A resident operates a remote control gate opener.

Key takeaways

  • Remote control gate openers open gates from a distance with a remote controller.
  • Remote control gate openers can be accessed with phones and universal controllers, depending on the device.
  • When shopping for remote gate openers, be wary of weather resistance, range, and additional features.
  • The pros of remote gate openers mostly concern faster entry, while the cons are a number of safety concerns.
  • The ButterflyMX vehicle access reader is the best remote gate controller alternative because of its easy installation and time-and-date-stamped recording features.


You have a ton of options when it comes to gate openers. One that may be useful is a remote control gate opener.

In this guide, we’ll explore what a remote control gate opener is and how it works. Next, we’ll go over the pros and cons of remote control gate openers. Finally, we’ll provide you with the best remote control gate opener alternative.

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The best remote control gate opener alternative

The best remote control gate opener alternative is the ButterflyMX vehicle access reader. ButterflyMX is installed in more than 10,000 properties — and has more than 20,000 five-star ratings. And many of those properties have gated entrances and parking garages.

The ButterflyMX vehicle access reader can be installed at any gate or other vehicle entrance. When it reads a vehicle’s registered windshield tag, the gate or garage automatically opens.

Other benefits of the ButterflyMX vehicle access reader include:

  • IP65 rating. The vehicle reader can withstand rain and other inclement weather conditions.
  • Range. Vehicles can safely enter without waiting at the gate.
  • Entry logs. Time- and date-stamped records of when the gate is accessed and who accessed it are stored online for easy access.
  • Cloud-based technology. This allows automatic software updates and remote system management.
  • Easy installation. The reader only requires two wires to install.
  • Integration. Can be combined with other access control devices such as video intercoms.
  • Remote management. You can easily grant and revoke access to residents and their vehicle tags.


What is a remote control gate opener?

A remote control gate opener is a security system device that allows you to open and close gates on your property with the click of a button. For a multifamily or commercial property, residents and employees are given remote controls that will open and close the gates.


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How do remote control gate openers work?

When a button on the remote control is pressed, a signal is sent to the receiver which either opens or closes the gate. This signal can be sent by WiFi, Bluetooth, or radio waves.

Remote control gate openers include two devices:

  • The receiver. This is the device that receives a wireless signal from the remote and instructs the gate-opening motor to open the gate.
  • The remote control. This is the device that residents use to open the gate. Remote controls send wireless signals to the receiver. Residents must be within a certain distance from the receiver to use their remote. Often, the remote has separate buttons to open and close the gate. Some gates close automatically thanks to sensors that detect when a person or vehicle has finished passing through.


Can any remote work on a gate?

No, in order to operate your gate opener, you need either the specific remote control that comes with it or a compatible universal gate opener.


Is there a universal gate opener?

There are universal gate openers available from retailers such as Amazon that can be programmed with certain gate openers. However, universal electric gate remote controllers are typically meant for single-family homes and electric gate openers for driveways. So before purchasing one, you should first verify that it will work with your current gate opener.


Watch how ButterflyMX automates access for gated communities:


How do I program my gate opener remote?

The way you program a gate opener remote depends on the unique system that you purchase.

However, most modern gate opener remotes are programmed like this:

  • First, you bring your remote within proximity of the receiver.
  • Next, you press a “sync” or “program” button on the remote, followed by a similar button on the receiver.
  • Both devices should sync using wireless signals

The above is an extremely generic example of how to program a gate opener remote, but the process should be this easy for most intercom systems. When in doubt, check with the dealer, installer, or manufacturer.


What to look for in a remote control gate opener

There are several important factors to consider when buying a remote control gate opener.

You should choose your remote control gate opener based on:

  1. Weather resistance
  2. Range
  3. Additional features


1. Weather resistance

Your remote control gate opener is out in the elements 24/7. Its weather resistance rating should be IP65 or higher in order to withstand condensation, heavy rain, and dust particles. Otherwise, your device’s lifespan will be severely impacted. You don’t want your residents trapped outside during a storm!


2. Range

Ideally, residents should be able to access your gate opener within 50 feet or so. You don’t want a device with a poor range that forces them to press their front bumper to the gate.

Conversely, you don’t want anybody to open the gate from a mile away. This is so that nobody slips onto your property before the guest with the remote control can.


3. Additional features

We’ll leave it up to you to decide, but a simple remote controlled device that opens and closes a gate isn’t the most comprehensive security system. As you’ll see, there’s plenty of room for error with remote control gate openers.

Additional features for remote control gate openers could include:

  • Cameras
  • Voice recognition technology
  • Alternative entry methods, such as keypads
  • License plate readers
  • Video intercoms
  • Access solutions for guests and delivery drivers


The pros & cons of remote control gate openers

Remote control gate openers can seem like quality access control devices for gates on your property. However, they may not be adequate for multi-tenant properties.

Pros of remote control gate openers:

  • Nobody has to leave their car to open the gate.
  • Residents don’t have to worry about forgetting their code or password.
  • Many remote control gate openers automatically close, which means the gate won’t be left open.

Cons of remote control gate openers:

  • Unless programmed into a resident’s car, remote controls can be lost or stolen.
  • Replacing and purchasing new remote controls is expensive.
  • Without additional technology, there is no way to monitor who comes and goes from the property.
  • If the remote control relies on batteries, this can result in residents being unable to access the property.
    If the gate opener’s receiver runs on electricity, the gate can’t be opened if the property loses power.
    Remote control gate opener wireless connections can be lost if not set up properly.


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Nick Manzolillo

I'm a Rhode Island-based writer fascinated with real estate development, the inner workings of the real estate industry, and how real estate and technology blend together.