A well-maintained and properly functioning garage door is critical to ensuring safety and convenience at home. Besides, upgrading to a modern garage is one of those home improvement projects with the highest return on investment (ROI). But your garage door’s quality, function, and safety are highly hinged on the door opener, which serves as an operator, managing the door’s weight and ensuring it opens and closes properly.
Consumer markets are flooded with wide-ranging types of garage door openers today, and determining the right product based on your budget, preference, and home can be daunting. Fortunately, we’ve discussed the different types of garage doors with an emphasis on belt drive and chain drive garage door openers.
Types of Garage Door Openers
Before purchasing a new garage door opener, it pays to learn about the different types of openers. Here are the commonly available options:
Chain drive openers
A chain drive opener works like a bicycle. The opener features the same type of chain used in bikes to rotate the pedals. However, in a garage door setup, the chain in the opener pulls a trolley connected to a metal bar known as a J-arm, which comes affixed to the garage door. Chain drive openers are highly reliable, powerful, and robust to handle heavy and frequently used garage doors. An upside to chain drive garage door openers is that they are the least expensive type of garage door operating system on the market. The only caveat is that these systems’ pull and push motion causes a disturbing noise because of the metal-to-metal contact.
- Highly reliable with minimal chances of breaking down or failure
- Typically less expensive than high-end belt drive models
- These systems are loud and clunky due to vibrations caused by metal-to-metal contact. Therefore, they are ideal for detached garages.
- The chain lifts and lowers the garage door slower than a belt drive opener, although the difference of a few seconds is acceptable to many homeowners.
Belt drive openers
A belt drive opener is a variant of the chain drive operating system. As the name suggests, belt drive garage door openers use rubber belts made from various materials, including fiberglass, steel-reinforced rubber, and polyurethane. Therefore, they are ultra-strong with extended functional lifespans. The belt connects the garage door’s trolley to a motor attached to the J-arm. Because these operators use rubber instead of a chain, they operate with little to no noise, making them ideal for properties with attached garages.
- They utilize a rubber belt that operates smoothly without producing noise or vibrations, perfect for garages attached to the main house.
- The belt drive system is ultra-strong and low-maintenance, saving you money on repair and overall maintenance costs.
- Because of their noise-free operation and robust construction, belt-drive garage door openers come at a higher cost than their chain-driven counterparts.
Wall mount operators
Also called side mount or jackshaft openers, wall mount operators are mounted on either side of the garage door. This type of opener is common with homeowners who want the best products. Jackshaft openers reduce noise and vibration but are a few hundred dollars more than standard ceiling mount openers.
Most modern wall-mounted operators come with built-in Wi-Fi, allowing homeowners to control their openers from their smartphones through a phone app. For example, LiftMaster DC Battery Backup Wall Mount Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener lets you operate your garage door remotely via the myQ app, receive alerts, and schedule the garage door to close or activate Amazon Key in-garage deliveries.
Smart garage door operator
Sometimes you might be in a hurry to leave home, and as you drive down the road, you may wonder: “did I close my garage door, or is it open?” Well, smart garage door operators are designed to address such issues.
A smart opener utilizes a wireless internet connection, sensors in your garage door rails, and a controller to transmit information to a companion app, alerting you whether the garage door is closed, open, or somewhere in between. With that information, you can take the necessary action with a click of a button.
With intelligent garage door operators, you can integrate it into your current motorized garage door opener as an add-on accessory or purchase an entirely new smart system with a motorized garage door opener. Again, you must have an advanced opener system and a reliable Wi-Fi connection for your smart garage door opener to function fully.
Recommended garage door openers
We live in a tech-savvy world where consumers rely on their smart devices to handle most of their everyday tasks. That said, your garage door should operate during extreme weather and come equipped with lights, smartphone connectivity, and even work during power outages.
Today, many manufacturers produce different garage door openers with varied tech features, prices, and functionalities. It’s easy to get confused when searching for the best garage door opener for your budget and needs. Luckily, Doorvana is here to provide valuable advice to help you choose the right garage door operator. From our latest round-up, LiftMaster garage door products dominate the industry. So, here are the best garage door openers and operators based on their specific advantages:
- LiftMaster 87504 Elite Series – Best for wood garage doors
- LiftMaster 87802 Elite Series – Best smart garage door opener for heavy two-car garage doors
- LiftMaster 84505R Premium Series – Best garage door opener for quiet, smooth operation
- LiftMaster 8500W Elite Series – Best wall-mount garage door operator
- LiftMaster 81650 Contractor Series – Best builder-grade garage door opener
Which garage door is best for me?
There’s no straightforward answer to this question because the best garage door opener or operator depends on your unique needs and preferences. However, if you’re searching for the fastest garage door opener, we recommend the LiftMaster 87504, which opens the garage door at speeds of up to nine (9) inches per second.
On the other hand, if safety is your top priority, then the LiftMaster 8500W Elite Series is the best option. This garage door opener comes with an automatic garage door lock that deadlocks the garage door once it’s shut, effectively bolstering your home security. Although other openers can use an automated system, the LiftMaster 8500W is the only product with an automatic lock. Therefore, it’s safe to say the 8500W is the safest opener straight from the box.
In sum, there are four common types of garage door openers: chain-driven, belt-driven, wall-mount, and smart garage door operators. Chain-driven openers are the most popular and economical, but they can be noisy, which can be a nuisance, especially if you need to relax. That makes them ideal for use in garages detached from the main building. Belt-driven openers are much quieter, but you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets to acquire them.
On the other token, wall mount operators are perfect if your garage has high or irregular ceilings, and once mounted, they free up space for extra ceiling storage. Smart garage openers offer the most convenience, enabling you to integrate them into your smart home system. Thus, you can control the garage door remotely, whether in the office or on the road. When choosing a garage door opener, it is crucial to consider factors such as noise level, speed, durability, and cost, to determine which type is best for your specific needs.
Ready to transform your garage with a new door and opener? Partner with us for high-quality garage door solutions, from quality maintenance and repairs to new garage door and opener installation. We partner with renowned garage door manufacturers like Amarr, LiftMaster, Clopay, Linear, Marantec, etc., to ensure you get high-quality garage door solutions backed by customer-friendly warranties. Call us at 817-500-5988 with questions or to get started on your garage door upgrade.