If someone mentions electric gates, most people automatically think of security gates used by the rich and famous. However, not any more. In the last five years or so, more and more ‘ordinary’ people started installing these as they have become more affordable. Furthermore, you can fit an electric gate to just about any private driveway.
Let’s say, the gate you eventually chose, and all the other materials like cables, motors and so on. The cost of electric gate installation for a basic setup in the UK will be around £5000. This includes £4000 for the gates and sliding mechanism and £1000 for labour charges. Not bad for peace of mind, is it?
So, let’s have a look at what they are and their benefits.
Electric gates have a few benefits, apart from keeping autograph hunters away from rock stars. How many people already have manual gates on their property, but leave them open all day? They can’t be bothered to get out of the car to open and close them, right? Alternatively, if it’s pouring with rain, and you’ve settled in front of the television, who in their right mind wants to go outside to close the gate? You might have small children and pets that you want to keep safe in your garden. An electric gate will solve all these problems, and give you the added security of discouraging vandals and burglars.
There are a few snags that you should consider before ordering a nice shiny set of gates. Firstly, if you want a pair of swing gates, you can’t use them if you have a steeply sloped driveway. Furthermore, if you want sliding gates, you need room either side of the posts to accommodate the gate width. Also, if you’ve just had a new driveway laid, you probably don’t want to excavate the area to lay cables and install motors. Do that before having the tarmac installed.
How Much Do Electric Gates Cost?
There are many electric gate installers available to upgrade your garden entrance at a surprisingly affordable cost.
Let’s look at some estimated costs in more detail.
Electric Gates Price List:
|Task||Estimated material cost||Estimated labour cost||Time taken|
|Hardwood timber swing gates, fully automated. With underground power supply & basic intercom||£5800||£1500||5 to 7 days|
|Custom metal swing gates. 24V supply & basic intercom||£5500||£1500||5 to 7 days|
|Hardwood timber sliding gates, fully automated with underground power supply & basic intercom||£6000||£1700||6 to 8 days|
|Custom metal sliding gates. 24V supply with basic intercom||£6300||1700||6 to 8 days|
Factors affecting costs
First, decide why you want automatic gates as that will determine all the other considerations.
What type do you want? If it’s privacy, choose a solid wooden gate rather than an open metal gate. If you just want security from trespassers then a metal gate is ample. Unfortunately, you can’t often have both. A solid metal gate will just be too heavy for normal domestic motors to handle.
The cost of the gate will always be the most expensive part of the deal, so make sure you get exactly what you want. Do you want a swing or sliding gate? Do you need a standard driveway gate size or an oversize gate? A typical gate costs anything from £800 to £3000 plus extras, depending on size, materials and other specifications.
What is the best type of gate to buy? If you’re likely to walk through the gate more often than in your car, then consider a small non-automatic pedestrian gate by the side of it. Yes, it’ll add slightly to the cost. But, it’ll be worth it in the long term.
An ‘automatic gate’ has a lot of technology incorporated in those two words. But, it’s a fact, that more tech means there are more things to go wrong if you buy a cheap version. Consider paying for a more expensive motor. And, a better overall installation will offset the hassle of the thing continually breaking down.
You should also consider an electric gate opener too. What’s the point in having an automatic gate if you have to get out of the car to press some buttons to open and close it? You need a remote control in each car plus a master control switch indoors. Some motors receive a signal from a phone app and these can be useful if you have regular visitors.
What happens if you have a power failure? Suddenly, you need something else to open the gate. Most gates have a backup battery continually on charge from the mains, or a small 10W solar–powered charger. Even on dull days, there will be enough power from the sun to operate the motors. But, as a last resort, you must have an emergency manual control, just in case.
The motors, associated cables and other hardware can cost between £300 and £2000 depending on specifications.
It makes sense to have an intercom fitted too. You might have friends or family who like to drop in unannounced. They need some way of letting you know they want to come in, and an intercom is perfect for the job. It can be audio–only or video and audio. Once again, this cost will vary depending on its sophistication but can stretch from £250 to £1500.
Installation is the other large chunk of the total cost and will vary depending on what you want. Do you need the driveway excavated for installing power cables, or installing motors underground? Are they above ground? The cost varies between £1000 and £3500 depending on the tasks. You’ll find that the lowest day rate for this specialist occupation will be about £250 per day, with more specialised professionals charging higher rates.
Types of Gates
You can choose from many different gates to match the style of your home or the purpose of the gate.
Swing gates are probably the most common style to choose from. They include:
- Ornamental swing gates.
- Palisade gates.
- Balustrade gates.
- Welded mesh gates.
Swing gates can be single and hinged on one side only or double, hinged on both sides and meet in the middle when closed. They look more pleasant than the other types and are often used for entrances to parks and stately homes. You can also customise them with any feature or in any style you wish to choose.
These are more secure than swing gates and are harder to force open. They have less vulnerable points and are rigid throughout. Commercial premises mostly use this type of automatic gate. Usually, they a single sliding gate. However, if there isn’t enough space at the sides for a full gate width, you can use a double gate meeting in the middle. Unfortunately, this version (double gates) will be less secure.
Telescopic sliding gates
Similar to sliding gates, these open and close in sections that overlap each other. Therefore, they’re useful when you need secure sliding gates, but haven’t enough room for a full gate width to operate. These gates suit a secure establishment more than swing gates.
These are sliding gates that don’t need tracks or wheels on the ground. They run on rollers situated at the side of the gate on support posts and a fence structure. When in operation, they hang from the counterbalance, with no ground contact. Therefore, they’re good for uneven and sloping driveways.
Electric motors used for swing and sliding gates work on the same principle. The motors can be above ground or set into excavations, out of sight. The electric gate mechanism operates when it receives a signal from a remote control, keypad or sensor mounted in the driveway. The gate automation system swings the gate inwards until it reaches the maximum opening position. It then waits for a specified amount of time before automatically closing again. There will be a failsafe device to stop all movement if it senses any obstruction. Power comes from mains power, a rechargeable battery or solar panel, whichever you prefer. Even if the gate has mains power, it will still have a backup system in case of a power cut. Finally, if there’s no power at all, it’ll have an emergency manual operator.
Swing gate motors cost from about £500 to £1500.
Sliding gate motors cost from £500 to £1000.
The price of all gate motors depends on the size and weight of gates.
How They Work
First, dig a trench for the electric supply cable and holes for the fence posts. You’ll need a qualified electrician to install the power and connect to the control box. You’ll probably require one when commissioning too. The electrician usually supplies a 230/240V 10A power supply from your domestic consumer unit to the gates. The actual size of the electricity cable will depend on the distance from the consumer unit to gate. The electrician will calculate this in conjunction with the manufacturer’s instructions. But, as an approximation, a 20m run will need a 3 core x 2.5mm cable. Whereas, a 50m run will need a 3 core x 4.0mm cable. Notice, the system requires a full earth connection. Furthermore, the cables must be protected in the underground trench using a Steel Wire Armoured cable (SWA).
You must also consider how to install the intercom. Although intercoms can communicate via WiFi, it’s better to install screened cables in the power cable trench for audio and video communication between the gate and house.
Gate sensors are another consideration. The most common sensor is a loop detector. This has an inductive loop set into the ground on your property. When you turn the power on, it creates a magnetic field that can be interrupted by a car driving over the loop. The sensors notice this and send an instruction to the electric drive motors to open the gate. Also, you can augment this by using a keypad PIN or remote control on the outside of the gate.
Electric Gates Running Costs
Electric gates don’t cost much to run. In standby mode, they use about 100W per day, while in the operating mode they use about 700W, but only for about 30 seconds in each direction. If electricity costs about £0.15 per kWh, this works out to be only about £15 per year (even if the gates operate about 15 times a day).
Do I need planning permission for electric gates?
Usually, you’ll need planning permission if the gate is higher than 1m and next to a public road, or 2m high elsewhere.
Also, Building Regulations apply as the gates must be safe for the general public to use. And, the fixing points (posts) must be strong enough to support the weight, especially if your area experiences high winds. You must also adhere to the latest Edition of the Electrical Regulations as you’ll install a new outside electrical circuit for the gates, which is notifiable under Part P of the Building Regulations. If in doubt, contact your local authority who can advise.
Electric Gates FAQ
Should a gate open in or out?
Always ensure the gate opens inwards onto your property. Not only is it unsafe, but it will also obstruct if your gate opens across a public footpath or onto a road. Except, if your gates open outwards onto private land.
Are electric gates secure?
Electric gates are a good solution for your home or business security. You can also install magnetic locks to withstand anyone trying to drive a vehicle through closed electric front gates.
How do you override an electric gate?
In case of breakdown or a power cut, you can override electric gates by disengaging the motor from the opening mechanism. Each manufacturer has a unique method to cope with this situation depending on the specifications, so read the user guide carefully.
Can you open a gate with your phone?
Yes. Buy a controller that responds to a free call from your mobile phone. Then, you specify different numbers that can open the gate. So, family and friends can access whenever they want. You can also download a specific app or purchase an in-car smart-speaker that works with a Smart Hub connected to the gate.
Does a gate increase property value?
Yes, depending on your home.
It probably won’t increase the value of an average home in a typical British housing estate. But, it will provide the added security needed in an expensive luxury property.
Furthermore, if you already have gates on your driveway but you have to manually open and close them, the addition of motorised gates will significantly improve the convenience. Then, you’ll no longer have to get in and out of the car to open and close the gates.
Find a Gate Installer
If you need electric gates for security or convenience, it’s not something you can install yourself. So, complete the form on this page and you’ll receive 3 or 4 quotes from qualified installers. Then, you’ll have an idea of the cost of electric gate installation.