Nov 13, 2023

Electric gates

If the soothing hum of electric gates are on your potential wish list you need to know these facts before you buy

Electric gates are becoming more and more popular in residential areas as they offer lots of benefits. As such the prices have dropped and the options available have grown in recent years.

This guide sets out all you need to know about electric gates. From why you might want them to the various types available. The prices are also broken down so you can work out how much you will need to budget for, should you go for one of these options.

To be clear, most electric gates are made up of the gates themselves and then the automatic openers. So if you already have gates installed, then you could automate them for far less cost than starting from scratch.

So what do you need to know about electric gates and creating an automated home that starts at the edge of your plot?

Electric gates are a great option for anyone that is in and out of their driveway often as they open and close without you having to get out of the car – something you'll appreciate if you live in a rainy or snowy area.

But what they're really there for is security. This mean your home is locked shut when you leave and opens as you arrive, so you get that peace of mind. With lots of height options this can be as secure as you need.

Electric gates can also add value to your property, not to mention enhance the curbside appeal – especially if you go for a modern feature gate.

The electric gate options fall into three main categories: swing, slide and lift. The one you go for will largely depend on the lay of your land at your property entrance.

There are different material options too including aluminum, steel, wrought iron and wood. While aluminum is light and affordable, wood can look better but means a lot of maintenance to avoid warping over time.

Swing gatesA swing gate is the most common, most affordable and has fewest parts so is easiest to maintain. However, it requires a pretty large flat space for the gate or gates to swing open and shut. So if you have a hill on your driveway then these types may not be for you.

Slide gatesThese were used by businesses mostly but have become more fashionable now, especially with ultra modern properties. These, as the name suggests, slide the gate from side to side to open and close, running on rails. They don't require a large flat area and can be slid in behind your frontage out of sight without taking up much space.

Lift gatesA life gate is ideal if you have limited space in all directions, as this uses the overhead room to allow the gate to move. That makes these ideal for urban areas where space is more limited but security is still a concern. If you think of parking garages, that is the kind of gate action you're looking at here.

Electric gates vary wildly in price since you have several types, sizes and automation options – not to mention installation if you need that.

If you already have a swing gate you can add an automation system relatively affordably and, in many cases, can do it yourself. A single gate opening is more affordable than a double gate option.

The gates themselves can cost between $2,000 and $5,000. Then you're looking at paying for the automation on top which can be between $250 and $700.

While you can give installation a go on your own, hanging gates is difficult as is installing the automation so that it works perfectly and continues to do so in the future. So considering a professional installation, if that's in your budget, is advisable.

Installation costs, like the gates, break down into the gate build and the automation. As such you're going to want to expect this to be a two day job. The first will be to hang the gates and the second will be to install the automation kit.

Gate installation typically ranges from $750 to $1,800 based on the project. But if you really want swing gates and need the land levelled, expect to pay more on top.

For the installation of the automation hardware and software you're looking at spending between $1,500 and $3,000.

So while gates and their automation may not be cheap, they can add value to your property and keep you more secure – paying their way in the long run.

Luke is a veteran journalist and editor of over two decades where he has written about everything but specialises is technology, science, health and fitness, smart homes and health. He contributes to Real Homes, T3, Tom's Guide and TechRadar, among many other titles. As a father of two, any spare time he gets is enjoyed surfing, reading, hiking, camping and generally getting out in nature.

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Swing gates Slide gates Lift gates