Gate barrier is widely used in commercial and residential buildings to control vehicular access. If you are a system integrator or gate automation installer or even a gate barrier distributor (like Stebilex), it is important to know how to select the best gate barrier system on behalf of the customer. Majority of the datasheets and catalogues are not really useful unless you already know what you are getting into.

Things you should consider before buying a vehicle barrier

At Stebilex, we always strive to share our research and learnings with our partners and the gate automation professional community. Here is our attempt to provide you with a checklist that captures the essential questions and the likely answers to look for. This guide must help you avoid the common mistakes and traps that the uninformed fall into.


The questions are presented under

  1. What is your use case?
  2. What are the physical attributes?
  3. How do you want to control access to the facility?
  4. Safety features to consider
  5. Additional features to consider

What is your use case?


Before purchasing a boom gate, one has to decide where it will be installed, and the operating model. There are boom gates that are specifically designed for a simple application like parking areas, traffic control to the large railway and industrial crossings. It is necessary to understand the application, space availability and use frequency.

Ask Your Client

Is it for commercial or industrial or residential use?
Is it for heavy traffic or low traffic area?

Frequency of operation (Duty Cycle)

The duty cycle or frequency of operation of a boom gate is another factor that must be taken into account.

What is the duty cycle? The duty cycle for an automated gate operator is the number of times the gate can open and close without overheating the motor. Duty cycle is normally expressed in percentage. 100% duty cycle is meant for continuous use, eg: high intensive use cases like a shopping mall, toll plaza etc.

There are two most common categorisations: Residential(40-70% duty cycle) and commercial(100% duty cycle). As you can imagine, a gate barrier in a mall will be used much more time than one in an apartment. When calculating the required duty cycle, calculate for the worst-case scenario.

Ask Your Client

What is the average usage(open/close cycle) per day? (consider worst-case scenario)

Barrier operator

Barrier operators mostly come housed in the barrier body mounted on the floor or foundation plate. The barrier operator usually comes with a motor that operates on either hydraulic or electromechanical motors. Some latest products like FAAC b680H also have hybrid motor technology with a Hydraulic Brushless motor in one barrier operator. Hydraulic motors are usually more suitable for heavy-duty, high frequency usage.

Hydraulic vs Electromechanical Motor

Hydraulic Motor

  • Hydraulic controllers are very reliable and pose very few maintenance issues if installed properly.
  • They are a very effective deterrent in case a vehicle runs into the barrier or in stopping tailgating vehicle.
  • Cold can be a problem; too cold weather can cause oil thickening in the hydraulic unit. However, this can be solved with a temperature control unit.

Electromechanical Motor

  • The electromechanical unit is much quieter than the hydraulic motor.
  • A bit slower than Hydraulic but they offer more control, one can set variable speed for how quickly the beam rises.
  • Most security professionals find the electro-mechanical unit easier to maintain.
  • The Electro-mechanical units require at least 220v/single-phase power, which is typically 12-15 more amps of power than what the hydraulic motor requires.

What are the physical attributes of the preferred vehicle barrier?

Arm length

Boom gates come with different beam lengths and boom barrier shapes to suit the width of the passage you wish to control. Beam length from 2 metres to 12 to 13 metres, which are especially suitable for use when companies have oversized vehicles, such as mine sites and rail crossings. They come in round or rectangular shapes, wherein rectangular is a bit more expensive.

Ask Your Client

What is the drive-way width?

Arm articulation

Arm articulation makes it possible to articulate the rigid beam to a maximum height according to the ceiling. They are used in parking garages or in areas with limited or low overhead clearances.

Ask Your Client

What is the height of the installation area or overhead clearance available?

How do you want to control access to the facility?

Barrier access control

Another most important requirement you need to decide is how you want to control the boom barrier – with reader, remote controller, or push button. They can be configured with UHF readers and tags, with a control switch for security officers, remote controllers and receivers, or with push buttons or biometrics.

Biometrics readers:

The barriers can be controlled with biometric-readers like fingerprint, face, Iris options.

Swipe Card Readers:

Access control via RFID cards. Type: Magnetic, proximity cards, and proximity cards with a magnetic stripe, key-chain FOB.

Support for GSM module:

This module helps you open the gate barrier remotely by making a call to the SIM inserted in the GSM module.

Remote controller & receiver:

The barrier gates operated using the remote controller and a radio receiver installed in the barrier.

UHF readers & tags:

This feature allows the barrier to be opened when a vehicle approaches the barrier with authenticated tags.

Switch to Exit Button:

For the facility security team to control the to and fro access.

Ask Your Client

Is the entry/exit point manned, does the security team need an exit button for the manual opening?
What kind of access control is required to the facility – biometric or remote or ANPR or RFID tag or swipe card based?

Safety features to consider

Anti-crushing sensor

Gate barriers feature safety components like sensors for automatic detection of approaching vehicles, anti-crushing sensors that reverse the beam on impact if the barrier boom automatically closes on the vehicle. The anti crushing sensor only stops repeated impact only after hitting the object once. That’s why you need to have an additional detection mechanism in place – Photocells.


Photocells (motion sensors) are electronic devices that improve security by automatically detecting vehicles or obstacles to enable automatic rising of booms. This infrared setup will have a transmitter and receiver at each of the ends of the driveway and whenever an obstacle is detected the barrier will prevent the gate from closing and raise the barrier boom.

Loop detector

Barrier gates come with other solutions like vehicle detection loops (inductive loop), which are installed on the barrier that detects vehicles and passing or arriving at a certain point. The loop detectors are connected to create a magnetic field, and the vehicle is recognised when it enters this field.

Additional features to consider

Battery back-up

If you want the barrier to operate even at the time of main power failure. Look for a continuous duty cycle(in hours) supported by the battery backup.

Opening and closing speed

Most conventional barrier gates provide running speed from 1.5 seconds to 6 seconds.

Ask Your Client

What is the average opening time?
Look for 1.5 seconds+

The shape of the boom/beam

The barrier beams come in round, rectangular shape.

Support for modular beam/boom

What if the barrier needs more length than the standard beam length? When there is support for modular beams, the total length can be extended. Look for a boom extension set.

Colour of the gate barrier

Many manufacturers support your preferred colour for the enclosure. Ask for the supported colours.

International standards or regulations

Look for compliance with international standards(European/ISO) when it comes to safety and quality.

Maintenance and operating cost

You can always buy a cheap gate barrier but watch out for maintenance and operating cost. Operational cost is as important as the capital cost not just in terms of money but the availability of spare parts and technicians.

Enclosure rating

Gate barriers are of course installed outside and the motors and the other internal components should be protected from dust, water and other solid objects. Look for the international standard Ingress Protection(IP) ratings like IP 54 or IP 56.

Temperature Range

Again consider the worst-case scenario, watch out for maximum and minimum temperature tested and supported. Look for -20°C ÷ +55°C.

Integrated flashing traffic light and reflector kit

These optional modules help especially at night.

Anti-vandalism valve or Anti-panic unit

Most barriers come with safety features that stop forced opening or closing, and the anti-vandalism valve protects the hydraulic system in case the beam is forced. While an anti-panic unit is used for the manual opening of the barrier arm in the event of a power failure. Since an anti-vandalism valve prevents manual/forced movement of the beam, both anti-vandalism and anti-panic units cannot be installed together in a barrier system.


The pedestal is required when you need support for holding the access control device. For truck entry gates you need a dual height pedestal while a single height pedestal is used for car access.

Buyer’s Checklist

You can find a checklist with the most important questions below:

Type Value
Application Is it for commercial or industrial or residential use?
Is it for heavy traffic or low traffic area?
Duty Cycle What is the average usage(open/close cycle) per day?
Arm Length What is the drive-way width?
Arm Articulation What is the height of the installation area or overhead clearance available?
Access Control Is the entry/exit point manned, does the security team need an exit button for the manual opening?
What kind of access control is required to the facility – biometric or remote or ANPR or RFID tag or swipe card based?
Photocells Do you need automatic detection of vehicles to avoid collisions?
Loop detector Do you need to automate vehicle exit?
Shape/Color Do you need customised barriers?
Integrated flashing light Is there a need for integrated flashing light?
Reflector kit Is the reflector kit included in the barrier package?
Anti-vandalism valve Is there a chance of forced operation?
Anti-panic Manual opening in case of power supply failures?
Pedestals What kind of vehicles are managed by the entry/exit point? Trucks or Cars?

Use Cases and Suggested Gate Barriers

For high-frequency and limited space

Buying a barrier gate for under-ground or multistoried car parking lots presents the challenge of limited space and high-frequency usage. Most of these structures need continuous opening and closing of barrier gates. Some of the must-have requirements for these facilities are – 100% duty cycle, arm articulation and easy access control system integration.

Recommended products:

FAAC B680H Hybrid Gate Barrier

The FAAC B680H is a hybrid barrier powered with a hydraulic pump that supports the movement of long or short beams at high speed.

Magnetic Access Pro Barrier

Ideal for parking access Magnetic Access Pro barrier has 3.5m width boom and improved opening and closing time, that can be adjusted to 1.3, 1.8, or 2.5 seconds independently of one another.

Magnetic Parking Pro Barrier

Parking Pro car park barriers from Magnetic is an ideal solution for multi-storey car parks and underground garages and offers 10 million opening and closing cycle

For high frequency wider space

For the installation at traffic junctions and toll gates on highways, there is a requirement for barriers that support the lifting of extended boom lengths. They are required to block access to tunnels and lanes but also to manage traffic junctions with alternating traffic flows. Some of the must-have features you should look for include – 100% duty cycle, Traffic lamp integration, support for extended beam sizes.

Recommended products:

FAAC B680H Hybrid Gate Barrier

The FAAC B680H is a hybrid barrier powered with a hydraulic pump that supports the movement of long or short beams at high speed.

Magnetic Traffic H1 Horizontal Barrier

The Magnetic H1 barrier has multiple applications in roads, tunnels and large production plants and ports etc.

Magnetic Access XXL Barrier

With energy efficiency and durability Magnetic Access XXL barriers are excellent for extra-wide or multi-lane entrances and come with MHTM™ drive capability.

Magnetic Access XL2 Barrier

Barrier width of up to 8.5m, the Access XL2 is ideal for extra-wide or multi-lane entrances and comes with optional security grating or security grating with climb-over prevention.

For long life and energy efficiency

Commercial use barrier gates are used very frequently and require constant energy supply. Two most important features required by the barriers operating in such operational environments are long operational life and energy efficiency.

Recommended products:

FAAC B680H and B614 barriers

The model also delivers energy savings while opening and closing with a SAFE&GREEN certification and offers 20 and 10 million cycles respectively.

Magnetic Access

An innovative MHTM™ drive makes it energy efficient and it offers up to 10 million openings. The barrier gate is closing cycles and is ideal for highly frequented car parks.

B680H foundation diagram details

b680h control board with faac switch-XP20 (1)

Let Stebilex Systems help you

Stebilex Systems provides the best price on parking barriers, vehicle barriers, and gate operators etc in UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt. You can buy Magnetic Access barrier ranges at great prices from us. The popular physical security brands Stebilex Systems distribute, include FAAC, Magnetic, PERCo, Tansa, Armakontrol, and Hormann. Talk to us today.

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