Finding the right gate for your property involves so much more than just choosing the right material or team to install it for you.
Choosing the actual design of your gate will make a huge difference, not only on the actual effectiveness and security capabilities of your new gate system but also on how useful and how effective it is – and how little headache it causes you later down the line.
Most people find the decision between a single or double swing gate to be a bit of a challenge.
Both of these options offer different benefits and drawbacks, both of them are relatively affordable, and both of them can be the right fit for your specific needs.
To help you zero in on the right choice, though, we’ve put together this detailed guide.
We run through the different advantages of both of these design choices, the natural drawbacks of single swing and double swing gates, as well as highlight the number one rule you cannot afford to break no matter which kind of gate you choose to use moving forward.
Get ready to get started?
Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
Single Swing Gates
When you get right down to it, single swing gates are far and away the most popular style gate in the country (and perhaps the most popular style gate anywhere around the world).
These gates have a single swing axis point at one end of the gate or the other, the single hinge that the gate swings on. These gates are generally pretty affordable, usually pretty strong and stable, and are a lot easier to install correctly than double swing gates, too.
Benefits of Single Swing
The first major benefit of a single swing gate is that it is just about as simple as a gate can be.
By having that singular mounting position you eliminate a lot of extra hardware, a lot of extra planning, and a lot of extra installation time that all add to the complexity of double swing systems.
All you have to do to get a single swing into position is pop the hinges onto a gate post, close the gate itself, and then mount the closed and locking hardware on the other post. Then you are off to the races!
These kinds of gates work really well on flat and level land, too, but they also work well with slopes that run perpendicular to the fence line as well as the gate opening area. You’re not going to have to worry about bottoming out issues and you’re not going to have to worry about sticking or swinging problems on these types of installations, either.
Drawbacks of Single Swing
On the flip side of things, though, you are going to need to almost overbuild both of your gate posts and always take advantage of heavily reinforced swing and hinge hardware.
Because there’s only a single hinge point for a gate like this all of the weight of that gate is going to be spread across that connection point. Lightweight, cheap, or flimsy hardware is going to become compromised almost immediately.
On top of that, a poorly installed gate post (especially on the mounting side) will want to bend, twist, and self adjust all on its own. That can cause the gate to get all out of whack – especially with the closing and locking mechanisms on the opposite post.
Finally, a single swing gate is going to require a lot of extra space behind it to swing effortlessly and unobstructed. A 12 foot gate needs 12 feet of space to swing freely, for example.
Double Swing Gates
Double swing gates, on the other hand, are quickly becoming more and more popular – especially with gate installers that have to cover longer spans or that want to use heavier duty materials.
These gates swing apart in the middle and out to both sides, opening up like a pair of French doors. Both sides are hinged, both sides are capable of swinging independently, and the end result is something a lot more aesthetically pleasing and elegant.
Benefits of Double Swing Gates
Straight out of the gate the first big benefit of double swing gate installations is that they don’t require anywhere near as much space behind them to open unobstructed.
The 12 foot gate that required 12 feet of clearance we mentioned above would only require 6 feet of clearance if it was a double swing gate. That’s because the gate itself is split down the middle and only each 6 foot half has to be able to swing open.
On top of that, wider gates can be used with a double swing set up than a single swing.
Because you’re splitting the gate down the middle each hinged half only has to carry half the load.
A 12 foot opening with a single swing is putting all that weight and all that stress on a single hinge system. With a double swing, though, only 6 feet worth of fence is hanging off of each hinge – and that means you can get wider than you would with a single set up.
Drawbacks of Double Swing Gates
Double swings are not without their drawback or downside, though.
First, you’re going to need to double up the amount of mounting hardware you were planning to use with a single swing system.
Secondly, you really need to be careful about how you mount both sides of these gates independent of one another. Not only do they need to move freely all on their own, but they also need to be able to connect with one another and secure in the middle.
Those are a lot more variables that need to be managed than with a single swing.
Finally, if you decide to go with automatic opening double swing gates you’re going to have to add automatic capabilities to both sides as well. That often doubles the expense (double the motors, double the sensors, etc.) and can make a previously affordable project a lot more expensive.
Try and Steer Clear of Outward Swinging Gates
At the end of the day, regardless of the kind of gate that you decide to use moving forward, it’s important that you avoid ever installing outward swinging gates.
Always have your gates – single or double – swing inwards towards your property.
Gates that swing outward are not nearly as safe.
People may not give your gate enough space to open up, pedestrians may not be prepared for a gate to swing out in front of them, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Keep those gates swinging in no matter what and you’ll be good to go!