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A Beginner’s Guide To Buying A Gate Barrier

Barrier gate by Astrol Security Singapore

Choosing and purchasing a gate barrier for your home, business, or organisation is a deceptively simple task. After all, a gate is an important protection against unwanted elements and you definitely want a barrier gate that is secure, convenient, safe, and suitable for your intended purpose.

From licence plate detection, card access, to biometric entry, there’s a plethora of options to take your pick from. To make your decision making process easier, we’ve put together a short guide on buying a gate barrier.

Mall Barrier gate by Astrol Security Singapore


The first few questions you need to ask yourself before committing to a barrier gate should be about the intended application. What is this gate for? Who will use it? And who needs to be kept out? Answering these questions will inform the next few steps in the buying process.

Some of the main considerations are whether it’s for residential or commercial purposes and whether it will be installed in high traffic or low traffic areas. As you can imagine, a gate barrier in a busy complex will have very different characteristics as compared to one used in a private estate.

Duty Cycle

It’s important to factor in the frequency of operation for a barrier gate in Singapore. All automatic barriers have moving parts which are prone to wear and tear. Minimising such effects and choosing the right system for an application, can have significant consequences down the road.

The duty cycle of an auto barrier is the number of times it can be operated to open and close without overheating the motor. The two most common categories are 40-70%, intended for less traffic, and 100% duty cycle gates which are primarily for high usage. 

Hydraulic vs Electromechanical

The barrier operator for a gate comes with either an electromechanical motor or a hydraulic motor. Both types of motors have their pros and cons and are suitable for different applications.

Hydraulic motors are usually the motor of choice for heavy-duty, frequent usage barrier gates. They are reliable and faster than electromechanical motors, and they pose a very effective deterrent against errant vehicles trying to tailgate or run through the barrier gate itself.

Electromechanical motors are slower than hydraulic motors but offer a greater degree of control over the speed of the barrier. They are also quieter and easier to maintain. However electromechanical motors require a lot more power than hydraulic motors.

Biometric access by Astrol Security Singapore

Controlling Access

An auto barrier gate isn’t just about keeping people out, it’s also about letting people in. Choosing how you want to control access is another significant decision that has to be made early on.

The options are manifold. Biometrics, key fobs, pincodes and RFID swipe card readers are common forms of access control, as are remote control & receiver systems. 

UHF readers are also an option for barrier gates for vehicles. If you have a security team tasked with determining access, then a switch to exit button puts control in their hands.

Other Safety Features

Barrier gates also need to be safe during operation to minimise harm to people or damage to property. Several tried and tested safety solutions have been developed just for this purpose.

Some gate barriers have anti-crushing sensors in place to reverse the boom arm upon physical impact. This prevents repeated impacts from taking place, but is unable to stop the initial hit. Additional measures such as motion sensors are then required as an extra layer of safety to enable automatic rising to prevent such impacts from taking place at all.

Loop detectors use magnetic fields to determine the presence of vehicles. They can be used to verify if a vehicle has finished driving through the barrier before sending a signal to close the boom arm. This ensures that the arm does not hit the vehicle on the way out.

Buying the right barrier gate can be a daunting process. We’ve barely scratched the surface on the available options and there are still numerous features that can be added on to improve security, or fine-tune access control measures. 

If you’re new to the process, it is recommended that you look to established companies with long track records of providing high quality security services for their expert advice and counsel.

Need help choosing a barrier gate, or require barrier gate repair in Singapore? With 40 years of experience in the field, Astrol Security combines enterprise with trust and integrity to provide you with the highest level of products and services. Contact us today for a non-obligatory discussion of your needs and let us see how we can help you.