Best Solar Powered Gate Opener Reviews of 2018
If your driveway, or farm land, is guarded by a heavy-duty gate, it may be worth it to invest in a solar or automatic gate opener, eliminating the need to get out of the car and physically open it yourself. And while a gate opener may seem like an extremely simple, no-frills device, the truth is that many are modern, cutting-edge devices.
These openers can be electric or battery-powered, as well as solar-powered. Some even have all three. While each offers their own advantages, for this review, we will be focusing solely on solar powered gate openers.
Solar has some advantages over AC power, mainly, that it requires less maintenance and keeps your energy bill as low as possible. Most importantly, however, is that it does not require any kind of power source or hookup near your gate; it relies solely on the power of the sun, and will generally have a battery built-in to charge up and store for when the sun goes down – or as a backup should the power go out. Solar is especially great if your gate is in a remote location, or if you have an exceptionally long driveway.
Most openers, including several on this list, come in DIY kits with all the necessary components and hardware included. They are also generally very easy and quick to setup. So let's dive into our reviews of the best solar powered gate openers in 2018.
Top 5 Rated Models Comparison Table
1. Mighty Mule EZ-Go
16 feet/550 lbs
2. Ghost Controls
3. Sentry 300
20 feet/1000 lbs
4. Mighty Mule MM562
16ft/850lbs per side
5. Mighty Mule MM260
12 ft/300 LBS
5/10 Watt Not Included
Reviews of the Best Solar Powered Gate Openers of 2018
#1. Mighty Mule
The Mighty Mule EZ-GO is a high-quality, easy to use and reliable solar powered gate opener. It is designed to open gates up to 16 feet long, and weighing up to 550 lbs – which should cover most home or ranch gates, and working with ornamental, chain link, tube, panel, vinyl and wood gates. It’s got a 5-watt solar panel, and uses a 12-volt, deep-cycle battery that, when fully charged, can hold up to 1500 back-up cycles – more than enough for any power outage or cloudy weather. The opener – apart from the solar panel – is a one-piece design, which eliminates any need for a separate battery or control box. The battery cable measures 10’ and has a fuse built-in.
The Mighty Mule comes with remote controls to allow opening from within your car. It is very well-reviewed, with users finding it a reliable and convenient device. Some do complain that it is not very easy to set up, and that it does not include all the needed hardware. However, most are very satisfied with it; it’s not the cheapest solar gate charger on our reviews list, but one of the highest-quality and most comprehensive.
Verdict: Best Overall
- High-Quality, Solid Build
- Moves gates up to 16 feet/550 lbs
- Long battery life
- 5-watt solar panel
- Does not include all necessary hardware
#2. Ghost Controls
The Ghost Controls TSS1XP is another solid, all-around excellent solar gate opener, capable of opening gates up to 20 feet in length. It works best with Tube Gates, but works well with any swing type including tubular, decorative, ornamental, chain link, or plantation gates. The included 10w solar panel (literally twice the size of the Mighty Mule EZ-GO) charges up a 12-volt battery, which keeps it powered at night or even extended cloudy weather. Ghost Controls also includes all the hardware needed to mount it in their DIY kit, including their patented brackets built for tube gates and requires no welding or drilling, and no special tools for the installation.
You will need to purchase a 12-volt deep-cycle battery, and is opened with an included remote control that can work as far as 100+ meters from the gate. The Ghost Controls is not a cheap setup, but it is very high-quality; users rate it positively. It is also exceptionally quiet and fast, something they pride themselves on.
- Quiet, Fast
- High Quality, Durable Build
- 10-watt solar panel
#3. Sentry 300
The Sentry 300 is another expensive but very heavy-duty, high-quality solar opener. It can operate gates up to 20 feet long, thanks to the 400 pounds of thrust and has a compression rating of 1000 pounds it carries. It is also powered by a 12-volt battery, which can be charged with both AC power or the included solar charger, and can power it, even for weeks at a time without direct sunlight. This gives you the option to set it up both near a power source, or in a remote location on your land.
Setup is very easy, using universal mounting brackets that work with both push and pull gates, and bolt directly onto almost any gate. It also comes with a Sentry Plug-N-Go wiring harness that eliminates the need for wiring and makes installing very simple.
The Sentry 300 is well-reviewed by users, for delivering the high-quality and easy-to-install solution it advertises. USAutomatic includes a 3-year warranty, and thanks to the solar option, it qualifies for a 30% tax credit on the price of the opener if you live in the United States. It’s definitely one of the more expensive options for a solar-powered gate opener, but is a high-quality, durable and very powerful option.
- Strong, moves gates up to 20 feet
- Universal Mounting Brackets
- Options for both solar and AC power
- 3-year warranty
- Very Expensive
#4. Mighty Mule MM562
The Mighty Mule MM562 is up there as one of the top solar powered gate openers, a dual opener capable of operating dual swing gates up to 18’ in length and up to 850lbs – each leaf. This covers pretty much any gate you could possibly have on your property, whether metal, wood, panel, chain link or heavy-duty ornamental. It’s powered by a 12-watt 7 amp-an-hour battery, with the option of both AC and of course solar power; you can hook it up with both Mighty Mule’s 5-watt and 10-watt solar panels. It’s capable of 185 backup cycles, and can last several days to weeks without direct sunlight with which to charge.
Mighty Mule includes two remote control openers, which can work up to several hundred feet away and from within your car. They also include an 18-month warranty. Some users have complained that the included hardware is not sufficient for proper setup on all gates; there is also quite a bit of work required to connect both opener units with the included cable. It’s also expensive, though not as much as some other models (such as the Sentry 300). But if you’re looking for a heavy-duty opener that can handle anything and have an extremely large gate to open, then this is an excellent choice. This is also the best dual swing gate opener model on our list.
- Up to 850 lbs per side
- Double Opener for double swinging gates
- Works with both 5-watt and 10-watt solar panels
- Does not include all necessary parts for installation
#5. Mighty Mule MM260
The Mighty Mule MM260 is another quality solar powered opener from Mighty Mule, this time smaller, cheaper and less powerful than some of their other options. It is designed for light-duty swing gates, up to 12 feet long, weighing up to 300 lbs and – unlike the MM562 – only for a single leaf. Like the other Mighty Mule openers, it is powered with a 12-volt automotive or marine type battery, which can be bought at any auto store – and produces a minimum of 250 cold cranking amps. It works with both Mighty Mule’s 5-watt and 10-watt solar panels – which are bought separately but integrate seamlessly. It is powered by an included remote control. There is also the option to use an AC transformer and hook it up to a powered system.
The 12-volt battery is capable of holding 77 backup cycles, which should be more than enough for several days of opening and closing in bad weather. The MM260 also comes equipped with Mighty Mule’s Dual Sense Technology, which keeps the gate from automatically closing on people or objects and meets the UL325 6th Edition Standards for safety.
Like other Mighty Mule openers, this one is well-reviewed by users. Some did complain that setup and programming was more confusing and took longer than expected, but the included DVD instructions should help. Also, some have remarked that it opens and closes very slowly, especially for longer gates. Mighty Mule also provides a 12-month warranty.
The MM260 doesn’t have the torque of its larger cousins, but if you have a smaller, lighter gate (under 300lbs) and just need a relatively inexpensive but still reliable solar gate opener, it will get the job done. Of course, adding in the cost of the solar panel may make it more expensive than other options.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Works on gates up to 300lbs
- Up to 77 backup cycles
- Not as powerful as other openers
- Solar panel not included
Things To Consider With a Solar Opener for Gates
When choosing an opener, you’ll want to take a look at a few different things.
Type of Gate
There are two main kinds out there – sliding and swinging. Sliding gates do exactly that – sliding to the side with the wheels on the bottom of the gate. There is usually use a chain on the bottom, which is pulled back and forth to open and close it. If you have a sliding gate, you will need to be sure that the chain on the opener is long enough to operate it properly.
Swinging gates, on the other hand, simply swing open, working with both swing arm operators and ram arms. Swing arms extend onto the gate, while ram arms are located on the posts and use hydraulic pistons to operate and open them. Swing options can come in both one and two-piece gates, so be sure that you choose an appropriate opener for whichever option you have; while purchasing two separate openers may seem like a good idea, it is best to use one double-system, so that both open synchronously with each other.
If it is a heavy gate it will require a lot more power and torque (and electricity) to open, and you will need to be sure that your opener is strong enough to handle it. Openers can generally handle weight anywhere from 400 pounds on the low end, to over 850-900 pounds on the other (such as the Mighty Mule MM562).
Where is your gate be located? Is it at the end of your driveway, near the home, or in a more remote location on your property?
Most gates these days come with remote controls, which can be kept in your car or bag and make opening a breeze. Some come with keypads or card reader, and a few can now be controlled from your smartphone. They can also come with infrared safety devices, as well as solar powered automatic closing to keep your home safe should you forget to close it.
Choosing the right solar-powered gate opener for yourself will depend on a few factors, but mainly the budget you have to work with. If you’re just looking for the single best, heaviest-duty one you can find, the Sentry 300 is a perfect choice, moving gates up to 20 feet long and up to 1000 lbs. The solar charger is even eligible for a 30% tax credit in the US.
For a more budget option, check out the Mighty Mule EZ-GO – the cheapest solar opener system on our list. It doesn’t pack the torque that the Sentry 300 does, but it still strong enough for 16-foot long, 550lb gates. It comes with two remotes, and the package includes all the necessary hardware for setup.
Again it will all come down to whether you need a swinging or sliding solar powered opener. Whatever you do decide to choose we hope our reviews of the best solar powered gate openers in 2018 will make your choice much easier.