electric gate opener for gated community 


If you’re in charge of a gated property, your tenants are especially concerned with security. But how can you provide that security while keeping property access convenient? You might want to modernize your property by adding an electric gate opener.

In this post, we go over what an electric gate opener is and how it works. Then, we explain how you can pick the best electric gate opener and list three ways that you can manage access to an electric gate.

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What is an electric gate opener?

An electric gate opener is a motorized component that activates and automatically unlocks a gate after being triggered by an authorized credential. While you can use different credentials — like a PIN code or a smartphone app — to trigger the motor, it’s the gate opener that actually physically moves the gate to allow entry.

You can find electric gate openers for driveways and pedestrian entrances on commercial and residential properties alike. However, every property has unique needs. So, finding the best opener for your property may be a bit tougher than you think.

Gate openers vary in terms of durability, power, and the maximum weight of the gate they can open. By selecting the right gate opener, you’ll save money while continuing to provide your tenants with a top-notch access experience.


Electric gate openers are part of a gate access system with these parts:

  1. Credential reader. The type of reader you install determines how residents will present their credentials and open the gate. For instance, a resident might punch in a PIN number if you install a keypad, or they might swipe-to-open on their smartphones if you install a mobile access reader.
  2. Control panel. The control panel is the part that stores data about authorized users and their credentials. Using the control panel, staff can make changes to the gate opening system, adjust how it works, and add new tenants or assign new credentials.


Watch how you can use ButterflyMX to open a gate:


How does an electric gate opener work?

Electric gate openers work by activating upon receiving an electric signal. This electric signal is how the gate opener knows to start moving physical gate components, like motors or levers. This signal is created by a tenant scanning their credential or pushing a button on a remote.

There are two main types of electric gate openers:


wheels of sliding gate with electric gate opener


Sliding gate openers

A sliding gate is a type of gate that moves horizontally out of the way to let someone in. When a tenant triggers a sliding gate, it slides out of the way and stays behind an adjacent section of wall or fencing before returning to its original position.

To add an automatic gate opener to a sliding gate, follow these steps:

  1. Install a rail that the gate can travel on.
  2. Add your gate opener — in the case of a sliding gate, you add a motor to this rail so that the gate can slide on it to move aside.
  3. Install wheels on your gate so that it can easily move on the rail.


electric gate opener opening a swinging gate


Swinging gate openers

A swinging gate swings outwards or inwards to let someone in.

Installing a swinging gate isn’t as straightforward as installing a sliding gate, but swinging gates tend to be quieter than sliding gates and require less maintenance. There are many different types of swinging gates that use different technologies, like worm drives or articulated arms.

Additionally, the type of automatic swing gate opener you install will depend on the type of gate on your property. Some swinging gates only require you to motorize one large gate, but others consist of two smaller gates that will both need motors.


How do I pick the best electric gate opener?

Make sure your automatic electric gate opener has these qualities:



Outdoor electric gate openers should be tough enough to withstand any weather — and they should be functional for years before you have to replace them.

To check if the electric gate opener you’re interested in is weather-resistant, you need to see more than just the manufacturer’s specifications. Search the internet for customer reviews and testimonials to see how the gate opener performs in the real world.


Compatible with the gate on your property

As we’ve mentioned, your property might use either a sliding or a swinging gate. And even within those two categories, there’s a lot of variation.

Don’t go through the time and hassle of ordering an opener that simply isn’t the kind your gate requires! Instead, consult with an installer before making a final decision.


multiple power sources for an electric gate opener


Multiple power sources

Depending on your property’s needs, you can choose between different power sources. Consider installing a backup battery so that your electric gate opener can still function during power outages.

Having another power source isn’t just a redundancy — it can also help your property become more sustainable. For example, a solar electric gate opener gives your gate an additional power source while reducing your utility bill in the long run!


3 ways you can open an electric gate

While an electric gate opener physically moves a gate in and out of position, it’s not the part that people will interact with most. You have a lot of leeway in choosing how visitors and tenants can open the gate and enter your property. So how do you make a gate open automatically?

Three ways you can open an electric gate are:

  1. Timer
  2. Vehicle sticker
  3. Smartphone app


1. Timer

Many gate openers work with a timer that automatically opens or closes the gate at certain times. For some properties, this is the most convenient option. For example, a gated commercial business that gets a lot of foot traffic might hold up customers and clients by opening and closing the gate for every single visitor.

However, on a timer, you don’t have the safety and increased security of your gate only being open when it absolutely needs to be.


2. Vehicle sticker

A vehicle sticker is a sticker that contains an RFID tag. Your residents can place these on their cars, and you can add an RFID sensor to your gate opener to detect these stickers.

Vehicle stickers are very convenient for drivers. Instead of having to stop their car entirely to scan their credential, a driver can enjoy the convenience of simply staying in their car!

However, if your gate welcomes both vehicles and pedestrians, you should supplement vehicle stickers with another access option.


butterflymx best way to use electric gate opener


3. Smartphone app

When your gate opener works with a cell phone app, you make access simple for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Whether somebody’s walking up to a gate or pulling up to it in a car, they can simply swipe to open from their phones.

Some smartphone gate openers also offer features like digital access codes for visitors. That way, tenants can create and send a temporary access code to their guests, who can then easily unlock the gate.



  • Electric gate openers are motorized devices that can open gates automatically.
  • You can install an electric gate opener on both sliding and swinging gates.
  • The best automatic gate opener for your property is weather-resistant, has the correct kind of motor for your gate, and has multiple power sources.
  • There are three main ways to open a gate with an electric gate opener: a timer, a vehicle sticker, and a smartphone app.


gate entry system ButterflyMX


Ferdison Cayetano

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