An automatic door’s opening and closing speed are among the most important elements in its user experience. As with all doors, you want your customers or guests to have a simple time using automatic doors. Doors that open and close too quickly may hurt people, particularly the elderly or those with mobility disabilities that slow them down. On the other hand, doors that open and close too slowly allow you to lose conditioned air from the building and may allow animals entry too. If your facility is not open to the general public, then a door that stays open too long may also be a security risk. So, how long should an automatic door stay open?

How Long an Automatic Door Should Stay Open

How long the door should stay open depends on a few factors. First, if you have a low-energy automatic door, it may not have several safety features found on other automatic doors, such as guardrails and motion sensors. Therefore, these doors need to stay open for longer in order to prevent injuries. Typically, these doors need to open, then stay in the open position for 2.3 to 3.2 seconds.

Why the range? Wider doors are longer when open, so a person has to approach slower and walk further to avoid being hit by the door as it closes. The wider the door, the more time it needs to stay open. A door that is 36 inches or less can hold open for only 2 seconds, but a door that is 48 inches wide needs to stay open for 3.2 at a minimum.

On doors that have motion detectors, safety guardrails, and other features, the length of the hold open time may be less important. Instead, it may be more important for the door to open quickly so that those who approach don’t have to slow down and will trigger the motion sensor in time. Then, the door can hold open only as long as the specific individual needs to get through the door.

Situations Where Your Door Should Stay Open Longer

While those are the bare minimum times your door should take to close, there are situations where you might want your automatic door to stay open longer. These include:

  • Slow guests: If your guests or customers are typically sick, disabled, elderly, or disoriented, you may want your doors to stay open longer. Doctor’s offices, hospitals and stores that sell goods for the elderly are all good examples.
  • Long objects: If people frequently need to get long objects through the door, it may be much more convenient if the door simply stays open for longer. A kayak store may want doors that stay open long enough for someone to carry a kayak through. Or, hospitals may want to slow doors down to accommodate stretchers.

What About Other Door Types?

Swinging doors that are equipped with door closers have different rules than automatic doors. They tend to close quickly, and if they close too quickly, the person who opened the door can hurt themselves or a person behind them could get hurt by the impact of the door.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that door closers take at least five seconds to move from the fully open position to fully closed. The pressure inside the door closer determines how long the door takes to close, and a professional can adjust the pressure for you if your door closes too slowly or too quickly.