Arm gate motorization

Hand-operated motors are the most common among individuals. And for good reason, all standard gates can be equipped with them.

What is a hand motor? An articulated arm is attached both to one of the posts and to one of the gate leaves. A second arm is fixed in the same way to the other post and the other leaf. The motor drives the arms so that they imitate the movements of a human arm opening and closing.

Why choose this type of engine? What are the advantages and disadvantages ? Which model of articulated arm motorization to choose? How to install it? What are the selection criteria ?

Why with arms?

Robustness and reliability

THE articulated arm motors are the most sold on the market. They are robust and reliable engines. In fact, the motor has a reduction gear which allows it not to force too much. This preserves the engine and makes it very reliable in the long term.

Due to their robustness, the articulated arms can support heavy shutters. A full or semi-open gate can be motorized using an arm. For example, a 300 kg gate may be perfectly compatible.

Preserves the integrity of the portal

This system is the best for the portal itself. As the gates are primarily designed for manual opening, the articulated arms maintain a natural movement. No force is exerted on the gate and the hinges are preserved.

In addition, the movements being gentle thanks to the motorization, the gate is not subject to any stress or jolts caused by manual opening.

Equipped with a arm motorization, your swing gate will last longer.

Accessible and easy to install

Arm motors also have the advantage of being accessible. There are all prices. You can easily motorize your gate with this solution.

In addition, these engines are very easy to install. You can do it alone. If you are not confident in your DIY skills, call a professional.

However, please note that this system does not require any welding to attach the arms to the leaves. And the stops are integrated into the mechanism. These points are essential if installation is your weak point.

As we said, arm motors are compatible with almost all gates. If you have a portal with the distance between the hinges and the pillar is important this won’t be a problem. The arms can open up to 120°.

Quick to open

THE arm automations are faster when opening and closing than ram motors. This point is important if you live near a busy road and you cannot park safely while your gate is open. The faster your gate opens, the less time you will spend on the road.

It is also a very quiet solution.


One of the main disadvantages of arm gate motors is the space the arms take up. Indeed, the arms take up a lot of space. This is the most cumbersome system. We advise you to avoid these models if your entrance is not very spacious.

In addition, the motorized arms cannot support gates exceeding 4 meters in length, or 2 meters per leaf. If you are in this case, this solution should be avoided.

We said above that arm automations were accessible in terms of price. This is the case for the most classic models. On the other hand, if you wish to equip yourself with a reliable and renowned engine, prices can quickly rise. Likewise, if your gate is heavy, wrought iron for example, the price will be accordingly.

Last disadvantage of arm motors: aesthetics. We are far from buried engines on the discretion side. Arm motors are among the least aesthetic models. If this criterion is important to you, some manufacturers are making efforts and today offer more and more modern models.

Presentation of articulated arm motorization model


Nice popkit gate automation kit

It is one of the flagship models. The NICE POPKIT automation kit with articulated arms is suitable for swing gates. The 24V motors are compatible with gates measuring up to 4 meters (2 meters per leaf) and weighing up to 400 kg, or 200 kg per leaf.

THE motorization kit NICE POPKIT can be coupled to a backup battery, taking over in the event of a power outage. If you do not want to add a battery, the motor is detachable.

The aluminum arms are robust and anti-shear. They can be fixed on any pillar.

The NICE POPKIT can be opened partially. This system is called “pedestrian opening”. This is very practical if you don’t have a gate and your gate is your only access.

Equipped with this motorization, the gate is not the fastest. It opens in less than 20 seconds.

User reviews of the NICE POPKIT automation kit:

  • Ease of installation
  • Robust arms and motor

FAAC 391

Arm motor FAAC 391

There FAAC 391 motorization for swing gate is a reference. The FAAC brand is renowned for the quality of its products.

As with the NICE POPKIT automation, the 24V FAAC 391 motor has a power of 250 Nm.

This model is recommended for swing gates weighing up to 400 kg. Each leaf must be less than 2 meters in length, or 4 meters in total.

The articulated arms are self-locking. Once the gate is closed, it cannot be opened from the outside.

THE FAAC 391 also has the automatic, semi-automatic or after passing the opening function photocells. It is possible to choose to open only one leaf, if you are on foot, by bike or on a motorbike for example.

Big plus, this swing gate arm automation is equipped with obstacle detection using photocells. This ensures the safety of your home, especially if you have children or pets. The photocells stop the gate if an obstacle presents itself.

As for installation, if you follow the manufacturer’s explanations carefully, it’s very easy. There is no welding to do, nor stops to install for opening and closing. Mechanical stops are integrated.

The motor has a maximum footprint of only 185 mm, half of the arm motors. It is therefore possible to install it in the most confined places. Conversely, if you have space, its opening angle is 100°.

User reviews of the FAAC 391 motorization:

  • Reliable engine
  • Very resistant
  • Lack of clarity in the assembly instructions, you have to follow a tutorial.

SOMFY Lockyvia arm motorization

SOMFY Lockyvia arm motorization

Here we also have a arm motorization for swing gate but in 230V.

The motor is equipped with automatic obstacle detection using photocells. The gate will thus be able to detect any obstacles and stop so as not to get blocked or injure someone. An automatic closing function allows the gate to close automatically after passage.

In the event of a power outage, it is possible to manually unlock the motor using a key.

The pedestrian opening is also present and allows passage on foot or on 2 wheels.

The opening takes 11 seconds to 90°, which is rather quick.

This SOMFY motorization with Lockyvia arm is suitable for swing gates made of wood, aluminum or iron and PVC with reinforcements. The width of the gate must not exceed 2 meters per leaf, in height and length. The maximum weight supported is 200 kg per leaf.

Installation is very easy and does not necessarily require the help of a technician. The opening stops are already integrated into the motor and the remote controls are pre-programmed. So, once installation is complete, your remote controls are functional, without any further configuration. In addition, the colored and numbered removable terminal block makes wiring easier. An installation template is provided to position the motors on the pillars.

Equipped with this SOMFY arm system, the gate can be controlled via a smartphone and even be integrated into the brand ecosystem especially if you have home automation of the same name.

User reviews of the SOMFY Lockyvia arm motor:

  • Easy to install
  • Easy to configure
  • Expensive but very good value for money

SCS Sentinel OpenGate 2

SCS SENTINEL OPEN GATE 2 motorization kit

Unlike the first automatisms mentioned, the SCS Sentinel OpenGate 2 engine is suitable for gates up to 5 meters wide, or 2.5 meters per leaf, and weighing up to 500 kg, 250 kg maximum per leaf.

In addition, the arms open up to 120°. If you have space this is a good option.

This 24V motorization allows you to equip all swing gates, solid, openwork or semi-openwork gates whether they are made of aluminum, PVC, wood or wrought iron.

As with the other models presented, this articulated arm automation has numerous options such as total or partial opening, also called “pedestrian opening”. In addition, travel learning, obstacle stopping and automatic closing after a passage are standard on this SCS brand engine.

Manual unlocking is possible in the event of a power outage.

Opening time is 15 seconds.

An installation template is provided to help you install the motor yourself. In addition, the manufacturer has added color codes to the electrical board terminal blocks for quick and easy installation.

User reviews of the SCS Sentinel OpenGate 2 gate automation:

  • Quite discreet for a hand motor
  • Good value for money
  • Mounting template provided
  • Keyed for very practical electrical connectors


Came Fast 70 Arm Motor Kit

There CAME FAST 70 swing gate motorization is available in 230V or 24V, a choice. It can be fitted to any swing gate not exceeding 4.60 meters in length between the pillars, or 2.30 meters per leaf. The maximum weight supported is 300 kg.

Like the SCS Sentinel OpenGate 2 engine, this model opens in 15 seconds.

The arms open up to 110°.

A periodic self-diagnosis, before each maneuver, checks all safety devices. For example, if obstacles are detected, the motor immediately deactivates all controls for safety.

The motor release lever is positioned to facilitate manual opening in the event of a power outage.

User reviews of the CAME FAST 70 motor:

  • Very responsive after-sales service
  • High-end product


BFT VIRGO Smart articulated arm motor

Latest model in our selection, theBFT VIRGO Smart gate automation is, like the majority of models presented here, in 24V.

All types of gate are compatible as long as they do not exceed 4 meters in total length (2 meters per leaf) and 400 kg, or 200 kg per leaf.

This arm motor for swing gates opens up to 120° like the SCS Sentinel OpenGate 2. Opening takes 14 seconds to 90° and 18 seconds for full opening to 120°.

As with other models, the personalized key unlocking allows the gate to be opened even without electricity. THE BFT VIRGO Smart arm automation kit has photocells stopping the gate before encountering an obstacle.

On the installation side, the manufacturer has also implemented a color scheme. The terminal block is colored and standardized to facilitate installation.

Like most 24V motors, it is possible to add backup batteries, taking over up to 10 openings in the event of a power failure.

User reviews of the BFT VIRGO Smart gate engine:

  • Easy to program
  • Ability to easily add a backup battery
  • Good quality

Criteria for choosing an articulated arm motorization

Gate weight and width

Articulated arm motors can support relatively heavy, solid, perforated or semi-perforated gates. They support gates weighing 200 to 500 kg.

Arm systems are suitable for gates up to 6 meters in length, 4 meters for the vast majority of models. Be sure to consult the manufacturers’ recommendations. Often the length is given for the total length of the gate but it can be for each leaf.

Motor voltage

There are 12V, 24V or 230V motors. We recommend that you opt for a 24V motorization. This is the type of engine most suitable for the general public because there is less intensity. In addition, as with 12V, it is often possible to add a backup battery to these engines.

THE 12V motors are high intensity. This leads to faster wear of the electronic card.

THE 230V models are for more extreme conditions. They are very resistant to the cold but are also models that heat up a lot. They are not recommended for frequent use.

Opening angle

Electric gates with articulated arms have a opening angle from 90 to 120°. If you have space around your entrance, an angle of up to 110-120° is ideal. If you don’t have too much space, a 90° opening model will be suitable.

Opening time

THE opening time is given in seconds for 90°, i.e. a complete opening.

The fastest arm automations open in just 8 seconds.

The average is between 12 and 15 seconds. Most engines are located in these waters.

The slowest models open in over 15 seconds.

What accessories are provided?

The accessories provided when purchasing your swing gate arm motor are often quite small and standard. We find :

  • Remote controls : in general, at least 2 remote controls are provided. They allow you to control the gate remotely.
  • Fire turn signal : this accessory is mandatory if your gate faces public roads. The light indicates to any nearby users that a vehicle is arriving.
  • Photocells : they are essential for personal safety. Photocells detect the movements of people and objects. In the event of an obstacle, they will stop the movement of the gate, avoiding an accident.

Other accessories such as the digital code or the key switch can be added later.

Total or partial opening?

Some engines allow partial opening. Depending on the configuration of your entrance, a partial opening system is recommended. Indeed, if you do not have a gate and your only access is your gate, the pedestrian opening allows you to pass on foot without opening the gate wide.

If this point is not essential for you, you can choose a fully opening arm automation.

Manually unlockable?

In the event of a power outage, it may be wise to opt for a disengageable automation kit. Being able to unlock your gate by arm will free your gate and you will be able to enter and exit your property, even without electricity.

Machine learning?

Arm motors can have a automatic limit switch learning system. The opening and closing limit switches are adjusted automatically.

In addition, there are no settings to make to operate the remote control. Once the sensor is plugged in, the remote control is automatically recognized.

Solar compatible arm automation

We talked about it above, you can choose a manually unlockable arm motorization. Useful in the event of a power outage. The other option is to pair with a battery and a solar panel.

If you do not have access to electricity, some motors can work with a solar kit.

Consult the characteristics of the arm motorization before your purchase to find out if you can combine a solar panel and a battery.

Is an articulating arm motor easy to install?

THE arm motors are the simplest to install. The motor must be securely attached to the pillar but will not exert strong stress on it.

You will have to be as rigorous as possible in the mechanical installation of the motor and its arm. This will determine its lifespan.

The electrical part will be relatively simple. The instructions are very well done and above all the connectors generally have keying. An error-free connection guaranteed.

Concerning the configuration of the various accessories, most of the time this is done automatically. If not, the procedure is very easy to follow.

Our Verdict

THE arm motors are the most classic for the swing gate. If the arms are not very aesthetic, the system is effective. In fact, it is the mechanism that comes closest to the natural movements of the gate. This system will preserve your gate in the long term.

THE 24V arm motors are preferred if you have intensive use and want to add a backup battery. The opening time will need to be taken into account if you live near a busy road. The quicker the opening, the less time you will have to wait on the road.

Finally, be sure to consult the manufacturers’ recommendations, particularly in terms of weight and maximum length.

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