Different Types of Turnstiles

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Security has always been an important interest for human civilization. People utilise security gates to prevent intruders from their valuables. One of the common types of security gates is turnstiles.

Turnstiles are built to let only one person gain entrance through the gate at a time. This is why turnstiles have been seen to be very effective in securing several high-risk buildings such as military bases, banks, government buildings, hotels, and prisons.

However, turnstiles are not all the same. They are of different types. If you are considering the installation of a turnstile gate, you will need the type that best suits your security objectives.

There are different types of turnstiles, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. The type of turnstile that is best for your needs will depend on the security objectives of your facility.

The most common types of turnstiles are:

– Sliding barrier turnstiles

– Waist-high turnstiles

– Tripod turnstiles

– Optical barrier turnstiles

– Swing barrier turnstiles


1. Sliding Barrier Turnstiles

These are waist-high turnstiles that have sliding flaps pushed back into the sliding area. The working principle and smooth design make these turnstiles a good fit for indoor aesthetics for lobbies and hotels.

Depending on the type, there might be an anti-tailgating function. Though, people may be able to jump or pass items over these types of turnstiles. But they can be used to design an access control system that is wheelchair-friendly.


#2. Waist-High Turnstiles

As the term indicates, the length of types of turnstiles is waist-high. They are also known as half-height turnstiles. Usually, for you to open or pass the barrier, you would need to use a bar-coded ticket or an electronic key.

These turnstiles can enable you to create a multi-lane access control system to regulate pedestrian traffic in private and public places. Waist-high turnstiles can be divided into various types. It depends on the barrier technology used.


#3. Tripod Turnstiles

Tripod turnstiles are the combination of an optical sensor and a tripod barrier. As the name suggests, they normally have triple (tripod) arm barriers. But they may also come in single and double-arm barriers. The arm lowers into recesses in the cabinet when an authorized entry is sensed.

The tripod barrier rotates vertically and allows a person to pass at a time. They are usually found at bus terminals, train stations, public parking lots, and airports.


#4. Optical Barrier Turnstiles

The optical barrier turnstiles make use of infrared beams to prevent unauthorized access. The system sets off an alarm if it detects an unauthorised entry. And this will prompt the security personnel to come in.

These turnstiles are often seen in places where the use of physical barriers is considered unnecessary or unaesthetic. Such places include hotel lobbies, office buildings, sports stadiums, and other places.


#5. Swing Barrier Turnstiles

The swing barrier turnstiles are half-height turnstiles that have optical sensors. The swing barriers are made from top-quality toughened glass or stainless steel. These turnstiles can be integrated into access management systems and also ticketing systems.

When a valid entry pass is detected by the optical sensors, the barriers open, allowing the person to pass.


Access Control & Turnstiles

The main purpose of turnstiles is to control pedestrian traffic and regulate the flow of people in and out of an area. Turnstiles are often used in conjunction with access control systems to further enhance security.

Access control systems restrict entry into a building or area to authorized personnel only. An access control system typically consists of three components:

– A reader that verifies the credentials of the person seeking entry

– A controller that grants or denies access based on the information from the reader

– An actuator that opens or closes the door or barrier

Turnstiles can be used with various types of access control systems, such as keycard systems, biometric systems, and badge reader systems.


How To Decide Which Turnstile Is Right For You?

When choosing a turnstile for your facility, it is important to consider the security objectives of your facility and the type of access control system that you will be using. There are many different types of turnstiles to choose from, each with its own set of features and benefits.

– High-security turnstiles are typically used in places where security is of the utmost importance, such as airports and government buildings.

– Low-security turnstiles are typically used in places where security is less of a concern, such as office buildings and retail stores.

– Wheelchair-accessible turnstiles are designed to provide easy access for wheelchair users and can be used in both high-security and low-security applications.



As we’ve seen, there are several types of turnstiles. Each of them has unique features. You can select the one that best fits your budget and security goals. Hopefully, this knowledge about these types of turnstiles will help you make an informed decision on the type of turnstile to buy.