Best Automatic Gate Opener Reviews [March 2019]
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Are you looking for a way to keep your home safe from intruders, yet easily accessible to you and your family?
Automatic gate openers address the dual priorities of security and ease of access by providing a safe and convenient open and close system that can be fit to your specific gate type.
To help you select the best automatic gate opener, we've compiled a comprehensive buyer's guide, including detailed reviews of each of the top ten automatic gate openers, as selected and assessed by our panel of experts. This guide will give you important information about each gate opener's unique features, so that you can choose the best automatic gate opener kit for your needs and gate type.
Each of the automatic gate openers included in this buyer's guide can be installed with standard equipment; no welding or specialized tools are required.
Keep reading to see our list of top selling gate openers and choose the right one for you!
What is an automatic gate opener?
An automatic gate opener is a piece of equipment that is mounted onto your gate that allows the gate to open and close automatically, without human assistance. Perfect for cold, early mornings, or in cases of an emergency, when getting out of the car to open the gate and close it again is inconvenient and time-consuming, automatic gate openers offer a simple solution to issues of security, convenience, and accessibility.
Advantages of using an automatic gate opener
There are several advantages to installing an automatic gate opener.
For one, automatic gate openers are versatile, and can be customized in order to fit many different types of gates, including swing, boom, sliding, or cantilever gates. Because most automatic gate openers don't even require specialized equipment or technical knowhow to install, self-installation is easy and straightforward.
Safety and security
Automatic gate openers come equipped with both electronic lock systems and integrated safety mechanisms, making them the most secure option for protecting your property. The automatic and mechanical lock system ensures that the gate will lock behind you upon leaving. Most models also include integrated safety mechanisms that detect and protect the premises from intruders.
Installing an automatic gate opener makes it easy for a driver to leave the premises secure without needing to exit the vehicle. This advantage is especially convenient in cases of inclement weather or emergency. The automatic and electronic lock system allows the driver to exit the property easily and securely.
Automatic gate openers are necessarily made of durable and high-quality materials. They are designed to support heavy gates and withstand unpredictable weather and harsh conditions.
An automatic gate opener is considered both an advanced security measure and a luxury item, so installing one on your property will increase the property's overall value and appeal. Because automatic gates also add a huge convenience to drivers, potential property buyers will pay more for the inclusion of this amenity.
The top 10 automatic gate openers of 2019 (available on Amazon)
|Gate Name||Best For (length)||Weight||Check Price|
|Mighty Mule FM 500||18 ft||850 lbs||Check Price|
|Mighty Mule EZGO-SOLAR||16 ft||550 lbs||Check Price|
|US Automatic Sentry 300 S||14 ft||1000 lbs||Check Price|
|ALEKO AC1400 Electric Sliding||40 ft||1400 lbs||Check Price|
|Mighty Mule MM360||16 ft||550 lbs||Check Price|
|Mighty Mule MM560||18 ft||800 lbs||Check Price|
|Ghost Controls TDS2XP||20 ft||300 lbs||Check Price|
|E8 400MM Stainless||26 ft||1200 lbs||Check Price|
|CO-Z Automatic Sliding||40 ft||1400 lbs||Check Price|
|E8 500MM Stainless Steel||30 ft||1250 lbs||Check Price|
Reviews for the top 10 best automatic gate openers
As automatic gate openers have become more popular, they have become available in a wider variety of models, sizes, and weights, to match several different needs and budgets.
Below, our experts have reviewed what they consider to be the top 10 automatic gate openers on the market. Take a look at the unique features of each gate opener and consider the factors that are most important to you, and select an automatic gate opener that suits your needs without breaking the bank.
There are several reasons that the Mighty Mule FM500 comes in number one on our experts' list. The FM500 is the ideal option for heavy-duty single swing gates that are 18 feet long and weigh 850 pounds. The FM500 also fits all gate types, and is a great match for ornamental, tube, panels, vinyl and wooden gates.
The FM500 comes with a straightforward assembly manual that provides easy instructions for installation. The manual even includes a DVD with video instructions for individuals who prefer visual assistance.
The FM500 can be installed at home, with standard tools; it requires no welding or technical assistance. For issues that do arise, the FM500 comes with an 18-month Mighty Mule Warranty and 24/7 technical support.
The FM500 tops the list in its class of heavy-duty automatic openers for gates weighing more than 700 pounds. The FM500 can be used for any number of styles of gate that are 18 feet long.Check Price
The Mighty Mule EZGO-Solar gate opener is a battery-powered gate opener designed for swing gates or single-leaf gates of up to 16 feet and 550 pounds. Importantly, this opener includes an E-Z Gate 5-watt solar panel which charges the battery. One added perk is that this model comes with two remote controls.
The EZGO-Solar can be installed easily by the homeowner, using the self-installation instructions and DVD that come with the gate opener.
The Mighty Mule EZGO-Solar gate opener is perfectly-suited for properties in sunny locations. It offers great value for the low price tag and can be easily installed by the homeowner with standard tools. It is one of the best options for single-leaf or swing gates.Check Price
The USAutomatic Sentry 300S is a high-quality commercial grade automatic gate opener ideally suited for installation on large gates in residences, farms, or commercial centers.
A great option for massive ornamental iron gates up to 12 feet long and chain link gates up to 14 feet long, the linear actuator gives this opener about 400 points of thrust and a compression rating equal to 1000 pounds, meaning that the gate opens and closes in a very quick 16 seconds.
This model is powered by a 12-volt DC battery, which is charged with an AC transformer (included). An additional feature of this model is that it can be adapted to work with a solar panel.
The Sentry 300 S also includes a Plug N Go wiring harness that simplifies installation, making self-installation very easy with the provided instructions. Most property owners are able to successfully install the gate within an hour.
The USAutomatic Sentry 300S commercial grade gate opener is an affordable, durable, and reliable automatic gate opener for commercial iron and chain link gates. Especially considering it’s adaptability to solar charging, our experts consider it an excellent long-term investment.Check Price
The ALEKO AC1400 electric sliding gate opener is designed for very heavy-duty sliding gates and a great option to power large gates of over 50 feet and 1,400 pounds.
The exterior parts of the AC1400 are covered with a corrosion-resistant metal, adding to its durability.
The highlighted feature of the AC1400 is that it is equipped with sensors that cause the opener to automatically stop and return to its original position if an external object is stuck while the gate is moving; this is an especially useful feature for a gate this heavy.
Despite its powerful motor and steel chassis, the gate opener is very lightweight, making DIY self-installation possible. The ALECKO AC1400 comes with an easy-to-use manual to assist users with the installation process.
The ALEKO AC1400 Electric Sliding Gate Opener is the perfect option for large, long, and heavy sliding gates, and one of the best options at this price. Its additional features help ensure durability and long operating life.Check Price
The Mighty Mule MM360 gate opener is best suited for medium-duty swing gates that are 16 feet in length and 550 pounds. It can be used with a variety of gate styles including ornamental, tube, vinyl, wood and chain link gates.
This model is unique in that it comes with reserve power and a larger-capacity battery to ensure more powerful and longer-lasting performance.
The MM360 gate opener can also run on solar power when paired with the Mighty Mule 5-watt Solar Panel (sold separately).
This gate opener is easy to install with a detailed manual and DVD to guide users through easy self-installation.
The MM360 is one of the best-priced automatic gate openers for medium-duty swing gates. It has a large battery that can run for hours without stopping, and is solar-capable. The straightforward instruction manual and the step-by-step video guide make self-installation easy within a few hours.Check Price
The Mighty Mule MM560 automatic gate opener is Mighty Mule’s strongest gate, designed for heavy-duty applications on gates that are 18 feet long and 850 pounds.
Like many Mighty Mule gates, the MM560 is solar capable with the additional purchase of a solar panel (sold separately).
The highlighted feature of the MM560 is that it comes with an auto-close, and a soft start and soft stop feature, which helps to extend the life of the gate opener. It comes with an extra large control box which is prewired for two batteries.
In the heavy-duty class, the MM560 offers the advantage of being especially easy to install in only a few hours, thanks to its straightforward manual and step-by-step installation video.
The MM560 is a great value for the price. This heavy-duty automatic gate opener is an excellent choice for properties with large, heavy, single leaf gates. The installation is straightforward, and can be done within mere hours by the homeowner.Check Price
The Ghost Controls TDS2XP Heavy-Duty Solar Dual Gate Opener is an excellent solar-powered option for large, 20-foot dual swing gates at farms or any other large residential or commercial properties. It is best-suited for tubular style gates.
The Ghost Controls TDS2XP includes two operator arms that come with both a 6-foot and 30-foot cables. It also includes a 10-watt premium Mono-crystal line non-diode solar panel for maximum charging potential.
This gate opener is an excellent choice for dual swing heavy-duty gates installed on large commercial and private properties. Comes with an easily accessible and lockable system control box. It is solar-capable with the panel included!Check Price
The E8 400MM Stainless Automatic Gate Opener is a high-quality stainless steel gate opener suited for heavy-duty gates up to 22 feet long, weighing 1,000 pounds that require a dual gate opener.
The E8 400MM comes with an additional AC/DC backup battery system to offer additional protection in cases of power outages due to to extreme weather conditions. This gate opener is solar capable, but does not include a solar panel; the panel must be purchased separately.
This particular model has a Screw Driven Type System, as well as manual release keys. It comes with three remote control units.
The E8 400MM is a long-lasting, high-quality, stainless steel automatic gate opener suitable for heavy-duty operations. The additional backup system is an advantage for properties subject to inclement weather and power outages.Check Price
The CO-Z Automatic Sliding Gate Opener is one of the more affordable gate opener options for heavy-duty gates that are 40 feet in length and weigh up to 1,400 pounds.
The main perk of this model is its customizability; this CO-Z gate opener can be programmed for use with 23 different types of remote control transmitters! It also comes with an option to close the gate automatically, either 12, 24, or 36 seconds after opening.
Unfortunately, this particular model is not easy to install. Because of its sliding gate system, installation requires considerable time and effort compared to other models in the same class.
TakeawayWhile the CO-Z gate opener is cheaper than other models in this guide and includes several unique and customizable features, installation requires greater time and effort and could require additional assistance by a specialized technician. Check Price
The final review in this guide is for the E8 500MM Stainless Steel Automatic Gate Opener for Gates with a wired keypad. This gate opener is made of high-quality stainless steel and is best-suited for heavy-duty dual-swing, 30-foot, 1,250-pound gates.
The E8 500MM comes with a preinstalled AC/DC battery backup for use during power outages, but is also solar-compatible with the additional purchase of a solar panel.
As with the other E8 gate openers, the 500MM model utilizes a Screw Driven Type System for added reliability; it also comes with manual release keys.
The E8 500MM installation kit includes an ST120 wired keypad and safety IR Beams.
The E8 500MM is a great choice for residential and commercial properties with large, two-leaf gates. It comes with a back-up battery for emergencies and a one-year manufacturer warranty for any other problems.Check Price
Buying tips: what to look for in an automatic gate opener
As you’ve seen above, automatic gate openers come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of specialized features. When buying, consider the tips below to select the best gate opener for your needs.
he most important feature of your automatic gate opener is its motor. You want to ensure that the gate opener you buy has a motor that is strong, and made from high-quality materials. Before buying the product, also check the quality of the included accessories, such as brackets and mounting hardware; better quality materials means a longer-lasting product.
Ideally, all of the moving parts of your gate opener should be maintenance free. This means that pieces like springs, hinges, ropes, and cables should be coated with a protective corrosion-inhibitor to protect the parts against environmental damage and degradation.
Ease of installation
When shopping for an automatic gate opener, look for options with detailed, straightforward, and easy-to-read installation instructions. Some manuals come with a DVD to provide additional video assistance that many users find very helpful.
In the event of confusion, search the Internet for instructions or videos from other users who have installed the same gate opener model.
Ease of operation
The gate opener you buy should operate easily and seamlessly. A properly installed automatic gate opener should move smoothly, and remote controls should work within a reasonable range.
Another crucial consideration when buying a gate opener is the type of warranty included by the manufacturer. Even if the materials are high-quality and the parts are maintenance-free, it is possible that your gate opener could become damaged or malfunction. Some manufacturers offer longer warranty periods of up to 5 years, while others offer one- to two-year limited warranties.
There are many different types of gates, and some gate openers can only be fit to specific gate types. It is important that you understand what style of gate you have, and properly measure it, so that you select a gate opener that can support the weight and length of the gate at your property.
If your property is located somewhere that experiences extreme temperatures, you must make sure to buy a gate opener that can withstand and function at hot or cold temperatures. Most high-quality systems work at temperatures between -10 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius. Temperature range information should be available in the device manual.
Of course, your gate opener should also be waterproof and weather resistant. Consider products sealed with protective coatings if you live in a location that experiences especially harsh weather events.
Traction and speed
Traction and running speeds are crucial indicators of your automatic gate opener’s performance. Sturdy, high-quality gate openers have a pulling force of 500N to 700N. The maximum running speed of the door drive should be 11 centimeters per second.
High-quality gate openers are equipped with a variety of safety features. Many garage door openers, for example, have automatic obstacle sensing and detection, to minimize the risk of injury.
Other important safety mechanisms include backup power supplies and alternate access options, so that the gate can still be opened or closed in the event of a power outage or mechanical failure. The opener should include thermal protection, and an automatic shut-off for cases in which the the control box or battery overheats.
An Emergency Release
An emergency release is the mechanism that allows the gate to open even in cases where the gate opener’s power supply or electric drive malfunctions or stops working. This feature is hugely important, and if it’s not already included in your automatic gate opener, we highly recommend it.
Automatic gate openers are always “on,” so to speak, even when they’re not in operation. For this reason, it’s important to understand how much power your automatic gate opener uses, both while operating and when in standby mode. Many of the gate openers on the market today are energy efficient, but if you’re concerned about high energy consumption, you can find the estimated energy values for your gate opener in the product information or manual.
Top automatic gate opener brands
There are a few big players in the gate opener industry. Here are the top five brands we’d recommend shopping with:
Mighty Mule is one of the leading companies for automatic gate openers. Mighty Mule offers a number of different gate opener models, based on size, weight, type, and application, including heavy duty applications. One of the main perks of buying a Mighty Mule gate opener is that Mighty Mule gate openers come with a step-by-step video guide to assist with setup, making installation easy enough to do at home! Mighty Mule also offers 24-hour technical service and an extended warranty.
Another leading brand for door openers is USAutomatic Sentry. Sentry products come with an additional feature called Sentry Plug N Go, which is wiring harness that makes product installation a breeze. USAutomatic Sentry gate openers are also highly customizable, offering particular features that are not available with other brands.
Ghost controls is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative automatic gate openers. This brand is known for producing high-quality, fast, and quiet gates for the residential and agricultural gate markets. Ghost Controls gate openers and accessories are low DC voltage, solar-capable, and can be easily installed by the property owner. Ghost Controls offers in-house and online support, as well as a limited lifetime warranty on their products.
ALEKO is another popular brand of gate and gate opener that specializes in heavy-duty gates. ALEKO gate openers are known for their steel chassis, which gives their gate openers added strength and heavy-duty capabilities. Even with the steel chassis, ALEKO gate openers remain lightweight and affordable.
The final brand of gate opener recommended by our experts is E8. E8 gate openers are solar-capable, but conveniently come with a backup battery for power outages. E8 gate openers also come with a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Automatic gate openers: frequently asked questions (FAQ)
1. Will an automatic gate opener work with a very large, wide, and heavy gate?
Yes, automatic gate openers are designed to work with all different types of gates, including those that are heavy, long, and wide. Just make sure that when selecting an automatic gate opener, you are choosing one that is specifically designed for the length, weight, and type of your gate.
2. There is no power supply near my gate. Can I still install an automatic gate opener?
Of course! Even if your garage or driveway has no power supply nearby, you have plenty of options for installing an automatic gate opener. You can run a cable underground from your home to the gate, or even better--you can install a solar panel with battery storage to power your gate. The benefits of using a solar cell is that you’ll have a backup power supply in case of a power outage.
3. What happens if an obstacle gets in the way of the gate as it is opening or closing?
Luckily, automatic gate openers are equipped with obstacle detection systems, meaning that all people, pets, and property are all safe from injury while your automatic gate opener is in operation. Generally, if the detection system senses an obstacle, the gate automatically stops moving, and moves back about 10 centimeters to release the foreign object.
4. What happens in the case of a power outage? Will my gate open? Can I open it manually?
Yes, in the event that the power source for your automatic gate opener fails, your gate can always be opened manually using the release cable, which is accessible only on the premises side of the gate, thereby keeping your property secure from trespassers.
5. Are automatic gate openers secure? Who has access to open the gate?
Automatic gate openers are very secure. Security features are standard on most automatic gate openers, meaning that only authorized individuals with the remote control will have access to operate your gate opener. If additional security is a priority, seek out a gate opener that has a self-locking gearbox.
6. How can I protect against unauthorized access to the gate in the event that I lose the remote control?
Gate opener remote controls each come with a unique code, which is paired to and recognized by the receiver. If a specific remote control transmitter is lost, its individual code can be deleted from the receiver. Note however, that once you delete a transmitter, it cannot be subsequently re-paired with the receiver; for this reason, you should avoid deleting a transmitter from the receiver unless it is certainly lost.
7. Will other radio devices on the premises interfere with the operation of gate opener?
No, other remote controls, wireless headphones, or baby monitors will not interfere with the operation of your gate opener.
Automatic gate openers add a level of convenience, security, and luxury to any home. They are easy to install, straightforward to use, and make the process of entering and leaving your home a breeze, especially in cases of emergency.
High-quality gate openers come with handheld remote control transmitters, a soft start and soft stop feature, and basic parts and accessories that can be installed with standard tools.
Many automatic gate openers nowadays are also solar-compatible, which avoids the need for an outdoor power source.
To choose the perfect automatic gate opener for you, first note your gate’s door type, length, and weight. Consider the features that are important to you, including ease of installation, quality of materials, and manufacturer warranty. Peruse the lists of top gate opener brands and top 10 gate openers chosen by our experts, and simply select the automatic gate opener that’s right for you!