Electronic Pet Doors Are Pricey, But Are They Worth It?

Adding a doggie or pet door to make your living space more pet-friendly gives your furry friends the freedom to move around within the home and go outside whenever they feel like it. While pet doors are convenient, they have their downsides like any other home feature, which is why electronic versions came out to optimize them. Automatic doors are much more expensive than vinyl flaps, however, and it can be tricky to decide if they're worth it. All things considered, we think the cons outweigh the pros.

When you have furry friends in the home, it's important to make it as pet friendly as possible so they feel just as comfortable as you. Certain measures like installing a pet door can also make things easier — your pets get freedom of movement, and you don't have to let them in and out all the time. Pet doors are meant to simplify things for everyone, but the automatic doors seem to be more of a hassle than anything else.

How convenient are they?

The main selling points for automatic pet doors are convenience and security. They work by opening after detecting a sensor on your pet's collar, which is very convenient for them. This is also good for security because only pets and animals with recognized sensors can make it through, while everything else stays out. However, there are potential "errors" when it comes to electronic pet doors.

A pet might get stuck or go through too quickly. Because the door is sensor-operated, they might also keep it open just by being in close vicinity to the door, which leaves the home open for other animals to come in. A needlessly open pet door also wastes energy generated by the heat or AC system. Your pet might need to get familiar with the door and how it operates, which can be frustrating for all parties involved and might take some time and training.

The costs involved

Because there's an added layer of automation, electronic pet doors naturally have a higher upfront cost compared to manual doors. At Home Depot, one automatic pet door can cost anywhere from $475 to $2,800. The product as well as the installation cost more financial resources, time, and expertise, especially when subsequent setup is required for additional features such as smart timers. 

How the door affects your home's insulation and responds to exposure to the elements can be another issue. You might run up a higher energy bill, as mentioned before, or need to replace the door earlier than planned if you find that it doesn't hold up to rain or snow. A pet door that requires electricity to operate can be a problem during a power outage. Battery-powered doors also have the downside of needing their batteries replaced. Conversely, manual pet doors don't require much attention beyond the initial installation.