What Is the Difference Between Electronic, Magnetic, or RFID Smart Pet Doors?

Model Type Timer Raccoon Proof Controls Who Enters Controls Who Exits Key Included Installation Types Door need power
Cat-Mate 360 Microchip or RFID tag No No Yes No No Door, Wall, Glass Yes (battery)
Cat-Mate 363 Magnetic No No Yes No Yes (1 small and 1 large) Door Yes (battery)
Cat-Mate 305 RFID tag Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (2) Door, Wall, Glass Yes (battery)
Cat-Mate 254 Magnetic No No Yes No Yes (2 small) Door Yes (battery)
Ideal E-Cat Magnetic No No Yes No Yes (1 with collar) Door, Sliding Glass Door, Window Yes (battery)
PetSafe Magnetic (discontinued) Magnetic No No Yes No Yes (1 with collar) Door, Wall, Glass No
PetSafe Smart Door RFID No Yes Yes Yes Yes (1) Door or Wall Yes (battery)
High Tech Power Pet Ultrasonic No Yes Yes Yes Yes (1 with collar) Door, Wall, Sliding Glass Door Yes (AC or battery)

Pet doors are more than just a passage; they're a blend of innovation and convenience designed for our furry companions. So, when you're on the hunt for that perfect dog door or cat door—be it for a wall, standard door, or sliding glass installation—knowing the distinctions is crucial. Fortunately, we've got a range of electronic pet door options to cater to every preference.

Smart pet doors sense your pet's collar key, then unlock or, in some cases, raise up to open for the pet. Many different kinds of collar keys can be used to trigger electronic pet doors, including infrared, high pitched sound (ultrasonic), magnetic, RFID chips, and now even the microchip implanted by your vet for extra selective entry.

For pets who are not yet microchipped, most brands will provide RFID collar keys to use in the meantime. Follow the quick guide below to learn about some of the best electronic dog doors and cat doors.

Collar-Activated Technology

Smart pet doors operate on a simple principle: they sense your pet's collar key to provide them selective access through the flap. Depending on your preference, there's an array of collar key types:

1) Infrared/Ultrasonic: Automatic doors like the High Tech Power Pet Door are a solid choice for those living in outage-prone zones.
These doors, compatible with both small and large dogs, rely on your pet's ultrasonic collar key—a tad larger than usual, reminiscent of a shock collar. Powered either via an adapter or a 12-volt battery, these doors are especially convenient during power lapses.
2) Magnetic: Cost-effective and efficient, doors like the Cat-Mate 363 or the PetSafe Magnetic Cat Flap (though it's discontinued) make use of magnetic fields from collar tags. However, they're not without challenges. Magnetic collar keys, especially for dogs, are slightly bulky, and the installation needs precision to ensure consistent activation. While they're friendly on the pocket, don't bank on them being raccoon-proof.
3) RFID & Microchips: RFID dog doors are the future. With weatherproof RFID keys attached to your pet's collar, these doors ensure exclusive entry. The Cat-Mate Elite 305 Microchip Cat Door is a stellar example, designed with energy efficiency in mind. For those wary of collar sensors, microchip doors, triggered by a vet-implanted microchip, offer an elegant solution. They're a godsend for cats notorious for shedding collars or when the wear and tear on electronic pet collars become a frequent issue.

    Flap Dynamics

    Electronic pet doors aren't just about entry mechanisms. The flap system plays an equally pivotal role. You've got motorized flaps, like the High Tech, which auto-lift upon sensing your pet's collar. They're ideal for keeping critters out but might let a sneaky pet trail another. On the flip side, there are manual flaps that require a little nudge from your pet post-unlocking.

    Still mulling over your options? Our extensive selection of pet doors—from an automatic dog door and electronic cat door to a microchip dog door and even the modern smart pet door—offers something for every pet owner. Don't forget to peruse our blog for a goldmine of tips and information.

    Whatever your choice, always remember: every pet door, be it a simple doggy door or an advanced RFID dog door, is a gateway to your pet's freedom. Ensure it's the best!