Why Cheaper is Not Always Better

You will notice that installers are quoting you on different makes and models of motors, which will tempt you to opt for the cheapest motor that you are quoted on. “What is wrong with the cheapest motor?” you ask. The main problem is that the motors have different strength and performance ratings. Cheaper motor are classified as light duty motors and are only recommended for small light weight gates that do not experience high volumes of traffic each day. In most cases, the life span of cheaper motors is also not nearly as long as the more expensive options as well.

Cheap Motors

You are in the market to buy a new gate motor, or replace an existing motor, and are in the process of shopping around for the best deal or even the cheapest price. You may also find that some installers charge less for their motors and more for labour or other way around. Fair enough, everyone loves a bargain, but basing your choice on the lowest price is usually not the best option.

Motors Recommended for Most Gates

Mid-range gate motors are the better options to use as domestic gate motors – they are normally classified as semi industrial motors. In most cases, these motors have stronger electrical motors than the cheaper priced motors and normally boast additional security features as well. Where light weight motors are mostly rated between 200 kg and 300 kg, the semi industrial motors are rated far higher at 500 kg to 800 kg, depending on the brand and model of motor that is being quoted on.

Bigger and Stronger

There are the industrial gate motors that are rated at 1000 kg and higher – and more in some cases. These motors are much stronger, but many of them do not offer a battery back-up option as a standard feature – it is usually offered as an optional extra at the time of installation on some of the models. These motors will normally only be used in factory and other industrial environments, although it may sometimes be necessary to put a large motor like this on an abnormally heavy gate at a house or townhouse complex.


Before choosing a motor, it is important to know what warranty is offered with the motor, and how well established the company is that is manufacturing the motor. Many cheaper motors only offer a one year warranty period, whereas the slightly more costly motors normally offer a longer warranty than the more budget motors.

Unfortunately there will be some cases that no manufacturer will be willing to honour a warranty, such as in the cases of physical damage, water damage, electrical power surge, lightning strikes and instances where a motor has been installed on a gate that is too heavy for its recommended weight rating.

Gate Wheels

Most of the agents have guidelines regarding the size of the gate wheels that should be used on an automated gate. “What does the size of the wheels matter?” Bigger wheels result in less resistance being experienced when the gate is in motion – this means that the gate will move a lot quicker and easier than if small wheels are used. By fitting bigger wheels on your gate, you can help extend the life of your gate motor significantly. In many cases, a supplier or agent will void your warranties if a site inspection is performed and wheels have been used that are too small.

If your gate motor is not installed by a certified installer, this can also void its warranty. Unfortunately, there are many people performing installations that are not experienced or authorized by the agents to do so. These so-called ‘installers’ will normally perform inferior installations; however, some larger companies have also been known to take shortcuts to make a quick buck. Always ensure that your chosen installer is experienced and authorised.