Types of Garage Door Openers

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To safely and efficiently open and maintain a garage door, one should know the types of garage door openers available. 

A lot of information is needed to choose the perfect option and here are the types that first-time buyers should know about.

Once you know which type of opener is best for your needs and budget, it will be easier to shop around for the one that fits you the most. Each kind of garage door opener comes with its advantages and disadvantages. 

Some types are meant for residential use, some for commercial applications, types that are manually operated, some may be ideal for homes in cold climates, types recommended to people who have disabilities or impaired mobility, and some that are intended for heavy-duty use. The list can go on!

A Must-have Features of Garage Door Openers

Remote control

This is an indispensable garage door opener feature. Remote control provides you with the convenience of opening and closing your garage door without having to leave your vehicle.

Eliminating the need to exit the vehicle, walk up to the garage, retrieve a key from your pocket or purse, open the door, get into and out of the car again, then close the door. Remote control of the garage door has been a great convenience for all.

Many manufacturers offer both visor clip and keychain remotes, however more high-end units offer a wall console as a secondary option. 

The remote control may be the first “must-have” feature you look for in a new opener or accessory. This feature alone has transformed the way people use their garage doors.

Security light

The security light is a bonus to your opener, but worth noting. It provides you with the peace of mind that not only can you see what’s happening in the garage when it opens, but also anyone else outside or even inside your home.

They act as excellent deterrents for would-be intruders and break-ins because they can alert you to someone’s presence before they even step foot on your property. 

Security lights also work as another form of convenience for you when arriving home in the dark or at night. You can pull into your driveway, press the button on the remote-control unit and instantly see if anyone is there to greet you with a warm welcome, or worse yet, you might see the silhouette of someone who isn’t supposed to be there. 

Security lights also help reduce home energy costs since they can turn on and off automatically according to your schedule or by detecting motion within a certain range.

Vehicle compatibility 

This is another bonus feature to consider. Vehicle compatibility ensures you get the most use of your garage door opener by ensuring it can be used with your vehicle. 

This feature not only applies to how easy it is for you to open and close your garage, but also for safety reasons.  Vehicle compatibility allows the opener to automatically reverse and stop whenever your vehicle is detected. This prevents damage and injury from occurring, especially when it’s dark and you don’t notice you’re too close to the door. 

Vehicle compatibility also enables a feature called “force-sensing,” which increases the opening/closing speed, while at the same time making it virtually impossible for anything to get trapped between the garage door and the vehicle.

Backup Battery

The backup battery is a necessity to protect you and your garage door opener from power outages. It’s especially important during those hot summer months when air conditioning puts an extreme strain on the electric grid. 

This should protect your system by allowing you between 10-20 minutes of operation time after a power outage.  Enough time to get into your garage, shut the opener off and secure the door. 

Backup batteries are especially important in areas with frequent or long-lasting power outages. They can normally be plugged into a standard wall outlet, have their own special receptacle, or be part of a battery backup system that powers your whole house.

 Motion detection

This is an enhanced feature for your opener to have. Motion-detecting sensors add convenience and safety by not only providing you with assurance in case the backup battery should lose power but also adds security. 

The sensor will automatically turn on when there’s a movement within its range and deactivate when there’s no longer any motion. 

Motion sensing will also trigger the security light if you have one connected to your garage door opener system.

Motion detection

This is an enhanced feature for your opener to have. Motion-detecting sensors add convenience and safety by not only providing you with assurance in case the backup battery should lose power but also adds security. 

The sensor will automatically turn on when there’s a movement within its range and deactivate when there’s no longer any motion. 

Motion sensing will also trigger the security light if you have one connected to your garage door opener system.

Vacation mode

Enables the garage door to be opened and closed at your discretion even when you’re away. It works by saving you the worry of forgetting to leave your garage door open or closed before leaving on vacation. 

Vacation-mode sensors are a convenience for those who worry about what happens when they go away, but also want the security of knowing their garage is still secure from burglars. 

This mode can be activated manually through a button on your opener or by using a timer that’s connected to the main unit. It then provides you with a password that can be changed at your discretion.   

Vacation mode also makes it possible to open and close your garage door from remote locations. So, you can check up on the security of your home without having to walk all the way across town.

Best Types of Garage Door Openers

1. Chain Drive Openers

Chain Drive openers work by using a metal chain that connects to the trolley and lifts or lowers it. 

This type of garage door opener has the noise of a jumble of metal links running over an iron bar and has been used since 1925. 

They are known for their power and durability but may be difficult to maintain as they may need new rollers and bearings every 10 years. This opener also requires occasional lubrication. However, they may become noisier with more frequent use as the door opens and closes. 

Chain drives are usually used on heavier doors and the ones that require a lot of strength but are also the least expensive type of garage door opener.

2. Belt Drive Openers

These openers operate with a rubber belt and work in much the same way as a conveyor belt. These openers are quieter, smoother, and require minimal maintenance and lubrication. 

Belt Drive garage door openers are perfect for doors that require a longer opening time because of their consistent velocity.

However, this type of opener might be slightly pricier than chain drive models. These models may also be more prone to problems with the door’s track and pulleys.  

They also work with a foot pedal that is easy to use and last but not least are the best choice for homes where sound reduction is important.

3. Screw Drive Openers

Source: Odcakron

These openers have a Screw Drive system that is the slowest type of opener and is not recommended for homes where people are in a hurry to leave or enter, as it may take up to 20 seconds to lift or lower the door.  

The Screw Drive opener works by using a threaded steel rod instead of a chain or belt. This type of opener is recommended for heavier doors that require more torque and power to be lifted. 

They also provide the best security because there are no chains or belts as found on other types of garage door openers.  Screw Drive openers are known for their quietness and smooth performance.

Screw Drive openers also have a longer lifespan, making them the best type of opener for heavy doors but keep in mind are sensitive to extreme weather conditions and changes.

4. Direct Drive Openers

The Direct-Drive opener is a quieter and stronger option. These openers use an enclosed motor to reduce noise, making them the quietest type of garage door opener, making them the best option if you usually come home late at night. 

They also provide the strength needed for heavy doors. It uses an electric motor to lift doors instead of metal chains or belts which wear out faster making them durable and last long. 

Direct Drive openers are recommended for heavy doors and should be lubricated every other year needing very little maintenance.  However, be prepared to open your wallet wide as they are the most expensive type of opener.

5. Jackshaft Openers

Source: YouTube

These Jackshaft openers are for those of you who want a quiet opener with little maintenance. It uses a chain-driven Jack Shaft that is separate from the motor that opens and closes your door. 

This opener type is perfect for homes with limited space where the ceiling may not be able to handle motorized doors.

They require very little maintenance and are made with mostly metal components that will last a long time. These openers give an old-fashioned feel to garage doors making them perfect for those who want to give their home a vintage look. 

However, they may be more expensive than other types of garage door openers but they offer a variety of styles and finishes. Can also be used with metal or wooden doors. 

Jackshaft openers are also the quietest type of garage door opener, making it perfect for those of you who want to sleep late on Saturdays without worrying about pesky motorized sounds waking up everyone in your family.

6. Drawbar Openers

Drawbar openers are the simplest and oldest type of garage door opener. Drawbar openers attach directly to your door’s track without any brackets or springs. 

They are less expensive, easy to install, and work with almost every type of garage door on the market today, making them a popular choice for most homeowners. 

Drawbar openers are also known for being reliable and simple to use, while still providing a quiet operation. 

A downside is that that they can get stuck if your door gets misaligned or bent so it is recommended that you have an expert check out your door before you purchase one if your door seems out of shape.

Drawbars tend to wear out faster than other types of garage door openers so keep an eye on them and have regular maintenance check-ups.

They are a good option for small garages and are also the least expensive garage door opener type, making them an affordable option for homeowners who do not want to spend too much money on their new garage door opener.

7. Hoist Openers

Source: Ingstrup

Hoist type openers are the most common opener type on the market today, making them a popular choice among homeowners. Hoist Openers use a chain or metal screw to lift your door up and down.

They are designed for lighter doors that require less power, noise, and maintenance than heavier doors and may not be the best choice for heavier garage doors that require more power to lift but are also made to be strong and last long.

Questions to be Considered in Choosing Your Garage Door Openers

1. What does my budget look like?

Budget is an important factor for most homeowners especially if you’re short on funds. Each type of opener fits certain criteria you may want but provide different benefits that may be more suitable for your home and needs. 

Take note that there may also be additional installation costs you need to consider if you want a different type of opener. The key is to see what things you cannot compromise on and then narrow down your search to see what fits your budget. 

Sometimes even with an unlimited budget, the opener may just simply not be compatible with your garage door type. Last but not least, there may even be maintenance costs down the road. 

2. How important is the noise level?

Most garage door openers are designed to be quiet but there are still some that are louder than others. Amazingly enough, some garage door openers still have the capability of letting your entire neighborhood know that you are leaving or just arrived home. 

If this is an important factor to you then getting a quiet opener isn’t the only thing you need to focus on, you would also need to get a quiet garage door for it to work effectively and in harmony. 

As mentioned earlier, Jackshaft Garage Door Openers provide the best noise reduction of all opener types. If that’s what you’re looking for then this garage door opener may be for you. 

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