How To Choose Automatic Door Sensors

Posted by Sara guo on

Many people believe that automatic doors are modern inventions.

Not quite. It’s a surprise for you that automatic doors are around for half a century. Over the years, the technology on automatic doors or gates become sophisticated.  Well, this technological advancement paves the way to the rise of other different sensors responsible for opening or closing a door.

Have you wondered how these doors detect the presence of an individual?  You would think that there’s the magic behind the principle of automatic doors.

No, there’s no magic involved here. Sensors play an important role in why the doors open or close. Most automatic doors or gates have optical and motion sensors that the door’s opening/closing mechanisms. You can see these sensors on either side of the door. Some sensors are mounted on the wall or controlled by a remote.

Automatic door sensors are present in homes and industrial buildings. The commercial establishment has door sensors to allow people (especially the elderly and disabled) have full access to the building.

Let’s say you want to buy an automatic door sensor for your home or office. What sensor would you need?

For you to answer such a question, let’s first get familiar with the different types of automatic doors in the market.

Types of Automatic Door Sensors

Pressure Sensors

If your grandparents told you about the control mats, you might have an idea about this type of sensor. During the 1960s control mats are used to detect approaching pedestrians. The mats can detect pressure or weight on a particular area on the ambles ore back of a door or gate.

How does pressure sensors work?

It’s simple. Once there’s pressure or weight in a specific part of the mat, the door would open. Control mats have set limits that are less than human weight. If a person stands on the mat, the trigger limit or exceeds limit would activate and open the door.

olide smart automatic door carpet pad sensor

Different Needs for Pressure Sensors

People on a building wouldn’t need to touch or open the door to open it. For example, your hands Are full of documents, you only stand on the pressure-sensitive area of the mat, and the door would open.

It’s the same way with seniors and disabled people who wouldn’t experience in entering or exiting a building because of pressure sensors.


Since the door remains open when a person is standing or walking in the mat, the doors would close in on the person.

Motion or Optical Sensors

olidesmart automatic door motion sensor

Like pressure sensors, motion sensors are used to open or close doors in buildings or even homes. But, motion sensors detect for motion in front of a door or gate.

For example, a person walks and stands near the door. Microwave beams in the sensors detect the movement, and the door would open. The beam stems from an antenna that’s installed on the door’s header.

Motion sensors are effective, but here’s a downside. These sensors can only find and detect motion coming from the outside of the door or gate. A person walks slowly or stands on the door wouldn’t be detected.

Let’s take a look at this example:

If a senior citizen manages to enter the door but walks slowly halfway on the entrance, the doors would close. Hence, the senior citizen would get into an accident.

Different Needs for Motion Sensors

Most office and industrial establishments use motion sensors to allow the easy and swift entrance of employees. You can also install motion sensors at home, especially if you have senior relatives living there.

But, take note: possible accidents might happen if the sensors don’t detect motion. It’s best to accompany senior citizens when they enter an automatic door that has motion sensors.

Infrared Sensors

olide smart active infrared sensors

Through the use of infrared technology, infrared sensors trigger a door to open or close. The unique thing about these sensors is that it detects changes in temperature outside the doors. So, when a person approaches a door, the sensors would detect heat coming from the person. Then, the door would open.

Different Needs for Infrared Sensors

Most industrial buildings use infrared sensors due to its reliability and efficiency. These sensors allow office employees to enter an automatic door without touching it. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) face no hassles in entering doors due to infrared sensors. 

If you’re carrying bags and can’t open the door, infrared sensors enable you to enter the building easily.

But, here’s the problem, not all these sensors don’t work 100% efficiently. You have to combine different sensors in a single system so that you or other people can open an automatic door more successfully.

So, the need to use sensor combinations arise.

Sensor Combinations

A single automatic sensor might result in oversight or hiccups on any person who would enter the door. So, different sensor combinations are used to allow people to use doors more efficiently.

Here’s an example:

Motion sensors can detect motions from a person walking or standing near the door. But, what would happen if the person (such as senior citizen) walks slowly?

Yes, you’re right! The motion sensors wouldn’t detect any motion. So, pressure sensors are used to identify the weight of a person. In this way, the doors wouldn’t close in even if the person moves away from the door.

How to Pick the Best Sensor?

Automatic door sensors are all effective, regardless of the style and design of the door. But, some of these sensors have little downside. For example, motion sensors only detect motion coming from a person entering the room. The doors would close in if the person (such as an elderly) saunters to the door.

Meanwhile, infrared sensors only detect body heat from an approaching individual and close the door when the sensors can no longer detect the heat signature.

So, you choose the best sensor, depending on your needs and safety.

For example, pressure sensors are an excellent choice for people entering a building. The doors wouldn’t close in as the person in pressure area near the door. Motion sensors are also the right choice but keep in mind to check on the seniors using the door.

Also, instead of choosing a single sensor, why not use sensor combinations such as motion and pressure sensors to open the door successfully. Your choice would still depend on you!

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