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Which Automatic Gate Is Best: Sliding or Swing?

So you’ve decided it’s time to get electric gates installed into your property in Perth. But what kind should you install? Which automatic gate is better – Sliding or Swing?

In this article, we’re going to go through how to choose the right automatic gate for you. Here’s the quick roundup first.

Sliding gates can offer more security as they are harder to force open and provide a greater deterrent. Sliding gates also maximize space because the gate opens sideways rather than inwards. But based on the available install space, swing gates might be a better option and require less maintenance.

But it’s fair to say that sometimes you may not get a choice, it’s all about space. We’ll get into that shortly, but let’s first look at the critical differences between sliding gates and swing gates.

If you’re simply looking at which gates to choose, then we can help you better in person, so why not contact us for a discussion around your needs. ​​We have our own fabrication arm at our Maddington workshop, and we can help you design your unique gate creation with our experts.

Difference between automatic sliding gates and swing gates

Automatic sliding gates and automatic swing gates are fundamentally very different installs. Not in terms of their ultimate purpose, but in terms of how they operate and all the requirements around that.

For a more detailed look at how gates work, check our article here.

A sliding automatic gate consists of two primary but essentially independent parts: the track in which the gate moves upon and the gate itself.

The track is installed alongside your existing wall or fence on your property, while the automatic gate slides along the top of the track. Sliding automatic gates also stand out more than swing gates. So aesthetically, they can look more elevated and grand in style.

Automatic swing gates are much more traditional in style. Like the age-old gates that you would open inward toward your drive before closing them again afterwards. The only real difference is that automation takes care of this function for you.

  • Automatic sliding gates generally open sideways along a wall or fence
  • Automatic swing gates generally open inwards towards the driveway.

Why choose automatic sliding gates over swing gates?

As we alluded to earlier, it’s really all about space. And every home that we’ve ever installed automatic gates into in Perth has been different in some way or other.

The simplest way is to let us help you decide which options work best in your scenario and with the space you have available. So get in contact with us and we’ll be happy to discuss.

Sliding gates are compact

Sliding automatic gates are often a more compact way of using available space on your driveway.

But they will still use up some of your front yard – because the sliding mechanism takes up some room for installation. Effectively you’re doubling the length of the gate… and then some.

Find out more about the pros and cons of automatic sliding gates.

If doubling the length of the sliding gate stretch to allow for the mechanism is an issue, or simply not viable, then automatic swing electric gates may be your best bet.

In certain circumstances, a sliding automatic gate can be a preferred solution. Again, this will depend on how much space you have available and in line with what you’re looking for.

How to choose an automatic sliding gate vs swing gate

Most physical constraints to the layout of your gating will be more obvious. When it comes to choosing an automatic gate versus a swing gate there are some basic settings you can take into account. Let’s go through some examples.

Examples of installing a sliding or swing gate

Most of the time, the limitations are simply the physical objects that we need to work around in order to install the gates.

Let’s take a look at some basic examples where you need to take space and objects into account… and why the viability of an automatic sliding gate might be more limiting than a swinging electric gate.

NOTE: Just keep in mind, these are all very basic examples. There are numerous other factors we also need to take into account. Such as mounting points, outlet pipes, and vents. As well as sewage pipes, soak wells, fire exit points, and other obstructions. Our experts can make a better assessment once they call round.

Sliding vs swinging automatic gate: Horizontal space installation

In the below example (Fig.1), a sliding gate provides optimum use of space.

A swinging gate may also be possible, but it may inhibit part of the drive from being used and impede other areas of the front yard too.

The second example (Fig.2), shows where a sliding gate is really the only option, given the inclined slope now showing on the drive as it approaches the building.

Sliding vs swinging automatic gate: Between buildings/objects installation

In some cases, drives inherently pass between two buildings. This is often the most ideal place to add a gate system as security increases beyond that of just a boundary wall.

In the example (Fig.3), we can clearly see that a sliding gate is not a good fit for this scenario.

Therefore, a swinging automatic gate would be the obvious choice. That is unless there is an option to place the gate at the end of either building where the sliding mechanism can be passed along one wall.

Again, this alternative option would need to take account of vents and other facilities that may be impeded by installing a gate.

Remember also that there are options for single swing gates or double swing gates.

Sliding Gate Installation Example Figure 1
Fig.2 Sliding Gate Installation Example 2
Fig 3. Swinging Gate Installation Example 2
Sufficient room for gate operation

There is also space that needs to be considered outside of the gates. Swing gates require a greater distance to be allowed between your vehicle and the gate in order to allow them to swing open.

If this means your vehicle is blocking access for road users, pedestrian walkways, or other entrances then this might be an issue – depending on where you are in Perth or the surrounding suburbs.

Again, having us out for a site visit inspection will enable us to ensure we cover all the aspects. Or you can send us photos, videos and/or measurements for an initial assessment and quote.

So now let’s go on to discussing cost when considering the best automatic gates for your needs.

Cost: Automatic sliding gate vs automatic swinging gate

Assuming the space options you have available means you can install either type of gate, then given the overall expense of having a new automatic gate installed, it’s only natural to compare the prices of each type of gate. This will also help you decide which one to buy – based on your budget.

For homeowners on a tighter budget, a sliding gate is typically the more cost-effective option over a swing gate.

Generally speaking, swing gates require a more complex mechanism to be installed and has more moving parts.

On a basic level, a swing gate mostly comprises a motor and hinges. And a sliding gate has motors as well as slide tracks, rollers, and often other frameworks and fixings.

Having said that, sliding automatic gates offer excellent curb appeal, and overall offer more security than swing gates when it comes withstanding force.

Maintenance: Automatic sliding gate vs automatic swinging gate

When choosing between an automatic sliding gate or an automatic swing gate, maintenance is something to consider.

If gate maintenance isn’t something you want to be concerned about, then the best option is usually a sliding gate. However, both swinging and sliding gates require some form of maintenance. But both a relatively easy to keep operational. 

Sliding gates usually require tracks for the gate to run on. These tracks can collect debris and even a small quantity or a build-up of debris can cause issues with jamming parts along the track. this is something that requires regular checking and cleaning.

A sliding gate usually offers much longer-term maintenance. Sliding gates are generally more basic in their operation, with fewer moving parts within the opening mechanism when compared to swing gates.

This means compared to swing gate, sliding gates have less chance of parts clogging, or breaking down and requiring repair or worse still, replacement.

Low cost and low maintenance options

There are some low cost options. Modern motor designs and efficiencies mean low voltage gates are becoming more popular.

For example, we have 12V extra-low voltage (ELV) motor kits that don’t require an electrician licence to install.

These are perfect for DIYers who want to install an automatic gate themselves. There are even solar-powered versions to help you use free energy. Install costs are therefore lower, and some maintenance can be carried out by you.

Grey slats, automatic gate, residential, smart automatic gates and motors, sliding

The final choice

In most cases, our advice is not to go ahead with a final choice until you have a proper assessment, or at the very least a discussion to ensure you’re selecting the right system.

If you’re in any doubt, then why not simply email us and we’ll be more than happy to assist. We’ve been installing automatic gates of all varieties in Perth and the surrounding areas. So get in touch now and let us help.