Microchip Cat Doors vs Automatic Pet Doors

The future of pet doors is here! And they come in automatic and microchip options. With so many options for both cats and dogs, it can be hard to pick one! So we have created a guide for Microchip and Automatic pet doors, so you can pick the best kind of door for you and your pet.

In this guide, you’ll read about: 

  • The Big Differences Between Microchip and Automatic Pet Doors
  • How Do They Work?
  • I Have a Cat. What Door Should I Look For?
  • I Have a Dog. What Door Should I Look For?
  • The Best Microchip Pet Door Brands
  • The Best Automatic Pet Door Brands
  • Our Recommendations and Favorite Doors
microchip sureflap pet door

The Big Differences Between Microchip and Automatic Pet Doors

While features vary depending on brand and model, there are commonalities between all microchip and all automatic pet doors. Here we’ll discuss them both. 

Microchip Pet Doors

Microchip pet doors, as the name suggests, utilizes embedded microchip technology, allowing your pet to access the pet door. Some microchip pet doors require an embedded microchip in your pet, while others provide an RFID collar key. However, if you’re looking for an electronic pet door that allows your pets in and out without the need for a collar key, microchip doors are the way to go.

The advantages of microchip doors lies in the security it provides against strays, other pets, and critters like raccoons. They will open to your pet’s unique RFID tag, and only that tag, giving your pet access and keeping everything else out. 

Automatic Pet Doors

Automatic pet doors function in a similar way to microchip pet doors, but without the RFID technology. They often use magnets or other technology to open or unlock the pet door. This usually means the dogs and cats have to wear a collar key or some kind of special collar. 

Unlike the microchip pet doors, there are a wide variety of brands and models for automatic doors, from unlockable manual doors to fully automated pet doors like the High Tech Power Pet Door

high tech power pet automatic pet door

How Do They Work?

Both microchip and automatic pet doors require power to use. They will be powered by a battery or an AC power cord plugged into the wall. In general, smaller doors will be battery operated and use a simple locking mechanism, while bigger doors will be plug-in powered and have more robust automatic functions. 

The various functions of their electronic features differ from brand to brand and model to model, but they almost always have self-locking defaults that only unlock when a pet with the correct microchip or collar key comes within range. This range is usually less than a foot and helps prevent multiple pets from accessing the door while it’s open.

I Have a Cat. What Door Should I Look For?

Cats have the flexibility of choosing between a microchip cat door and an automatic cat door. We recommend basing the decision on a couple of factors.

the cat mate cat flap with electronic locking 

Firstly, consider how comfortable your cat is with a clunky collar. Most automatic pet doors require the use of a collar key. These can be anywhere from one gram and the size of a quarter to much, much larger. If your cat has trouble, we recommend a microchip door, as they require no extra collar keys. 

Tip: Add a small weight (like a 9-volt battery) to your cat’s collar to see how well they move around with it. 

Looking for something else? Take a look at our full selection of electronic dog doors. Check out our full selection of cat doors and electronic cat doors

Secondly, consider what size door your cat would be most comfortable with. While most cats can fit into small places, your cat may be reluctant to do so. Most microchip cat doors will be smaller (around 5 ½” x 5 ½”). 

I Have a Dog. What Door Should I Look For?

Unfortunately, the technology of microchip dog doors has not yet solved the problem of dogs’ microchips. The biggest issue they encounter is the location of the implanted chip, as it is further on the back, rather than on the shoulders, where a cat chip can be found. The pet doors cannot read the chip from that far away, and the door will remain locked. 

Note: A dog can still utilize a microchip pet door if they have on the correct RFID collar key.

Since most manufacturers cannot create a microchip dog door for dogs, we recommend dog owners look into automatic dog doors. They will come in larger sizes and not carry the extra price tag associated with microchip doors. An added bonus is that dogs do not mind wearing larger collars!

The Best Microchip Pet Door Brands

Sure Pet Care, also known as Sureflap, are far and away the best builders of microchip pet doors. With superior electronics, more durable materials, and an aesthetically pleasing design, Sureflap Microchip Pet Doors are the best RFID doors on the market. 

Sureflap micorchip technology in the micochip cat flap

They have a variety of models, but our favorites are the Sureflap Microchip Pet Door and Sureflap Dualscan Cat Flap. The microchip pet door comes with Curfew mode and Raccoon mode, giving you more customizability in your cat’s schedule. The Dualscan Cat Flap allows inside and outside locking, giving you the ability to control your pets coming inside as well and going out. 

The Best Automatic Pet Door Brands

Our best-selling automatic pet door brand is High Tech Pet Products, which makes the High Tech Power Pet Automatic Pet Door. It uses an ultrasonic collar key and has an adjustable range. The High Tech door is a very popular option because it can accommodate large dogs and is fully automatic; no pushing required!

Another great option comes from Petsafe Pet Doors: the Petsafe Electronic Smart Door, an economical choice for cats and small dogs. Like other microchip doors, it uses RFID collar keys to function but does not use a pet’s embedded microchip.

Our Recommendations and Favorite Doors

If you’re looking for the best of the best, the Sureflap Microchip Pet Door takes the crown with its microchip integration, aesthetics, and hands-free ease of use. Once everything is set up, your cats have controlled roam of the house and outdoors! 

If you need a larger door, the High Tech Power Pet Automatic Pet Door is the way to go, with a much larger door size that works for dogs. It also has the benefit of being fully automated. 

Regardless of which microchip pet door or automatic dog door you decide on, you’ll be getting the next generation of pet door technology! 

Not sure if electronic pet doors are for you? Check out our selection of manual pet doors! See our pet door glossary to learn more pet door terminology, manual and electronic alike. 

Nicholas Dockery

Written by

Nicholas Dockery

Copy Editor

Pets: I'm a lover of German Shorthair Pointers and Hound dogs. If they are big and pretend to be lap dogs, I'll fall for them in an instant!
Fun stuff: I've got the hair of a golden retriever!

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