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What type of garage door opener do I need?

When you are selecting a garage door opener for your home or business, you have a operating mechanism to choose from. Each type of opener uses a motor to move a trolley along the rail, which lifts the door.

  • Belt drive: A belt drive uses a steel-reinforced rubber belt to lift and lower the garage door, allowing it to run quietly and smoothly. If you have living quarters above the garage, a belt drive is a smart choice.  
  • Chain drive: A chain-drive garage door opener has been the most common type for many years. It uses a metal chain to move the trolley to open and close the door. Chain drives will cause more vibration and noise than other openers, but the cost is less than other options. 
  • Direct drive: With a direct-drive system, the motor functions as the trolley, which means the entire motor moves along the rail. Because these systems don’t have multiple moving parts, they tend to run quietly with minimal vibration.
  • Jackshaft: For a garage door opener with a jackshaft, you’ll have less maintenance and moving parts to monitor over time. This type of drive controls the torsion bar that opens and closes the door and is mounted on the left or right side of the door. Jackshaft openers tend to run more quietly than other options, although they’re also usually more expensive.

What features should I look for in a garage door opener?

Garage door openers  have been simple devices. They still are, for the most part. But as with a lot of household items, technological advances are finding their way into garage door opener hardware.

There are quite a few useful features in modern garage door openers that are becoming standard offerings instead of expensive perks.

  • Automatic close: If you commonly forget to close your garage door, you can set up some systems to automatically close it after a certain period of time.
  • Battery backup: Some garage door openers have a battery backup so they’ll still operate when the power goes out. 
  • Controls: Most garage door openers coming with a remote control devices you can place in your vehicle. Some will have a keypad that you place outside the garage door so you can enter a code and open the door.
  • Horsepower: The horsepower (HP) measurement describes the power the garage door opener motor has. A motor with a greater horsepower measurement will open and close the door more quickly, while also being able to handle larger and heavier doors.Electric opener offer  1/2 HP, 3/4 HP or more depending how much heavy is your door and how many times you use the door close and open. 
  • Security lights: Most newer garage door openers have at least two bright bulbs, as well as motion-activated lights. Cheaper openers may be limited to a single light bulb that doesn’t illuminate your whole garage.
  • Smartphone control: Many newer garage door openers allow you to connect the device to your home’s WiFi network. You can then open and close the door through a smartphone app. Many of these apps will alert you when the garage door is open for a certain period.