Types Of Handicap Door Handles And Openers

handicap door opener

In 1990, the ADA or American Disabilities Act was passed.

This civil rights law ensured that all Americans with disabilities would not be excluded from living the best life they can. This prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, meaning that they should be able to access public services and go to public places without having to worry about discrimination of any kind.

This means making things accessible to everyone. Sometimes this means installing ramps and lift for those who use wheelchairs and having handicap ADA door openers so those with disabilities won’t have a hard time entering or exiting a place, among other things.

Finding the right handicap door opener for senior citizens and those who have disabilities can be tough, especially with all the types and brands available out there.

If you’ve been having a hard time finding the right one for either your family or for your establishment, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we take a look at a couple of types of ADA door openers, as well as what to look for when buying one for your home or establishment. Read on to learn more.

4 Types Of Handicap Door Opener

There are a couple of types of ADA door openers out there. There are handicap door buttons, door handles, and a couple more types out there. Each of them has its own set of benefits and designed for different uses, in this section, we take a close look at each one to help you figure out the right one for you.

1. Sensor Automatic Door Openers

This is a type of automatic door opener unit that you’ve probably seen around a lot. These aren’t too common in homes but are very common in large establishments such as malls and offices. They are a type of hands-free ADA door opener since they require no pressing of buttons to open.

Typically, these types of doors will use an infrared sensor that can detect the infrared energy emitted by humans. When there is someone in front of a door with this type of sensor, it will automatically detect a difference in the infrared energy and the person in front of the door.

When the energy changes, the sensor will trigger the door to open automatically and close when the energy levels go back to normal.

These are ideal for those who need handicap doors for their establishments as they are very easy to use and relatively easy to install. The downside to this is that they cost a fair amount and take time to set up (you’ll probably need to have it installed for you), which is why they aren’t too common for households.

The door operator, in this case, is the automatic door opener. A swing door operator needs to be slow enough not to hurt anyone. These doors often have an electric strike to alert the components when the door is shut and open.

However, this will make your establishment accessible to everyone and compliant with the ADA.

2. Button Door Opener

This is a type of automatic door unit that you may see both in houses and public places. As the name suggests, you use a button to trigger the door to open and close. Touch automatic doors also exist. These have a wall-mounted switch or panel that you press and open a door. The door then closes automatically. Or press a wireless push button again to close it.

These are relatively simple devices, which is why they are the most common automatic doors in establishments and in households. The button can sometimes be a more modern touch panel. Press the button a signal goes to the device (sometimes through wires, sometimes the device sends the signal wirelessly).

And finally, the door opens.

With proper placement, this type of door will be very easy for those who use wheelchairs, canes, and scooters to operate, however, those with upper extremity disabilities may find themselves having a tough time pressing the button.

3. Remote Door Opener Systems

This handsfree door opener unit is ideal for homes as it is also a relatively simple device to install. However, it isn’t ideal for businesses since a remote opens the door.

This is the same technology a lot of people use for their garage doors. It works when a transmitter (remote) will send a signal to a receiver, and this signal will trigger the door to open or close. It’s another type of automatic door opener for push button ease to enter and leave, without the need to pull it open themselves.

The transmitter could be on a keychain, it could be handheld, or installed on a wheelchair for more convenient use. Great for households since one can have a remote on them at all times to open and close doors, but may not be the best idea for businesses.

4. Handicapped Door Handle

Sometimes, an automatic door may be impractical for some. Manual door openers are often less expensive and easier to install. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. Handicap door handles out there make doors accessible and easy to open for everyone. You’ll find types of handles widely available and found in hardware stores.

These handles don’t require a lot of pinching and twisting of the wrist, as well as not needing that much effort to use. These are usually found in the form of door levers as they are very easy to use for everyone. These types of door handles are great for anyone who can’t exactly get an automatic door opener installed in their home or business.

General Door Opener Considerations

Some things to think about when searching for door openers that’ll suit your residence include:

  • Materials: Stainless steel handles and strikes are common. You’ll also want to look at electric strikes.
  • The door openers themselves: We’ve listed a couple of options including manual and automatic door openers.
  • Quality: You may need a heavy duty door opener, with commercial-grade material, high-quality surface mount
  • ADA compliant: Obviously all of the material and hardware used must be in compliance with the law.
  • Shipping: How long will shipping the equipment take Does that shipping timeline fit into the project?
  • Mounting: What model is the surface mount?
  • Power source: Automatic door openers and systems require power (electricity) to run. You’ll want run this directly into the electricity of the building, including residential houses. Many door openers also have an internal battery. Although, the battery doesn’t power the door all of the time.
  • Features: Check for the available features for each type of door opener you’re looking at.

ADA Guidelines

These guidelines are designed to properly lay out what establishments and businesses need to make themselves accessible to all types of people.

The ADA was designed to give those with disabilities access to establishments on the same level as able-bodied individuals. This has led to regulations in a bunch of different industries including entrances, exits, and door hardware.

This means having automatic doors. Or simply having door handles available for those with certain ailments.

The ADA is the reason there are grab bars, handicap door handles, as well as wheelchair ramps in most establishments. Design everything for access to everyone and keep everything inclusive. After all, everyone deserves to feel free and welcome to enter whatever your home or establishment.


So there is a brief look at the ADA guidelines as well as the types of door handles and door openers that one can use at their home or in their establishment.

So with all that information laid out, the only thing left to do is figure out which type of handle or opener is for you, your family, and/or your business. All of these have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to figure out which one would be best for your situation!