1,000 feet. Installation is simple for most of the gate openers listed above (except for those that require hardwiring) as many come with manuals for step-by-step help.f
If you have questions regarding operating an automatic gate opener, read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these devices.
While both gate types are viable for certain needs, sliding gates take up less space while opening and closing and they are harder to force open than swinging gates. However, swinging gates may be a better choice for residential or frequent use as they easily open and close quickly.
Automatic gate openers function via remote control. Some models have an app, which allows the user the option to see an incoming guest through their hidden camera and open and close the gate with a smart device, such as a smartphone.
Some electric gate openers have a manual override, allowing the user to release the gate from the motor and open and close it manually. Keep in mind that electric gates with a manual override can also be easier to disable for unauthorized users.
Many automatic gate openers are designed for installation by DIYers. They include universal mounting kits that attach the controller arms to many fencing styles, ranging from tubular metal farm fences to decorative wood and wrought-iron fencing.
When installed professionally, a programmed and pre-assembled automated gate can cost $2,000 to $7,000 depending upon the size of the gate and the type. If you intend to automate a manual gate yourself, the cost for installation may be the price of the unit itself. If you intend to install it with professional help, it can cost $1,400 to $3,500.
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