How to Choose an Automatic Gate to Enhance Your Home
If you are in the market for an automatic gate, here are 6 questions you need to ask before making a purchase.
1) What is your why?
Why are you thinking of purchasing an automatic gate? Are you clear on your reasons? And if you have multiple reasons, do you know which are most important to you?
Your reasons for purchasing will influence what sort of gate you need to buy. Here are the top reasons for purchasing an automatic gate.
- To increase security: This is frequently the number one reason for installing an automatic gate. The only way your gate will open is if you have a remote control, have an authorised key code, or if someone lets you in. You can also install cameras for added security, monitoring and recording.
- To protect the people and pets inside: Sometimes we install gates to keep people safe inside just as much as keeping unwanted people outside. This gives important clues as to the type of gate you should instal.
- To improve the aesthetic of your property: Lets face it. An automatic gate can easily help create an impression of wealth, class and style. Automatic gates come is such a wide variety of designs that you can easily purchase one that gives a sense of prestige or security to your property.
- To improve your insurance rating: It is well known that a secure property will likely be easier, and possibly cheaper to insure. the savings will not outweigh the cost of installation, but it might help a hesitant company to insure your property.
- To increase your privacy: Some property owners invest in walls, trees and automatic gates to prevent snooping eyes. They don’t necessarily have anything to hide, but enjoy the sense of privacy that high walls and gates provide.
- To save time and effort: Driving home each night after a long day at work, and being able to drive right into your property with a press of a button is a convenience that many people find worthwhile. If you live in a climate where rain, wind and snow feature, this can be an absolute game changer. Also, when you leave again in the morning, sensors in the driveway will automatically open the gate for you, and lock it after you. That’s definitely worth it.
- To increase the value of your property: If your automatic gate is carefully chosen, if it looks good and adds the aesthetic discussed earlier, then it can also increase the value of your property. Like many others things, looks can be everything!
When you prioritise the above reasons, you will know more about which kind of gate to select. If you desire privacy, you will select a solid gate that is at 2 metres high. If you want to keep children or pets from leaving the property, you will choose one close to the ground. If you desire a better looking property, you can find a design that matches your are and desired appearance.
2) Where will you install your gate?
There are a number of issues to be considered when choosing the location of your gate.
- How much room do you have on your roadside boundary?
- How much room do you inside your boundary?
- Does your driveway have a slope?
- Does your driveway curve to the left or right on entry?
- Is your property exposed to high winds?
- Are there obstacles like trees, buildings, fences, or ornaments that could obstruct automatic gate?
A driveway that slopes uphill on entry will not be easily serviced by an inward swinging gate. You will likely need a sliding gate instead.
Likewise, swing gates can become like sails on a yacht in high winds. A sliding gate may be better in this situation as well.
If room is limited inside your boundary, a double swing gate, a bi-fold gate, or an outward swinging gate could be ideal.
3) What kind of automation will work for you?
There are many systems for opening your gate automatically or on demand. They all have pros and cons, and they differ in the amount of technology, effort and cost involved.
For secure entry:
- Remote controls similar to garage door openers are very popular for private homes where you will only need a few remotes.
- Mobile phones with a Bluetooth app or a phone call can used to open the gate in some systems.
- Card or fob readers are inexpensive and suit commercial installations where many drivers will need to access the automatic gate.
- Digital keypads make it easy to distribute either common or unique access codes. The downside to this system is it is based on trust, as people can easily tell others their code.
- Vehicle tag readers or licence plate recognition systems provide a high level of security for known vehicles.
- An underground loop can pick up a signal from a device attached to the car for completely keyless entry or exit.
For automatic exit:
- Most properties do not require security for vehicles leaving the property.
- For this reason loop detectors, photoelectric beams, and pressure switches are usually used to sense the weight or presence of a vehicle and open the gate before you get to it.
- A simple button to press on exit can be used, but only in situations where people cannot climb over the fence to press the button and let themselves in.
4) How will you let visitors in?
Entry to the property is easy for the owners or residents. But what about friends coming for dinner on a rainy night? How do cleaners, health support workers, couriers or tradespeople enter?
In these cases a digital keypad with PIN numbers are used. The benefit of this system is that you can give regular visitors that you know and trust their own PIN.
You can also create one-off PIN codes that expire after use, or after a period of time. This is a good solution for BnB guests or holiday homes.
5) Do you need access for pedestrians?
Opening the entire automatic gate so that one person can walk through is both inefficient and insecure. The gate will be open for far too long to maintain adequate security in security-sensitive situations.
Many gate manufacturers now install a pedestrian gate into the larger gate itself, or beside it. The gates are matched in appearance and work together in a cohesive and attractive way.
This is not needed in every situation, and sometimes it is sensible simply for convenience rather than security.
6) Swing or sliding gate?
There are three key considerations when it comes to choosing which gate is right for you.
Thanks to their more straightforward construction, swing gates generally cost less than sliding gates, though this largely depends on the size, style, and material of the gate in question.
Even though both gate types can be the same shape and size, sliding gates require a more complex opening mechanism and extra parts installed. For example, a swing gate consists of the motor and a couple of hinges mounted to a post or wall, while a sliding gate needs a motor, slide track, and rollers.
Space is a factor in two directions. If there is limited space along the fence line you may not have room for a sliding gate. So in this situation a swing gate will be necessary.
However, you may have limited space inside the property as well. A swing gate must be able to open fully following the driveway. This factor is frequently the reason people opt for a sliding gate instead.
Bear in mind that a single swing gate takes up more room than a double swing gate.
A 4 metre single swing gate needs 4 metres of space behind the gate to swing freely whereas a 4 metre double gate would need only 2 metres.
If you have an uphill driveway, a swing gate would need to open outwards towards the road (and the waiting car) provided the gate stays within your property boundary. If space is an issue, or if damage to a vehicle coming too close is a factor, consider a sliding gate.
You can read more about this topic on our previous blog here.
By now you will have a fair idea of what kind of gate you need, and the factors to consider for your situation.
Remember, reputable gate installers will be happy to view your home and answer your questions.