Types of Garage Door Openers
Whether you’re shopping for the latest smart garage door opener that plays nicely with other networked devices or a budget-friendly model with quick, dependable operation, you can find an opener with the power, performance and features needed for your home.
This garage door opener buying guide explains how the different types of garage door openers work, what horsepower (hp) you need and some of the features and accessories of Wi-Fi enabled openers.
Before you purchase a new garage door opener, consider these important factors:
- Garage door size and frequency of use: 1/2 horsepower garage door openers work well with standard aluminum doors in a residential garage. If the garage is the main entrance to your home (or you have a one-piece door or a heavy, oversized garage door), you’ll probably need one with the lifting power of a 3/4 to 1 1/4 horsepower opener.
- Garage proximity to bedrooms or living space: Belt and wall mount openers offer the quietest operation with minimal disturbance to adjacent rooms.
- Importance of remote control and monitoring: Wi-Fi-enabled openers let you monitor, open or close the door from virtually anywhere with a phone or tablet.
- Garage accessibility during power outage: Garage door openers with battery backup let you open and close the garage even if your home’s power goes out.
Tip: A larger motor will cost more up front, but is likely to last longer, offering potential savings in the long run.
There are two popular designs for more quiet garage door openers that are preferred for attached garages located near bedrooms.
- Wall mount garage door openers use a stationary chain in a steel rail and require minimal maintenance.
- Belt drive garage door openers use a steel-reinforced rubber belt for smooth operation. They require some regular maintenance but offer less noise than other openers on the market.
Tip: Belt-drive garage door openers typically use DC-powered motors, which tend to be smaller and quieter than AC motors. Some models have a backup battery.
Chain drive garage door openers use a thick bicycle-like chain. Budget-friendly and reliable, they make good choices for standard aluminum doors.
- This opener typically uses an AC motor, which can be larger and less quiet than a DC motor.
- Chain drives tend to make more noise than other opener types and require regular maintenance to prevent wear and tear.
Screw drive garage door openers use a threaded rod lift mechanism. They are powerful and reliable openers that require minimal maintenance and are appropriate for wider, heavier doors.
While many garage door opener types are designed to hang from the ceiling, wall mount garage door openers, as the name suggests, can be attached to walls. Also called jackshaft openers, these free overhead space for storage, can minimize vibration and does not require a ceiling-mounted electrical outlet.
In addition to the standard features included with most openers, consider these garage door opener options:
- Battery backup provides reserve power to operate the garage door during a power outage. Some states require this by law.
- Keyless entry keypads provide access to the garage without requiring the remote control or phone app.
- Rolling code security technology prevents accidental openings by nearby remotes and makes it difficult for intruders to access by generating unique access codes for every use.
- Safety sensors prevent the garage door from closing on people, pets or possessions.
- Overhead lights can be designed to activate when the garage door opener is turned on. Some models allow use of the lights independent of the opener’s operation.
- An extension kit can be purchased to make up the difference if your garage door is taller than standard.
Wi-Fi enabled, smart garage door openers put convenience and peace of mind in the palm of your hand, with a wide range of monitoring, control and customization options, including:
- Remote access and monitoring: See if the garage door is open or closed, close or open it from anywhere, get alerts, change setting and more with an app on your phone or tablet.
- Smart home integration: Link your garage system to your home’s smart hub and other Wi-Fi enabled devices on the network.
- Modular smart accessories: A Bluetooth speaker, adjustable fan, dual-laser parking-assist module and carbon-monoxide sensor are other add-ons you can get with some advanced models.
If you’ve got basic handyman skills, you may find your own garage door opener easy to install. Before you take on this installation project, however, consider the following:
- Having a helper on hand can make the install go a lot quicker.
- Budget about 3-4 hours to complete the project, especially if you’re also removing an old opener.
- Confirm that the garage door is balanced and opens and closes properly. Clean the tracks and lubricate with a lithium-based grease.
- If you’re installing a garage door opener for the first time, make sure that the opener will be located near an electrical outlet. If not, install an outlet or have one installed by an electrician.
Tip: Save yourself some inconvenience and enjoy peace of mind with our garage door opener installation services.
Knowing the different garage door opener types can help you choose the best for your home. When you shop for garage door openers, look for one with the appropriate noise level and safety features as well as efficient design for opening and closing.