gate opener automatic outdoor


Managing a gated property comes with many security considerations, such as choosing the best access control solution that’s both secure and convenient. Gated community tenants will naturally rate safety as one of their highest priorities. So, how can you provide it without sacrificing convenience? One of the tools that can help you out is an automatic gate opener.

In this post, we explain what an automatic gate opener is and how it works. Then, we go over some credential options for your tenants to open gates automatically.

This post covers:


What is an automatic gate opener?

An automatic gate opener is the electronic component in a gate access control system that unlocks and physically opens and closes a gate so that an entrant doesn’t have to do it manually.

Automatic gate openers operate via a credential, like a:

  • Fob
  • Remote control
  • Key card
  • PIN code entered into a keypad
  • Smartphone/mobile app
  • Identification sticker on a car

Automatic gate openers are useful for gated properties of all sizes. For instance, you might install a remote gate opener on a smaller gate meant exclusively for pedestrian use. Or, your property might host a lot of car traffic, necessitating an electric gate opener for driveways.

Whatever the case, an automatic gate opener will save your tenants time and energy.


Watch how ButterflyMX’s gate intercom works:


A gate with an automatic opener has three components:

  • Credential reader. Tenants present a credential to the access reader to verify their identity.
  • Control panel. The control panel is the central hub of the automatic gate. While the credential reader scans a tenant’s credential, the control panel verifies the data. Then, it instructs the gate’s motors to move.
  • Gate motor. Gates with automatic openers require motors that physically slide or swing the gate open. These auto gate motors activate to open and close the gate after receiving signals from the control panel.


How do automatic gate openers work?

Automatic gate openers work by reading a resident’s credential. Then, the control panel signals the gate motors to activate, which use gears to swing or slide open the gate. As a result, the gate opens without a tenant having to physically open it themselves.

There are two main types of gates:

  • Sliding gate. A sliding gate moves side to side along a track. If motorized, a small gear is added to the gate’s track to automate the process.
  • Swinging gate. A swinging gate swings outwards or inwards, much like how a door would. However, gates usually swing inwards so that they don’t hit vehicles or pedestrians when they enter.

You have a few options when it comes to motorizing an automatic swing gate opener. You can install a rotating arm that mechanically pushes and pulls your gate open. Alternatively, you can install an underground motor that’s less visible. Underground motors are more expensive, but you might find them more aesthetically pleasing.


sliding gate with automatic gate opener


How are electric gates powered?

You can choose between a variety of power sources for an automatic gate opener. Solar, battery, and electronic systems are all popular options. You might pick one power source over another based on your property’s needs, budget, and layout.

For example:

If you want to save money, you might install a solar-powered gate opener. This way, you’ll reduce your property’s electricity bills — and you’ll be fighting climate change, while you’re at it. Just remember to install a battery backup for rainy days!


3 best automatic gate opener systems

The type of automatic gate opener system you should choose depends on your property’s needs and the gate access credential method you want. Automatic gate openers use all kinds of credential systems to verify tenants’ identities. But above all, you know your property best, and only you can choose the best option for your gated community.

So, which automatic gate opener is best?

The best automatic gate openers facilitate a convenient access experience for tenants while enhancing security for your property.

The three best automatic gate opener systems are:

  1. Vehicle recognition tag reader
  2. Keypad
  3. Smart intercom


1. Vehicle recognition tag reader

A vehicle recognition tag is a small sticker that a tenant places on their dashboard. Your gate’s credential reader scans it when tenants approach the gate. The best part is that tenants can simply stay inside their cars, which is convenient for nighttime or bad weather situations — and a time-saver in any case.

Although these stickers are convenient for tenants, an automatic gate opener that depends entirely on them has no way to detect or let in visitors. So, your best bet is to use vehicle recognition tags in conjunction with another system.


2. Keypad

Automatic gate openers with keypads are great because you don’t have to pass out physical credentials. As such, you don’t need to keep track of them whenever a tenant moves in or out, or distribute new ones when tenants lose them.

For example, installing a ButterflyMX keypad at your gate will allow tenants to open the gate from their smartphones. What’s more, it lets tenants issue PIN codes to their guests so they can let themselves in. Tenants can set these PINs to expire or only work at certain times or on certain days, maximizing convenience and flexibility.


best automatic gate opener butterflymx keypad


3. Smart intercom

When it comes to managing gate access, the best option is installing a smart intercom that lets tenants open gates with their smartphones.

With a smart gate opener, tenants simply have to swipe on their phones to open the gate. Best of all, because the system is smartphone-based, tenants can open gates from wherever they have an internet connection, even when they’re not on the property.

Smart intercoms also support other ways of opening gates:

  • Voice commands via Siri or Alexa
  • Haptic/3D touch on apps from the homescreen
  • Tapping on smartwatches that are compatible with the intercom app

What’s more, smart intercoms connect to WiFi. so they can integrate with other internet-powered proptech devices that your building uses. 

gated community installs best gate intercom system at entrance



  • Automatic gate openers are a great fit for any property and can be used on gates of every size.
  • Tenants use credentials, like a fob or smartphone app, to trigger motors that physically open your gate.
  • The three best automatic gate opener systems are vehicle recognition tag readers, keypads, and smart intercoms.
  • The best gate opener systems have more than one way for a tenant to open the gate.


butterflymx best gate entry system


Ferdison Cayetano

I’m a proptech enthusiast from New Jersey who’s looking forward to the innovations that will revolutionize real estate.