Choosing a Garage Door Opener for Your Garage

Choosing a garage door opener can be difficult because of the many options. In order to help, this article will break that decision down into the most important points and elaborate on them.

1. Safety
By law, manufacturers must build openers so that they automatically reverse direction after striking something. Most openers take that a step further with a beam system that detects blockage, such as child or bicycle, and won’t allow the door to close while the obstruction is there.

2. Drive Type
There are three primary types of garage door opener drives: belt, chain and screw. Chain drives are the most popular, the least expensive and the nosiest. Belt drives use a belt, like a car’s fan belt; this makes them the quietest, but the belts wear out making total cost of ownership higher. Screw drives are the most expensive upfront, but they achieve a great balance between noise, performance and long-term cost of ownership.

3. Power
Most systems use a ½-HP motor, even if it’s a one-door garage. A smaller motor will wear down faster, and it can substantially increase long-term costs. As a rule of thumb, bigger is better, within reason. A bigger-than-needed motor will not stress itself, and therefore it will require much less maintenance and repair.

4. Noise
With detached garages, noise isn’t much of an issue. However, with attached garages, it can be a big deal. Noise is vibration. If the garage is next to a bedroom, it can vibrate enough to wake people, and if the garage is next to a living room, it can vibrate enough to disrupt watching television and the like.

5. Remote
The basic remote is usually small enough to fit on a keychain, and it has one or two buttons. Most doors come with one remote by default, so families will likely have to purchase additional units. There are also more sophisticated remotes. Some mount in the car while others control other aspects of the home, such as alarm systems. These days, most doors have a code so that they work with all universal remotes.

6. Contingency
An automatic door will not open without power, so every door needs a contingency. Some doors have a battery backup. That backup is enough to run the doors while power is out, and then when power returns, the battery recharges itself. Basic doors have a release. It activates when there’s a lack of power, and then the door can be opened manually.

7. Security
Most garage doors use “rolling code” technology. What that means is that the code sent from the remote to the door changes with each use. So the remote sends the access code, and the door responds with the new code followed by opening. Don’t settle for anything less because simpler systems are easy for thieves to “crack,” and simpler systems are prone to accidental opening from neighbors.

8. Switch
For attached garages, most homeowners like to have a switch, like a light switch, for the garage door near the house door in the garage. Some doors include the switch kit, but many require you to purchase it as an accessory. Advanced switches have keypads and implement security, which is necessary if the unit is located outside.


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