Types of Fence Gates and Handles

Plan gate openings in your fence in locations where people, animals, and equipment need easy access to barns, stables, or pastures and can safely and easily pass. Avoid placing gates in the middle of straight stretches of fence.

Wherever possible, keep gate and other openings for livestock or equipment near fence corners close to buildings or other convenient locations. For example, if two pastures are located on opposite sides of a road, place gate openings directly across from each other to allow livestock to travel in a straight line easily from one opening to another.

A variety of gate types are available to meet your fencing needs ranging from more permanent to temporary solutions. In this section, we will discuss the types of gates and electric fence gate handles available to you.


Types of Gates

Open Grates

Open grates are typically used on roads where a fence line crosses as an alternative to gates that need to be opened and closed every time a vehicle passes through. The purpose of this gate type is to prevent livestock from passing along roads and railways which penetrate the fencing surrounding a pasture or large piece of land, while still allowing vehicles to readily pass through. They are most useful in high traffic areas.

Common names used for open grates include cattle guard, cattle grid, stock grid, vehicle pass, Texas gate, and stock gap. Open grates are firmly placed in a depression in the road and are constructed of a transverse grid of bars or tubes, normally metal. Gaps between the bars or tubes are wide to allow an animal's leg to pass through, yet narrow enough to allow wheeled vehicles and humans to pass over. The gaps in the open grates create an effective mental barrier for most livestock. Concrete, virtual, and electrified versions also exist.

It is important to note, these barriers, while commonly very effective, can fail at times due to clever animals who figure out ways to escape.

Permanent Gates

Permanent gates are used where a sturdier, long-term gate is needed. They are commonly constructed of galvanized steel tubing, sometimes incorporating wire mesh, or wood. Spacing of tubing and wire mesh in metal gates will vary with the species being contained. Gates with a narrow spacing between tubes or wire mesh squares at the bottom can be used for hogs, sheep, or goats to prevent them from crawling through. With cattle and horses this is less of a concern. Wood gates are less common and are often homemade.

If installing a permanent gate into an electric fencing system, a 20 KV insulated hook-up wire ran through a plastic or PVC pipe buried approximately 10 inches underground should be used to carry the electrical current under the gate opening. Anything less than 20 KV may leak current with today's high power chargers. Remember to also carry the ground wire across the gate opening as well using the same insulated cable. The ground wire can be buried along with the hot cable. It is important to not staple the insulated wires to the post, but instead use line clamps and connect them to their respective wires on the opposite side to complete the circuit.

A variety of styles of permanent gates are available for purchase at most farm and home building supply stores.


Electric Fencing Gates


Insulated gate handles used in electric fencing consist of two types, plastic and rubber. The unique qualities of each are listed below.

Plastic Gate Handles

  • Standard duty gate handle
  • Insulates against shock
  • Use with all fence wire; for poly rope or tape, converter kits can be purchased
  • Handle floats on a compression spring assembly
  • All tension rests on rugged steel assembly
  • Can be used with high-tensile fencing
  • Insulates against shocks
  • Use with all fence wire; for polyrope or polytape, converter kits can be purchased
  • Rugged and durable
  • Withstands cold and weather
  • Can be used with high-tensile fencing

Rubber Gate Handles

  • Insulates against shocks
  • Use with all fence wire; for poly rope or tape, converter kits can be purchased
  • Rugged and durable
  • Withstands cold and weather
  • Can be used with high-tensile fencing

Expandable (Spring)

Expandable gates, also known as spring gates, consist of the gate handle and a long spring. This allows the gate lines to be stretched tight and maintain that firmness. To open an expandable gate, you simply remove the handle from the post and then, using the gate handle, you pull the spring gate back.

Spring gates do not carry the charge when opened, but they do become electrified when closed again. It is important gate handles for expandable gates are insulated and of high quality so you do not get shocked when opening the gate.

Another benefit to a spring gate is that all the twists in the spring can control power surges like those caused by a lightning strike. The same procedure to carry electric wires under a permanent gate opening are used with expandable spring gate openings as well.

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