How does a gate opener work? – Buyer’s Guide

Designed for swinging or sliding gates, gate openers are used to open and close gates, and programmed to be used via a wireless transmitter or manually. As a homeowner, it is a worthwhile acquisition as it eliminates the need to physically open and close the gate when you enter or exit the property. If the system interests you as well, first look into its operation to learn what type actually suits your needs best and keep your eye on specific factors of importance that influence its quality.

How Different Types of Automatic Gate Openers Work

Linear ram motors

Regarded by consumers and specialists like Roboto ID as the best gate opener for swinging gates, from which its popularity stems, the linear ram motor can deploy different methods to operate the arm:

    • Screw jack;
    • Worm drive.

What both methods have in common is that the arm attached to the motor is retracted to reduce the length and proceed to open the gate, afterward extending the arm to close the gate.


The widespread popularity of linear ram motors is easily explainable as the price is more affordable as opposed to other swinging gate operators, while the installation process is as simple as it can get.


How to install: All you have to do is attach it to the gate from the post. Moreover, if you have larger-size gates, you won’t have trouble finding a motor powerful enough to cater to your needs either as the market is quite generous.

Articulated arm motors

Suitable for gates with large pillars that wouldn’t normally work with linear ram motors or smaller-size gates, the articulated arm motor uses a hinged arm that reaches around wide objects.


Highlight: It is one of the more versatile options to go for as it can provide automation for most swing gate types. Moreover, it works even with gates pre-installed without motors.

Sliding motors

Using cog and teeth action and attach to the gate to open it in the direction you prefer, the sliding motor opener needs to be combined with roller guides, a guide track, or a cantilever device to be able to perform the gate opening procedure.


How to pick: With sliding motor openers, you must take into account the amount of power provided by the motor as bigger gates require more power to open at the needed distance, more strain being put on the system as a whole.

Underground motors

Almost as popular as linear ram motors are underground motors that provide the added benefit of being aesthetically discreet. The drive arm connects to the bottom of the gate and you install the actual system beneath the ground in a protective case, so you can see why many consumers opt for this non-visible variant.


Downside: The installation process is more complex than with other gate opener types, resulting in a higher investment upfront.

What to Consider When You Choose a Gate Opener

  • Gate type – First you have to take into consideration the type of gate you have, whether it is a swing gate or a slide gate. As we already established in the previous section, each gate type has its own specifications and requirements, so this is the first step to take toward making an acquisition.
  • Gate weight – Different materials are used to make gates, and you must determine how massive the gateway is prior to choosing the gate operator as all systems have a maximum amount of weight they can automatically pull.
  • Gate length – With sliding gates, you must take into consideration the length of entrance and how much you need it to open as well so that you select an opener that has enough chain to operate the wheels.
  • Available power source – When it comes to the power source, you have three possibilities to pick between as gate openers can use power from solar panels, AC transformers, or battery backups. There are cases in which you can pick all three power sources so that you have a backup in case of power outages or other occurrences of this nature when one source could fail you.
  • Frequency of use – Evidently, you must take into consideration how much you use the gate to acquire a system with enough power and durability to provide dependable performance. If you open the gateway frequently, for example, you need a system high power frequency.
  • Column size – Most systems attach to the gate column, so you must make sure that there is compatibility between the two and that the opener is in line with the space and length that the columns have.
  • Automatic close – At times, you might forget to close the door behind you and ultimately put your safety in peril as you allow easy entrance for intruders. This is why you must take automatic closing into consideration as it has you covered when this occurrence inevitably takes place. Moreover, it adds to the convenience of using the system, to begin with.



In most part easy to install and boasting a relatively easy-to-understand operation, gate openers give property owners the possibility to open and close the gate without any effort on their part, increasing not only the convenience aspect but safety as well. Regardless of the style opener, make sure to take into consideration the aforementioned details to enjoy the best experience with your acquisition and make it a long-lasting one as well for that matter.

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