How to choose a swing gate motor?

Swing gate motor

Automatic gate with swing gate motor

Any swing gate can be motorized. The only condition is to have an electricity connection. If not, solutions like the solar panels can be a very good alternative.

The automation will depend on many factors including the weight to be supported, whether it is a solid, semi-openwork or openwork gate.

You can easily do the installation yourself if you feel capable.

For a swing gate, you can choose between an arm, cylinder or buried motor. We will see each of the solutions in detail.

Why choose to motorize a swing gate?

Motorized and semi-openwork iron gate

Choosing a swing gate automation for comfort

Motorize your gate is undoubtedly a real gain in comfort. Forget going back and forth to open the gate for your guests, don’t get out of your car in the rain. A simple press on the remote and voila.

If you have a relatively heavy gate or if you leave your home several times a day, operating it frequently can be a real hassle. Even difficult for some people.

Not to mention waste of time to enter and exit your vehicle.

On the other hand, by opening your gate remotely, you will no longer hesitate to close it. That will enhance your security.

Motorize your gate for security

By opting for automation, you will be able to close your gate all the time, even for short absences. Leaving your gate open to go shopping can be a problem in securing your home. People with bad intentions monitor our habits and take action if an opportunity presents itself. Motorizing a swing gate will increase your security.

If you live in town, no longer leave your vehicle at the mercy of thieves while you open or close your gate.

Furthermore, you will have a real closing system. Indeed, cylinder motors, for example, have an unfailing traction force. So, by opting for this system, no one will be able to access your home.

In addition, many brands are compatible with home automation and security systems. You can easily connect a videophone, an alarm, a light or even a camera. The addition of these accessories will have even more of a deterrent effect. A videophone will allow you to see who is coming to your home before opening.

Have a durable portal

You should know that non-automated gates are subject to real constraints leading to premature wear of the mechanism when they are handled manually. Well chosen and well installed, an engine is smooth and regular in its movements. Your gate will no longer experience jolts or stress on the fixings.

Increase the value of your property

As you know, when buying or selling real estate, all the points that can add value are taken into account.

Buy one motor for swing gate can, by increasing home security and enhancing daily comfort, increase the value of your home. In the event of resale, you will not lose out and the price of the engine should be largely amortized.

The different automation systems

Electric gate controlled by remote control

Arm motors

Arm motorization is the most common method. Any swing gate can be equipped with it. How does it work ? One articulated arm is fixed to the right or left on one of the posts and the other directly on one of the gate leaves. A second arm is attached in the same way on the opposite side. The two arms, as their name suggests, imitate the movements of a human arm opening and closing.

By imitating the natural opening of the leaves of your gate, and thanks to the smoothness of its movements, the motor forces very little on the hinges. It minimizes the constraints that your gate could experience with manual opening. So, your A swing gate equipped with an arm motor will last longer.

The advantage of an arm motorization is its price. Indeed, the prices are affordable and there is a lot of choice. It is also a very effective system that has proven itself.

Among the arm motors, there are the electromechanical models, the most common and the most attractive. These are robust and efficient.

The arm motors are opened from the inside. On the other hand, if your gate is recessed, it is possible to open it outwards.

The articulated arms can support relatively heavy leaves. A 300 kg gate could be perfectly compatible. These models are suitable for gates with solid or perforated leaves.

Likewise, arm motors make it possible to equip gates with the distance between the hinges and the pillar is important. The arms can have an opening of up to 120°.

On the other hand, if your gate exceeds 4 meters in length, or 2 meters for each leaf, you will have to turn to another solution.

Jack or screw motorization

The cylinder motorization is relatively similar to the arm motor. A jack is fixed both on the pillar and on one of the gate leaves. Another is placed opposite on the other fan.

Actuator gates can reach an opening angle of up to 180°. Depending on your setup, this may be very useful to you.

Jack or screw motors are suitable for heavy gates, for example solid or semi-openwork steel or wrought iron. The jacks are not suitable for PVC or aluminum gates without reinforcement. These gates will not resist the pulling force of the motor and could become deformed.

Engine power makes opening very quick and is very suitable for a gate exposed to the wind.

In addition, unlike the articulated arm motorization, the cylinder motorization takes up less space. 20 cm on average compared to 40 to 50 cm for a hand motor. If your entryway is narrow, this will be a good option.

Discretion assured with a buried engine

Motorization of a buried gate is very aesthetic, because invisible and silent. Adapted to modern homes, this motorization is frequently associated with an aluminum swing gate.

It is best to opt for this type of motor when purchasing your gate as it will require masonry work. The motorization is buried next to the gate as well as the opening system and the cylinders. This is what makes this solution so quiet. Everything is buried.

In addition to the aesthetic aspect which is clearly an advantage, no clearance between the gate and the possible wall is to be expected.

In addition, this solution is very reliable because the motors do not suffer any shock and are protected. On the other hand, in the event of a problem it will be less accessible.

Of course, buried motors are much more expensive than his colleagues.

Wheel gate motorization

There motorization of a gate using a wheel is an option when all other systems cannot be installed.

Whether on a positive slope or with very opening angles, the wheel works perfectly, where it is impossible to install arms or cylinders.

How to choose a swing gate motor?

There are gate motors adapted to each type of swing gate. Whether heavy, light, openwork or solid, in PVC, aluminum or wood. Many criteria will need to be taken into account when making your choice, including its weight, if he is openwork, semi-openwork Or full, there dimensions of the leaves but also the geographical location.

1. Depending on the portal

Solid wood swing gate motor

The weight of the leaves

The weight of the leaves is an essential criterion to take into account. Each engine is designed to support a certain weight. In the case of a heavy gate, above 300 kg, a motorization adapted for a 200 kg gate will not be sufficient. Its use will fatigue the engine and its lifespan will be considerably reduced. Conversely, an oversized motor may cause jerks when opening or closing. Jolts may tend to deform the gate in the long term.

A motor adapted to the weight of your swing gate will allow gentle and fluid opening. In addition, the motor will not need to force to operate the gate.

Consult the engine technical data sheets to find out the weight supported.

An openwork, semi-openwork or full gate

As a reminder, there are 3 types of swing gate :

  • The full leaves
  • Semi-openwork portals
  • The openwork

As we saw just above, a heavy gate risks tiring the motor if it is not suitable. The style of your gate will impact its weight but also its reaction to the wind.

A solid gate is completely closed. These are the simplest gates to motorize, but also the heaviest and those with the greatest wind resistance.

THE semi-openwork swing gates are openwork at the top and solid at the bottom. Check that a location is provided for a motorization. You can also consult the instructions for your portal to see if this is provided.

THE openwork leaves allow you to see through the portal. These are often relatively light gates with little impact from the wind. It is necessary that a location with reinforcements be provided to accommodate a motorization.

The size of the leaves

The motors can be fitted to all swing gates. However, it is essential to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions in order to take into account the recommendations and the motor’s ability to maneuver large winds. Some automation manufacturers go up to 4 meters in length, while others go up to 6 meters.

A motor designed for a maximum length of 3 meters will not be able to support a 4 meter gate in the long term. You risk premature wear of the engine, or even breakage.

Robustness and mechanism

The robustness and mechanism of the motor are points to take into consideration when making your choice. Brands like FAAC or CAME are very famous. Your choice should be brands renowned for their robustness and reliability.

If you have a gate that is a little outside the norm, more than 4.5 meters for example, or a relatively heavy wrought iron gate, the choice of brand and engine will be even more important. Many “standard” engines will not last long and the engine could suffer.

Caught in the wind

We touched on this point briefly in the previous paragraphs. But it is important that you take into account the geographical location of your portal. If this one is strongly exposed to wind, your gate risks being deformed if the wind opposes the movements of the gate. In addition, the engines force more to cope with wind pressure. In this case, consider adding bracing bars Or open position stops. These accessories will allow you to face the wind without damaging your swing gate or your motorization.

Please note that a sliding gate on a rail or freestanding is more resistant to wind. Likewise, openwork or semi-openwork gates will be much more suitable if they are exposed to the wind.

2. Food

The installation of a gate automation requires access to electricity. If this is not already the case, you will need to bring in the power before installing your motor. Other solutions, such as solar panels can be an alternative if you are unable to bring electricity to your gate.


12V motors are the most widespread with 24V for individuals. It is possible to pair a backup battery. In the event of a power outage, you will still be able to open and close your gate around ten times on average. The battery must be maintained regularly to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Some engines can accommodate solar panels. This could be a good alternative if you don’t have electricity.


As we saw above, 24V motors are among the most common among individuals. As with 12V motors, it is possible to add a backup battery, even a solar kit.

24V motors can be used at high frequency. They heat up very little. If you use your gate a lot, this is the ideal motorization.

On the installation side, these motors will be more complicated to set up. However, the cost is lower.


Less known among individuals, 230V motors are suitable for heavy and imposing gates.

Here, there is no question of adding a backup battery or a solar panel. In the event of a power outage, you will either have to disengage it manually or consider another access to your home.

230V motors are cheaper than 24V. They are also simpler to install.

The engine being very powerful, you will have to necessarily add photocells. They make it possible to stop the movement of the gate, when opening or closing, if it encounters an obstacle. This is an essential accessory if you have children.

We talked about windy regions above, we will now discuss climatic conditions, particularly cold. Many engines operate with difficulty when it is very cold. 230V motors are, for their part, very resistant to cold. If you are located in a region that is very cold in winter, this will be a criterion to take into account.

This type of engine being powerful, the engine will tend to heat up quickly. We do not recommend opting for this motorization if you have intensive use of your gate.

3. Gate opening direction

In the vast majority of cases the gates open towards the interior of the home. If this is your case, you will not have any questions to ask yourself on this point. All motors will be compatible with your swing gate.

Otherwise, be aware that a gate can only open to the outside of the property if the lane or path belongs to the owner. He is prohibited from opening a gate to the outside if it is a public road.

This is why all gates are designed to open inwards. However, if you have no choice, know that there are automations with extended arms which allow opening to the outside. But this type of mechanism remains on the margins.

THE cylinder motors should be avoided in this case.

You can also opt for a buried motorization, invisible to any user, it is suitable for interior and exterior openings.

If you have not yet chosen your gate and have opted for an outward opening due to the slope, consider installing a sliding gate depending on your configuration.

4. Self-locking or reversible motor for swing gate

When choosing your gate automation, you will discover two types of motor: self-locking and reversible. Let’s see these two types in detail.

  • Self-locking motor : Self-locking motors allow lock the gate at the end of the movement. So, when your gate is open or closed, it is not possible to operate it. It is the most effective system in terms of security for your property. In the event of a power outage, it will still be possible to unlock the motor manually.
  • Reversible : In this case, the gate is not blocked at the end of the maneuver. As its name suggests, this system is reversible. For added security, we advise you to add an electric lock which will act as a lock. If your gate is your only access to your property, this may be a good choice. So, even in the event of a power outage, you will have access to your home. All you have to do is simply unlock the lock and then open your gate manually.

Accessories available for your swing gate motorization


Automatic gate remote control

The remote control is the essential accessory for your automation. It is also provided in the motorization kit. It allows you to control the gate remotely, to close or open it.

If you want to purchase additional remote controls, it is best to go for the same brand. Even though there are compatible models, it is not always ideal. Ask the manufacturer for advice.

Photo sensor or photocells

Photoelectric sensors, Or photocells, are the essential accessory if you have children or pets. Indeed, photocells will secure the maneuvering area of your portal. During movement, opening or closing, the sensors will automatically detect a possible obstacle, a person, an animal or object. The photocells immediately stop the gate when an obstacle is detected.


Digital codes and key boxes are very useful to avoid having to manage too many remote controls.

A digital code is a numeric keypad allowing you to control a gate from outside a property using one or more chosen secret codes. The digital code is an excellent solution if your children tend to lose their things. Forget the remote control, they will just have to remember the gate code to enter the house.

Rather than lending one of your remote controls, hand over the digicode code.

Opening box or key box

In the same principle as the digital code, the key box, also known as a key switch or key selector, allows you to open or close the gate. Not with a code, but with a key.

Less expensive than a remote control, this option can be useful if a lot of people need to access your home. You will not have to multiply remote controls.

In addition, it may happen that your remote control no longer works or that the batteries are defective. You will be happy to still be able to operate your gate.

Furthermore, in the event of a power outage, a key switch will allow you to open your portal.


Depending on the type of your swing gate, you will need to count between 300 € and more than 1000 €.

As we saw above, the price will be impacted by the size of your gate, its weight but also the type of motorization you will choose. A buried engine will be much more expensive thana hand motor.

In the case of a standard swing gate, you will have a large choice of automation and all prices.

If you do not have a portal, you will need to add the price of it.

How to install a swing gate motor?

Electrical Installation

Regardless of the type of motorization you have chosen, an electrical power supply will be necessary.

To do this, it will be necessary to bury an electrical conduit coming from the house while respecting landfill standards. It must be 50 cm deep, with a warning fence 20 cm in front.

Install a box directly next to your gate, in case your electrical distribution box is close to the gate. This saves you from creating a trench.

Connect the power supply directly to the gate automation system distribution box. This is where all the connections for the motors and their accessories will come from.

Mechanical installation of an arm gate motorization

Firstly, you will need to define the location of the arm fixings on the gate. You will find either a reinforcement or a fixing plate provided for the motorization.

A swing gate motor never settles more than a meter high. Install it on one of the central crosspieces of the leaf. This is where the gate is the most robust. He will therefore not be subject to constraints.

Then, mark the motor mounting location on the pillar. And proceed with its installation.

You will need to choose dowels adapted to the material of the pillar. For hollow materials, favor chemical sealing combined with a sieve.

Install a cylinder swing gate motor

Here, you will proceed in the same way as with an arm motorization. However, the mechanical fixing must be perfect. Actuator motors place great demands on the motor’s hinges and mountings.

This is why you will need to be sure of the materials of your pillar and thus choose the appropriate dowels.

Take some anchor studs for a pillar made of solid materials, such as concrete or stone.

Use chemical seals with sieve for pillars made of hollow materials such as brick or concrete block.

Install a buried automation

This type of automation requires excavation and masonry work to carry out the project.

You will need to dig a hole for each motor location. In this hole, you will fix the engine burial box at the height given in the instructions. Consider water drainage.

After installing the box, you attach the motor to the gate.


As we have seen, there are many criteria to take into account when choosing your motorization of a swing gate.

Certain accessories are essential, notably photocells if you have children or animals. Or simply for your safety.

Arm motors are the most common, but you might be tempted by a buried engine for more discretion.

Finally, if you have a solid or relatively heavy swing gate, carefully consult the manufacturer’s instructions before purchasing. Not all motors are capable of handling heavy loads.

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