Frequently Asked Turnstiles Questions

Turnstiles are a basic form of access control. A turnstile is a type of gate that allows only one person to pass through an entrance at a time. The purpose may be to direct the flow of people traffic in a certain way or to restrict access to only those who meet certain criteria- such as credentialed pass holders. Turnstiles are widely used as a first line of security/screening in commercial and government settings.

Access control (AC) is the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource. Integrated software and tools can be used to control access.

An access control system (ACS) is a type of security system that controls who or what is allowed entry into a structure, environment, or facility. An access control system identifies people that have access to an access point based on the validity of their credentials. An ACS usually utilizes credential identification equipment such as card readers and biometric scanners. Access control systems usually consist of multiple individual systems and barriers integrated to work together.

ADA is an acronym that stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Act was passed in 1990 in order to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. In the access control industry, the ADA has set standards on the specifications needed for a gate to be considered handicap accessible. For example, a gate needs to have a lane width of no less than 36 inches to be considered ADA compliant. Access control systems that restrict entry/exit are usually required to be handicap accessible so to allow access to all people.

Electronically operated turnstiles are programmed to do one of two things in the event of power failure or an emergency- lock or unlock. Fail safe turnstiles are made to allow free passage in the event of power loss/emergency by unlocking and are used for most applications. Contrastingly, fail secure turnstiles are made to deny free passage by locking in the event of power loss or emergency. Fail secure turnstiles are implemented in high security venues to minimize risk and protect assets during emergencies.

Optical turnstiles are physical security devices that control access to a building or secure area using infrared sensors to detect people and objects. There are two basic types of optical turnstiles:

Barrier Free Optical Turnstiles do not have a physical barrier, and are perceived by some people as more inviting than turnstiles with a barrier. However, barrier-free optical turnstiles are passive security devices and a nearby attendant should be present so that alarm conditions may be addressed appropriately. System users present access credentials to a reader on the turnstile. If the credential is valid, the turnstile allows a single user to pass through the lane. Unauthorized entry or attempts to “tailgate” behind an authorized user will set off lights and sounds to alert both the user and personnel of an unauthorized entry.

Optical Turnstiles with Barriers present a physical barrier in addition to the audible and visual alerts seen with barrier free optical turnstiles. Motorized barriers are used in conjunction with the optical sensors to present a physical barrier to users until a valid credential is presented. System users present access credentials to a reader installed in the turnstile. If the credential is valid, the barriers open and the turnstile allows a single user to pass through the lane. The barriers may be of glass or metal arms that swing or drop to allow access.

Optical turnstiles exhibit a modern look and a high throughput, so they are perfect for high end lobbies and corporate settings. Since they tend to be less secure than traditional tripod turnstiles, optical turnstiles tend to be used in lower risk areas where security attendants are present to monitor lanes. With style and efficiency, an optical turnstile is perfect for any modern lobby or corporate setting.

More often than not, turnstiles are made to be fail safe. This means that they will automatically unlock in the case of an emergency or power outage. As detailed in OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Part 1910.35, turnstiles and other access control system mechanisms must be programmed to grant “free and unobstructed egress” in the event of an emergency so long as they are the only suitable exit from an area. In other words, there needs to be at least one exit that unlocks during emergencies to allow safe egress. Basically, as long as you choose a fail safe mechanism for your turnstile or gate, you will never be trapped in your building in an emergency. On the other hand, if you do decide to implement a fail secure system that locks when power is cut, you must design your system with other exits and emergency routes to provide free egress in emergencies, else you will be trapped inside your building and going against OSHA regulations.

Unauthorized access is always a concern with access control systems. Whether it be jumping over a turnstile, crawling under a swing gate, or using someone else’s credentials to gain access, attempted unauthorized entry is a risk that one must control for beyond the physical system itself. One of the easiest options to ensure valid access at a security checkpoint is to hire a guard or doorman, which creates a manned lobby setting. By manning the area, a guard can stop people from crawling over or under barriers and can even spot check credentials of specific individuals if they are not recognized. Further, biometric scanners can be implemented at your security checkpoint to ensure that no fraud breaches the line by ensuring people are who they say they are. But, to truly have a secure checkpoint free from risk of breach, one should install full height turnstiles. Full height turnstiles are impassable when locked due to their spanning from floor to ceiling. Coupled with a biometric scanner or doorman, a full height turnstile is the best bet for preventing unauthorized access.

Turnstiles are either considered left handed or right handed depending on how they are made. Handedness of a turnstile is always determined from the perspective of entering a facility from the outside. Handedness of waist high turnstiles is determined in a different way than full height turnstiles, so it is important to understand the distinction. Handedness of a waist high turnstile is determined rather simply- if you are walking into a facility, a turnstile is considered right handed if the cabinet is on your right when walking through and a turnstile is considered left handed if the cabinet is on your left when walking through.

Full height turnstile handedness is determined in a different way, though. To determine the handedness of a full height turnstile, you must notice the direction the arms are spinning and, consequently, on what side you enter the turnstile cage (while still looking from an outside looking in perspective as stated above). A full height turnstile is considered left handed if the arms are spinning clockwise (from a bird’s eye view) upon entrance into a facility, this clockwise rotation will lead you into a cage to the left of the center post where all of the arms are fixed. Conversely, a full height turnstile is considered right handed if the arms are spinning counter clockwise (from a bird’s eye view) upon entrance to a facility, this counter clockwise rotation will lead you into a cage to the right of the center post where all of the arms are fixed.

Our turnstiles are made to order in-house in the United States. We provide the industry’s only turnstiles manufactured to aircraft standards. Our turnstiles are designed and built in an AS9100 certified aircraft-component manufacturing facility that has been family owned and operated for over 40 years.  Orders are sent directly to the shop floor where they are manufactured in adherence with stringent aerospace standards to ensure reliability and longevity. Our turnstiles have been assembled by hand in Milford since the advent of Hayward Turnstiles, Inc., and we take pride in the quality and precision of our products that can only come from a family owned and operated business.

Here at Hayward, we strive to make the buying process as easy as possible. Therefore, we can be reached by email at, by phone at 203-647-9144 (rings to the sales dept.), or through our “CONTACT US TODAY” form on our website. We are always here to help, contact us for expert advice.

Some turnstiles can be made portable. To do so, wheels are retrofitted to the back of a cabinet and an elongating the base plate is installed so that the turnstile can stand alone and roll from location to location. Portable turnstiles are great for temporary crowd control situations like fairs, carnivals, and other events and do not have to be bolted into the ground.

From a business/data analytic standpoint, turnstiles give an accurate and verifiable count of attendance when fitted with admission counters. Therefore, they can inform you of occupancy in real time, total daily occupancy, etc. From a security standpoint, turnstiles lead patrons to enter an area in a single file, orderly fashion. Further turnstiles can be locked when presented with invalid credentials. As seen in the Hayward logo, turnstiles control crowds into more manageable orientations, providing security, peace of mind, and valuable data for analysis.

Our electronic operation turnstiles include an Integrated Power Supply that converts any input from 100-240 volts AC to a lower, more manageable voltage of 24 VDC. Therefore, wherever you are in the world, a Hayward turnstile can be plugged directly into a standard wall outlet and be powered without problem.

Our full height 400 Series turnstile line offers the most protection and security for your facility because they span from floor to ceiling. When locked, these turnstiles are impenetrable barriers made of solid steel. These turnstiles are used in high security entryways that demand impassable barriers, such as prisons and high risk airport terminals.

A card reader is a feature that can be added onto a turnstile after purchase. The job of a card reader is to read credentials and either grant or deny access to an electronically operated turnstile. A card reader communicates with the locking solenoid of a turnstile by “telling” it when to unlock. To do so, a dry contact must be created to cut power to the solenoid, effectively unlocking it. After one full turnstile rotation or a certain programmed inactivity time is reached, the turnstile relocks. Electronically operated Turnstiles from Hayward come ready to be integrated with readers.

A card reader plate is a metal plate where a card reader can be mounted on a full height turnstile. The card reader plate is located at waist height on the turnstile for easy user access. Hayward Turnstiles full height turnstile models come with card reader plates mounted, but DO NOT come with card readers.

An integrator is a person or company that specializes in bringing together component subsystems (such as turnstiles, fire alarm systems, camera systems) into a whole and ensuring that those subsystems function together. Integrators usually buy turnstiles according to their main project needs and install them into their project. Integrators, for example, can take a waist high turnstile and program it in communication with a building’s fire alarm system so that the turnstile unlocks when a fire alarm goes off.

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Single wall turnstiles (ex. LC-100) have one cabinet face exposed, so that the cabinet is not completely boxed in. In these turnstiles, conduits and mounting bolts are exposed. On the other hand, double wall turnstiles (MR-100) are fully enclosed from baseplate to lid. These turnstiles hide wiring and bolts, increasing protection and decreasing the chance of tampering. To further understand this concept, think of double-wall turnstile cabinets as a fully enclosed box. Now, think of a single-wall turnstile as that same box, but with one of its 2 large faces cut out.

Electronically operated turnstiles need to be plugged in to a power source. On the base plate of these turnstiles are conduit openings, which are somewhat small holes that wires can be fed through. Generally, to provide power to a turnstile, installers will feed powered wires under the floor and through a hole that lines up with a turnstiles conduit opening. Then, the wires are fed through the cabinet up to more openings that lead to the mechanism where they can be plugged in. NOTE: Our LC-100 turnstiles are single-walled, meaning a conduit will be exposed when the turnstile is wired, so we provide a pipe from the conduit opening on the baseplate up to the mechanism. All of our other turnstile lines are double-walled, so wiring is hidden from the exterior and a pipe is not needed. Ultimately, it is up to the end user on how the turnstile should be connected to power in relation to their project needs.

Hayward Turnstiles has done business with many different types of companies. Our customers range from amusement parks like Six Flags to high security military bases and even many universities such as Princeton and New York University. Further, Hayward Turnstiles is a Better Business Bureau accredited business with an A+ rating, which shows our dedication to our customers and quality.