An advantage of garage door openers is that they usually last for a long time (up to 15 years on average). The market is full of options when it comes to garage door openers: from simple and standard models to smart models with apps and smart home integration.
Although garage door openers aren’t necessary purchases for your home, they make life much easier by eliminating the hassle of getting out of your vehicle to open your garage yourself. Nowadays, you can even control garage door openers from your smartphone, allowing you to check whether you remembered to lock the door.
The type of garage door opener you choose is determined by several factors. Several garage door opener styles exist, including belt-driven, chain-driven, screw-driven, and wall-mounted models, and you’ll also need one with sufficient horsepower to raise and lower your garage door.
When shopping, you’ll notice that there are a few big-name brands that dominate the market mainly, Chamberlain and Genie. However, there are several smaller manufacturers to consider, as well.
|Chamberlain B970T Smart Garage Door Opener|
|Genie StealthDrive Connect Model 7155-TKV|
|LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series|
|Chamberlain B4545T Smart Garage Door Opener|
|SKYLINK Atoms ATR-1611C 1/2HPF Garage Door Opener|
1. Chamberlain B970T Smart Garage Door Opener
With smart garage door openers, you can open and close the garage from anywhere, whether you’re on the road, at work, or even on vacation. These Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled units can be controlled remotely via smartphones, making them the new standard.
There are a few smart garage door openers that are as good as this Chamberlain model, which operates using a steel-reinforced belt drive and can be controlled via the myQ app.
With this unit, you can operate 7-foot garage doors (extensions for 8- and 10-foot doors are available), and it has even been equipped with a backup battery so that you can open the door when the power goes out.
Aside from the remote control’s impressive 1,500-foot range, the device’s smart functionality lets you give access to the garage door to up to three people – ideal for visitors and kids.
2. Genie StealthDrive Connect Model 7155-TKV
With its powerful 1.25 HP motor, quiet belt drive system, smart features, and even a battery backup, the Genie StealthDrive Connect Garage Door Opener has it all! Featuring a five-piece, lightweight rail system that’s easy to install in your garage, it can handle doors as tall as 7 feet and as heavy as 500 pounds.
In addition to two pre-programmed remote controls, the unit is equipped with a wireless keypad, a multi-purpose wall console, and two pre-programmed remote controls.
This steel-reinforced belt drive allows the Genie StealthDrive Connect to open quietly, so you can use it next to a bedroom or another area.
It also comes with the brand’s Aladdin Connect technology, which lets you to use Alexa and Google Home as well as monitor and operate the device from your smartphone. Furthermore, a backup battery allows you to open the garage door up to 50 times in case of a power outage.
3. LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series
Another wall-mounted garage door opener is the LiftMaster 8500, which provides direct drive capabilities. By mounting this unit beside your door, instead of hanging from the ceiling and taking up space in your garage, you can free up that space for other storage needs.
You will need a front-mount torsion bar system (not included) to operate it. It can handle doors up to 14 feet tall and 650 pounds.
The LiftMaster 8500 has a direct drive system which makes it extremely quiet, and it has a built-in light which automatically turns on when you enter your garage.
You can upgrade to smart functionality by purchasing the brand’s 828LM Internet Gateway, which comes with a wall-mount control panel and one visor remote control.
4. Chamberlain B4545T Smart Garage Door Opener
Due to its built-in high-definition camera, this Chamberlain garage door opener also doubles as a home security tool. Motion-sensitive cameras stream live video in 1080p to your smartphone when they detect motion, such as opening a door.
The camera can be rotated 360 degrees, has a glare-resistant night-vision lens, and provides two-way audio.
The high-grade belt drive of this garage door opener allows you to install it on doors that are up to seven feet tall. A multi-functional wall control and safety sensors are included, as well as two remote controls with a range of up to 1,500 feet. Using your smartphone, you can customize alerts, set personalized schedules, and more.
5. SKYLINK Atoms ATR-1611C 1/2HPF Garage Door Opener
With its no-frills design, the Skylink Atoms Garage Door Opener is a great option if you’re willing to forego premium features. A durable chain drive allows it to open a 7-foot garage door, but the brand sells extension kits that are compatible with 8- and 10-foot garage doors, too.
An infrared safety sensor prevents it from closing if something gets in its way, and this garage door opener comes with a wall-mounted push-button and remote control.
It is designed for DIY installation, saving you some money, and it has a built-in LED light to make it easier for you to see at night.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Garage Door Opener
You should keep in mind some factors before buying a garage door opener:
There are several ways garage door openers work. Metal chains lift and lower chain-drive models, which are usually cheap and able to handle heavier doors, but might be noisy. When a belt-drive opener is used, it is much smoother and quieter.
In addition to being quiet and requiring little maintenance, screw-drive openers lift doors using a threaded steel rod. The final type is the direct drive opener, which is a single unit that moves to lift the door. Direct drive openers are usually very quiet and smooth in operation.
It is common for garage door openers to work with standard garage doors, which are 7 feet tall. It is necessary to purchase a compatible extension kit for garage doors 8 or 9 feet tall in order to use a garage door opener.
Horsepower and Lifting Capacity
Your garage door opener’s horsepower is another important factor. An average door in a newer home will work with .5 horsepower. Nonetheless, if your solid wood door is heavier, you may want to opt for .75 horsepower so that it can lift it easily. These are more suitable for commercial or special applications. You can also get models with 1 and 1.5 horsepower.
Having an automatic garage door opener adds convenience, but also leaves one stranded in the event of a power outage. In the event of a power outage, some garage door openers come with battery backups that can operate the door. With most battery backups, a garage door can be closed and opened 50 times on a single charge.
Safety and Security
A garage door opener does have the potential to crush someone if one is caught underneath it due to the force they produce. The laser sensors used in garage door openers are typically mounted at a height of no more than 6 inches from the ground on both sides of the door.
As soon as the laser eye is tripped, these sensors prevent the door from closing, protecting pets and children from being trapped under the closing door.
By adding security to the garage door, garage door openers prevent the door from being opened manually when it is closed. The deadbolt locks on certain garage doors that close automatically can add an extra layer of security, while others provide an alert if the garage door is left open, protecting items that are stored there.
There has been a requirement to install a special reversing mechanism on garage door openers since 1993. However, additional security features come at a higher cost when compared to the cost of the opener. Consider a model whose access code changes each time the unit is used to prevent break-ins.
Several garage door openers are compatible with smart devices that can connect with them wirelessly, turning the smart device into an automatic garage door opener.
Apps compatible with garage doors can allow users to monitor the door’s status, open and close the garage door remotely, and even perform more advanced functions, such as setting the garage door to open and close at specific times, and setting permissions to allow visitors to operate the garage door.
In addition, these apps allow users to set alerts in case the garage door is accidentally left open. The majority of smart garage door openers can also be controlled by digital assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.