The commonly available automatic access gates for your driveway are excellent for added security and peace of mind with their keypad and telephone access.
That being said they are almost all left behind in terms of convenience when compared to the latest versions that have been brought into the smart phone era with connectivity, apps and deep integrations with other smart home devices.
Smart Gate Benefits
- Create timed or scheduled access codes for your guest or visitors
- Running an Airbnb? Do you really want to have guests from the past to still have access to your gate?
- Use GPS and your phone's Bluetooth to automatically open your gate on arrival.
- No more plugging in the code for your own house while enabling this capability for delivery drivers, etc
- Integrate with your home video security system so that you can view visitors from your phone and determine if you want to open the gate for them or not
- Get a complete access and history log of your gate openings so you can know when certain people have arrived home safe, etc.
- Remote locking and unlocking the gate from anywhere in the world using just your smart phone.
What are the components of a smart gate system?
- Built-in "Smarts"
- Add-on or retrofit "Smarts"
- Power Source (Solar, battery, etc)
- Cellular Connection
- Home Wi-Fi
- Your Smartphone's Bluetooth
- Smart Home Hub Connection (Z-Wave/Zigbee)
- Video Camera Security
- Two-way audio
- Smart Home Hub
- Open / Closed Sensor
- Motion Sensor
What kind of gate do you want to connect?
First off lets make sure we are looking for the right kind of outdoor gate lock.
Outdoor Smart Sliding Security Gates
Driveway access gates are already an expensive item for your home's security. Why not bring it into the 21st century with some technology to help you mange access, keep track of activity and integrate it into your entire home's security system all from the smart phone in your pocket?
Already have a gate installed and just want to add connectivity options?
Below are a few of your choices on the market ranked in general from the easiest to use to some that will require a little more hands on and troubleshooting:
Good For: Those who want nice stand-alone apps, and advanced integration with other smart home controls including Siri/Homekit and Google Assistant.
The WiFi enabled iSmartGate Pro system can control up to 3 separate gates (if you only need 1 go with the Lite version). It operates using weatherproof sensors, optional video cameras and is attached via a few wires to your current gate system (compatibility check here).
The iSmartGate works out of the box with Homekit/Siri and Google Assistant and uses IFTTT for Alexa integration.
Liftmaster/Chamberlain myQ Product Line
Good For: Those who already have a Liftmaster myQ enabled gate and those who are not very handy and don't want to mess with wiring (This just plugs into your home router)
The 828LM gateway device lets you remotely monitor and control your gates from anywhere using your iPhone or Android devices.
It installs directly next to your home router and works with the following Liftmaster Gate Models:
Apps: The device will then use the extremely well reviewed MYQ apps iTunes / Android
Additional Notes: You can control up to 16 myQ devices with this so if you have gates, garage door and lights could be a great fit. Also works with Key by Amazon which lets you authorize deliveries.
Additional Wi-Fi options:
- Gate1 Universal WIFI (Uses X-House app (Android/iOS)
Good For: Good for those with Wink or Z-Wave home hub
If you already own a Z-Wave enabled smart home hub like SmartThings or Wink, adding a Z-Wave relay to your gate could be a quick and cheap way to make your gate smart and integrate it with the rest of your home automation systems.
Example DIY Install with Mighty Mule gate
Additional Z-Wave Relay
Cellular GSM Relay Switch
Connectivity: GSM Cellular
Good For: Good for gates that are located a long distance from Wi-Fi network and those that only need simple open close and phone number control
This budget friendly option is a GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) cellular relay gateway switch that uses just uses telephone numbers (up to 200 at a time) to open and close a gate.
The relay action will return a SMS confirmation to the owner or authorized call in number.
Note: The product is 3.23 x 2.99 x 1.06 inches in size so first make sure you can install this next to your current gate system inside its casing and keep it out of the weather.
Additional 2G/3G opener
- $785 Cell Network Switch
Kiao Time 4G Dry Contact Relay Switch
Connectivity: 4G Cellular
Good For: Good for gates that are located a long distance from Wi-Fi network
This 3G/4G relay switch requires a prepaid 4G SIM card (Works in the USA on AT&T, T-Mobile and doesn't use any call minutes as it doesn't actually answer the calls it just recognizes authorized number, rejects call and turns on switch.
SMS Confirmation: After successful unlocking the relay device will send you an SMS message to show that the gate has been opened.
Also comes with an optional Wi-fi module that lets you do additional programming and use an app on your phone.
Optional keyfob can be added so you can use from inside your house or have on you in your pocket.
New Smart Outdoor Sliding Gates
At the moment if you are looking for a new sliding automatic entry gate with smart technology your best bets are:
myQ enabled gates
The company has announced a new app and their MMS 100 Wireless Connectivity System that can control gates that are installed up to one-half mile from the house. This will be included on the MM572W, MM571W, MM372W and MM371W models. At the moment these models do not seem to be released to public purchase yet.
Smart Outdoor Entry Gates
Do you already have a handle or deadbolt hole?
If you outdoor entry/fence gate is outfitted with either a traditional deadbolt fitting or a hole for a traditional lock handle there are a few options for you.
This commercial focused lock with a retail price of $699 is designed to be weather resistant with its front body weatherproofed (IP56 Tested) and an operating temperature range of -40°F to 150°F.
Additional features include a keypad that can support up to 1000 users and a version with a fingerprint reader.
The base version can be controlled with remote software and there is also a Z-Wave Plus version (added $96 controller required) that can integrate with your smart home hub.
Regular Smart Lock + Exterior Weather Cover
One option is to install a regular smart lock and then use a plastic enclosure to cover it and help keep it out of the weather.
Benefits of this method include using best in class and proven locks from big name brands like August and Schlage as well as much better customer support and quality of smart phone apps, etc.
Downsides of this method is these locks are only designed to be water resistant. If you have severe storms you still risk the chance of breaking your lock.
Note: You should plan on purchasing two of these enclosures for each smart lock as both sides of the door will need to be covered.
Outdoor Metal Entry Smart Gates and Sensors
Are you looking just to have a notification if your outdoor gate is left open?
Here are a few options for outdoor Z-Wave sensor systems.
Z-Wave Magnetic Sensor
This contact sensor combination will allow you to mount and protect your sensors from the weather and give you alerts on when you gate is open via your Z-Wave enabled smart home hub.
Project description with code sample can be found here and links to the product parts are listed below.
Image Credits: Brent Saltzman
Video Camera Integration
Being able to get a real-time visual feed of the activity of your gate is a no-brainer. A wide range of outdoor HD security cameras have come onto the market to do just that.
Some are integrated into a gates intercom system while others are standalone battery or solar powered versions.
Things to look out for in a device is cloud storage details (is there a subscription fee? how long do they save your information?) as well as night vision and two-way audio support.
iSmartGate offers their own indoor and outdoor cameras that integrates directly with the companies gate opener in their app.
Night vision and motion detection and 1 year of free service (After that period subscription is $10 a year)
DoorBird + myQ
DoorBirds offers a range of video intercom systems that also can be mounted next to your door or on a stand for a driveway entry gate.
If you have a myQ enabled gate like mentioned above you can connect your DoorBird to your gate using the DoorBird app. This will let you see who is at your gate and remotely open or give them access.
Tend (Owned by Chamberlain/Liftmaster) + myQ
If you already have a Chamberlain/Liftmaster myQ enabled gate or garage the company has recently acquired and integrated the Tend line of security cameras.
Their entire line integrates into the myQ app so you can check the video and authorize access from one location.
- Two-way audio, HD and night vision
- Free 7 Day cloud storage
- Optional face recognition software
- Solar version available
SmartHub (SmartThings / Wink) + myQ
Using either of the top rated smart home hubs will give you the benefit of integrations with a wide range of the top rated security cameras like Ring, Arlo, etc while also letting you access and control your gate.
- Wink and myQ provide a direct integration
- SmartThings and myQ has a custom app for it
If you are this far down the page than you have a pretty good number of options to get your gate with some connectivity and access directly from your phone.
But what about those situations where you want to give access to someone without a smart phone? Connected keypads enable you to have these codes generated from your smart gate integrated into a complete system.
One of the most promising product lines in the market (outside of some rough app reviews) Cellgate offers a range of LTE (with 3G fallback) connected keypads and video cameras for when you don't have Wi-Fi or your gates are located a long distance from your home.
The products are already packaged with a SIM card and cellular service from AT&T or Verizon and come with a range of features for access and remote control like SMS notifications, timed and scheduled access codes, etc.
Can be installed to work with a large range of gate controllers.
W450: For single family
W460: For multi-tenant
Solar power and RFID and card readers are available as options.
Smart Gate + Doorbell/Keypad + Video Security Camera
Unless you are shelling out for custom installations you might have noticed that there are not many great all-in-one smart gate packages that include everything into a tight knit group that works well together.
We have tried to put together this best options if you are starting from scratch and want a complete smart gate system that works with video, keypads, and sensors.
- Remote location, no Wi-fi connectivity
Ghost Controls/Topens + CellGate
For the ultimate in remote gate monitoring and control we think the combination of solar Ghost Controls gate for a swing gate (or a Topens for a sliding gate) in combination with the cellular and solar powered CellGate product line will get you the furthest.
Swing Gate: Solar Ghost Controls TSS1XP
Sliding Gate: Topens DK1000s
App and Code Control: via CellGate App & Software
Video Camera: Solar CellGate Unify HDC-U330 camera
Keypad: Solar Cellgate Unify CWE-U320 keypad
Battery: You will also need a 12 volt automotive or marine battery
For Swing Gate
For Sliding Gates
Buy from Single Company
- Only want to deal with one app and one company and you have good Wi-Fi connection close to your gate.
myQ from Chamberlain/Liftmaster
In terms of complete systems and integrations your best bet is going to be going with the myQ system. It has a wide range of integrations and its app is one of the top-rated smart home apps available.
Gate Control: Liftmaster LA500PKGU (PDF Overview) Rated for gates up to 18 ft. in length or weighing up to 1,600 lbs.
App and Code Control: via myQ app (Works with Homekit and Google Assistant for voice controls)
Required Gateway: $Approximately $50 - 828LM - This connects your Wi-fi to your myQ enabled gate, lighting, etc
Video Camera: Tend Camera (integrates into myQ app)
Complete Smart Home
- Would you like to have a gate alongside a complete smart home with as much flexibility and future proofing as possible?
SmartThings + Best in class products
If you want to get the best in class products and control them from one location your best bet is with either Wink or SmartThings Z-Wave hub. These popular products allow you to plug and play different connected products into one place where you can control them from one app.
While very user friendly once they are setup, expect to do some additional tinkering with this solution.
Gate: Any (You can add the Z-Wave relay device to most any gate controllers)
Gate Control: Fortrezz MIMOlite (Wireless Z-Wave Multi-Input/Output Dry Contact Bridge)
- You will use the RBoy Virtual Garage Door Device Handler
App and Code Control: SmartThings app and RBoy Apps ($39 - $99 Lifetime license)
Required Gateway: SmartThings Hub
Video Camera: Can use a variety of video cameras Ring Floodlight is top rated, supports two-way audio and integrates with SmartThings
Keypad: Not a great solution here. Your best bet unfortunately is DoorBird and their API which will require some coding or go with a video doorbell solution without a keypad like Ring.
Things to keep in mind
Most of these locks will be battery powered, if you have full power out to your gate you open up a large number of other options. Solar is also becoming increasingly possible to add to these systems so you don't have to dig a new power line.
Connectivity & Distance
Since these are "smart locks" you will need to either have cellular connectivity or make sure that you have good signal strength to your device from Wi-Fi. Adding a Wi-fi repeater might help you reach the extra distance from your home router to the exterior gate.
If you are just looking for a Bluetooth gate lock this just relies on your phone connection and shouldn't be a problem, the downside of Bluetooth only is that you will not be able to lock and monitor your gate if you are away from your home and out of range.
The issue with most smart door locks on the market is they are generally rated to be just water resistant and designed to be waterproof and get soaked or sit in a full rain storm. We have made notes of this where applicable for our list below but something to keep in mind and check the specs for as you find the solution for your home.
Since the lock will be places on an access point to your home or business having video log for security can be a nice feature. Many of these locks can integrate with video security systems so you can have visual verification and logs of all the activity at your gate. If this is important piece of your security start in this section first.
Integration and Connectivity
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