SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Review

Our Verdict:

The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door was spawned from the incredibly popular SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap, the cat flap that has topped the pet door sales charts for years. A lot of people send in emails asking what the differences are between the Sureflap Microchip Pet Door and the Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap. Surely the only difference is in size, right? Wrong!

As well as being larger, the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door is a much upgraded version of it’s older sister model. The differences include:

  • Size (obviously)
  • Control Panel
  • Batteries
  • No manual 4-way lock (replaced by digital control)
  • Curfew mode

The short story is, this is the best pet door/ cat flap on the market by some margin. Make sure you purchase it from this store as it’s much cheaper than SureFlap’s own website.

Our SureFlap Microchip Pet Door review continues below.

Appearance
Fitting
Power Supply
Ease Of Use
Price

Appearance & Fitting

The good news is that while the unit has expanded to allow for a larger animal to fit, the sleekness of the design has not been lost. In fact this version looks even better thanks to SureFlap getting rid of the manual 4-way lock (more on that later). The white plastic of the SureFlap models been proven to resist staining well over time.

You can also get the pet door in brown, which doesn’t look as tacky as you’d expect (see pictures here). For some wooden doors this colour would certainly blend in better than the white version. You’d expect it to resist staining much better than the white version too.

The opening is 178mm wide x 170mm high versus 142mm x 120mm for the cat flap version, so it’s large enough for small dog breeds, such as Jack Russells, Minature Dachshunds and smaller Terriers. It’s the perfect size for the large cat breeds too, e.g. Maine Coons, Ragdolls and Bengals. If you’re concerned whether your pet will fit, just cut a 178mm x 170mm hole in a piece of cardboard and see if you can coax your pet through it. SureFlap also say that the animal’s belly must not be greater than 518mm at its widest point.

Unfortunately the pet door will not fit into an existing hole for a cat flap, as it requires a hole of 207mm wide by 234mm high (versus 170mm x 170mm), but extending an original hole is generally easier than cutting a new one. There are easy to follow fitting instructions included in the box. Thankfully because SureFlap is stocked so widely, sourcing the glass mounting adaptor or tunnel extenders isn’t difficult.

Power Supply

This model takes four C-cell batteries, whereas the smaller competitors take four AAs. So it’s more expensive to power initially, although these batteries are supposed to last much longer than the batteries on the cat flap version. We haven’t had this model long enough to comment on the battery life, but SureFlap suggest that the batteries should last well beyond a year.

Interestingly, you can also use rechargeable batteries with this model. We discuss how to do this later in this article.

The batteries are also loaded differently. Two C-cell batteries are fitted in compartments either side of the pet door, because the space at the top is taken by the LCD screen for the control panel.

You can check the current battery level at any time as it’s shown on the LCD display. There’s also a red indicator light that illuminates when the battery is low.

Ease Of Use

SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Control PanelOK, so I’ve been dying to talk about the unique control panel of the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door. Working in conjunction with the easy to read LCD display it really feels like SureFlap has advanced the technology behind pet doors even further. Moving from left to right, the button with the two arrows replaces the manual 4-way lock. So you can select open both ways, closed both ways, in only and out only. The arrows on the LCD display clearly show you what has been selected.

The next three buttons control the so-called ‘curfew mode’. The first button with the clock icon above it sets the current time. The next button sets the lock time. This is the time when the pet door will stop letting your pets go outside, but of course it will still let them in (provided their microchip is it its database). The next button sets the time that the pet door will allow your pets to go back outside.

The last button with the cat icon is the memory button. When you press this button the scanner will search for nearby microchips and the LCD display will flash as it is doing so. Coax your pet into the door with some treats and the unit should read and store your pets unique microchip ID, which you’ll know because the LCD display will stop flashing and you’ll also hear the lock move.

Sureflap microchip pet door lcd displayThe only button that I haven’t mentioned is the custom function button, which reads ‘Fn’ above it. The pet door comes with six custom modes to deal with special situations like if you have a very timid animal that needs more time to come through the door. The most notable function lowers the voltage drawn from the batteries, which allows you to use rechargeable batteries in the pet door.

Moving on from the control panel, the microchip database of the pet door can store up to 32 animals, which can be wiped if you eventually require the space. You also get an impressive 3-year warranty.

SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Review – Concluding Thoughts & Price

This is the best pet door on the market, both for cats as well as dogs. The control panel is unique to this model and the curfew mode is very useful. Due to this, even if you have a cat that can fit through a normal sized flap, it may still be worth considering this model.

This is the most expensive pet door on the market, but we’d expect that given all of the extra features. Ignore the RRP and don’t pay it, it’s seemingly permanently on sale at this store, and for that price we’d not hesitate to highly recommend this model.

Ferplast Swing Microchip Cat Flap Review

The Ferplast Swing Microchip Cat Flap joins Cat Mate in trying to challenge Sureflap’s dominance over the microchip cat flap market. Ferplast are best known for producing accessories for hamsters and other small animals, so they don’t have a lot of pedigree in the market. It’s not cheap either — although it’s almost permanently on sale here. In our Ferplast Swing Microchip Cat Flap review we’ll discover if it’s worth buying over the other two models mentioned.

Ferplast Swing Microchip Cat Flap Review

Scroll down for our Ferplast Swing Microchip Cat Flap review


Our Verdict:

Positives:

  • Unique ‘wind-stopper system’
  • Patented in/out indicator
  • Battery powered
  • Memory for up to 32 cats
  • 4-way lock
  • Includes a microchip collar
Negatives:

  • Only a 1-year warranty
  • Only reads 15-digit microchips (but this is by far and away the most common type)
  • Looks bulky and not very attractive
  • Requires six AA batteries
  • Memory button is exposed and easily knocked
Appearance
Fitting
Power Supply
Ease Of Use
Price

Appearance

This is a slightly harsh assessment, but in our opinion the Ferplast looks like a cat flap they’d use in ‘Back to the Future’ or some other 1980s sci-fi film. The tacky font, silver trim and bulky shape look like they could be taken from an ’80s robot.

Brown Ferplast Microchip Cat FlapIf you’d prefer the cat flap in a shade of brown rather than white then you’re in luck! At the time of writing the brown model is also considerably cheaper than the white version (click here to see it).

Fitting

Fitting the Ferplast to a wooden door is just as easy as fitting any other cat flap. However, fitting the Ferplast microchip cat flap to a metal or glass door and walls doesn’t require any additional mounting adapters like most other models do, saving you some hard-earned cash. If the wall is over 55mm think, which would include the vast majority of exterior walls, then you’ll require a tunnel extender, just like any other cat flap.

Power Supply

Ferplast Microchip Cat Flap BatteriesThe good news is that unlike the PetSafe PetPorte, the Ferplast Microchip Cat Flap is battery powered. It takes six AA batteries, while the Cat Mate and Sureflap models take four, meaning it’s a little more expensive to run. Unfortunately we can’t tell you how long the batteries will last as ours haven’t run out yet and Ferplast don’t supply this information. Thankfully there’s a low battery indicator light that flashes once every five seconds should the batteries be running low.

Ease of Use

Ferplast Microchip Cat Flap Memory Button

Microchip scanner button

The machine makes recording your cats microchip number as simple as it could be… That’s not to say it’ll be easy to get your cat to walk through the flap on demand! Simply press the red button on the top of the unit and the machine will scan for microchips for 10 seconds. You’ll know if it’s read your cats microchip because you’ll hear the ‘click’ of the door unlocking. The memory can hold up to 32 cats, which is the joint-best on the market.

This red memory button is located on the outside of the appliance, which is unusual as normally they’re hidden beneath the battery flap. This is slightly worrying as the button could easily knocked inadvertently or by children. If you hold the button down for 10 seconds the memory will be wiped, so be wary of this happening by accident.

In case your cat hasn’t been microchipped yet, this model comes with a handy microchip collar that you can use instead. This is also useful for getting the knack of programming the microchip memory of the cat flap.

The microchip scanner seems as reliable as the best on the market.

Ferplast Microchip Cat Flap

You can see the patented in/out indicator, 4-way lock and wind-stopper


As you’d expect, the Ferplast microchip cat flap also comes with a 4-way lock.

There are two unique features on the model that are worth mentioning. Firstly the ‘wind-stopper system’ consists of a second outer flap that seals the gap between the clear swinging door and the body of the cat flap when the door is closed. This does a great job of stopping most of the draughts coming through the door. The second unique feature is the in/ out indicator. This is a strip of plastic that sits on the outside with the words ‘in’ written on it if the door last opened inwards. The strip of plastic sits inside the tunnel with the words ‘out’ written on it if the door last opened outwards. This is not totally fool-proof, for example your cat could pop its head through the door and then change its mind, but at least it gives you an indication of where they might be. Of course if you have more than one cat then it’s not as useful as it’ll only give you the location of the last cat to move through the door.

Price & Conclusion of the Ferplast Swing Microchip Cat Flap Review

For the Ferplast to be purchased over the extremely popular Sureflap microchip cat flap it has to be significantly better. Unfortunately despite a couple of unique features we’re not sure we’d choose it. The RRP is a ridiculous £140.99, but you can get it for about half-price at this store.

Cat Mate Microchip Cat Flap Review

The Cat Mate microchip cat flap is the newest addition to the UK’s limited range of microchip cat flaps, having been released in 2014. Sureflap has dominated the market before now, but with Cat Mate’s competitive pricing (see here) does it have the features to take the top spot? Our Cat Mate microchip cat flap review will answer the question.

Cat Mate Microchip Cat Flap Review

Our Cat Mate microchip cat flap review


Our Verdict:

Positives:

  • Recognises all types of microchips
  • Competitive battery life
  • 4-way lock
  • Compact design
  • 3-year guarantee
  • Up to 30 cats
Negatives:

  • Cat Mate is new to the technology
  • Not as tried and tested as existing models
Appearance
Fitting
Power Supply
Ease Of Use
Price

Appearance

Cat Mate Microchip Cat Flap

It’s an attractive cat flap

In our opinion this is the best-looking model on the market. The off-white plastics have a rugged look and feel, giving the unit a premium appearance. Now, at this price point you might expect it to have a quality look and feel, but typically in the market we see the same bodywork that appears on £10-£20 models, so this is a big plus point for Cat Mate.

It’s a slimline design too, protruding very little from the door on either side. This is great as there’s nothing more irritating than bruising your shins on a bulky cat flap and working it loose from the door at the same time.

Fitting

Cat Mate Mounting Adapter and TunnelFitting the machine to a standard door up to 8.5cm thick is as simple a task as it could be. Should you be fitting the cat flap to a glass panel then you’ll need the mounting adapter, which has a decent rubber seal on both sides to stop draughts. If you’re fitting it to a wall then you’ll need both the mounting adapter and the tunnel extender. These are very expensive (see here) for bits of plastic and in all likelihood you’ll need to buy a few, as each one only bridges a 5cm gap. Unfortunately all of the manufacturers are overcharging for these tunnels, so there’s no way of escaping this added cost if the tunnel must be fitted to a wall.

Power Supply

Cat Mate LED Power IndicatorThankfully, as opposed to the mains powered PetSafe Petporte the Cat Mate model runs on batteries. It takes 4 AA batteries, the same as its competitors and they claim that these should last for a year. I can’t tell you whether this claim is accurate as it has been out for less than a year, but first indications are positive. There’s a LED light that flashes red when the batteries are low on power, so there’s no risk of the batteries being drained and your cats being inadvertently locked out of the house; unless you’re very unobservant of course!

Ease of Use

The Cat Mate microchip cat flap has the biggest inner dimensions for your cat to fit through of any of those we’ve measured, at a roomy 6 inches by 6 inches. The microchip reader doesn’t have a particularly large range. A cat has to be within roughly 6 inches of the door for you to hear the audible ‘click’ as the door unlocks. This is a positive feature, as if a strangers cat is in the vicinity you don’t want it to be able to sneak through just because your cat happened to be near the door. The good news is that while the range isn’t long, the reliability within the range for detecting microchips seems to be excellent (please let me know in the comments if you’ve had a bad experience with this!).

Cat Mate Microchip Cat Flap 4-Way Lock

4-way lock

The 4-way lock is self explanatory thanks to the little images. Programming the machine to your cats individual microchip using the ‘program’ button under the battery cover is not difficult either. I’ve copied the below instructions straight from the manual:

  • Press and hold the ‘program’ button for 5 seconds until the LED illuminates. Wait a minimum of 10 seconds.
  • Encourage your cat to slowly pass through the tunnel by holding the flap open after checking the rotary 4-way lock is set to ‘IN & OUT’.
  • When programmed, the LED will flash.
  • Press the ‘program’ button to save the setting.

The machine can store up to a maximum of 30 cats, slightly less than the 32 of the Sureflap model. This memory can be reset, so if in a few years you’re running out of space and some of the original cats have sadly passed away then you can programme it afresh with up to 30 new cats.

Price & Conclusion of the Cat Mate Microchip Cat Flap Review

It’s still early days for the Cat Mate microchip cat flap. However, our review has found it to be a highly competent machine and one that will undoubtedly become increasingly popular over the coming years. As an added bonus it comes with a best-in-class 3-year guarantee. The best price we found was at this store, so check that out if you like and save yourself some pennies.

PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap Review

PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap ReviewThe PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap is the UK’s second best selling microchip cat flap behind the excellent Sureflap microchip cat flap. The Sureflap model was our first microchip cat flap but for comparative purposes we bought the PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap and had it installed in in our utility door (yes, we have two doors with cat flaps installed…). See our PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap review below to find out what we thought.

See Short Reviews From Verified Customers

Our Verdict:

Positives:

  • Unique night locking mode
  • Many unique modes that you can program
  • 3-year guarantee
  • Up to 25 cats
Negatives:

  • Requires plugging into the mains, batteries are only there as a back-up with reduced functionality
  • Overhanging ‘porch’ gets in the way and scares some cats
  • Confusing locking modes, no manual 4-way lock
Appearance
Fitting
Power Supply
Ease Of Use
Price

Design & Fitting

The first thing you should know is that the PetPorte is available in brown, as well as white (see here for pictures). While we prefer the white version, in some settings I’m sure that the brown colour would be more appropriate. The plastics and the buttons of the unit feel like they are of excellent quality and they do not seem to take on dirty stains, even over longer periods of time.

The design of the PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap is different to that of a normal cat flap. It will fit nicely into the standard sized hole left by an existing cat flap. The difference in the design is the ‘porch’ that hangs over the outside entrance of the cat flap. PetSafe say that this porch allows the microchip of the cat to be read before it enters the tunnel, rather than within the tunnel, like competitor models. However, we do not believe that this design offers any advantage over an in-tunnel scanner (unless your moggy likes to enter the house backwards…). This is because the lock releases the instant that the scanner recognises a cat, and so even with in-tunnel scanners a cat never has to wait for the door to release. Maybe this design was more about housing a bulky scanner?

We have also found that we occasionally bash our shins on the ‘porch’ when we walk outside the utility door. The knocks that the cat flap has taken has led to the model wearing loose so now it’s no longer flush with the door and unfortunately it lets a draft in.
PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap Diagram
Should you need to fit the PetPorte to a wall or an especially thick door, then tunnel extenders are readily available.

Power Supply

PetSafe PetPorte Extension Cable
Here’s another big difference that separates the PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap from the competition and can be viewed as either a pro, or a con. The PetPorte runs off the mains and therefore has to be plugged in to function properly. You can purchase a specially designed extension cable if there isn’t a plug socket nearby. On the one hand this means that you don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries. However, the batter indicator light on the competition removes some of this worry. On the other hand, by having to plug the PetPorte Smart Flap in, we had the worry of pulling the connection out by accident and locking the cats out. Also, having the cable traipsing across the utility is a bit annoying and unsightly. You can choose to fit a 9V battery as a backup in case the power goes out, but running the cat flap on batteries permanently isn’t a great idea as no one knows how long the batteries will last & there’s no battery-life indicator. Some of the functionality, like ‘night’ mode (more on that later) will not work while it’s running purely from the battery.

Reliability of the Microchip Reader

We have watched the cats using the PetPorte Smart Flap for some time and the scanner is very reliable. As the microchip scanner is in the overhanging porch, if the cat approaches the cat flap from a tight angle then we have noticed that sometimes it doesn’t unlock, which makes the cats very confused when their door is ‘broken’! Also, unlike the competition, it can only read the 15-digit type of microchip (by far and away the most common). Your cats microchip will almost certainly be fine, but it is still a slight worry.

Ease Of Use

PetSafe Petporte Smart Flap BoxThe PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap comes with a very interesting ‘night’ feature, where it can sense whether it is light or dark outside. As dusk falls it will let your cats in but not out until dawn, when the cats are allowed to move freely in either direction. This is a really great feature to protect your cats without the hassle of having to set a 4-way lock at morning and night.

In addition to the ‘night mode’ there are many other locking modes that can be selected, including:

  • Normal mode – only lets your cats in and out of the house
  • Vet mode – cats allowed to enter the house but not leave
  • Extended mode – gives seven different additional lock modes:
    1. Exit mode (1 beep) – resets the machine to ‘normal mode’
    2. Open mode (2 beeps) – allows any animal entry, no microchip needed
    3. Silent mode (3 beeps) – normally when your cat enters or leaves the cat flap will sound a ‘beep’, this mode turns the sound off
    4. Set light level mode (4 beeps) – this sets the level at which the ‘night mode’ will lock and unlock the door. So if you’d prefer the door to unlock at night, or wish the door to lock earlier that it is preset to, then you can use this mode to change the preset light levels
    5. Lock return time (5 beeps) – after the sensor picks up your cats microchip the door will be unlocked for four seconds, however you may wish to change this. For example, if your cat is frequently chased you may want to shorten this time
    6. Low battery lock state (6 beeps) – this was added because it lacks a manual 4-way lock. If you have no mains power and think that the batteries are going to die then you can set the ‘lock state’, i.e. in and out, in only, out only, neither in or out
    7. Timer mode (7 beeps) – rather than using purely the light levels to determine when the cat flap should be locked and unlocked, which can be unreliable, instead you can set specific times using this mode

It can be programmed to take up to 25 cats, so you shouldn’t have any worries unless you run a re-homing shelter. The microchip database can be reset if you find over time that you use up the 25 slots.

It also comes with an impressive 3-year guarantee as standard.

PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap Review – Conclusions and Pricing

Despite the design and power supply issues, the PetSafe PetPorte Smart Flap is a very good microchip cat flap. Particularly the intelligent range of functions will appeal to a lot of people. We bought it from this shop. Top tip! That shop is A LOT cheaper than buying directly from the manufacturer.

Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap Review

Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap ReviewThe Sureflap was the first microchip cat flap that we bought and we were so impressed with it that we felt inspired to produce this website. To enable us to speak with confidence about all microchip cat flaps, we also bought the competitor models and installed them in our utility door (yes, the neighbours think we are mad). We’ve had the Sureflap model for about 4 years now. The below blog post is our Sureflap microchip cat flap review.

View Short Reviews By Verified Customers

Our Verdict:
Positives:

  • By far and away the bestselling microchip cat flap
  • Powered by 4 AA batteries (includes battery power indicator light)
  • Sleek design
  • 3-year guarantee
  • Up to 32 cats
  • Compatible with every type of microchip (9, 10 & 15-digit)
Negatives:

  • No special features to set it apart
Appearance
Fitting
Power Supply
Ease Of Use
Price

Appearance & Fitting

The Sureflap microchip cat flap looks just like any other good-quality cat flap in existence, if not better. The plastics feel to be of good quality and they don’t tend to stain over time. The design is the most sleek, discreet and least-clunky on the market.

It fits into the standard-sized cat flap hole, which obviously is a big advantage. If you need to fit it to a glass door or through a wall then appropriate mounting adapters can be easily purchased and the instruction manual is simple to follow.

What many people aren’t aware of is that the Sureflap can also be bought in brown (see pictures here). While we went for the white version, the brown version doesn’t look tacky like many brown cat flaps can and I’m sure that it would actually look better than the white one in some scenarios. It’ll certainly hide the muck better!

Power Supply

Sureflap BatteriesThe Sureflap runs from four AA batteries, which are neatly positioned in the top of the model under a flap on the ‘inside’ half of it. According to the manufacturer, these will need to be replaced every 12 months. However, we have found that we are replacing the batteries after about eight months — but we have two cats, so maybe that’s what caused the discrepancy. You don’t need to worry about the batteries running out and locking your cat out, because there is an easy to read battery life indicator light that keeps you informed of the current power level.

Ease Of Use

We and many other customers have found the Sureflap microchip cat flap scanner to be extremely reliable, and the microchip in our cat has always been read quickly and successfully. Like the other models on the market, the range of the microchip scanner is quite short, but that’s to make sure that it’s only unlocking as your cat passes through. If the range was longer there would be a risk that other cats close by could use the cat flap.

As you’d expect, there’s a 4-way lock that works in conjunction with the microchip scanner and lock. This allows you to only let the cats in, let them out, lock the door completely or to let them pass either way.

Sureflap microchip cat flap memory buttonTo enter a cat into the cat flaps database you press the ‘M’ button under the cover that conceals the batteries and then allow your cat to pass through the door. It will scan your cats microchip as it passes through and that’s all you need to do for the cat flap to recognise your cat in future. The below video explains it in more detail.


The Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap can store the details of up to 32 different cats, so it’s a great excuse to acquire more cats! It also comes with a 3-year guarantee, so peace of mind is assured even though the reports suggest that you’ll never need it.

Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap Review – Conclusions and Price

Sureflap BoxThe final major plus point with the Sureflap microchip cat flap is the price. It’s about the same price as the competition and also comes with a 3-year warranty. Be careful not to overpay, we found a great deal at this shop. Top tip! That shop is MUCH cheaper than the manufacturers website!