Know Your Full Height Turnstile: A Glossary

August 14, 2019
full height turnstile glossary

Organizations that are planning to install full height turnstile gates in their office premises will do well to know and understand the related terminologies. This will enable them to make optimal use of these gates as well as effectively integrate them with their existing security systems.

Here is a glossary that will help you know your full height turnstile better.

Access Control

Access control refers to controlling access to a particular area. Access control systems involve the use of hardware and software, which determine the parameters for allowing or denying entry to an individual. Modern systems also identify users based on their credentials and grant access (or not) only to authorized users.

ADA-Compliant Turnstile

An ADA-compliant turnstile is designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. According to it, the turnstile lane needs to be at least 32 inches wide to comfortably accommodate physically disabled individuals along with their aids.


With respect to turnstiles, bi-directional refers to a gate that can be accessed from two directions, i.e. from entry and exit directions.

Card Reader

A card reader electronically reads the magnetic strip or bar code on a credential-containing card. It signals the corresponding turnstile gate to unlock only when presented with a card with the accurate credentials.

Clockwise Rotation

Depending on the requirement, a full-height turnstile can be programmed to rotate clockwise only, and not counter-clockwise or bi-directionally.


A counter is attached to a turnstile cabinet and integrated with its mechanism plate to count the number or entries, exits or both. Digital counters are extremely effective in admission counting and collecting user data.

Counter-Clockwise Rotation

Depending on the requirement, a full-height turnstile can be programmed to rotate counterclockwise only, and not clockwise or bi-directionally.


Accurate credentials enable users to gain unhindered clearance to pass through an access control system. Credentials are verified with the help of card readers and other forms of identification.

Electronic Control

Electronic control helps turnstiles integrate with third-party access control software.

Fail Safe

Fail Safe allows the turnstile’s arms to unlock and spin freely in case of a power failure or an emergency.

Fail Secure

Fail Secure locks the turnstile’s arms in case of a power failure or an emergency.

Full Height Turnstile

A full height turnstile provides a floor-to-ceiling barrier to unauthorized entry. Its door provides either clockwise, counterclockwise, or bi-directional passage. It is considered the most secure type of turnstile as individuals cannot jump over or crawl under it.

Heel Guard

A heel guard is a padded sleeve enveloping the lowest arms of a full-height turnstile to protect against heel injuries.

Heel Pad

A heel pad is a padded sleeve enveloping the lowest arms of a full-height turnstile to protect against heel injuries.

Impassable Barrier

An impassable barrier is one that cannot be breached. Full height turnstiles act as impassable barriers when locked because they act as floor-to-ceiling barricades.


A passageway, a lane provides entry that is fully controlled.


A full height turnstile is considered left-handed if the arms rotate clockwise and users enter the cage on the left of the center post.

Manual Key Override

A safeguarding feature, it unlocks one or both directions of the passage in the access control system. It is typically used in the event of system failure or emergency.


A full height turnstile is considered right-handed if the arms rotate counterclockwise and users enter the cage on the right upon approaching a facility.

Safety Sleeve

A safety sleeve envelopes the arms of full height turnstiles to provide padding and protection. It adds a soft covering to the surface of the arms to minimize user injury and maximize turnstile utility.


Tailgating, or piggybacking, refers to the act of discreetly following an (usually authorized) user through an open door or other restricted access point without authorization. The follower is held responsible for this as most of the time, the person being followed is unaware that such an act is happening.


Tandem turnstiles combine two full height turnstiles into one unit. This results in the creation of two lanes each. These type of full height turnstiles are great for saving space without compromising security and throughput.


Throughput, or flow, is the number of users that pass through a turnstile within a given period of time.