How to buy the best gate for your home or driveway, with manual and automatic, types and electronic sensors and openers.

If your property is enclosed, consider installing a driveway gate. Driveway gates are made of wood or metal and come in a variety of styles. There are three basic types: sliding, bi-parting, and single swing.

Dual hinged gates, made primarily from wood, are both stunning and secure. © Mark Winfrey |

If your driveway gets lots of snow or ice in the winter or has a steep grade, then a slider is for you.

Bi-parting gates have two unfolding panels and work best with driveways greater than 14 feet in width.

If you have at least 12 feet of space on either side of your gate and your driveway is 14 feet wide or less, you can consider a single-swing style, which opens either to the left or right. Single-swing gates are generally less expensive than bi-parting types.

Steel driveway gate glides laterally on tracks.
Contemporary steel driveway swinging gates provide a grand entrance to this beautiful estate. Custom design matches the front entry gate. Karamysh /

Gates can be opened manually or automatically. Automatic systems offer the greatest convenience, allowing homeowners and guests to operate gates by using keypads with punch-in codes, dial-up intercoms and telephone entries, or hand-held remotes.

Keypad, push-button, or underground exit sensors then open the gate when it’s time to leave. Installing a photo eye will ensure that your gate will reopen if it hits an obstacle.

Security and privacy are maximized with this steel and wood gate.
Security and privacy are maximized with this steel and wood single sliding gate. The entire gate rolls into a passage on the right side. 1000 Words /


Wood-and-steel swinging driveway gates
Wood-and-wrought-iron swinging driveway gates are stylish but, because of the tight wrought-iron pattern and the spikes across the top, designed to keep pets in and unwanted guests out. 1000 Words /

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort