Is it too much for you to choose the best garage door opener?
Most people find it hard because now the garage door opener industry is competing to provide the best garage door with the best price and features.
With that many different types of garage door openers on the market, you may not be sure where to start.
A garage door opener gives you easy, illuminated access to your home and can improve security. Features such as smart-device compatibility and home-automation system connectivity make these devices even more convenient.
Easy Way To Choose garage Door
In general, a good garage door will have these criteria:
- Low noise. If you’re very sensitive to sound or have living space directly above or adjacent to a garage, a belt-driven or direct-driven model is your best choice.
- Remote-control reliability. If you live in a densely populated area, the signals from all of your neighbors’ garage door openers may interfere with your own opener. Look for a dual-frequency garage door opener, which automatically switches between two frequencies to reduce interference.
- Rolling-code security technology. This technology selects a new, nonrepeating access code from billions of possibilities every time you use the remote control. This keeps would-be burglars guessing at your opener’s code, and it also keeps your neighbor’s remote control from accidentally opening your garage door.
- A keypad or touchpad for remote entry. If this feature doesn’t come standard with the unit you chose, it can generally be added as an option.
- Battery backup. This allows you to keep using your garage door opener during power outages; however, it’s a rare feature, included only on a few higher-end models. Absent a battery backup, the garage door opener should have a manual release that will let you open and close your garage door by hand in the event of a power outage.
- Overhead lights. Lights are standard equipment on all the garage door openers we evaluated. Look for lights that you can control independently of the door’s opening or closing; some models also come with a motion sensor to automatically activate the lights when you’re in the garage.
- Internet connectivity. Smart/connected homes are becoming a thing of late. If you would like the ability to check on the status of your garage door (whether it is open or closed), or be able to open or close it remotely, a garage door opener that’s compatible with some type of Internet-connected controller is a must. In most cases the compatibility will be built in, but you’ll need to spring for an Internet gateway to connect to your home network. A few models have the gateway built in.
To make yourself clear, we will give you an explanation of garage door features so you will have clear knowledge on how to choose your garage door opener.
Types of Garage Door Openers
Standard garage door openers have a similar design. A motor drives a trolley or carriage along a rail. The trolley is connected to the garage door and as the trolley moves, it pulls the door open or pushes it closed. The main difference between garage door opener models is how the motor moves the trolley.
A chain-drive garage door opener uses a metal chain to drive the trolley and raise or lower the door. Chain-drive systems are economical choices but tend to create more noise and vibration than other types. If your garage is detached from the house, noise may not be a concern, but if the garage is under a living space or a bedroom, you may want to consider a quieter option.
A belt-drive garage door opener functions similarly to the chain-drive system, but uses a belt rather than a chain to move the trolley. This belt provides quieter, smoother operation, making it a good choice for homes with living or sleeping spaces above or adjacent to the garage. Belt-drive systems have fewer moving parts, resulting in lower maintenance needs.
A screw-drive garage door opener uses a threaded steel rod to move the lifting mechanism. As the rod rotates, it drives the trolley along the track to raise or lower the door. These units are usually quieter than chain-drive systems. Like belt-drive openers, fewer moving parts mean reduced maintenance.
A direct-drive garage door opener also offers a quiet mechanism. The motor itself functions as the trolley and travels along the track, raising or lowering the door. This means the system has a single moving part — the motor — which results in reduced noise and vibration, as well as fewer maintenance requirements.
When & How to Choose Garage Door Opener Drive Type
The main consideration for a garage door opener is the drive type, which refers to the actual chain, belt, or other mechanism that moves and lifts the door. In some circumstances, the horsepower output of the motor should be considered as well, but typically in commercial or industrial settings. Whether for a home garage or something heftier, you can easily determine the type of opener best suited to your needs
Consider Chain-Drive Openers
Consider chain-drive openers as a cost-effective option. Chain drives are some of the most popular and durable openers on the market. These drives use a metal chain on a sprocket to lift and lower doors. Chain openers also tend to be some of the most affordable options; however, the affordability and strength of a chain drive come at the expense of noise.
Chain drives are ideal for the heaviest garage door types, including oversized doors, one-piece wood doors, and wind-rated or heavily insulated doors.
If you have a detached garage or a garage that is at the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms, then the noise will be less of an issue.
Many upgraded chain-drive models can come with chain separators to help stop the chain from hitting against the track, which cuts down on the noise of a chain drive.
Consider Screw-Drive Openers
Consider screw-drive openers for a well-rounded option. Screw drives use a long metal rod threaded like a screw to lift and close garage doors. Due to having relatively few moving parts, a screw drive tends to be quite reliable as well.
If noise is your biggest consideration, screw-drive openers tend to be middle of the pack. They’re not nearly as quiet as belt or direct drives, but they are most typically quieter than chain drives.
Screw drives also require a bit more maintenance than most of the other types. Despite having fewer moving parts, the threaded metal rod meshes against a drive section with plastic teeth to catch the threading. Without the proper lubrication on this drive, the rod can wear on the teeth and eventually strip them, so you must grease the works fairly regularly—approximately every few months.
The type of garage door you have should also be taken into consideration. For heavy wood one-piece doors, the extra weight and strain can wear the teeth in the inner works of the drive down pretty quickly. This makes screw drives most effective with single-car garage doors or steel doors since the thinner materials cut down on weight.
Screw-drive openers also offer some of the faster speeds available. Newer models can open at 10” to 12” per second as opposed to the more standard 6” to 8” per second of most other drive types.
Consider Belt-Drive Openers
Consider belt-drive openers for quiet operation. Belt-drive openers use a rubber or rubber-like belt on a cog to open and close doors. Since the opener doesn’t have the loud, banging metal parts, it’s one of the quietest options available.
Consider your particular garage door. If your door makes a lot of noise on its track, then the lower volume of the belt opener may be moot.
Pay special attention to the current of belt-drive openers. Alternating current belt openers start and stop at full power, which can cause the door to jerk into movement and lead to noise despite the relative quiet of the drive.
Direct current belt drives offer soft starts and stops that reduce noise even further, as well as reducing wear and tear.
Consider Direct-Drive Openers
Consider direct-drive and jackshaft openers for quiet and highly dependable options. Though less common than the other models, these alternatives are gaining in popularity, and both offer additional options for quiet door openers.
Jackshaft openers attach directly to the front wall of the garage, meaning no overhead parts. These models use cables attached directly to the garage door along with pulleys and a rolling torsion bar to lift and lower the door. Many models of this computerized system even include an automatic deadbolt that locks when the door closes for added safety. Due to the compact nature and computerization, jackshaft openers are some of the most expensive models available, and the cable system also means that they only work on sectioned garage doors.
Direct-drive openers still have an overhead rail with a chain, but the actual motor moves along the track with the door connected to the motor via a J-arm. Since the motor moves instead of the chain, these models are also extremely quiet, and since the only real moving part is the motor, they tend to come with extremely good—maybe even lifetime—warranties. They are still on the pricey side, however—comparable to a belt drive opener.
Look for horsepower (HP) ratings to compare the lifting power between garage door opener models. Ratings ranging from 1/2-horsepower to 1-1/2 horsepower are typical for residential models. If you have a sectional double-car garage door, a 1/2-horsepower motor should be sufficient, but a higher-power model will operate with less effort and less wear and tear on the motor. Heavier or one-piece doors may require higher-horsepower openers. Read our Garage Door Choosing & Buying Guide to learn about different types of garage doors.
Here are some consideration on when to choose the right horsepower for your garage door types:
1. 1/2 HP Models
Consider 1/2-HP models for standard doors. 1/2-HP is the standard for most garage doors, and it is also the most popular motor speed. Depending on the type of drive you pair it with, the 1/2-HP motor can lift most garage door types. However, while it can lift most door types, well-insulated garage doors and one-piece, wooden doors can put extra strain on 1/2-HP motors that might lead to more wear and tear than with something more powerful.
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2. 3/4 HP Models
Consider 3/4-HP models for insulated or one-piece, wooden doors. 3/4-HP motors are the next step up from 1/2-HP models. The additional power makes these motors a more durable, longer-lasting option, but the increased durability comes with a higher price tag as well. The extra power doesn’t just increase the life of these motors, but it also means they’re capable of lifting heavier doors more easily without as much wear.
Door styles that might benefit from the additional power include one-piece wooden doors on two-car garages or specialty doors with heavy insulation and wind-load ratings.
3. 1 HP Models
Consider 1-HP models for oversized or industrial doors. 1-HP motors offer the maximum in efficiency and power. These motors are perfect for the heaviest garage doors, including oversized doors and commercial or industrial doors. When it comes to a standard, sectioned garage door, the extra power may prove unnecessary for your needs, especially at the larger price.
4. AC vs DC Motors
Consider AC versus DC motors. In addition to the horsepower of a motor, you should also consider the current. Direct current motors are most common on belt drives, but more manufacturers are incorporating them into other drive types as well. Direct current motors are typically more expensive, but they offer the added benefit of soft starts and stops, which means that the drive begins a gradual lift and stop on the door, and this equates to much less noise than a motor that jerks to life and shakes the door.
Direct current motors are also more likely to provide backup battery options, allowing you to get several uses out of your garage door even during a power outage.
Consider The Garage Door Opener Features
Standard garage door openers share common components:
- Remotes and wall-mount buttons or keypads open the garage door.
- A manual release allows you to disengage the opener from inside the garage and raise or lower the door manually.
- A security light activates when you operate the system and turns off automatically after a set period of time.
- Rail segments are typically sized for garage doors up to 7 feet tall.
In addition, look for other features:
- Miniature keychain remotes fit in a pocket.
- Home-automation system connectivity allows you to control your opener remotely.
- Built-in Wi-Fi connects the opener directly to your home wireless network and lets you operate the door from a mobile app without the need for an automation system.
- Smart-device compatibility — built-in or available with an optional accessory for some models — allows you to operate and monitor the opener from a mobile device.
- Vehicle compatibility allows operation of the opener from controls built into some vehicles.
- Auto-close functionality lowers a garage door automatically after a pre-programmed period of time.
- Locks give you the option to prevent remotes from opening the garage door.
- Soft-start / stop motors reduce wear and tear on the opener and make operation quieter.
- Battery backup lets you operate the opener in the event of a power outage.
- Included rail extensions make the opener compatible with 8-foot-high doors.
- Motion-sensing security lights operate automatically.
After reading all the important information above, you might have had a clear insight of what garage door opener you might buy.
Be considerate of what type of door you have and how you want the openers to work.
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