Automatic gates – which is right for you?

Augtomatic sliding gate with car

Whether for your home or your business, an automatic gate can be great addition to your security system. Ensuring you have reliable and robust protection at the main entry point to your premises, driveway or car park is an effective way to put in place a first line of defence against intruders and unauthorised visitors.

There’s more to installing an automatic gate than you might think though – and there are a few things you’ll definitely want to consider before you invest. Here are a couple of pointers on how to select the right automatic gate solution for your home or business.

Size matters

The first step in installing any automated barrier or gate solution is to determine your road gap. This means the width of the space, kerb to kerb, or fence post to fence post, that your gate needs to cover. This measurement could dictate a number of key features, including the style of gate and the material used. You should also figure out the amount of space you have available for opening your gate – again this could determine which style of gate you opt for.

Form factor

Once you’re armed with this information, you can start thinking about what style of gate you require for the space you have. There are a number of options here, including sliding, bifold and swing.

Sliding automatic gates

Sliding gates do just that – slide back to allow a vehicle to pass through. This is a good solution if you’re limited in terms of how much space you’ve got to open the gates out, or need to consider pedestrians passing for which a swing gate might cause an obstruction. An important consideration here is that you have enough space available to accommodate a gap for the vehicle to go through as well as the sliding part of the gate. It’s quite common for sliding gates to be affixed to the adjacent wall, so that when they slide open, the gate goes behind the wall. This will of course depend on the amount of space you have available.

Bifold automatic gates

Bifold gates fold in – you guessed it – two places to tuck out of the way and create a gap. They save on opening “span” compared to swing gates, and less space is required to store the open gate than with a sliding gate. They work best in limited spaces, effectively quartering the amount of space need for swing. An important consideration here is that there’s a more complicated mechanism, which in turn means there is more that can potentially go wrong. A reputable security partner will be able to help you maintain your bifold gate with a regular service and maintenance that will ensure it’s in full working order.

Swing automatic gates

Swing gates open like a traditional gate. The main consideration here is the amount of space needed for it to open. It’s important that you ensure you can open and close your gate without causing an obstruction or safety risk. If you’re limited in terms of this space, a bifold or sliding gate would probably be the better option. That being said, swing gates tend to be easier to install, and the mechanism is much simpler. Many home and business owners also like the aesthetic of a swing gate – it gives a more traditional feel.

The look

While the practical elements are very much the priority, for any home or business, getting the aesthetics of your gate right is important to. Whatever the solution, you want to fit in seamlessly with the rest of your property. Automatic gates, whatever the form factor, come in a range of materials. If you’re after a more industrial look, you could go for galvanised steel or aluminum powder coated in the colour of your choice. If you want something a bit more aesthetically pleasing, you can also get a gate with wooden infills stained in the colour of your choice.


It’s important to consider before installing your gate how it will integrate with the rest of your security system. Do you need to incorporate access control, or an intercom system? How about automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) or other video technology? You should decide how best to manage entry and exit from your automated gate, in a way that will fit with your wider security environment and ensure the best possible protection. A reputable security provider will be able to advise you on this and the steps you will need to take prior to install to incorporate these features.


If you’d like further help or advice on selecting, designing and installing the automatic gate solution that works best for your home or business, get in touch.

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