Gates can serve many purposes on a farm. They can keep animals out; they can keep animals in; they can keep animals corralled in specific places as they wait to be milked or herded. They can also serve as weather watchdogs that let you know about the conditions outdoors based on how much mud and muck is surrounding their posts.

One thing is certain, however: The purchase of a farm gate shouldn’t be made lightly. You should think about it carefully before you whip out your credit card and make an impulse buy.

If you’re in the market for a farm gate, here are just a few tips for buying something worthwhile. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it should be enough to get you started. Good luck!

1. Mind Your Fence

You’ll want your gate to complement your fence, of course. Make sure that you take all of the necessary measurements and search for all of the right materials. If your gate and fence combination is badly mismatched, it might not open or close properly.

2. Consider Special Features

Some gates are simple, old-fashioned affairs. Others are sleek and modern with all kinds of features that are designed to make your life easier. For example, a farm gate automatic opener will detect when your vehicle is approaching and swing open to permit entry to your car but not any animals loitering nearby. It’s wonderful technology.

3. Think About Price

How much can you afford to spend on a gate? Keep in mind that you’ll also be paying for shipping and product insurance on top of the price of the gate itself. If you can’t erect it yourself, you might also have to fork over a few dollars for an installation technician. Make sure that your budget can accommodate all of these expenses.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as you’re shopping for farm gates. Whether you’d like to buy something small and quaint or huge and impressive, use these tips to ensure that you’re making a smart, well-informed purchase decision.