10 Best Solar Gate Openers in 2020 (Review)
The access to your house or property is one of the most important details that you must take into account. Installing an automatic gate will enhance the value of your home.
Most automatic gates depend on electricity to work. Therefore, in the case of a blackout or power outage, your automatic gates will not open.
Today, this problem can get solved thanks to solar energy. By installing the best solar gate openers in 2020, you will be able to gain complete access to your property no matter the conditions of the power grid or the distance to an AC connection.
Here you will find a complete solar gate opener review for the top 10 products of the market with all the details that you need to know about them.
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The Best Solar Gate Openers
1. Ghost Controls TDS2XP Solar Gate Openers
Ghost Controls is one of the American leaders in the design and manufacturing of the gate automation market. What makes them different from other brands is that these gate openers are solar powered and work under DC low voltage in environments where no AC power is available.
The Ghost Controls TDS2XP solar gate openers have been designed especially for dual agricultural or tubular style gates. Moreover, the system features two operator arms, one with a 6’ cable and the second one with a 30’ cable. Also, the gate opener includes two standard 3-button remote transmitters to activate the device.
The solar dual gate opener works independently by using a 10-watt monocrystalline solar panel (without diodes) including its mounting hardware, brackets, and fasteners. This PV module charges a 12V battery (not included) which allows to daily charge the energy storage device.
Multiple optional accessories are available for the Ghost Controls TDS2XP heavy-duty gate opener, such as the ABBT-2 battery box kit (includes two 12V 7Ah batteries) that has been specially designed to avoid potential acid leaks that could damage the electric gate system. A wireless keypad, a 5-button remote and a wired vehicle exit wand can also be added to your purchase.
This solar remote gate opener will work for maximum gate weights up to 900 lbs. and lengths up to 20 feet.
2. Mighty Mule FM500 Solar Gate Openers
The Mighty Mule solar swing gate opener is the perfect solution for those who are looking for an automatic single electric gate opener.
The Mighty Mule FM500 solar gate openers have been designed as heavy-duty solar products with the capacity to open gates up to 850 lbs. and 18 feet long. Moreover, this model suits multiple types of gates such as chain link, panel vinyl, ornament iron or vinyl wood.
The solar gate opener kit includes everything you need to carry on your installation, which requires no electrician or welding to be done. Among some things that are included, you will find that the swing gate opener is built with an ABS housing and cast aluminum brackets coupled with a 10-watt solar panel. This PV module charges a built-in battery backup that allows you to activate your gates in spite of a power blackout.
Additionally, the kit includes an extra-large control board that has been pre-wired to add two batteries and a 120V AC transformer for connection to the grid if it is available. Finally, a single remote control can be used to activate your gates from the distance with a soft start and soft stop feature. Auto-close is also available in 120 seconds and includes obstruction sense technology system to avoid any crash.
3. USAutomatic 020320 Sentry 300 Solar Gate Openers
The USAutomatic 020320 Sentry 300 solar gate openers are the perfect option to open and close your gates.
The Sentry 300 commercial grade gate opener has been designed to be powered by a 12VDC battery that has two charging options. The first option is independent from the power grid as it features a 6-watt solar kit (qualified for 30% federal tax credit) that needs no wiring and includes mounting hardware. Meanwhile, the second option charges the battery using power from the grid through a connection with an AC transformer.
Moreover, the kit includes two LCR dual button remote transmitters that allow you to open your gate from your car. An additional fixed wireless push button can be installed a couple of feet away from the gate to open it.
This solar powered automatic gate opener has a linear actuator that can provide up to 400 lbs. of thrust and a compression rating of 1000lbs.
Regarding open and close times, they are usually around 16 seconds without variations related to the weight of your gate. The automatic Sentry also acts as a solar farm gate opener, as it is suitable up to 20 feet in length
4. Mighty Mule MM560
The Mighty Mule MM560 is another good option from the brand for those who are looking for a single gate opener.
This product features dual sense technology that meets UL325 standards to maximize the protection and safety of every user. Among other things, the solar gate opener has been designed to fit multiple types of gates: chain link, ornamental iron, panel, wood, and vinyl.
Moreover, the Mighty Mule MM560 has been manufactured to open and close heavy duty single swing gates with maximum weight capacities that reach 850 lbs. and is able to handle gates up to 18 feet in length. This product also features soft start and soft stop which increases the gate opener life.
This automatic gate opener kit includes many things such as a single button remote to open your gate from the distance. Also, you can have access to an AC transformer suitable for battery charging, along with a 12V and 7Ah FM150 battery from the brand. The control box is also included in the kit with all the required hardware for the installation.
This is maybe one of the most heavy-duty solar single automatic gate openers of Mighty Mule and has the capability to get the battery (included) charged by a 10W solar panel (FM-123 accessory).
5. Mighty Mule MM360
The Mighty Mule MM360 gate operator has been designed for medium size gates. Therefore, they serve mainly as solar driveway gate openers, also suitable for small farm gates.
Particularly this model features dual sense technology designed to maximize protection for your car. Moreover, this single automatic gate opener has been specifically designed to resist a maximum length gate of 16 feet and also to open gates up to 550 lbs. As you can see, this is a medium-sized gate opener.
On the other hand, a single button remote control is also included as part of the kit. The gate opener is also solar compatible thanks to a 10W solar panel accessory (FM123) or 5-watt PV module (FM121), both of them approved by the brand.
Using these modules and a 12V automotive or marine battery type (not included) with 250 cold cranking amps, you are able to obtain a self-sustainable stand-alone solution that does not need from the grid. This solar powered swing gate opener is able to withstand 145 backup cycles by simply using the transformer and the solar power generated by the modules.
6. E8 400MM Stainless
The E8 400MM stainless heavy-duty solar gate opener has been designed for maximum weight and length withstanding for dual swing gates.
Able to open two leaves up to 26 feet long or weighing 1200lbs in total and installed with a screw driven type system that increases reliability and safety. Moreover, the dual gate opener features an AC/DC configuration for battery backup in the case of power blackouts while also sharing solar compatibility by adding a small size 20-watt PV module.
The gate opener kit includes multiple components such as a receiver with 3 dual button remote transmitters. There is also a unit transformer with 110V/16V output, along with a single 7Ah lead-acid battery model for maximum independence from the power grid.
You will find a control box that includes a simple wiring diagram that can be followed, which makes it easy to install and also two stainless steel linear actuators.
Keep in mind that the E8 dual swing gate opener has been designed for installations on pull-to-open or push-to-open gates and that the product can be used on chain link, farm tube, aluminum and iron gates.
7. Mighty Mule MM260
The Mighty Mule automatic gate opener models MM260 are the perfect residential solar driveway gate openers. Intended for light duty, low size, low weight, and lower price.
The product has been designed for most single gate types such as chain link, tube panel, wood, and vinyl. Moreover, the FM135 single button remote is included as part of the gate opener kit, as well as a control box and hardware installation manuals. The AC transformer RB570 that is included in the kit can also be used to operate the gate using an AC source that powers the control system and that can charge a 12V automotive battery (not included) as well that is able to produce 250 cold cranking amps.
Moreover, the Mighty Mule MM260 model is easy to install (only takes 2-3 hours, designed for DIY) and is solar compatible. By using a 5-watt or 10-watt solar panel model, the gate opener can get solar power and use it to charge the 12V battery as a stand-alone system.
Regarding capacities of these single swing gates, the maximum weight of your gate to fit this model should be 300 lbs. or have a 12 ft. long gate leaf.
8. Mighty Mule MM-SL2000B
Mighty Mule also manufactures sliding gate openers and the MM-SL2000B model is probably one of the best options available to choose for sliding gates.
This package includes all of the components that you need to get the gate opener running using solar energy as a secondary or primary source of power. Among some of the components included, you will find a radio receiver, a pre-installed battery, an entry transmitter, mounting hardware, and also an AC transformer for grid power connection.
Almost all sliding gates (chain link, tubular steel, ornamental and wood) are compatible with this automatic opener. The capacity of this gate opener reaches up to 1,000 pounds in gate weight and 30 feet in length (assuming a 20-ft. opening). Moreover, this equipment has obstruction sensing adjustability and is compatible as well with multiple accessories such as safety loops, intercoms, phone systems, and wands.
The Mighty Mule MM-SL2000B is also solar capable and compatible with 10-watt solar panels from the brand, along with the 24Ah battery kit.
9. Ghost Controls DD2U Dual Kit
The Ghost Controls DD2U dual kit is a remarkable solution from the brand that can be used for opening and closing of dual swing gates.
This solar remote gate opener has a fast mounting system that makes it very easy to install. Moreover, the product has been optimized to fit decorative purposes in swing type or tub swing type gates as well.
Multiple gate lengths and weights can be coupled with this solar dual automatic gate opener, from 5 feet and 1000 lbs. to 20 feet long and 300 lbs. capacity. This makes it suitable for heavy duty purposes.
The Ghost Controls gate opener is also solar capable by simply adding the solar panel kit (sold separately) that can be used to charge a 12V automotive battery (not included) and maximize independence from the grid under power outage scenarios (ABBT2 battery box kit from the brand can also be selected). The brand also offers a lockable battery box that avoids potential lead-acid leaks that could damage the control system. The gate opener also works and charges the battery with an AC source located within 1,000 feet from the control box by using an AC transformer
The gate opener kit includes two AXP1 remote controls, two operator arms, a control box, mounting hardware, gate mounting brackets for decorative purposes, along with an instruction manual for the installation.
Thanks to its performance, quality, and decorative design, the DD2U model from Ghost Controls has received several positive solar gate opener reviews, making it a great option to install at home.
10. Mighty Mule EZGO-Solar
The Mighty Mule Ezgo-Solar automatic swing gate opener has been specifically designed to serve the residential market as a driveway gate opener.
The kit includes a 5W solar panel (FM121) that can daily power a 12V automotive or marine type battery (not included). When fully charged, the battery has 145 backup cycles to keep the solar gate opener active. The swing gate opener is easy to install without the need to hire an electrician and can also be powered by an AC connection.
This Mighty Mule automatic gate operator is designed to open and close gates up to 550 lbs. and 16 feet long. Moreover, the gate opener kit also includes two remote controls (FM135) to activate the gate while you are seated in your car.
The main difference between this and other models form Mighty Mule is that this product already includes the 5W PV module, while the others are solar capable but need to purchase the solar panel separately. A similar product purchase with similar capabilities and features is the Mighty Mule MM360 model.
How to Choose a Solar Gate Opener – 3 Key Features to Look For?
One of the most important features that you must evaluate is the capacity of the solar gate opener.
Each manufacturer establishes boundaries for the safe and correct operation of the linear actuator related mainly to length and weight. The linear actuator has an integrated DC motor that has a maximum torque capacity.
The mechanical torque that this motor is able to provide is limited by its configuration and therefore, exceeding its capacity to open the gate will not allow proper operation.
Solar gate openers are classified as light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty depending on the lengths and weights that they can handle. Compare the specs of your gate related to these factors and make sure that the gate opener that you select has the capacity to handle the length or weight of your gate.
Keep in mind that the capacity usually refers to maximum length OR maximum weight, but not to the combination of them (your gate cannot have the maximum weight and maximum length at the same time). You can also check the chart from Ghost Controls to have a better idea about variations between lengths and weights.
Type of Gate Opener
The second fact that you must look into is the purpose of the gate openers.
Gate opener kits are designed for specific purposes. There are mainly four types of gate openers:
- Single swing gate openers
- Dual swing gate openers
- Single slide gate openers
- Dual slide gate openers
The first two are intended for gates that will require torque to follow a semi-circular shape path to open or close under push or pull modes. The main difference between them is simply related to whether you have installed a single or dual gate.
Meanwhile, a solar sliding gate opener works using mechanisms in which the gate will open in the same direction as it is positioned. Dual or single gate modes are available.
There are additional features related to gate openers that you must also consider to make a decision.
Gate opener kits may be very different from one another, and accessories for each gate may also be very different. While some kits may include batteries, dual or even triple remote controls, others may sell the battery separately and include a single remote.
You can always purchase components separately, but it is often easier to have everything you need within a single kit.
How Many Watts are Required to Power a Solar Dual Gate Opener?
Solar gate openers are composed of two main components: the solar panels and the batteries.
Generally, solar gate openers are sized to be used with 12V and 7Ah batteries. Between these batteries and the solar panel, there is a control system that constantly charges the battery using solar power. Moreover, charging can also be made by using AC power from the grid and an AC transformer that is connected to the control board that switches AC to DC signal for battery charging.
Since most gate openers have AC connection and use solar power in the case of a power outage, then the need for a higher wattage solar panels is not that important. Generally, with a 5-watt or 10-watt solar module, you will be able to keep the battery running and the gate actively working for as long as the power outage lasts.
However, there may be cases in which installing a low voltage cable from the nearest AC power point to the control board may be too expensive. Such is the case for solar powered electric fence chargers which are generally installed on farms or places with little or no access to electricity. In that case, the solar gate would have to work only using DC electricity from the battery and the PV module.
To briefly size the module that you need, you can use the following expression:
When you add the voltage and the energy in Ah of the battery that you have decided to install, then adding the wattage of the modules that you could purchase. The resulting time should be located below 8 hours and ideally below 6 hours to properly keep the gate working on solar energy alone. The same principle applies to other solar products for around the home.
What Type of Gate Opener Should you buy for Swing Gates?
This depends mainly on the number of gate leaves that you have. If you have a single leaf gate, then you will need to purchase a kit that is specifically designed for single swing gates.
On the other hand, if your door gate uses two leaves, then you will need to purchase a dual swing gate opener to fit your purpose.
Moreover, you will also need to make sure that the swing gate that you are selecting fits the length and weight of your own door gate.
One of the best model types that you can select is the Mighty Mule MM560 model. Intended for heavy duty purposes with up to 850 lbs. and 18 feet long capacity, the MM560 is suitable for almost every configuration which makes it the most ideal model that you can use for single gates. Also, the Ghost Controls TDS2XP heavy-duty solar dual gate opener is the best option for those customers who have dual gates.
What Type of Gate Opener Should you buy for Sliding Gates?
Similarly, there are two options for sliding gates. Either you select a solar sliding gate opener under a single mode (most common type) or you can also select a dual slide gate opener (less usual).
Keep in mind that just like swing gate openers, you also have to consider the weight and length capacity of the product.
Generally speaking, slide gates often require more capacity than a similar size swing gate as the traction required for slide gates is often bigger than the torqued needed for swing gates. This makes swing gates more suitable for solar powered products
This is the reason why you will find more solar swing gate openers than solar slide gate openers.
Based on this fact, it is advisable to select just the right size sliding gate opener that you need. The MM-SL2200B dual slide opener is a very good option to consider from Mighty Mule.
How Does a Solar Powered Gate Opener Work?
A solar automatic gate opener kit consists of multiple components that together make it possible to create an automated system for the opening and closing of your gates.
The first important component is the linear actuator. This mechanical and electrical mechanism is designed with an internal DC motor that is powered using DC current. As the electric current reaches the stator of the DC motor and creates a magnetic field, movement is created on the shaft, the rotor increases speeds, and that makes the internal mechanism composed of multiple gears generate the swing movement that the gate needs.
The electrical feed of this component is controlled by another element known as the control board. This element regulates all the sensing technology (working under the same mechanism as a solar motion sensor light), as well as the control mechanism to start and stop the gate opener. Also, the control board administrates the energy flows coming from the solar panels, the battery and the AC feed line to power the DC motor.
Finally, the other two components are the solar panel and the DC battery. The lead-acid battery is generally a 12V 7Ah model that is installed in a battery box to prevent lead acids from damaging the control system. Meanwhile, the PV module is installed in the top side of the gate (not a moving part) to harvest solar energy and produce electricity
Now that you know the basic components, you can understand the process itself.
First, power from the PV module is constantly injected into the control board to charge the battery and reduce consumption from the grid.
A second power source coming from an AC cable installed up to the control board is also used to complement the required energy from the grid to charge the battery and activate the linear actuator when needed.
In the case of a power blackout, the gate opener enters into a stand-alone mode, using only the power provided by the PV module to operate the electric gate
3 Tips to Reduce Damage and Wear Occurring on Your Gate Opener
Keep in mind these few tips whenever you think about doing maintenance to your solar gate opener:
Purchase a battery box
Batteries for these types of applications are generally 12V, automotive lead-acid models. Therefore, you must be careful with the lead acids that may come out from the battery.
After some time, the battery may emit toxic gases that could damage whatever wires or control boards you may have located close to the battery. Manufacturers generally offer a solution to this problem, like the Ghost Controls ABBT2 battery box kit, which is separated from the control board.
If your solar gate configuration does not allow that, keep periodic maintenance to the terminals of the battery and replace it every 4-5 years.
Always keep the solar powered gate opener system clean
The push and pull tubes of the solar automatic gate opener should always be clean and lubricated for maximum performance. Using a soft cloth and silicon spray, you can clean it once every two months.
Moreover, during the winter season, keep control of the amount of snow that accumulates close to the gates. For swing gates, accumulated snow can add an additional torque needed that could demand a higher effort for the DC motor. Therefore, if you keep the path as clear as possible, your system will not have much problem while opening the gate during winter.
Finally, the solar panel is also a crucial thing to be cleaned. Dust, snow, or even bird droppings on the surface of the module can reduce performance drastically. Keep in mind that since these PV modules are small, the effect of soiling over them is much more important than on regular size models. Check the module every once in a while, and keep it clean using a soft cloth and water.
Keep the bugs out
Solar gates will most likely be located in wide opened areas, especially with farm gates.
Snails, slugs, and spider webs can create a moist environment that could damage the circuitry and other electrical components. Keep them out by using insect repellents, and purchase products that can help you keep moisture out of the control box.