10 Steps For Choosing The Right Gate Closers

Gate closers are used to make manual driveway gates into automatic gates. This article explains how you can choose the right gate automation system to transform manual gates into fully automatic gates.

Why are electric gates that use automatic gate closers better than manual gates?

Electric gates that use automatic gate closers are more convenient than manual gates because they operate at the touch of a button without having to be pushed and pulled open or closed by hand.

They also provide added security by automatically closing once someone has safely passed through the gates.

After a while, manual gates can get to be too much bother, so they’re left open. Automatic gates are always closed unless someone is using them.

Now that you know the main reasons why automated electric gates are better than manual gates, how do you choose the right gate automation system?

Here are the ten key questions to ask yourself to make sure you’ve got the right automatic gate closers.

Electric gate closers
  1. What do automatic gate closers give you?

Self-opening gates at the entrance to your driveway let you keep them closed until you need to open them from the comfort of your car at the touch of a button. They make life easier, and as you’re inside your car, you stay dry when it’s raining, warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot.

Automatic gates also provide a degree of security as they’re always closed unless they’re in use. Obviously, a burglar could climb over electric gates, but they also have to climb back over them with their plunder to get out again. If there’s a house nearby that has no gates, the burglar is much more likely to choose the easier target.

  1. Where are your gates installed?

Automatic gates are usually installed across the entrance to your driveway between pillars or posts. Sometimes gates are installed some way up a longer driveway closer to the house. The main reason for this would be to allow the gates to open outwards. If gates at the edge of a property open outwards, they move onto public land which can be obstructive and possibly dangerous.

Swing gates might need to open outwards if there is a rising driveway behind them. If the gates open inwards, they will eventually hit the ground where it rises.


Gate closer installation
  1. How will your gates move as they open and close?

Swing gates hang on hinges at the side of the driveway. A pair of swing gates meet at the middle of your driveway when they close. A single swing gate  hinges from one side of the driveway and closes onto a pillar or post on the opposite side. As they open and close, swing gates sweep across the driveway in a (usually) 90 degree arc of a circle. This area has to be clear of parked cars, plants, corners of walls etc for the gates to operate.

A sliding gate moves across the entrance to your driveway on wheels that run along a track. These gates clear the driveway entrance when open, so they need enough room on one side of the driveway to slide into.

The gate closers used to operate swing gates are different from those that move sliding gates. You usually only have a single sliding gate which needs one gate closer. Swing gates come in pairs more often and need a gate closer for each gate leaf.

  1. How big do your self-opening gates need to be?

Any gate or gates must fill the space between your posts or pillars so that the driveway entrance is completely blocked by the closed gates.

Sliding gates are wider than the entrance so that each side of the closed gate sits behind the back of one gate pillar.

Swing gates hang on hinges mounted on posts or pillars. These can be on the outside, inside or back of the posts. Consequently, automated gates mounted on the back or front of gate posts or pillars must be longer than those mounted on the inside of the same posts or pillars.

Automatic sliding gate closer
  1. What style of gates is best?

This depends on your preferences for colours, materials and liking for modern or contemporary styles. But it is important to consider the design of your home and the houses surrounding it on your street. There’s no point going for modern gates it you live in a cottage, and selecting traditional gates for an ultra-modern home is unlikely to look right either.

  1. What gate closers do you need?

Sliding gates all use the same style of gate closers. These are fixed to the ground off to one side of the driveway entrance. They have a rotating cog that meshes with a toothed rack mounted on the inside of the gate. As the cog turns, it moves the rack so the gate rolls along the track laid between the gate pillars or posts.

Swing gates can be automated with a variety of gate operators. The biggest difference is between above ground motors and underground gate closer systems. Above ground motors include articulated arm, ram, linear screw and in-post automatic gate closers. These are mounted on or inside the gates post, pillar or wall the swing gate is hung on. The motor output arm is then attached to the gate.

Undergrounds are more discrete than other automatic gate closers as they’re installed in foundation boxes underneath each swing gate’s hinges. This means that only the foundation box lid and the gate motor arm are visible. The latter sticks out of a hole in the former and attaches to the base of the gate.

Automatic gate closer installation
  1. Who will install your gate closers?

If your driveway is wide enough to drive a car through, it needs a large gate or pair of gates to fully block it off. Large gates are usually quite heavy and heavy gates will need a lot of force from strong motors to open and close them.

Strong gate closer systems imparting a lot of force to heavy gates must be installed by qualified professionals who know how to install safe gate automation systems.

  1. Who will keep your automatic gates working smoothly?

Regular maintenance of any machinery keeps it working smoothly and gate automation systems are no exception. Ideally, the professional gate technicians who designed, built and installed the gates will use their familiarity with the system to keep it working at its best.

Electric gate closer servicing
  1. What happens if the gate motors stop working?

If gate closers are not well maintained or they are damaged by careless drivers or suffer component failure, you need to get them working quickly. Again, it’s usually the professionals who installed the system in the first place who are best placed to get to the bottom of any breakdown and fix the problem.

If you don’t know who installed the gate automation system, finding a local gate installer who can diagnose and fix gate breakdowns will be your best bet. Never try and fix your own gates unless you are a qualified gate automation engineer.

  1. How safe are automatic gate closers?

Powerful electric motors move heavy gates in most gate automation systems. These can be dangerous if the system is not designed well and installed safely.

But well designed and carefully installed automatic gate closers that are operated as prescribed and maintained to an agreed schedule will reduce these risks to a minimum.

We don’t recommend that you install a gate automation system yourself or that you hire an electrician, landscape gardener or builder to install your new gate operators.

But even some gate installers will remove safety devices like photocells, guarding and safety edges from a quote if their first price is too high. So, never accept a quote from someone who is willing to make your gates less safe in order to get hired to do the job.

A diligent and conscientious gate automation installer won’t sacrifice safety. They will work with you to modify the gate design and materials, motor choices, and the extent of any groundworks to get the price right for your budget.

If you’re in North London, West London or South London or any of the surrounding counties, contact Electric Gate Repair London and we will be able to help install, repair or service any gate automation system. Call 0800 195 1470 or email info@egrl.co.uk now.

Wooden sliding gate automation