Once you have decided between a sliding or cantilever gate or you are wanting to automate the gates you already have, you will need to choose a motor. Both of these gate types use the same type of motors and have the same requirements for choosing the suitable kit.

With so many options, it can seem a daunting task to pick the gate kit that is perfect for your installation. Please use this guide to help you in your selection.

There are fewer factors to consider when buying a sliding gate motor than a swing gate motor. The main 2 are the width of the gate and the intensity at which it needs to operate.

How wide is the gate?

This is a really important consideration when choosing your motor. Each motor has a maximum width of gate that they are able to move, this is specified by the manufacturer.

The distance that you need to measure is the width of the opening. Sliding and cantilever gates have overhangs, you do not need to include these in the measurement because it is the distance of travel that is important.

Motor operating widths are calculated to the nearest metre so if you have a 4.5m gate opening then you will need to round the figure up and choose an operator capable of moving a 5m gate.

What is the total weight of your gate?

The weight of your gate is not quite as critical an issue as it would be for a swing gate but there are some operators will have a specified weight limit. These tend to be operators which are rated for residential use. It is assumed that the very large, commercial gates will be extremely heavy and these types of motors take this in to account, you will rarely find a stated weight for this type of motor.

If you are unsure of the weight of your gate, the best thing to do would be to take a picture and send it to along with the width and detail of what the gate is made from i.e. timber, composite material, aluminium, iron, palisade and from that, we can tell you what the best motor is going to be.

For cantilever gates, please choose a motor which is rated for double the weight of your gate i.e. if your gate is 500kgs, choose a motor rated for 1000kgs.

How much use are your gates going to have per day?

The demands on a residential driveway gate kit are going to be far less than that of a commercial premises.

As such, we have graded the motors in to groups to make it easy to identify which motor is going to the best fit for your needs.

Residential – These will operate as many times in a day as are required for normal family and household use. They are designed for gates which are of a standard driveway size.

Multi resident properties & offices – A property which has more vehicle access requirements per day will need a higher grade motor, one which is rated for more intensive usage. The cycle speeds are usually a little faster with this type of opener but is still designed to operate a gate of similar size and weight to a standard residential gate. If you share a driveway, have a small office car park or live in a small apartment block then these motors may well be suitable.

Light commercial – This type of premises will tend to have a wider entrance gate to accommodate larger vehicles and also have more frequent cycle demands placed on them. These gate openers can suit larger office car parks and small scale industrial units.

Commercial – These motors are rated for intensive daily / hourly use and can move very large and heavy gates. These are perfect for industrial premises requiring frequent and rapid HGV and traffic access.

Does your ground slope at all or is it uneven?

If your entrance is sloping from left to right, is across uneven ground, or even gravel, then you will already know that the only choice for this is a suspended cantilever gate.

It is extremely unsafe to run a sliding gate either up or down an incline due to the massive forces placed on the motor. If a sliding gate motor were to fail, the consequences of the gate releasing from the operator are very severe and could cause harm or even death of anyone in their path.

A sliding gate requires wheels to run along a straight track in the ground, making uneven ground impossible for a slider.

The good news is that a cantilever gate, due to the nature of it being suspended, can easily accommodate hovering over a slope or uneven ground with no extra forces applied to the motors.

You just need to choose a motor within the operating limits for the size and usage requirement and there is nothing extra to consider.

Does wind resistance matter?

Unlike with swing gates, it does not matter when choosing a motor if the gate is either closed boarded (i.e. cannot be seen through) or open patterned because wind resistance does not affect the operation of this gate type. The horizontal movement of the gate does not have to push against wind resistance.

Does your gate need to cycle quickly?

The same principle applies to all gate types, if your house or office is on a busy main road where there is nowhere safe to pull off whilst your gates open, or your commercial premises need rapid and constant access then speed really does matter.

In each of the specifications you will find the opening speeds. Generally speaking, the higher the grade of the motor, the faster the cycle speed will be.

If you are having trouble finding a sliding gate kit with a fast speed then just give us a call on 01282 677300 and we can help you to find the right one for you.

What additional safety measures does a sliding or cantilever gate kit need?

Each of the kits that are sold come with a set of photocells. In addition to these, you will require safety edges and in some instances, a second set of photocells.

Because every installation comes with its own set of risks and areas for concern then the only recommended action is to get a registered Gate Safe or DHF installer to come to your site to perform a risk assessment on your install and follow their advice. We would also advise that your gate automation kit is installed by a professional of the same experience and qualification.

To give you an idea of how a basic safety set up works on a sliding or cantilever gate, have a look at this guide.

How much will it cost to automate a sliding or cantilever gate?

The cost of operators varies depending on the requirements. At the lower cost end are the motors suitable for normal domestic properties and the higher end are the extremely durable commercial motors which have far greater demands to meet.

NEVER cut costs by choosing a lower specification motor. Not only is this a false economy as you will continually battle breakdowns, your warranty will be invalid due to improper installation and could also pose a real risk to property and people in the event of a failure, for which you would be liable if you installed it yourself.

The manufacturers set the specifications as to what each kit is capable of so please choose your kit according to these details only and if you are unsure then please give us a call.

sliding gate kit

We have over 30 years’ experience in both selling and installing electric gate kits and there is little that we have not encountered in that time. If it is possible to automate your gates then we can find the best way to do it. Just give us a call on 01282 677300 and we can step you through the process and find the kit that suits your install best.


Complete our short assessment form to get expert advice as to which kit is going to be right for you.

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