What Are Turnstiles? 

Turnstiles are a form of physical access security. There are many styles of turnstile but all mimic a one-way gate in some fashion. They are a functioning security system that effectively controls crowds where each person gains access through a token system. 

Types of Turnstiles: Style 

Waist Height Turnstile

Waist height turnstiles include tripod, swing, flap, drop arm, and slide designs. This is a common security turnstile used for the public. 


  • Manage crowd control 
  • Easy public access implementation
  • Durability and reliability
  • Outdoor use


  • Minimal access control functionality
  • Access is not frictionless
  • Causes bottlenecking 

Optical Turnstile 

Optical turnstiles are technologically advanced physical access barriers. They use two cabinets connected by infrared beams to track access. 


  • Aesthetic and quick for users
  • Sleek and option to be frictionless


  • Inside use only 
  • Less secure with frictionless option
  • Not suitable for large crowds

Full Height Turnstile

Full height turnstiles are essentially a larger version of waist height turnstiles. They operate very similarly to a revolving door. The purpose of full height is to eliminate the possibility of getting over the turnstile without authorization. It adds an extra level of security. As such, these are used when that additional security is necessary. 


  • High security and durability


  • Large and bulky
  • Access is not frictionless
  • Causes bottlenecking 

ADA Turnstile Gate

ADA enabled turnstiles adhere to American with Disabilities Act standards. They are a hands free entrance system that allow for unobstructed access through the turnstile.

Benefits of Turnstiles

When considering building operations, it’s important to know when it’s best to use an access control feature as opposed to simply a door or no feature at all. Below are the benefits of a turnstile system: 


Turnstiles increase access security right at the entrance by controlling who is coming gaining entrance at any point. More so, turnstiles customize security functions by controlling how many users have access and when. 


Turnstiles offer one-way access points that act as a security control for entry. This eliminates the possibility of a crowd of people that will overflow a security checkpoint. Turnstiles are also very important at eliminating tailgating, which is when an unauthorized user follows behind an authorized user into the venue. 

Access Integration

Turnstiles can easily integrate access control systems. Access control integration into turnstile entry adds a layer of security for access points. With this integration, access can be targeted for authorized and unauthorized users. 


Unlike doors, security turnstiles give operators increased flexibility when it comes to access control. Turnstiles can function bi-directionally, meaning that they can allow one-way access or in-and-out access. They also give the operator the opportunity to track and have more accountability over who is accessing their facility. 

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