Which Garage Door Opener Is Best: A Detailed Guide

Looking for the best garage door opener? With so many options out there, it can be hard to know which one is best for you. Luckily, our detailed guide outlines all the features and benefits of different openers, making it easier to find one that suits your needs.

Researching and deciding which garage door opener is best for you can be a daunting task, but with our helpful guide, you'll have everything you need to find the opener that's just right for you. In addition, we explain the main differences between the most popular types garage door openers so you can compare them quickly and make an informed decision.

Different Types of Garage Door Openers

When considering which opener to purchase, it's helpful to know a bit about the different types of garage door openers so you can see which is best for you.

Mainly, there are two different types of garage door openers:

  • Ceiling mounted chain or belt driven openers, and
  • Wall mounted openers.

Chain drive and belt drive openers

There are mainly two different types of garage door openers, chain drive and belt drive. Chain drives often have a chain similar to this photo.

Most homes have an overhead garage door opener mounted to the ceiling. These are the most common type in a residential installation. The motor sits just beyond the top of the garage door's travel area, and a 7' or 8' drive rail extends to the wall above the garage door. The drive rail usually has a chain or belt that travels around the motor's gear, opening and closing the garage door.

Which is better, a chain or belt garage door opener?

Belt drives are quieter and offer smoother operation than chain drives, but they're often pricier. The good news is that you often find a better warranty on belt drive openers, sometimes even lifetime belt and motor warranties. On the other hand, chain drives are a little louder but tend to be less expensive than belt drives. Both drive types have similar maintenance tasks and lifespan and come available in many of the same features.

Wall mount openers

Alternatively, wall mount openers can be installed on the side of the garage door, eliminating the need for a long drive rail near the ceiling. These side mounted garage door openers are installed on the wall near the top of the door, and then the motor turns the counterbalance system to operate the door. Because the opener is mounted to the wall instead of the ceiling, these garage door openers tend to sound quieter inside the house.

Usually, we only recommend a side mounted opener when there is not enough headroom above the garage door for a traditional door opener. Remember that you only need a few inches of space to install a ceiling mounted opener. Jackshaft openers can be a good solution in the right scenario, but it's generally best to stick to the ceiling mounted openers whenever possible. Operation tends to be smoother, and you may experience less hassle when it comes to repair and maintenance. While it has become more mainstream in recent years, finding a wall mounted opener installed on a home's garage door is still a bit of an oddity.    

Consider Key Features for Your System

You may be pleased to find many optional features on most garage door openers that may be useful, depending on how you intend to use your garage. You'll find new features like:

  • High-lumen lighting with motion detection
  • Battery backup for power outages
  • Anti-theft technology in remotes and keyless entries
  • Smart multi-function control panels
  • Integrated security video feed with built-in 2-way audio
  • DC motors that offer smoother and quieter operation
Controlling your garage door opener remotely via mobile app is a good feature to look for when deciding which garage door opener is best.

In addition to functional features like the ones above, some garage door openers offer WiFi connectivity and the convenience of a mobile app. For example, with a LiftMaster MyQ WiFi connected opener, you can:

  • Monitor access
  • Allow delivery drivers to access the garage using Amazon Key (and watch live video feed of the delivery)
  • Open and close the garage door remotely
  • View integrated security camera feeds and communicate via 2-way audio
  • Have access to real-time diagnostics about your opener
  • Link up to compatible smart home products like Ring, Google Home, or Apple CarPlay and HomeKit

Safety features

Effective safety features are now ubiquitous among all the national garage door opener manufacturers. For example, all garage door openers have safety sensor reversing systems to prevent injuries from the garage door closing on a person, pet, or any other object that may get in the path of the garage door.

Most openers also have a built-in force sensitivity setting which controls how forcefully the garage door opener will try to move the garage door before it reverses direction. In addition, some openers now have self-adjusting force settings to keep your garage door operating reliably.

Security features

Not only do garage door openers have plenty of safety features, but they also can help keep your home secure against theft.

Features such as remotes with rolling code technology prevent code-sniffing hackers from spoofing their way into your garage. Motion detection lighting lets you see if anything is going on in the garage.

Some brands of openers have integrated hardware locks controlled by the garage door opener, providing an extra layer of physical protection against forced entries.

Finally, some openers include a lock function that allows you to lock out all the remotes, limiting the garage door opener to just the wall button. This is an excellent option when you're on vacation or leaving your vehicle outside the garage.

Needs and budget determine which garage door opener is best

Once you start shopping for a garage door opener, you'll find many options. Take time to consider your needs and budget carefully which deciding what garage door opener is best. Things you may wish to consider include:

  • How many garage doors do you have?
  • How many remotes or keyless entries will you need?
  • Is the garage attached or detached, and can you access it during power outages?

If you have two or more garage doors, think about how many you'll want to operate with a remote or keyless entry and which ones get the most use. Many newer vehicles have built-in garage door remotes, so that can free up the stand-alone remotes that come with a new garage door opener. A keyless entry provides easy access via a PIN that you can set for temporary or long-term use.

Do you need WiFi enabled features?

Most of the bells and whistles on the most popular garage door openers are based on wireless connectivity and integration with smart home products. Consider a few things when deciding whether these devices suit you. Could you use features that allow you to:

  • Monitor garage door usage from your phone?
  • Allow delivery drivers to put packages in the garage while you're away?
  • View security camera footage that shows your garage?
  • Remotely control the garage door opener, no matter where you are?
  • Integrate your garage door opener with devices and apps like Ring doorbells and Google Home?

These features can be game changers for many and can change how you use your garage. If it's time to upgrade your garage door opener from an older model, these features can be a big step up.

When there's no existing opener already installed

If you already have an opener, you should have everything you need for the new opener installation already in place. However, if no garage door opener has ever been installed, you'll want to ensure there's adequate header space above the garage door and nearby access to a power outlet. Some openers have battery backups available, so you don't get stuck during a power outage, but all openers need a power source.

A note about sounds

Everyone may thank you for getting a belt drive garage door opener if you have living space adjacent to or above the garage. Not only are belt drives quieter if you're inside the garage, but they'll also eliminate a lot of the garage door noise and vibration you hear inside the house.

If you're not sure where to start when deciding which garage door opener type is best for you, begin by researching popular models and brands. We've installed tons of LiftMaster garage door openers in and around Buford, GA over the last 20 years. They are long-lasting, set-and-forget, reliable openers with a practically non-existent call-back rate. We recommend checking out LiftMaster's site, as we feel their products set the bar for a professional-level garage door opener.

Once you find a few openers that might fit the bill, take a look at what people are saying about their experiences and read customer reviews to help find the one that's right for you. Your local garage door company can help point you in the right direction.

phone-handset linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram