Securing a property begins at the perimeter, and a gate is often the first line of defense. Gate selection requires careful consideration of the property type, traffic volume, aesthetics, access control needs, and budget.
This guide covers the most common security gate types, their key features, pros and cons, ideal applications, and costs. Gain the knowledge to make an informed gate purchasing decision for your residential or commercial property.
Key Takeaway: Gates are essential for property security. Many gate types exist – analyze your needs, site, budget to pick the optimal one.
Overview of Security Gate Options
Gates provide access control by physically blocking an entrance until opened. Most can integrate with intercoms, keypads, or access control systems to restrict access. Gates for residential, commercial, and industrial applications have distinct requirements.
Gate types differ by:
- Opening direction
- Size capabilities
- Automation options
- Installation complexity
- Security level
Common security gates:
- Swing – Hinged, door-like opening
- Sliding – Trellis, cantilever, or overhead
- Vertical lift – Lifts vertically to open
- Vertical pivot – Rotates vertically
- Bi-folding – Folds into multiple sections
Other specialized gates exist like crash/barrier gates, turnstiles, or sally ports. Gates can be manual or motorized. Most can integrate with intercom and access control systems.
Now let’s explore popular gate types in-depth. Analyze your property needs to shortlist options before getting quotes.
Swing Security Gates
The swing gate’s hinged design resembles a traditional door. It’s the most common and affordable automated or manual gate option for homes and businesses.
How Swing Gates Function
- Mounts to gate posts on hinges
- Opens outward or inward up to 90 or 180 degrees
- Can have one or two gate leaves
Ideal for: Driveways, parking garages, gated communities
Swing Gate Pros
- Adaptable sizes – Single gates up to 40 ft. wide, doubles up to 80 ft.
- Affordable – Manual $2k+, automated $7k+
- Quick installation – Basic hinge mechanism
- Easy automation – Many operator options
- No space constraints – Opens into property
Swing Gate Cons
- Limited widths – Not ideal for large industrial sites
- Less secure – Exposed hinges are a weak point
- Frequent maintenance – Moving parts need lubrication
- Safety hazard – Can hit objects during opening
Overall, the classic swing gate offers customizable security for most residential and many commercial sites.
Sliding Security Gates
Sliding gates provide a modern, space-efficient automated gate solution. The gate panel slides sideways along a track to open rather than swinging out.
How Sliding Gates Function
- Mounted on rollers or wheels guided by a track
- Slides sideways to open parallel with the fence
- V-groove, cantilever, and overhead sub-types
Ideal for: Warehouses, storage facilities, uneven terrain
Sliding Gate Pros
- Space saving – No front/back clearance needed
- Fast opening – Quick access for high traffic
- High security – Hard to lift off track
- Modern appearance – Sleek for businesses
- All terrain – Cantilever adjusts to slopes
Sliding Gate Cons
- Narrow widths – Max of 30 ft. openings
- Expensive – Parts, installation, maintenance
- Weather hazards – Debris blocks V-groove
- Frequent maintenance – Tracks and wheels need care
- Safety hazard – Exposed rollers can pinch
Sliding gates provide efficient automated access without swing clearance requirements. The slick look enhances business curb appeal.
Vertical Lift Security Gates
Vertical lift gates provide unmatched security and durability. Rather than swinging or sliding, these heavy industrial gates lift vertically to allow vehicle access.
How Vertical Lift Gates Function
- Guided by columns up to 60 ft. tall
- Lifts straight upward to open
- Typically automated with counterweights
- Lowers when a vehicle passes sensors
Ideal for: Airports, military bases, high security sites
Vertical Lift Gate Pros
- Maximum security – Heavy-duty build
- Tall openings – Up to 60 ft. clear height
- All weather – Lifts clear of snow/debris
- Space saving – No side clearance needed
- High traffic – Rapid speed for throughput
Vertical Lift Gate Cons
- Expensive – $15k+ automated cost
- Permanent – Fixed columns can’t relocate
- Height limits – May impact large vehicles
- Maintenance – Cables, chains, guides
With unmatched security and durability, vertical lift gates excel at high traffic sites. The major downside is higher cost.
Vertical Pivot Security Gates
A vertical pivot gate provides efficient automated access for industrial sites and parking garages. The pivot-style lift creates a visual clearance indicator.
How Vertical Pivot Gates Function
- Mounts on bottom pivot hinge
- Rotates 90 degrees vertically to open
- Stops in upright open position
- Closes by rotating back down
Ideal for: Parking garages, loading docks, power plants
Vertical Pivot Gate Pros
- Unlimited height – No overhead clearance limits
- Space efficiency – Compact footprint
- High throughput – Fast for traffic volume
- Industrial grade – Rugged aluminum or steel
- Low maintenance – Basic hinge mechanism
Vertical Pivot Gate Cons
- Narrow widths – Usually under 16 ft.
- Safety risks – Visually obstructed lowering
- Expensive – Automated systems cost $10k+
- Permanent – Concrete mounted hinge
With fast access times and rugged builds, vertical pivot gates suit high traffic industrial sites. But consider the height limits before purchasing.
Bi-Folding Security Gates
Bi-folding gates provide automated access without the swing clearance downside. The gate accordions into sections allowing secure parking control even in tight spaces.
How Bi-folding Gates Function
- Multiple hinged gate sections
- Folds sideways when opening
- Stacked parallel to fence when open
- Single or double gate designs
Ideal for: Parking garages, gated communities, storage units
Bi-Folding Gate Pros
- Space saving – No swing clearance needed
- Fast operation – Quick for traffic flow
- Adaptable – Short or long openings
- High cycles – Resilient for frequent use
- Aesthetics – Contemporary appearance
Bi-Folding Gate Cons
- Narrow widths – Usually up to 20 ft. max
- Wind risk – Susceptible to wind damage
- Frequent maintenance – Many hinges
- Mediocre security – Sections vulnerable when open
- Expensive – Automated systems cost $8k+
Bi-folding automated gates provide efficient access control for tight spaces. But the accordion design requires vigilance to keep all hinges operable.
Other Gate Types
Crash gates – High security barrier arms tested to stop vehicles. Used at airports and government sites.
Sally ports – A secure entry with a series of gates to prevent simultaneous outer and inner door opening. Common at prisons.
Turnstiles – Rotating pedestrian gates that only allow single-file access. Used at stadiums, schools, transit stations.
Material options – Gates come in aluminum, steel, iron, wood, PVC, and chain link. Consider aesthetics and security.
How To Choose The Right Security Gate
Choosing the optimal gate involves analyzing your property size, budget, traffic, security needs, aesthetics, and access control requirements.
Considerations when selecting a security gate:
- Property type – Commercial, residential, industrial
- Opening widths – Measure exact clearance needed
- Automation requirements – Manual, automatic, or remote activated
- Gate frequency – Occasional or high traffic volume
- Aesthetics – Gate design visually fits site
- Access control – Intercom, keypad, or card reader
- Security level – Perimeter defense needs
- Budget – Manual, automated, specialty gate costs
- Maintenance – Frequency of required gate servicing
- Climate conditions – Wind, snow, rain, and temperature impact
Consult gate professionals for insights on the best choice. Get multiple quotes to compare pricing.
Costs of Security Gates
Gate pricing varies based on size, design, automation, accessories, and materials. Get quotes from vendors to compare exact costs for your property’s needs.
|Gate Type||Manual Cost||Automated Cost|
- Wood is generally the most economical material, followed by chain link fencing.
- Aluminum, steel, and iron cost more but are very durable.
- Unique custom gate designs can cost over $50,000.
- Get quotes from multiple security gate vendors before purchasing.
Proper gate maintenance and repair will also have ongoing costs. Check warranty coverage for parts and labor.
Installing perimeter security gates tailored to your property enhances safety. Swing, sliding, and bi-folding gates suit most residential and commercial sites. Heavy-duty vertical lift and vertical pivot gates provide industrial-grade security. Work with gate installation professionals to pick the optimal automated or manual gate system based on your needs and budget. Investing in durable, high-quality security gates prevents unauthorized access and protects what matters most.
Key Takeaway: Analyze all gate types, consider unique property requirements and get quotes before purchasing security gates for optimal automated access control.
What is the most secure gate?
Vertical lift gates offer the highest security gate option. The heavy-duty build, lift columns, and industrial-grade automated systems resist tampering. Vertical lift gates are ideal for airports, chemical plants, prisons and other high-security sites.
How much does a automatic gate cost?
For residential sites, plan around $3,000-$8,000 for a professionally installed automated gate system. Commercial grade automatic gates cost between $8,000-$25,000. Large industrial gates can cost over $50,000. Get quotes from vendors as gate system pricing depends on many factors.
What is the most affordable type of security gate?
Manual swing gates offer the most affordable gated access control option. A basic single swing gate costs around $2,000 or less. Automated swing gates start around $4,000-$7,000 installed. Swing gates have a simple construction that requires minimal maintenance as well.
How long do security gates last?
With proper maintenance, most gate types last 10-20 years. Industrial grade gates and heavy-duty automated openers can function even longer. Location impacts lifespan too – gates in extreme climates or high traffic volume fail quicker on average. Review the warranty coverage and support when choosing automated gate systems.
Do automatic gates increase home value?
Yes, adding an automated gate system can increase residential property value. Gated access provides security and prestige. Homes in gated communities with access control demand a premium. But recouping gate installation costs depends on the real estate market and home price point. Weigh benefits vs costs before installing a gate to bolster value.
What maintenance do automated gates need?
Expect to lubricate hardware, inspect connections, adjust drive chains, and replace worn parts on automated gate openers yearly or as needed. Keeping gates clean by removing dust and debris prevents wear too. Check batteries in solar powered openers every few months. Do safety checks and force testing monthly per ASTM standards. Have a professional service the gate opener annually.