Automatic Gate Openers

How To Buy Automatic Gate Openers

Do you already have impressive gates at your property but you still have to open or close your gates manually? Probably, for various reasons, you sometimes drive away leaving the gates open or maybe you hardly ever close them? Open gates are an invitation to trespassers.

What you need is an automatic gate opener. You do not need to run mains electricity to your driveway gate if it is not conveniently available - the alternative is to use a solar powered gate.

Two basic things to take into account before buying:

  • the type of gate: single swing, bi-parting pair, or sliding gate
  • the duty cycle of the gate: how much use will the gate get everyday

Choosing An Automatic Gate Opener

When deciding on an automatic gate opener, your first consideration is the type of gate on your drive: single swing, bi-parting pair, or sliding gate. Narrower drives will be single swing while wider drives, say over 12 feet,  will normally be bi-parting. Any size of drive can make use of a sliding gate.

The second consideration is how much use will the gate will get every day, known as the duty cycle of the gate. High use will require a heavier duty gate opener. A gate opener motor should not be working at full power when in use but at say 50%.

Types of Automatic Gate Opener

There are several different types of gate opener used in electric driveway gates.

Top Mounted Swing Arm:
These units have the arm mounted in the middle of the gate and are used in a majority of high use applications. This type of operator usually features two oil bathed gear boxes and a very heavy chassis. The circuit board can be accessed through the front panel, but you have to remove the arm to gain access to the mechanics. Several manufacturers make this type of operator. Elite was the first company to design it and is the leading manufacturer.


 automatic gate openers

gates fitted with GTO automatic gate openers

Bottom Mounted Swing Arm:

These units have the arm mounted on the bottom of your gate. The main advantage to this design is that the arm is much less visible since it is usually attached to the bottom of the gate. Doorking is a leading manufacturer of this type of unit. This a fast opening unit and can open a gate in as little as 6 seconds. Another major advantage to this design is that it is more accessible and easy to service.

Mechanical Ram Arm:
Ram arms are small and make a neat installation. The mechanical ram arms use a jack screw design. This is a long threaded shaft that rotates and moves a piston. Mechanical ram arms are well suited to lighter gates and lower duty cycle such as residential use.

Hydraulic Ram Arm:
These art compact units operated by a hydraulic piston that has a self contained pump. The hydraulic ram arms are usually more durable than mechanical ram arms and some units are suitable for commercial application. These units are particularly safe since they can be precision controlled which allows allow precision positioning of the gates. They are a recommended operator on bi-parting gates for a smart appearance where the two gates come together.

Underground Openers:
Underground operators are mostly invisible so they are not at all visually intrusive and they can handle very large sized gates.  They are available in both hydraulic and mechanical forms.  

Discuss your needs with an electric gate store or electric gate manufacturers or installers to find which automatic gate opener is best for you.








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