Are you looking to add a garage to your home or just need to make updates to the one you own? Knowing which mechanism to use for your garage door can make all the difference. Some homeowners opt for the more traditional openers, while others go high tech all the way.
While all garage door openers strive to achieve the same goal, opening and closing your garage door, the way they operate differs greatly. Each type has its pros and cons, making it difficult to choose which one you want. That’s why we’ve done our research to make it easier for you. Keep reading below for a comprehensive list of garage door openers!
1. Chain Drive
As the name suggests, this garage door opener uses a chain to operate. The chain pushes or pulls a trolley depending on if the door is opening or closing. These openers operate in the same exact way a bicycle chain does.
The best advantage of a chain drive is that they offer reliability and durability. This type of garage door mechanism has been proven and tested for years and has the least chance of breaking compared to other options. Chain drives are also budget-friendly.
One of the downsides of a chain drive is that they don’t look as nice or fancy as more modern garage door options, but they’ve proven that looks aren’t everything! However, this type of garage door opener is often disliked because of the noise it makes when operating. The chains jingle when the trolley moves, causing the garage doors to vibrate. Some homeowners are annoyed by this, but there are newer models that significantly lower the noise.
2. Belt Drive
Belt drive garage door openers are very similar to chain drive openers. However, belt drives use a wide belt instead of a chain. They operate using a switch that turns on the wide rubber belt, which lifts the garage door up or closes it. The belts for this type of mechanism can be made of rubber, steel-reinforced rubber, polyurethane, or fiberglass.
A great benefit of a belt drive is that they don’t produce as much noise when they operate as compared to a chain drive. They are also a slightly newer technology. The parts of a belt drive are improved and don’t have as many moving parts, making them less likely to break down. With belt drives not breaking down as much, less maintenance is required as well.
The downside of belt drive mechanisms is the price. They can go for up to $60 more than chain drive mechanisms. However, low maintenance costs can save you more money in the long run.
3. Screw Drive
Screw drive garage door openers operate by using a steel drive screw that is directly attached to the motor. These openers work by using a simple threaded rod. The threaded rod is where the mechanism/trolley rides or moves along in order to open and close the garage door. A motor is used to rotate the rod.
One of the best things about a screw drive opener is that they have taken into consideration all the problems of the previous openers and have addressed them- noise, high maintenance, slow operation. Compared to chain and belt drives, screw drives have systems that offer the best speed and power, even being compact in size. They open garage doors faster than ever before, at 10 to 12 inches per second. Screw drive operators are ideal for doors that are quite large or wide.
Despite the numerous advantages, screw drive garage door openers are still passed up by a significant percentage of homeowners. The reason being is they have been known for having trouble operating in areas that have extreme temperatures and climates. Manufacturers are trying to address this problem by making improvements to their temperature sensitivity.
4. Jackshaft or Wall Mount
Jackshaft or wall mount openers are known to be the quietest of all types of garage door openers. Wall mount mechanisms are different from other types because they do not rely on belts or chains. They also do not operate via a trolley but instead, use a motor that is directly mounted to the wall beside the garage door. Jackshafts or mall mounts are also considered direct drive garage door openers. Direct drive openers only have one moving part- the motor.
Homeowners prefer this type of opener because they are the quietest. Their design is uncomplicated, easy to operate, and works quickly. With only one moving part, they have little to no maintenance. Another great thing about wall mount openers is that there are no chains or belts to crowd up the ceiling, leaving free space for overhead storage. They also present a cleaner and more streamlined look.
The main disadvantage to a wall mount garage door opener is the price. They are much more expensive than other types of openers because they are newer technology and more efficient. Homeowners should not feel discouraged or threatened by the price tag since jackshaft openers save money in the long run on maintenance costs. They also typically come with a lifetime warranty. Another slight disadvantage is that wall-mounted openers are not compatible with all garage door types, particularly ones that have a low headroom track.
5. Smart Garage Door Openers
A smart garage door opener is an add-on you can install onto any existing garage door opener and smartphone. This enables homeowners to control the opening and closing of their garage door from the comfort of their smartphone. Users can install an app on any smart device like a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. There are two types of garage door openers that use smart technology functions, add-on controllers and replacement motorized units.
Add-on controllers are much cheaper because you do not have to replace the whole motor unit of your garage door opener. Installation is also very straightforward; it’s a simple plug-and-play design. Replacement motorized units remove the old garage door opener and install a new wifi compatible one. This type is much more expensive and harder to install than just using an add-on controller.
Choosing an opener for your new or existing garage door is no easy feat. Keep reading below for answers to more of your questions regarding garage door openers.
Can You Install A Garage Door Opener On Your Own?
If you’re a DIY’er, then you’re in luck. Most garage door openers come with a complete set of instructions to follow. Just ensure you have the right tools and follow the instructions to the letter. If it’s your first time installing a garage door opener, we suggest you take it slow and plan for it to take most of the day to complete. As long as you take your time with it, you should be fine.
Can You Replace A Garage Door Opener Unit Without Changing The Rails?
Odds are you would have to end up changing out the rails when you purchase a new mechanism. Even if you buy the exact same product, the product might have updated just enough to warrant changing out the whole system. Rails are made to fit exactly how they should and have no room for errors. You’re better off just installing the whole system when something breaks or wears out.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Garage Door Opener?
Garage door openers typically last between 10 and 15 years. Routine upkeep and maintenance will help prolong your garage door opener’s lifespan.
How Long Does A Belt Last On A Garage Door Opener?
Belt drive openers are similar to chain drive openers, but they use a belt instead of chains. Those belts typically last between 7 and 10 years. However, with routine upkeep, you can garner up to 20 years with belt drive openers.
Can A Garage Door Opener Be Too Powerful?
How strong should your garage door opener be? That depends on how big your garage door is. If you a simple one-car garage, then 1/2 horsepower will get the job down. If your garage door is larger or taller than average, you can up to between 3/4 horsepower and 1-1/2 horsepower. Unless you have an extremely small garage door, it’s unlikely you’ll find an opener that has too much horsepower. However, the one thing you should be on the lookout for is that the force is not set too high on your opener. If the force is set too high, it could damage your garage door as well as the opener itself. Your opener should have instructions citing how you can adjust the amount of force your opener is using.
We know choosing a garage door opener is kind of a big deal! We hope this article has enlightened you on your journey to buying a new opener. Be sure to check out these other articles below to continue your garage DIY escapades: