Basics of Automatic Security Gates

Shopping for an automatic security or driveway gate for your home or business? You may be interested in some basic terminology.

Simply, automatic gates include two components: The gate moves to block the driveway opening and provide security. It is fence-mounted to control access. The gate operator automatically opens and closes the gate, is usually electric, and can be powered by chain, gear, or hydraulics.

The most common gate types are:

Slide gates (“rolling” or “V-track” gates) move left-to-right or right-to-left, based on space and preference. Supported on rollers, they slide along a track across the driveway opening. Best for: Moderate climates where snow, ice, or debris will not obstruct movement.

Cantilever gates are similar to slide gates, but more reliable. Instead of rollers, they are suspended and move along rails mounted inside a fence (full-mounted, top-hung, or bottom-track). The gate must be wider than the opening to counterbalance its own weight, so overall width must be considered. Best for: Environments where snow, ice, or debris may be a factor.

Swing gates are most cost effective, and hinged on one side to swing like a door, either inward or outward. Clearance must be considered so as not to obstruct a road or walkway. The gate itself can be single or double leaf, depending on the desired aesthetic. Doubles weigh less, so the operator has less stress. Best for: Level driveways. On a hill, slope can further limit gate type, weight, and length selections.

Bi-folding gates consist of two hinged gate panels that fold onto themselves. Compact, they open and close quickly. Best for: Tight spaces.

Barrier gates utilize an arm that pivots up and down from a stationary point on one side of the driveway opening. They are cost effective, but do not provide security. Best for: Traffic control areas like parking lots, parking garages, or toll booths.

Vertical lift gates move up and down over an opening. A standard vertical lift gate moves on vertical support rails until suspended above the opening. A vertical pivot lift gate swings upward from a stationary corner on the ground. These gates are most secure, and operate quickly and reliably. Best for: Commercial areas where space is limited and high security is desired.

Contact West Florida Fence for more about automatic security gates!

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