Electronic, Magnetic, RFID, or Microchip?

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'Electronic' pet doors sense a collar key, then unlock or in some cases raise up to open for the pet.  A number of different kinds of collar keys have been used to trigger electronic pet doors including infra-red, high pitched sound (ultrasonic), magnets, RFID chips, and now even the microchip implanted by your vet!

Pet Doors using Magnetic Keys are generally the most cost effective, but are often not raccoon proof.In the case of the magnet type, the pet door senses the magnetic field to activate.  There are types such as the PetSafe Magnetic Cat Flap that do not require battery power and run off multi-magnets.  While others like the Cat-Mate 363 require a 9-volt battery for operation.  Doors that require a magnetic collar key can be a little tricky in regards to installation.  Magnetic doors are generally the most cost effective, however they are not considered raccoon proof.  These doors do require the collar key to pass very close to the bottom of the pet door framing in order to trigger the latch, so it needs to be installed in such a way that when the pet passes through it gets close enough.  If it is not installed correctly, the door will not trigger consistently.

An infra-red of ultrasonic transmitter operated petdoor is a great choice in areas that are prone to outages.We also offer infra-red or ultrasonic transmitter operated pet doors, and a good example of this would be the High Tech Power Pet Door.  These collar keys tend to be a little larger than the others and require a small battery, the same type used in a watch.  They also have to have some type of power to the door itself either through an adapter or 12 volt battery.  If you live in an area prone to outages we would recommend going with a battery operation so that the pet door will still operate normally.   

Radio frequency identification keys are waterproof and most often do not require batteries.There are quite a few offered that use an RFID (radio frequency identification) key.  RFID keys are waterproof and most don't require a battery, however the doors themselves will need batteries or a wall outlet.  Most of these are for cats and small dogs, like the Cat-Mate Elite. However, there is the PlexiDor Electronic which is the largest and one of the most reliable dog doors out there.

The newest on the market are the Microchip Doors that can be triggered by the implanted chip.  They are a great choice if you have a cat that just will not keep a collar on.  Our most popular brand is manufactured by SureFlap .  These doors do require battery power, and have some limited options available as the largest flap dimension is 7"w by 7"h.  The microchip doors we offer will work with all the more commonly used chips in North America.  If you need us to make sure that yours will be compatible just contact us with the chip number and we can verify that for you.     

In addition to types of keys there are also two types of flaps, motorized and ones they have to push through.  The PlexiDor and High Tech are motorized and control both ways, so they are a good choice if you need to keep out critters like raccoons, but are not the best choice for keeping certain pets in while letting other pets out.  Since the flaps open for them, there is a lead time before they close which gives a good opportunity for one pet to just follow the other out.  Motorized doors are also a great option for training pets that are timid and would not normally want to push through a flap.   

Electronic, Infra-Red, Magnetic and RFID Summary


ModelTypeTimerRaccoon ProofControls Who EntersControls Who ExitsKey IncludedInstallation TypesKey needs batteryDoor need power
SureFlap Cat DoorMicrochip or RFID tagNoNoYesNoNoDoor, Wall, GlassNoYes (battery)
SureFlap Pet DoorMicrochip or RFID tagYesYesYesNoYes (1)Door, Wall, Glass, Sliding Glass Door, WindowNoYes (battery)
SureFlap Dual ScanMicrochip or RFID tagNoNoYesYesNoDoor, Wall, GlassNoYes (battery)
Cat-Mate 360Microchip or RFID tagNoNoYesNoNoDoor, Wall, GlassNoYes (battery)
Cat-Mate 359N/AYesNoNoNoN/ADoor, Wall, GlassNoYes (battery)
Cat-Mate 363MagneticNoNoYesNoYes (1 small and 1 large)DoorNoYes (battery)
Cat-Mate 305RFID tagYesYesYesYesYes (2)Door, Wall, GlassNoYes (battery)
Cat-Mate 254MagneticNoNoYesNoYes (2 small)DoorNoYes (battery)
Ideal E-CatMagneticNoNoYesNoYes (1 with collar)Door, Sliding Glass Door, WindowNoYes (battery)
PetSafe MagneticMagneticNoNoYesNoYes (1 with collar)Door, Wall, GlassNoNo
PetSafe Smart DoorRFIDNoYesYesYesYes (1)Door or WallYesYes (battery)
High Tech Power PetUltrasonicNoYesYesYesYes (1 with collar)Door, Wall, Sliding Glass DoorYesYes (AC or battery)
Plexidor ElectronicRFIDNoYesYesYesYes (1)Door or WallNoYes (AC)