Manual vs Electronic Pet Doors: Which One is Right For You?

Welcome to the technical age! Just about everything these days has a better, high tech version of itself, whether it’s connected to wifi, Bluetooth, even your Alexa. But what about pet doors? There are a few recommended smart dog doors that have been making a big splash on the pet door market, but is an electronic dog door right for you and your dog? So in a battle of old versus new, let’s figure out which dog door will be best for you and your pet: manual or electronic? 

Electronic Pet Doors:

Electronic pet doors have a lot of cool features that pet owners love. Many of them are motorized, only unlocking when they detect your dog or cat. These smart dog doors can sense either your pet’s microchip (which, your pet should definitely have), an RFID key attachment, or a magnetic collar key. Doggy doors with sensors often allow you to control not only when your pets can go outside, but which pets as well. Some cats aren’t meant to roam around the outdoors, and it can be a weight off your mind to know your motorized pet door won’t open for a pet that needs to stay inside.

Additionally, electronic pet doors can have automatic locking features that can keep your cat and dog safe at night. Four-way locking systems control whether your pets can go in and out freely, just in, just out, or locked out completely. Some doors, like the Cat Mate Elite Chip & Disc Electronic Pet Door, can either be set to a timer or even have specific settings for different pets. Other doors have RFID or magnetic collar keys that unlock the flap when your pet is near. Cat flaps with timers and automatic locks are also great for keeping raccoons and stray animals out of your house.

Check out a few of our recommended electronic pet doors:

The motorized High Tech pet door that detects collar keys. It can be battery powered.

High Tech Power Pet Automatic Door Mount

The Cat Mate 305 electronic pet door is a cat flap with timer controls and an RFID key

Cat Mate "Elite" 305 Super Selective Electronic Cat Doors

Electronic or microchip dog doors are often the most secure pet doors, but they have a few downsides:

  • Electronic dog doors can be pricey. The average automatic dog door comes with a lot of features that make them a lot cooler than the average manual pet door, and the cost will often be worth it. Electronic pet doors will often also be energy-efficient as well as motorized. 
  • They can be loud. The motorized parts in electronic pet doors are noisy, which can frighten timid pets. Training them to use electronic pet doors will be much harder if they’re scared of the door. 
  • Automatic dog doors need a power source. Some pet doors are battery-powered, which means remembering to buy new batteries or recharging reusable ones. However, if your door needs a wall outlet, you might be limited as to where you can install it. Plus, some doors are not water-proof, so they would need to be installed into interior doors and walls exclusively.

However, automatic dog doors are not the only secure pet door out there. There are plenty of lockable dog doors that aren’t electronic. Pet doors like the Cat Mate 358 use magnets to control their four-way locks. Plus, manual pet doors can be installed anywhere and make less noise than an electronic door.

Manual Pet Doors:

Manual pet doors may not have all the bells and whistles that make electronic pet doors, but if you have a timid pet or are shopping on a budget, then they might be the best option for you and your pet (don't forget to also get a secure pet door closing panel to go with it). Check out these great manual pet doors that get the job done!

The Cat Mate 358 is a manual, secure pet door with a four-way locking system.

Cat Mate 358 Rotary 4 Way Locking Cat Flap

The Cat Mate 234 manual pet door is a non-motorized, secure, lockable pet door.

Cat Mate 234 and 235 Manual Cat Flaps

The Endura Flap pet door is not an electronic pet door and does not require collar keys

Endura Flap Pet Door for Doors

The Ideal Four-Way Locking pet door does not have any sensors or motorized parts.

Ideal 4-Way Locking Cat Door

Mia Daniele

Written by

Mia Daniele

Copy Editor

Pets: I have a fluffy, 14 year old chow-collie mix with red fur named Rosso. He's very stubborn and has the standoffish personality of a cat.
Fun stuff: I am a hot chocolate connoisseur.

Copy Editor

Pets: I have a fluffy, 14 year old chow-collie mix with red fur named Rosso. He's very stubborn and has the standoffish personality of a cat.
Fun stuff: I am a hot chocolate connoisseur.

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