Gate Openers: Closing the Gap from Afar

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 19, 2016

Wood gate
Having to get out of the car and open a gate manually, when all you want to do is come or go, can be a hassle. So, those who already have a gated driveway are most likely familiar with the benefits of having an automatic gate opener. If you are looking to install a driveway gate, or if your old gate opener is past its prime, there are some options available that should be considered before your next purchase.

Upgrading a Gate Opener

While the main job of a gate opener is always the same, newer models can do it with style. “Soft start” and “soft stop” features found in newer gate openers are not only smoother in function, but also put less strain and wear on the gate’s hardware. Maybe you’d like a solar panel to keep your gate’s battery charged. Homeowners concerned about security should take a look at locks that secure automatically once the gate closes.

Installing a New Gate

There are some who want a driveway gate to enhance the look of their property; others are in it simply for security reasons. Most people, however, would agree that a new gate should have a healthy balance of both form and function, while still fitting into their budget.

The automatic gate opener you install will depend heavily on the type of material your new gate is made from. Whether your gate swings or slides, if it is made of solid hardwood, steel, or iron, it will require a much stronger gate opener than a light aluminum gate would. Aluminum is generally thought to be less aesthetically pleasing than other materials, but its cost effectiveness and relative strength make it a very popular choice for homeowners.

DIY Gate Opener Installation

While there are quite a few gate openers on the market that are relatively easy to install, it’s important to check the warranty terms for your brand and model. Some warranties are only good if the opener is professionally installed, while others are more DIY friendly.

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Gate Opener Options

When shopping for a gate opener, the price for the unit often increases because of what people expect the gate to do. A sensor that opens the gate when you pull up to it may cost extra. A gate that locks automatically can also cost extra; and the list goes on. Depending on the manufacturer, you may be surprised at the options that do and don’t come standard.

Many companies offer package deals that include many of the options that people most often ask for. As with many other things, it’s easier and less expensive to purchase everything you’ll need up front rather than having to go back and buy something later. Researching the options each manufacturer offers thoroughly will ensure that you get the most out of your dollar.

A Note on Security

Making sure that people or animals don’t enter or exit your property unnoticed is why many folks purchase a gate in the first place. Some automatic gate openers have a standard factory code that is the same for every model. Make sure to personalize this code after your unit is installed. Additionally, the edges of some gates can be flexed open by people or animals unless they are locked. The manufacturer will be able to tell you if this could be a problem with a gate of your model and length.


  1. Ken Hewett, September 1:

    Have a 12′ gate downtown Charleston SC. Need electric open/close device with control electronics.

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