Tripod Turnstiles or Speed Gates: Which Should You Choose?

December 27, 2019
tripod turnstiles or speed gates

Keeping the business secure from trespassers and thieves is the number one priority for most business owners. You don’t want intruders accessing your restricted areas and compromise your sensitive business information or merchandise.

At the same time, it is important to ensure that authorized employees get unhindered access to the building without disrupting the flow, especially during peak hours. That’s where access control systems like tripod turnstiles and speed gates come in handy.

However, both these access control systems come with advantages and disadvantages of their own. You need to choose an access control gate that suits your needs.

Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of both systems.

1. Tripod Turnstile

A tripod turnstile is one of the most commonly used entrance solutions used in areas with high footfall, but relatively less sensitive access control needs. The most common areas of application include passenger terminals, stadiums, main building entrances, and hotel lobbies, among others.

Tripod Turnstiles
Image Credit: Flickr / Automatic Systems

A tripod turnstile is usually waist-high. It consists of a horizontal place tripod. When you use an authorized key card, the tripod rotates, allowing one person to pass through the gate. In some turnstiles, you may have to push the tripod barrier with hand after providing proper identification.


  • 1. It allows only one person to pass through at a time, effectively managing the footfall.
  • 2. You cannot force it open without proper authorization.
  • 3. You can easily customize it with different access control systems such as smart cards, proximity cards (RFID/NFC), key cards, cameras, motion detectors, and biometric scanners.
  • 4. You can track the movement of authorized personnel inside the building precisely.


  • 1. Compared to full height turnstiles, it offers relatively low security as intruders can easily jump over.
  • 2. You will need a separate Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) lane as a standard tripod turnstile is quite narrow.
  • 3. As it allows only one person to pass through, the throughput is relatively low.
  • 4. It comes with several moving parts, making it easily prone to mechanical failure.
  • 5. You can’t connect these turnstiles remotely.

2. Speed Gates

A speed gate usually consists of a single or two movable or retractable gates made from glass or stainless steel frames. The design and operating mechanism cause minimal inconvenience while offering better access control. That’s why it is fast becoming a popular access control system.

Speed Gates
Image Credit: Flickr / Automatic Systems


  • The gate is usually wider and often complying with DDA rules, allowing everyone to pass through easily.
  • As it has a relatively low number of moving parts, it is less prone to mechanical failure.
  • The operating mechanism offers relatively higher throughput, making it suitable for areas with higher footfall.
  • You can use full-height glass doors to offer better security in highly sensitive areas.
  • Speed gates have a relatively long life span compared to tripod turnstiles.
  • You can easily connect them with remote access control systems.


  • It is relatively more expensive compared to tripod turnstiles.
  • Perpetrators can jump over some speed gate designs. So, you may have to use additional security measures.
  • Integrating it with remote access control systems can be an expensive endeavor.


As you can see, neither is better or worse than the other. The choice of an effective access control system will depend on your unique crowd and access management needs. Now that you understand the various advantages and disadvantages associated with tripod turnstiles and speed gates, you can make a well-informed decision.