The following variables should be considered when choosing how a turnstile should function based on your project needs:

How should the turnstile mechanism be configured: Turnstile mechanisms can be configured to act in a number of different ways, so it is crucial to configure your turnstile in conjunction with your specific project needs.

Directionality: First, you should decide whether you need turnstiles that spin in one or both directions. For entrance-only or exit-only access points, single direction mechanisms are suitable. For access points that have both entry and exit traffic, a bidirectional turnstile mechanism is recommended.

Handedness: Once direction is determined, turnstile handedness should be considered. With waist high turnstiles, handedness is defined as the side a turnstile cabinet sits in relation to a person when they enter a facility from the outside. So, if a waist high turnstile is on your left side when you enter a building, that turnstile is left-handed and vice versa. For full height turnstiles, handedness is determined by rotation direction upon entry into a facility. Thus, if you enter a full height turnstile and the arms rotate clockwise (from a bird’s eye view), then you will be guided through the turnstile cage to the left of the center post- this is a left handed full height turnstile. If you enter a full height turnstile and the arms are rotating counter clockwise, you will be guided through the turnstile cage on the right of the center post- this is a right handed full height turnstile.

Locking: With entrance and exit sides established, it is time to decide whether a turnstile should be locked on entry, exit, neither, or both. Any combination of locked and unlocked for entry and exit can be configured for specific project needs. For example, a project may call for credentials to be checked upon entry, while allowing free exit. This situation calls for a locked entry free exit bidirectional turnstile mechanism configuration.

What additional options are needed: There are also many additional options available for turnstiles that should be considered before you buy. Modern technology allows you to retrofit many helpful add-ons to further customize a turnstile to your specific needs.

Admission Counters: Counters utilize switches inside of a turnstile’s mechanism to record the amount of turnstile rotations. These counters can be set up to record the amount of entries, exits, or both, and are a very useful source of admission data. These tamper proof admission counters have large six-digit crystal displays and are powered by a 10-year lithium battery. Since they are battery powered and gain information directly from mechanism movements, counters do not require electronic operation to function. Counters are capable of being reset with a key (optional).

Electronic Operation: This option includes a locking/unlocking solenoid that can be controlled remotely or by readers. This option allows for the use of powered add-ons, like readers and status lights. Because of this option, turnstiles can be locked and unlocked on the fly.

Fail Safe/Fail Secure: If electronic operation is included, a turnstile needs to be configured to act in one of two ways in the event of a power outage or emergency: fail safe or fail secure. Fail safe configurations are designed to unlock in the event of an emergency or power outage to allow safe exit for occupants. In certain high-security situations or in locations with alternate emergency exits, fail secure configurations may be used, which lock a turnstile during power outages and emergencies. Electronically operated turnstiles can be integrated with alarm systems, like fire alarms or full-building security systems, to further aid these configurations.

Readers: Readers are used in conjunction with turnstile electronic locking solenoids. They read information from a card, fob, or other credential containing device to determine if a user should be granted access through a turnstile. If access is granted, the reader unlocks the turnstile and allows a user through. This technology eliminates the need for an attendant by automating the credential checking process. Readers can be installed for one or both directions on electronic operation turnstiles.

Status Lights: These red and green high intensity LEDs provide lane status indication and are mounted onto either turnstile lids or cabinets. These lights can be set up in conjunction with a reader to indicate a turnstile’s status (locked and ready for credential/unlocked and ready for passage). Alternatively, the red light can be used to indicate when a turnstile is out of operation and the green light for when a turnstile is in operation (see Out of Service Lock below).

Out of Service Lock: This option allows attendants to manually place a turnstile out of service using a key lock. With a simple key turn, a turnstile can be locked, allowing for easy control over which lanes are open and when.