If your garage is not fitted with an electrical door opener or the one you have now is becoming more and more inconvenient; matters such as making too much noise or uncertainty about its safety and security, its time to allocate a budget to purchase a whole new one. The alternatives and the variety of garage door openers in the market are so great that to get hold of the best which fits into your garage is a time consuming matter. Here in this review we guide you through all the stages of purchasing one; from choosing the material and texture of the door, to different mechanisms which are available, to safety and security concerns of each model and finally the price tag.
These days you can open your garage door while sitting in your car by a tap of a finger, so the technology is out there, what you need is a step by step buying guide to get to the garage door opener which you would adore looking at every time you drive in from work.
- Why Buy a Garage Door Opener?
- Questions I Should Answer When Buying a Garage Door Opener?
- Question No. 1: Power of the garage door opener
- Question No. 2: Type of the garage door opener
- Question No. 3: Speed of the garage door opener
- Question No. 4: Type of installation procedure of the garage door opener
- Question No. 5: Picking the Best Brand which produces the type of garage door opener you are looking for
- What are the Garage Door Styles & Materials?
- What type of drive system is best for your Garage Door?
- Which Brand of Garage Door Opener to choose?
- Safety and Security and other High Tech Features of your Garage Door Opener?
- Brief Review of TOP 10 Best Garage Door Openers
- 1. Chamberlain Group PD762EV 3/4-HP Heavy-Duty Premium Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, Black
- 2. Chamberlain PD612EV 1/2 HP MyQ Enabled Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, Off White
- 3. Chamberlain WD832KEV 1/2 HP MyQ Enabled Belt Whisper Drive Garage Door Opener
- 4. Chamberlain MyQ-enabled Whisper Drive Garage Door Opener and CIGBU MyQ Internet Gateway
- 5. SOMMER Direct Drive 1042V001 3/4 HP Garage Door Opener
- 6. LiftMaster 1355 Contractor Series 1/2 HP Chain Drive W/O Rail Assembly
- 7. LiftMaster 3255 Contractor Series 1/2 HP Chain Drive W/O Rail Assembly
- 8. Chamberlain Group PD220 1/2-HP Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, Black
- 9. Chamberlain WD832KEVG Whisper Belt Drive Garage Door Opener with MyQ Technology, 1/2 HP, Gray
- 10. Chamberlain Group WD1000WF 1 1/4 HP Smartphone-Controlled Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener with Battery Backup and Ultra-Quiet Operation
- Warranties offered by the manufacturers
- Final conclusion
Why Buy a Garage Door Opener?
In 1902 the first garage door opener was built by American producers and interestingly it was called, “float over door”, evidently using the upward –lifting mechanism. But why you should buy a garage door opener now? The reasons are all too obvious. A garage door opener uses an electrical motor to open the garage door and all you have to do is to press a button. In the absence of such a mechanism, you have to do this by hand. Surely you have encountered situations where the door is just stuck and sometimes impossible to open it alone. Imagine coming back from a hard day work only to wrestle with such an awkward door. Not to mention the same difficulties your wife or children will face coming back home. Therefore having a garage door opener is an essential part of any modern home tools these days.
Questions I Should Answer When Buying a Garage Door Opener?
Choosing the best garage door opener considering the many different brands in the market is not an easy task. You should either be very experienced in this field or it’s adamant to do extensive research. You ought to be able to compare important factors such as budget, safety, security, and quality. Therefore let’s go step by step to get to the right pick which you can rely on.
Video: What’s the Best Garage Door Opener? via Youtube
To choose the correct door opener for your garage you should have the answer to the following questions:
Question No. 1: Power of the garage door opener
How heavy is your garage door? Obviously garage doors vary a great deal both in size and the material. Also is it a single gate garage door or a double one? Therefore you should know the weight in order to purchase the right door opener for the job. There are basically 3 main sizes in the market to choose from:
- 1/3 horsepower: Light load (suitable for opening one door garages).
- 1/2 horsepower: Medium load.
- 3/4 horsepower: Heavy load.
Note: It is best to purchase a stronger door opener for your garage; this will ensure a longer life span. If you have a double doors, you should at least search for a 1/2 horsepower door opener. Also try to find a device that starts and stops quietly and smoothly. This will cause much less wear on your door.
Question No. 2: Type of the garage door opener
What type of garage door opener you want? Here again there are 3 main types in the market. These three mechanisms have their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Chain drive door opener
- Belt drive door opener
- Screw drive door opener
Question No. 3: Speed of the garage door opener
Different brands in the market provide differing speeds to their customers. Generally speaking the average speed is reckoned to be 7 inches per second. Having said this, there are brands which provide door openers with twice the average speed.
You should have this in mind that expensive door openers are set to open you garage door more quickly, so you wouldn’t be waiting for too long to drive in and on the other hand close it at a lower speed providing more safety.
Question No. 4: Type of installation procedure of the garage door opener
Garage door openers can be installed in various ways; this mainly depends on their mechanism. You should decide whether you want to install it yourself or call in a professional team to do it for you. Our advice is to have an experienced friend or a professional to help you out in the installation.
Question No. 5: Picking the Best Brand which produces the type of garage door opener you are looking for
Having answered all the above questions you are in a position to compare all the features and prices of different brands leading you to a final conclusion. However when choosing a particular brand check out their warranty policies and their customer services. In this review we will be introducing two main brands which are known for their durable and reliable products.
What are the Garage Door Styles & Materials?
These days’ garage doors come in many different styles and materials and the usual Classic Steel Garage Door is only one option. You can find many other alternatives both traditional and contemporary. Here is a brief description of different styles available in the market.
- Classical Steel Garage Doors
These models use traditional panels in different size and textures. There are many models to match almost any home design.
- Carriage Steel Garage Doors
From outside they look like swinging doors but like other garage doors they move up and down. Usually these doors come with attractive decorations.
- Modern Aluminum Glass Garage Doors
You can have your garage doors painted in any color you want. For example it would look great for your garage door to match the color of your shutters and sidings.
Further more considering the high cost of energy, garage door insulation is on the rise. These insulated garage doors are usually made of polystyrene or polyurethane foam.
When it comes to decide on the suitable material for your garage door you have a wide range of materials to choose from. Here are lists of materials you can choose from:
- Wooden Garage Doors – Many different textures and designs, can be painted in the color of your choice, can be built on specific order.
- Steel Garage Doors – Surely with this material you would have more durability, available in different panel designs.
- Composite Garage Doors – These materials give you the look of wooden doors with much durability. You can custom design these materials and there are many options to choose from. They can also be painted.
Aluminum Glass- the Aluminum frame of the door are resistant to rust and there are many kinds of glass to choose for the windows carved out in the Garage door.
What type of drive system is best for your Garage Door?
Generally all Garage Door Openers are divided into 3 different mechanisms. When choosing your
Garage Door Opener you should have a detailed knowledge of how each of these types work and what are their Pros and Cons. Here is a brief description of each type:
1. Chain Drive Opener:
These types of openers are the oldest in the market and use a chain to lift or lower the garage door. It acts just like a bicycle chain and they are very long-lasting. This type is still very popular especially because of its lower cost.
- Advantages: Capable of lifting heavier weights, longer life span, a fewer replacement and lower cost.
- Disadvantages: Very noisy especially if it is not lubricated and needs constant maintenance.
2. Belt Drive Opener:
This type is identical to the chain system only instead of a metal chain a rubber belt is used to open the garage door. Usually the belts are made of very durable material and they won’t need replacements for many years.
- Advantages: It opens and shuts the garage door quietly and requires very little maintenance.
- Disadvantages: More expensive in comparison to chain type openers. Also if the belt is not of good quality it wears down quickly and should be replaced.
3. Screw Drive Opener:
Here a long metal rod which has been threaded like a screw is used to open the garage door.
- Advantages: In comparison to chain openers it works more quietly and it is relatively cheaper than belt drive openers. Also it is the easiest of types to install.
- Disadvantages: Because there are a fewer moving parts it needs rather less maintenance. Concerning the noisiness this type falls in between the two Belt Drive and Chain Drive mechanisms.
Which Brand of Garage Door Opener to choose?
There are many brands in the market producing Garage Door Openers. However there are only a few main brands which are outstanding. The main features of these brands are the variety and wide range of products that they present to their customers.
The diversity of features which they provide is incredible. To choose a particular brand you should have several things in mind:
- Check the warranty of the door opener and also the customer service the manufacturer provides.
- Compare the prices of the products.
- Read through all the customer reviews both positive and critical.
Here we introduce you to some of the famous brands in this field:
The best manufacturer which offers the widest range of options is the Chamberlain Company. All the products of this company are reliable with a proven track record. One of its famous products is the Chamberlain WD962KEV.
One of the well known features of this brand is its lifetime warranty for its products. This makes this brand as one of the most generous in the market.
This is one of the popular brands in the market. Most of the customers who have bought this brand have emphasized on the easy and quick installation of its garage door openers. They have a long history of reliability and have earned the trust of customers.
Safety and Security and other High Tech Features of your Garage Door Opener?
- Safety – It’s all too obvious that safety and security are two very important factors when buying a garage door opener. To check the safety of the model you want to buy, first you should know how it works. Generally when a person or an object crosses the beam of light installed on the door opener this would activate the safety mechanism. The mechanism is simple; the garage door reverses its direction. Also most of the models offer a manual operating system in case there is power cut.
Garage doors if not properly maintained can cause injury and damage to property including the door itself. Some of the most common causes of injury include, falling doors, incorrect adjustments, doing repairs without the knowhow of the mechanism and finally not observing the safety measures in regard to the spring of the door opener. Remember a free falling garage door can cause serious injury. Therefore it is adamant that you make sure of the safety features of your door opener and follow the safety warnings in the User Manual and always seek professional help in repair and maintenance of your door opener.
- Security – Usually there is a security light installed on your opener. This security light will go one as soon as you operate the system and will only turn off when you leave the car. On this issue you can change the code of operation anytime you want.
- Special features – Technology in this field presents you with many other options and facilities. Here are some of these innovative options.
- You can set the minimum force needed to be able to open or close the door manually.
- If you are going on holiday you can disable the opener for the time being. In this case, the opener will not respond to any other signal transmission.
- External battery backup is provided allowing you a minimum number of opening the garage door in case of power cut.
Video: What to Look for When Buying a New Garage Door Opener?
Brief Review of TOP 10 Best Garage Door Openers
1. Chamberlain Group PD762EV 3/4-HP Heavy-Duty Premium Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, Black
This is a heavy duty ¾ Horse Power chain drive garage door opener. You can install this model for doors as high as 8 foot. The manufacturer guarantees lifetime warranty for the motor and 1 year warranty for the main parts including the chain and other accessories. One of the special features of this model is that you can operate the Garage Door by your Smartphone. The installation is straight forward and all the mounting hardware in included.
My Assessment: This is one of reliable Chamberlain products tailor made for heavy duty. You can easily use this door opener for 8 foot tall doors. A friend of mine used it for a door 8 foot and 6 inches tall with no problem. It has a powerful motor with all the necessary accessories included for a safe and easy installation.
The Verdict: If I have a garage door of these dimensions I would surely invest my money on this model which has a proven track record.
2. Chamberlain PD612EV 1/2 HP MyQ Enabled Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, Off White
This is a light duty door opener with an outstanding 5 out of 5 stars given by most of the customers. It has a wireless keypad with two remotes and added lights for safety. One of its most mentioned features by the customers is that it operates quietly and smoothly. The instructions for installation are comprehensive and easy to follow. Only please take note that to facilitate the MyQ technology used in this opener you should pay around $40 for the internet gateway.
My Assessment: All the customers who have bought this Chamberlain product have emphasized on its quiet and smooth operation. It’s rare to find 5 out of 5 rating for a door opener, but in this case many buyers have given their approval for this rating.
The Verdict: I would surely recommend it. One customer had a Chamberlain door opener for over 20 years with no problem what so ever. Therefore with the reliable name of the company you are investing your money on a trustworthy door opener which will work for many years to come.
3. Chamberlain WD832KEV 1/2 HP MyQ Enabled Belt Whisper Drive Garage Door Opener
This is a sister product of Chamberlain PD612EV garage door opener. It is ½ horse power, but unlike its counterpart it is fitted with a belt drive system. Using a belt drive mechanism has made this model all the more quieter and smoother. The MyQ app gives you the opportunity to Open or Close your garage door by your Smartphone (remember the gateway to make use of this technology should be purchased separately). One other especial feature of this model is its intelligent closing mechanism where after 1 or 5 or 10 minutes set by you, it automatically closes the garage door. On the safety note the sensors installed on the device will immediately stop the motor from closing the door if it comes into contact with an object.
My Assessment: This model is ultra quiet and with the added especial features it is one of the best choices you can have in purchasing a light weight door opener. One of the especial features which I like most is its automatic closing mechanism for a set time. I must mention that the security programming on this model is quiet sophisticated safeguarding your codes.
The Verdict: I undoubtedly recommend it because it is a reliable and a quiet garage door opener with many especial features. To add to this line up it has a strong warranty support, including lifetime warranty for the motor and the belt, 5 year warranty for the parts and 1 year for the accessories.
4. Chamberlain MyQ-enabled Whisper Drive Garage Door Opener and CIGBU MyQ Internet Gateway
This latest Chamberlain product is a modern belt drive garage door opener with ¾ HP fitted with MyQ technology. In this unit you have all the features of Chamberlain’s WD962KEV 3/4 HP garage door opener including its battery support system and its super quiet operation. Here is a list of special features packed in to this model:
- MyQ smartphone technology enabled with Chamberlain CIGBU Internet Gateway, connecting to your router. On this model the MyQ app is a free download with no annual renewal payment.
- Timer control to automatically close the garage door. You can program it for 1, 5or 10 minutes waiting period to operate.
- Automatic monitoring technology giving you a range of information about the state of your garage.
- Automatic lighting system. You can program it to turn on the light at you walk or drive into your garage.
- To run MyQ technology you do need a Wi-Fi router with good internet connection.
- This garage door opener does not work with older generation of Chamberlain accessories. So make sure you purchase its own set of accessories.
My Assessment: This is one of Chamberlain Group’s garage door openers backed with 40 years of good quality production equipped with extra features. I would certainly recommend it if you have the budget to purchase a garage door opener at the high end.
The Verdict: It has a proven track record and most of the customers have given 4.7 stars for it. The features packed in this model all work perfectly. Only have this in mind that it moves rather slower than similar models.
5. SOMMER Direct Drive 1042V001 3/4 HP Garage Door Opener
This ¾ horse power garage door opener has one distinctive feature, it is super quiet. This outstanding feature has been mentioned in nearly all customer reviews. There is only one drawback which is its very slow opening. The instructions are well written and there are many pictures to help you through. Unfortunately all the measurements are in inches which might be a bit troublesome. The installation is simple and it takes nearly 3 hours to pull down the old opener and assemble the new one.
My Assessment: This is a durable, all-round garage door opener which operates incredibly quietly but slowly.
The Verdict: Considering your budget it is a reliable garage door opener to invest in and you can be sure of long life functionality.
6. LiftMaster 1355 Contractor Series 1/2 HP Chain Drive W/O Rail Assembly
This is has been reviewed as a reliable door opener by the customers. Some of the outstanding features of this model include:
- In case of power cut you can disengage and raise the garage door manually with ease.
- Very simple to change the access codes.
- It can be installed swiftly and easily.
- If you have and older version of this door opener this model fits in easily in the same place.
- It works quietly and is programmed quickly and easily.
My Assessment: Analyzing all the customer reviews about LiftMaster brand products all the customers have emphasize on its durability working for many years without a flaw. They have all saved money by just buying the necessary components to update their older versions. It has all the basic features that a garage door opener should have.
The Verdict: When you read the reports that an older version of this brand worked for over 20 years spotlessly and this model fits in easily in place of the older on you can be sure of investing on a worthy product.
7. LiftMaster 3255 Contractor Series 1/2 HP Chain Drive W/O Rail Assembly
This garage door opener does everything it should do with no flaws at all. The installation of this LiftMaster opener is simple and if you are a do it yourselfer it will take you under a couple of hours to assemble it. For safety an electronic eye is fitted on this model. If you already have an old LiftMaster model installed by buying only the necessary new components you can save a great deal of money, for example there is no need to buy a new rail system.
My Assessment: By analyzing all the customer reviews on this product they have all stressed that this is a durable door opener which works for many years , the quality of the components are worthy and no mechanical or electrical flaws has been witnessed by customers who have used this model or the older versions of the same brand for many years.
The Verdict: The older versions of this model have had a good and satisfactory work history. On this foundation and on the basis of present ratings of this product you should be confident that you are investing on a reliable product.
8. Chamberlain Group PD220 1/2-HP Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, Black
This is a ½ horse power quiet working motor designed for 7 foot doors. It is easy to install and designed so that you can put it up by yourself. It is really small and light weight. As soon as you see the package you realize this feature. It is a little over 20 pounds. Some of its advantages are, faster opening in comparison to similar models; the remote has a longer range.
It comes with a 6 year warranty for the motor an 1 year for main parts such as, chain and accessories.
My Assessment: So, if you are happy with a single remote and have a 7 foot door this is a real bargain for your garage door opener. You don’t need to worry about the light weight it does its job well.
The Verdict: So this is a real good bargain if you need something nice and small as a basic garage door opener. With this price you wouldn’t be able to buy a better one.
9. Chamberlain WD832KEVG Whisper Belt Drive Garage Door Opener with MyQ Technology, 1/2 HP, Gray
This turntable is known for its durability and extra-quiet function.A powerful belt drive motor with ½ HP is installed taking extra care to minimize the vibration and the noise.
It is equipped with cutting edge MyQ technology enabling you to operate your garage door opener or turn on your out door lightings using your smartphone. This technology has given Chamberlain products a big advantage in comparison with similar brands.
Another feature of this model is the timer control system which closes the garage door opener according to time limits set by you from 5 to 10 minutes. So if you are late for work and just drive out of your garage, need not to worry it will close automatically.
To secure the safety of the door opener a light beam is installed which if obstructed will immediately reverse to process.
Chamberlain designers have created a fast and easy installation procedure making this model one of the best picks in the ½ HP range.
This model has two remote controls each with 3 switches and wireless keypad.
My Assessment: All the latest technology is packed into this model and the features are really outstanding. The MyQ technology gives you the opportunity to open or close your garage door by your smartphone from any where you are, this is a really amazing.
Note: You must purchase the internet gateway separately in order to use the MyQ technology.
The Verdict: Having seen all the convenience features of this model this would be one of the best picks for light weight garage door openers with ½ HP.
10. Chamberlain Group WD1000WF 1 1/4 HP Smartphone-Controlled Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener with Battery Backup and Ultra-Quiet Operation
If I want to summarize the main features of this model, there are 4 which shine through others:
- Built-in battery system ensures the operation of your garage door opener in case of power cut. The batteries will provide power for at least 3 days.
- In line with other Chamberlain products it has an exceptionally quiet functioning belt drive motor.
- MyQ technology gives you the ability to control your garage door opener by your smartphone even if you are miles away from your house or sitting on your bed. With the built-in Wi-Fi interface you can easily connect to your home’s network giving you control through your smartphone. To make sure that your garage is never left open you can program your device to close the garage door automatically.
- Extra powerful motor with 1 ¼ HP. It will work both on one- piece or sectional doors.
My Assessment: The features of this Chamberlain model all add up to an unfailing basic garage door opener with extra features. Therefore, if you are willing to spend your budget on a worthy garage door opener here you can invest confidently.
The Verdict: Reading through all the features, this is another exceptional accomplishment by Chamberlain Group, It is a super quiet garage door opener with extra features of a Wi-Fi system and a battery backup unit.
Warranties offered by the manufacturers
If you read all the product reviews of garage door openers, you soon realize that nearly all of them present you with one sort of warranty. Garage door openers of top brands usually provide lifetime warranty for their products including the motor, chain or the belt. However generally lifetime warranty is only given to the motor and other accessories are allocated warranty of one to three or five years.
Warranty is allotted by the producers for the following components:
- Belt or Chain
Sommer Direct Drive garage door openers provide lifetime warranty for both motor and components of the lift system. This puts them first as the most generous manufacturer as far as warranty is concerned.
Chamberlain garage door openers offer a varying warranty for their products. However their warranties are usually in the following framework:
- Life time or 10 year warranty for the motor
- 2 to 5 year warranty for the chain or belt
- 1 year warranty for the Accessories.
Note: Your garage door openers will work for you for many years to come. However if you don’t carry out regular maintenance during these years wear will take its toll. Therefore you must pay heed that although you will have lifetime warranty but this in no ways lowers the importance of maintenance.
Now that you have read all through this review you are in a position to take your decision and go for the garage door opener that suits you best. To assist you to make up your final decision I provide you with the overall price range of garage door openers and a simple checklist to make sure that nothing is overlooked.
The average price range of garage door openers are as follow
- Garage door openers of ½ horse power start at:
– $135 for chain drive units
– $190 for screw-drive units
– $230 for belt-drive units
- Garage door openers of ¾ horse power are $20 to $30 more expensive.
Simple Checklist to choose the best garage door opener for your house:
- The Brand you are interested to choose from.
- Your budget. Take note to estimate all the costs, including the cost of installation.
- The Style and Material which you like
- The power of the garage door opener (Horse Power)
- Type of garage door opener (chain, belt or screw drive)
- Speed of garage door opener
- Safety and Security of the garage door opener
- Special features which you would like to have
- Maintenance and how often it should be done