Proper Automatic Door Opener Height - What You Need To Know

Common Handicap Door Opener Activation Buttons

In today's society, automatic door openers, also commonly referred to as, handicap swing door openers are becoming a staple in buildings all across the United States of America. This is for good reason as well. Handicap door openers make pedestrian access so much easier for people with disabilities. However, there are many more pedestrians who benefit from them including the elderly, parents with small children and strollers, and parcel deliveries to name a few. Many manual doors are difficult to open by hand but with an automatic door opener the elderly do not have to worry about opening a heavy glass door. Or maybe the handicap door opener is installed on a popular shopping mall door. Pedestrians who have their hands full with shopping bags or parents pushing strollers find the automatic door opener a life saver. Our point is that handicap door openers can benefit any public building or store. But there is one big thing you can't forget! A handicap door opener is only useful if you know how to activate it. Most of us instantly know what to look for if the door is automated by a handicap door opener. Typically you will see a yellow "Caution Automatic Door Opener" sticker on the door. You will also see a handicap push button switch near the door. The push button switch usually shows a wheelchair symbol with the words "push to open." But did you know there is a specific height that each handicap activation button should be mounted. In this article we are going to go over the proper recommendations for handicap push button actuators.

Low Energy Door Opener With Knowing Act Device

Knowing Act Device...What is it?

The handicap push button is considered a knowing act device. This type of activation device is commonly used on handicap low energy door openers. Typically full energy automatic swing door openers feature motion sensors for activation instead push buttons.  A knowing act device, signifies that the pedestrian knows he or she must press the push button to activate the automatic door opener. The pedestrian is essentially aware of how activate the door opener and understands what to expect when he or she presses the handicap push button.

Typical Low Energy Handicap Door Opener Installation
Anatomy Of A Low Energy Handicap Door Opener Installation

Each Handicap Push Button Should be Within 12 Feet Of The Automatic Door

Mounting the handicap activation button is crucial. After all, you do not want to mount the button to high or to low such that a pedestrian with a disability could not access it. Handicap push buttons are typically mounted on both sides of the door opener, so you can active the automatic door opener from either the inside or outside of the building. Each handicap door activation button should be located anywhere from 1 to 5 feet from the door with handicap door operator. They should not be mounted more than 12 feet from the door. 

The Handicap Activation Button Should Not Be In The Path Of The Door Swing

Another important consideration is that the handicap push button should not be in the path of the swing of the door. In other words, you don't want to mount the handicap push button where the door can swing open and hit you. 

Install The Handicap Switch In A Location With Clear View Of The Door

Both handicap push buttons should be mounted in a location where the pedestrian can clearly see the entire door. Again, remember that the idea of a knowing act device is that the pedestrian has the intent of activating the door when he or she presses the button. If the button is hidden away, or activates some door 50 feet away, it defeats the whole purpose of knowing act.

The Handicap Button Mounting Height Should Be 34"-48" Off The Floor

Both handicap push buttons should be mounted on the wall 34" to 48" off of the floor, or per specific code requirements. Remember, if an individual is disabled or in a wheelchair or scooter, the handicap button needs to be accessible to them. At 34" to 48" the push button is easily accessible anything higher or lower, may make the activation button difficult to reach.

I'm In California...Is It Still The Same?

The short answer is No! California building code requires two handicap push buttons on each side of the door. This means a total of 4 handicap push buttons per door. One handicap push button is designed to be mounted 7"-8" off the floor to the center of the push button, while the other is mounted 44" from the floor. And there is solution is a vertical actuation bar. California allows vertical actuation bars to be installed instead of the 2 handicap buttons as long as the Vertical Actuation Bar is 5" above the floor. BEA, the leading manufacturer in Automatic Door Activation Devices, actually manufactures Vertical Actuation Bars which meet the California requirements. They offer hardwired versions and wireless versions. Click here to learn more about BEA Vertical Actuation Bars.

BEA Veritcal Actuation Bar Used On Automatic Sliding Door

BEA Vertical Actuation Bars


We always recommend to verify with  your local state and building codes, as rules and recommendations are continually revised.  ANSI BHMA, as well as, AAADM are great tools and resources to be up-to-date on the latest codes. Also, automatic door manufacturers and installation manuals will typically list the latest codes for installation. And there you have it! The proper automatic door opener button height. Remember if you have any questions, always consult your local ANSI/BHMA rep. Also, feel free to reach out to us at custsvc@autodoorandhardware.com We are an automatic door dealer and are happy to help. If you are in need of replacement automatic door handicap switches or automatic door opener replacement parts, please visit our website below and shop today!


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