The Fundamentals of Choosing the Right Turnstile for Your Facility

January 10, 2020
Turnstile for Your Facility

One of the topmost priorities of business owners is ensuring the security of their facility and the people using it. Installing turnstiles at the various entry and exit points of the facility is a good way to secure it from unauthorized intrusion.

Different types of turnstiles can be used to facilitate access control. Choosing the right turnstile depends on various factors.

A few types of turnstiles are:

  • Optical
  • Full height
  • Waist-high

A few factors to consider when choosing the right turnstile are:

a) Level of Security Required

The type of business will influence the level of security required. For the medium-security level, a waist-high or optical turnstile will serve the purpose. For a high-level security site, full-height turnstiles or bullet-resistant security portals will be appropriate.

b) Purpose of Installing a Turnstile

You need to figure out the exact need for installing turnstiles. Consider if the turnstile will need to deter access of certain users or simply count the footfalls or do both. In this case, a combination of full height turnstiles and low-level security portals will work well.

c) Available Budget

Analyze the needs and features of turnstiles before finalizing them. This should also include a detailed evaluation of the budget to install the desired turnstile.

d) Compatibility with Existing Access Control Devices

It is important to check if the turnstiles are compatible with the facilities existing access control system. Poor integration with access devices will result in lower throughput and authentication errors.

Check out in-depth the details of different types of turnstiles as well as the pros and cons of each type.

1. Optical Turnstiles

SlimLane EPR swing glass Optical Turnstile with QR Bar Code Reader and Elevator Destination Dispatch Screen
Image Credit:

Optical turnstiles include two cabinets that form a passage lane. They have in-built sensors to detect and track a person passing through them.

These types of turnstiles come with and without motorized barriers. Barrier-free optical turnstiles sense unauthorized passage and hence, can be used to provide passive security or in the presence of a security professional.

Optical turnstiles are ideal for lobbies, multi-tenant buildings, and other public areas where aesthetics are important. These turnstiles facilitate speedy entry and exit of users.


  • Aesthetically appealing for a corporate and upscale environment.
  • It allows bi-directional access control.
  • Includes various types and heights of barriers.
  • Detects tailgating, loitering, and anti-passback.
  • Facilitates ease of access to handicapped


  • Best-suited for indoor use only.
  • Costlier when compared to other alternatives.
  • It provides a lower-level of security in barrier-free options.

2. Full Height Turnstiles

Full Height Turnstiles
Image Credit: Flickr/Automatic Systems

Full height turnstiles include rotating barriers that extend from the bottom to the top of the turnstile. This creates a full-length barrier, which looks like a revolving door. These turnstiles come as a single or a tandem unit. They combine two smaller turnstiles into a smaller footprint.

Full height turnstiles play an important role in providing high-end security to unmanned locations. They are best suited for sensitive locations like military bases, nuclear energy facilities, distribution, and manufacturing warehouses. Full height turnstiles are also suitable for parking lot access and fence line control.


  • Rugged built offers high-end security.
  • Provides bi-directional access control.
  • It can be used in outdoor locations.
  • Reasonable cost.


  • Large in size.
  • Has an obstructive appearance.
  • Needs the inclusion of a door or gate for handicapped users.

3. Waist-High Turnstiles

Waist Height Turnstiles
Image Credit:

Waist-high turnstiles come with a tripod rotating barrier to allow entry. They are sturdy and last for decades even if subjected to extreme use.

Waist-high turnstiles are the best option for public places, like theme parks and stadiums, to regulate heavy crowds. They are also suited for places like lobby areas, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and employee cafeterias. They can also be used to provide employee access and to manage the crowd.


  • It provides a high-level of durability.
  • Offers bi-directional access control.
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Cost-effective.


  • It can be tampered with by climbing over or under the arm.
  • It needs an additional gate or door for handicapped users. 

Wrap Up

Each type of turnstile is unique and meant to serve a particular purpose. Choosing the right turnstile depends hugely on individual requirements and expectations from the turnstiles. Equipped with different features, turnstiles can undoubtedly meet the security concerns of the modern business facilities.