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Manual vs automatic bollards – which is best?

There are many types of bollards, but the main decision that business owners need to make is whether to opt for manual or automatic bollards. No business is the same, so the bollard that’s the best fit will differ depending on how busy your area is, the convenience of access required and your maintenance preferences. This blog will evaluate the pros and cons of both manual and automatic bollards, helping you make the most secure decision for your business. 

Automatic bollards

Automatic bollards are electronically operated security barriers designed to control vehicle access. They can be raised or lowered automatically through various access control methods, such as ANPR, keycard access, or via a gate intercom. These bollards are commonly used in applications where convenient and efficient vehicle access control is needed, such as commercial properties, secure facilities, public spaces and residential areas.

Below, we’ll run through both the pros and cons of automatic bollards in order for you to make an informed decision about which type of bollard suit you best. If you would like to delve further into the topic, check out our blog post that discusses the benefits of automatic bollards.  

Pros of automatic bollards

1. Convenience

The automation feature of automatic bollards eliminates the need for physical effort, providing users with a more convenient and seamless experience.

2. Enhanced security

Automatic bollards can be integrated with access control systems, CCTV, and other security measures, offering a higher level of protection against unauthorised access. If you’re looking to integrate access control measures with your automatic bollards, it’s important to also decide which access control system is right for your business.

3. Suitable for high-traffic areas

If your business premises experience frequent vehicle access, automatic bollards can help you to manage traffic in an organised way.

Cons of automatic bollards

1. Higher cost

The advanced automation and electronic components in automatic bollards make them more expensive than manual bollards. It’s up to you to decide whether automatic bollards are the best investment for your business’s security measures.

2. Maintenance requirements 

Automatic bollards may require regular maintenance and technical support to ensure proper functionality. This is just a small price to pay for strong security enhancements, but it’s certainly something to consider. It can help to stick with a trusted security system maintenance company to make things easier and more convenient. Alternatively, take a look at our complete guide to bollard maintenance if you want to be clued up on how to take care of your bollards.

Manual bollards

Manual bollards, such as these telescopic bollards, are traditional security barriers used to control vehicle access. They require physical effort to raise or lower them, typically operated through a key or lock mechanism. Manual bollards offer a cost-effective solution for managing vehicle access in low-traffic areas or situations where infrequent control is needed. They are suitable for various applications, including commercial properties, residential areas, and public spaces. 

So, could manual bollards be the right fit for your business?

Pros of manual bollards

1. Cost-effective

Manual bollards are generally more affordable than their automatic counterparts due to their simpler design and lack of automation. This makes them a good choice for smaller businesses that also don’t face many security issues.

2. Suitable for low-traffic areas

If your business location experiences minimal vehicle traffic, manual bollards can provide a practical and budget-friendly solution. They can also be used to control pedestrian flow in a commercial space by providing clear barriers between vehicle passageways and pedestrian paths.

3. Low maintenance

With fewer moving parts, manual bollards tend to have lower maintenance needs, saving you time and money in the long run. If you have fewer resources to dedicate to security, manual bollards are an affordable and convenient option.

4. Little to no electricity required

Manual parking bollards typically don’t need a power source, meaning they’re cheaper to run. At Expert Security UK, our automatic locking system keeps the barrier fixed in the raised or lowered position, while the padlock gives it extra stability for easier control.

Cons of manual bollards

1. Inconvenience

Manual bollards require physical effort to operate, which might be inconvenient for users who have to manually raise or lower them. The operation of manual bollards is less seamless than automatic bollards and will take longer to grant access to vehicles. That’s why we only recommend manual bollards for businesses in low-traffic areas. 

2. Human error

Unfortunately, manual bollards run the risk of human error, such as forgetting to raise or lower the bollards, which can compromise security. If you opt for manual bollards, be sure to entrust them to the right employees and ensure you maintain a security culture that educated employees about the importance of security. 

3. No integration

One drawback of manual bollards is that you can’t integrate them with your other security systems. Where automatic bollards work alongside CCTV and access control systems, manual bollards lack that automated edge. However, there is always the option of installing a security kiosk near the bollards and having a trusted employee to act as an extra layer of security. 

Should you choose automatic or manual bollards?

Ultimately, the decision between manual and automatic bollards comes down to your specific needs and budget. If you require a cost-effective solution for low-traffic areas, manual bollards might be sufficient for your business. However, if security, convenience, and access control are essential considerations for your business, investing in automatic bollards may be a more appropriate choice.

If you are having trouble deciding between manual and automatic bollards, our team are here to help. Contact us easily and we can advise on the best security systems for your requirements.