When looking at access control options for your gated community, there are a lot of factors to consider. From price to reporting capabilities, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of all of the available options. Here are the 9 most common and proven access control options for your community to check out.

24/7 guard gated

guard gate

The most secure, and most expensive, form of access control is having a guard who controls the gate 24/7. The pros of having a guard at the gate is your community is completely sure of who is in, and you don’t have to worry about people “piggy-backing” their way through the gate. The cons include the increased cost, and there can be a bottleneck at the gate as the guard checks each person in.

Call box

The call box is the most common form of access control and can be combined with many of the other types of access control – clickers, fobs, RFID, apps and more. While it hearkens back to the olden days of land lines and home phone numbers, the call box is still the single most widely used access control option, a familiar, if frustrating, sight in gated communities and apartment buildings across the country.

Smartphone app

access control

One of the newer arrivals to the scene, smartphone apps are a technologically savvy way to manage access control. More affordable than a 24/7 guard, and less hassle than an old-school call box, it’s easy to see why communities are starting to adopt this new option. This is also one of the only options that can allow you to see a log of who opened the gate and when.

rfid reader

From offices to gated communities, RFID readers are another popular form of access control. RFID stands for radio frequency identification, and it works by using electromagnetic fields. This is a very secure option as access requires having the correct ID, which is called credentialed access, but it is also more expensive than using a smartphone app.


Not just for garage doors anymore, now many gated communities are using clickers to access their gates. This is a convenient option that does not require pulling right up next to the call box, scraping your rims on the curb. However, one drawback is many communities require a security deposit and charge high fees if you are unlucky enough to need a replacement. Also, it can be hard to get extra clickers to share with guests and service providers.

license plate reader

You might be familiar with this option in your paid parking garages, but now some gated communities are using license plate readers for access control as well. This feature tends to be more expensive than clickers, RFID readers, and smartphone solutions, so it is more reserved towards communities seeking higher levels of security.


NFC or near field communications is another high-tech option for access control. While more popular as an option for mobile payments, NFC technology is starting to be incorporated into other applications. As people become more and more comfortable with wearable technologies, NFC access control will be more common.

Barcode Scanner

Another crossover from the world of paid parking garages, barcode scanners are another possibility for access control. They have the added convenience of not requiring the resident to do anything other than drive up to the gate, but they also require specialized hardware to be installed.


Once stuck in the realm of Mission Impossible movies, biometrics access control is actually a viable option. It is usually found in high security areas such as private corporations, R&D, or in the government, but for a gated community looking for a high tech solution (with a big budget to match), it’s another available option.

When trying to decide which form of access control is best for your gated community, there are many different options to consider. These 9 proven options should be a good starting point to get your community brainstorming, and let us know if we can help!

Open your gate or building with your phone