How To Find & Buy A Gate Opener!

Electric Gate Openers - Rules To Buying

When purchasing an electric gate opener the first thing you need to do is to determine a realistic price range for an operator according to your budget. The next step should be to analyze the condition of your gate and determine whether you require a swing gate operator or a sliding gate operator. Before purchasing a gate opener be sure that the gate is in good working condition and has no damages needing repairs. Inspect the hinges to see if they are hanging or installed incorrectly. If your gate is in proper working condition then you need to take down the length and weight as accurately as possible. If your have a dual gate then both gates weight and length need to be calculated.

  • VERY IMPORTANT! If your gate is a swing gate and it has a wheel hooked to it for support, then you need to take remove the wheel and check the gates strength before you install an automatic gate opener. The wheel is a sign that the gate is weak and not installed correctly or an older model gate.

If your gate is a sliding gate it will use some kind of wheels and track to guide the gate open or closed. After you have you set a budget and you know you gate is installed correctly then you can start to look at your options.

Buying and Shopping - Tips

Swing gate openers are the most common type because of its simple design and are quick to install. Single gates will be the most popular system do to the fact that dual openers need a larger driveway: 18 feet plus and weights 650 pounds for each leaf. Single gates should be under 900 pounds and less then 18 feet long to be on the safe end. If you think you gate is bigger than 900 pounds and is a single swing gate, feel free to take a picture and send it to me so I can look it over and help you determine an appropriate gate opener. If at any point you think that you need help please do not hesitate to give me a call.

  • Buying a gate opener is a major investment and you want to be sure you choose the correct one so you do not waste money by spending more than you have to. Purchasing the correct operator the first time will also save you the hassle that comes along with operating a gate on an opener not suited for your specific requirements.
  • I am an expert in automatic gate openers with years of experience under my belt. It's free to call me, and if I don't know the answer to your question I have many resources that I can use to get the answer to any of your questions.

Best Gate Opener Brand Names

There are a few good gate openers available and the main thing is getting the right one for your particular need.

  • You need to know the number of cycles per day the gate will operate, then double that number to be sure that the gate operator can handle your specific usage volume.
  • DISCLAIMER:  I recommend for you to avoid Mighty Mule gate openers, you will not be satisfied with them. If you don't believe me look at the reviews from people who have owned them on Do not be persuaded to buy solely based on a low price!
  • Once you have determined the cycles per day, you will be able to narrow your search criteria down to a handful of gate operators that fit your need. 
  • Top brands to look at are Chamberlain Liftmaster, USAutomatic and Apollo gate openers for residential gates.
  • Liftmaster la400 and la412 gate openers are a couple of reputable heavy duty units. The warranty on these is 2 years and they will operate on solar power as well. NOTE: You will also need to get a 10 watt panel if you will be doing 20 plus cycles per day.
  • The USAutomatic Patriot has a linear actuator that's made in the U.S.A., and is for heavy duty systems. It works excellent with solar power hook ups. It uses a 5-watt solar panel and can handle up to 30 plus cycles per day before needing a larger panel size. The Patriot has the best reliability around and its backed with the best warranty; 3 years on all parts and 5 years on the control board. This operator is what i would recommend for most users, as I own three of these openers myself!
  • The Apollo gate openers are heavy duty actuators like those of USAutomatic. However, the control boards on the Apollo gate openers do not work properly from time to time. Apollo gate opener control boards tend to be replaced by the patriot control boards due to their performance. Apollo gate openers have a 2 year warranty and can use solar power, but you will need a 10-watt solar panel if operating more than 20 cycles per day.

Leave a Comment - If This Was Helpfull 12 comments

Suzy Frame 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this great post! I didn't know there was so much to know about automatic gates calgary and the gate openers! I think it is super interesting though! Can you tell me where I can find more information like this and how I can make it work! Through my research this website has been helpful:

Gary 3 years ago

Its odd that Mighty Mule is not recommended. I have had a trouble free one for 7 years. I also repair Apollo openers and find them expensive and over rated.

Emma 3 years ago

Suzy, this may be helpful to you: I have a GTO gate opener that I wanted outfitted with a solar panel last month. I found this website and ended up calling their customer service team. They treated me like a human and I had all the gate opener answers I needed after that phone call. I know this post is probably a bit late, but good luck, and great article, David!

Pat 3 years ago

We are trying to repair my mother kn mass

GTONotGood 3 years ago

First, the original post here is good advice. Next, I purchased 2 different GTO model openers 6 years ago. A 502, for dual 6' gates, for our property entrance and a 501, for a single 12' gate, at our house. We have property and animals and require the immediate area around the house be fenced. For about a year, almost, they were fine, they worked great in fact. But since that time I have done nothing but fix, repair, replace and adjust, representing a substantial amount of money not to mention hours of my time. On Dec 24 of 2013 I had to replace the main operating board on the 502. We are now in the throws of cold weather and the entrance gate, with the new board, just 2 months old, will not work. Needless to say, I am now shopping for new openers to replace the GTO/Mighty Mule openers. My suggestion to ANYONE looking to buy an opener is to spend the extra dollars to get a quality opener. Stay far away from GTO/Mighty Mule unless you simply like tinkering with electronics and have a lot of free time. And after 4 light kits on one gate, I don't recommend you purchase those from GTO ever. Just friendly advice from a current GTO/Mighty Mule owner.

VC 2 years ago

I found a USAutomatic Sentry 300S which of the USAutomatic would be the better one for a swing gate about 16 ft long? Patriot or Sentry?

Bill 2 years ago

is there a gate opener that UPS and FedEx can open with a universal code or do I have to give them my code

Johne584 2 years ago

Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other persons weblog link on your page at proper place and other person will also do similar in support of you. bcfgfbdgdkkd

John Smilek 2 years ago

I am proud of your site, & interested. Our gate openers are available in or optional solar power. The solar power is advantageous when there is an expensive cost in power connection.


John Smilek 2 years ago

I am proud of your site, & interested. Our gate openers are available in or optional solar power. The solar power is advantageous when there is an expensive cost in power connection.


R Leo 2 years ago

I'm fed up with MightyMule reliability issues and will be changing to another brand based on this blog and additional research.

One question: we have quite a large collection of GTO remote openers and I'm curious if you know if they can be used with any of the actuator brands you recommend.

Mke Larson 21 months ago

I am starting from the ground up for brick columns, with dual iron gates for a 14 ft wide driveway. I can solve everything but what brand of closures to go with. Like everyone else I want the best buy, but will spend the money up front to avoid problems later. Suggestions appreciated. Mike

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