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Metal Gates Direct - Comparing Manual And Automatic Gates For Residential Use

Comparing Manual and Automatic Gates for Residential Use

Picking the right gate to suit your residential property and user requirements is an important decision you must make when purchasing a new metal gate. Along with the sizes, design, colour, and specifications, you must consider whether you want it to be manually operated or opened and closed via a motor. While the latter provides lots of convenience, besides the obvious additional cost, it comes with other complications, such as safety and maintenance. To help you make the right choice, we have created this helpful guide for comparing manual and automatic gates.

Manual residential driveway gates


When considering which option will suit you best, homeowners must consider the convenience required for the gate's operation. For example, if you have mobility issues or the entrance to your home is on a busy road, manually opening and closing the gates can become a hassle. They can also become a chore during inclement weather, such as high winds, heavy rain, or dark winter nights. In comparison, automatic gates can be operated at the touch of a button using a remote control, meaning no more traipsing back and forth as you enter and exit your home.


The level of safety each type can offer can be looked at from two perspectives. The first is the amount of security each one can provide, and the second is the user's safety. Below, we detail more information for both.


Although a manual set of gates will remain secured provided they have a lock fitted, there can be instances when the homeowner forgets to secure it or the lock becomes broken. In these situations, the overall level of security of the gates is completely compromised and, therefore, leaves the driveway entrance vulnerable to unauthorised entry. In comparison, because automatic gates are operated remotely, it is easy to ensure they remain closed whenever access is not required. Furthermore, because the motor usually acts as the locking mechanism, provided the gates are closed, there is no need to worry that they are secure. Another benefit of choosing automation is that with the advent of modern technology, it's now also possible to close and open the gates via an app from your phone, giving you the ability to provide access to visitors from anywhere in the world. This is especially useful if you are expecting a delivery or need to allow access to tradespeople when you are at work or on holiday.


Provided manual gates are well secured to the support structure, are adequately maintained, and used correctly, they provide minimal risk to the user regarding overall safety. In comparison, when you fit a motor to a gate, it is now classed as a motor and must meet a new set of standards. For example, safety sensors are required, force limitation is a must, and automatic stopping is necessary if an obstacle is detected. In addition, regular maintenance and ongoing testing are required to ensure compliance with the necessary standards. Failure to properly install and maintain automatic gates is an accident waiting to happen. For this reason, we only recommend that property owners use a professional installation and servicing company to carry out this type of work. The average homeowner does not have sufficient knowledge and experience to carry out these installations properly.


As mentioned in the section above, manual gates need little maintenance as very little can go wrong with them. Other than a regular check of the components to ensure nothing is loose or broken, they only require an occasional cleaning to keep them looking their best. Even when rust occurs, this can be overcome with a repaint. In comparison, automatic gates require the above checks and regular service by a professional company to remain safe. Over time, problematic areas of concern are mainly faulty electronics, failed safety sensors and improper force limitation.


Regarding the cost comparison between the two types, there can be a considerable difference depending on several factors such as gate type, size of opening, availability of power and required safety features.

Although the price of the gates will remain the same regardless of whether they have been manual or automated, the latter will need the addition of the motor and safety features to be purchased separately. Furthermore, whilst a manual set of gates can be installed on a DIY basis, automated gates require specialist installation, which will come at a price. Additionally, because they need servicing by a professional, ongoing costs must also be factored in.


For any homeowner to make a fully informed decision as to which method of operation will suit best, you should consider your user requirements, property location, level of usage and your available budget. While automatic gates are convenient and provide peace of mind regarding security, they come with associated costs. You should carefully consider if you need them or are happy to work with manual gates.

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