Automatic vs Manual Barriers – What’s Best for Your Business?

We’re greeted by barriers almost every day.

Arriving at work, parking in a multi-story carpark, sometimes even when popping to the shops, barriers are a core part of our day-to-day experience. 

As a business owner/leader, chances are you’ve opted to have private parking outside your premises. Preventing your private parking from becoming public parking is a key priority, and barriers are the perfect way to control vehicular traffic in and out of your premises.

However, should you use automatic barriers, or will manual barriers suffice? In this blog, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both, helping you to make an informed barrier-based decision. 

Automatic or manual barriers for access management?

Both automatic barriers and manual barriers are sometimes called ‘raise arm barriers’ or ‘boom barriers’. 

They’re used almost exclusively for vehicular access management, often on car parks or site entrances; they are a solution for businesses that want to close off a location, either temporarily or permanently. 

Manual barriers are easy to operate and require zero electricity. They’re great for small parking spaces, or areas where electricity isn’t available. Business owners looking to save money, or protect a temporary parking space often opt to install manual barriers. They’re also regularly used on construction sites that don’t require a permanent barrier solution. 

Automatic barriers are a simple, effective way to manage vehicular traffic. They are generally a little safer than manual barriers as there is less room for human error in their operation. Automatic barriers are equipped with sensors that allow them to open and close automatically (for authorised vehicles, of course!). 

They, of course, require electricity, which means they are more of a permanent fixture. However, the step up in tech allows automatic barriers to also be augmented with smart biometric and cloud technologies to automatically allow authorised personnel access to your premises. 

What barrier is best suited to your parking space?

There are a few considerations you need to make when choosing between automatic and manual barriers. Both are great choices, but you need to make sure that you’re opting for the right tool for the job. 

What to consider when choosing between automatic and manual barriers

You should consider: 

  • Is your barrier solution temporary or long term? As mentioned above, manual barriers often serve as a short-term solution to vehicular access management, while automatic barriers are designed for longer term use. 
  • Do you have the manpower to operate a manual boom? Manual barriers are, as expected, manually operated. This means that you either need a member of staff to operate the barrier, or you rely on drivers to open and close the barrier themselves. An automatic barrier needs no manpower.
  • Do you have the space for a barrier? An automatic barrier takes up slightly more space than a manual barrier, as it requires sensors and other tech to be installed alongside it. If you’re not sure about your space requirements, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts for a free no-obligation chat about your barrier needs. 
  • What are your security requirements? If your main concern is security and ensuring that only authorised personnel have access to your grounds, then an automatic barrier will provide a slightly higher level of security. 
  • What is your budget? Manual barriers are usually cheaper than automatic barriers. If budget is a big concern, we recommend opting for a manual barrier (you can always upgrade later!). 
  • What traffic volume do you expect at your property? High-volume traffic areas benefit far more from automatic barriers, as they better manage lots of traffic coming and going throughout the day. 

The benefits of automatic barriers

  • Convenience – As they are automated, automatic barriers require little-to-no attention from your staff, making them a fantastic option in high-traffic areas where efficiency is key. 
  • Boost security – Automatic barriers come with adjustable security parameters. You may have a low-security car park, where access can be granted with the use of keycards, or you might have higher security requirements, with access being granted by a member of your team through an intercom.  
  • Smart technology – You may choose to equip your automatic barriers with ANPR and facial recognition technologies to automatically allow access to regular visitors. 
  • Operated remotely – Automatic barriers can be controlled from anywhere, which is great if staff are not present at all times, or if it’s inconvenient for them to head down to the barrier. 
  • Durable, reliable builds – Parking Facilities’ high-quality automatic barriers are manufactured using top-of-the-line galvanised steel and are controlled by cutting-edge Feig control boards, meaning they can be relied upon for years and years.
  • Quick and easy to install – Our automatic barriers arrive fully constructed and ready to install, cutting down on installation time and ensuring there is minimal disruption to your premises. 

The benefits of manual barriers

  • Cost effective – Manual barriers, as you might expect, are generally less expensive to buy and install over automatic barriers. 
  • Low maintenance – With no electrical components and fewer moving parts, manual barriers require less maintenance than automatic barriers (although our automatic barriers require very little maintenance as is!). 
  • Simple designs – Manual barriers are easy to operate with little experience. We build our manual barriers specifically so that they’re operable by most people. 
  • Secure locking mechanisms – If you require access during the day, but want to lock your barrier during the night, that’s okay! Manual barriers come with secure locking mechanisms to keep your premises secure at night. 
  • No electricity required – By not needing to be wired in, manual barriers can be used much more flexibly. 
  • Durable – Just like our automatic barriers, our manual barriers are also manufactured using the same galvanised steel, making them incredibly resistant to tampering and the elements. 

Looking to secure your premises with a barrier? Get advice here

At Parking Facilities, we understand that access management and security are high up on the priority list for every organisation. You need to keep your people, their vehicles and your premises safe at all times. 

However, you also need convenient access to your site (you can’t fully wall yourselves in, after all!). 

That’s why, as access management specialists, we provide tailored, impartial advice on the best barriers, gates or turnstiles to meet your needs. We have a broad range of access management products available, and we can connect you with highly experienced, trusted installers to ensure your access management solution is installed swiftly and securely. 

Get in touch with our friendly team today. We’re here to help you navigate the complex world of access management. 

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Automatic vs Manual Barriers – What’s Best for Your Business?

We’re greeted by barriers almost every day. Arriving at work, parking in a multi-story carpark,…

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