Manual vs. automatic
If you’re considering installing a gate for your driveway, you first determination should be whether to install a manual gate, one operated by hand, or an automatic gate that uses a motor to open and close the gate. For most homeowners, this question can easily be answered by evaluating the project budget.
Custom driveway gates like this one can be constructed to meet a homeowner's every need. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Ribera)
A new driveway gate and opener can easily start at $2,000 and more (not including installation), whereas a manual operated gate can easily cost much less.
Maintenance is a consideration, too. While all gate or fence structures require some level of regular maintenance such as washing off debris or lubricating and adjusting hinges, a mechanically operated gate needs more maintenance to ensure it operates properly.
These gates are comprised of one solid piece of fencing or metal work that retracts into a slot to create the space necessary to enter the driveway. Side-scrolling fences are generally more durable than bi-parting gates due to their more simple design. Automatic slide-scrolling gates typically use a single motor that moves the gate along a track to open or close it.
In some cases, side-scrolling gates can be reinforced to give an even greater level of durability. This is possible due to the strict two-dimensional movement of the gate along its track.
Side-scrolling driveway gates are also usually much less expensive than bi-parting gates and require less regular maintenance. A disadvantage to the side-scrolling design is the need for adequate space on one side of the gate opening for the gate to slide into when opened.
Bi-parting gates are the more theatrical and expensive of the driveway gates. They are a common choice for people looking to enhance the security profile of their property while not compromising esthetics.
Bi-parting gates come in a wide variety of designs to suit nearly any design scheme. Customers can choose between bi-parting gates that swing open or bi-parting “scroll” gates. Swing gates pivot inward to allow the ingress of vehicles and personnel while scroll gates move side-to-side in two dimensions.
Bi-parting swing gates are often more expensive than sliding gates and require more regular maintenance, since they typically require at least two motors to power the opening process.
A keypad is a very convenient and safe way to keep your gate secure. They are often seen as being very user-friendly and hassle-free. One of the major benefits of a keypad interface over a card-based interface is that there is no risk of your card being stolen and used by an unauthorized person.
The PIN number that you use to secure your gate will be entirely original and known only to you. In some cases, the pin may be available to maintenance personnel if you decide to hire a security company. This creates a very small window of opportunity for unauthorized people to access your driveway or home.
Keypad entry boxes are also known for being much easier to install and program than card-based entry boxes.
Even security gates can be customized to provide aesthetics in addition to added security to the property. (Photo courtesy of Darmae Stalk)
A card-based entry system will require you to have a card to operate your gate. This could be a card that you insert or a card with an RFID chip that is specifically programmed to work with your gate. Due to the unique nature of the card you are issued, a card-based entry system is very difficult to bypass.
Card-based entry systems are also much more difficult to bypass since their controls are not so expressive. The card-based entry system is also very popular with businesses that need to give cards out to a large number of employees.
If an employee quits, his or her card is simply disabled. This means that business owners don't have to dedicate time to creating and disseminating a new password every time an employee leaves. The card-based entry is considered to be the best option for a multiple-user system.