So your garage door opener finally gave out and now you need to buy a new system. But where to start? The best garage door opener will be quiet, quick, have modern features, and be home network compatible. Modern garage doors are following suit of standard home features by adopting the latest technology. Everything from your light bulbs to your home thermostat now have smart technology, so why shouldn’t your garage door? The best garage door opener for your smart home is out there, and we’re going to help you find it here.
What to Shop For
In this first section, we’re going to run through some of the primary features you want to look for shopping for a garage door opener. Even if you already have one, it’s time for an upgrade. These machines have come along way, and the best rated garage door openers are going to have all of the features and benefits you need to make using it a breeze.
How Much Power Do You Need?
There are three sizes of garage door opener motors: one-third, one-half, and three-quarter horsepower. Take into consideration the size, construction material, and the number of doors you are trying to lift. You will need at least a half horsepower if you are planning on lifting double doors. If you have a single door you can probably get away with one-third horsepower for your garage door opener.
Keep in mind that a more powerful motor will experience less stress and therefore last longer. You will need extra horsepower if you have an oversized or heavy door.
Which Drive System is Best?
You will need to choose from three types of drive systems. There is the belt drive, chain drive, and screw drive. Garage door openers that use a belt drive are typically higher end and more expensive. Chain drive and screw openers are going to be lower in cost but not as quiet as belt drive systems.
- Belt drives use a rubber belt system to drive the trolley and raise/lower the door. The belt is constructed with materials like fiberglass, Kevlar polymer, or steel-reinforced rubber. Systems that use this system will be the quietest while running, so it’s the best type of garage door opener for residential homes that have the garage attached to the main home. We highly recommend a belt drive garage door opener if someone in your home spends time or sleeps in a space above or adjacent to the garage. The downside is that belt drive systems are expensive.
- Chain drives use a chain to raise and lower the garage door. You will hear the banging of the chain while the system is in operation. Think of a bike style chain. This chain is looped around a rail and pulls the trolley. With periodic maintenance, chain drive garage door openers can last a long time. While these garage door openers are noisy, they are more affordable than belt drive garage door openers. Another typically overlooked benefit is that chain drive systems can still be easily operated manually when the power is out.
- Screw drive systems use a threaded rod mechanism (think of a very, very long screw) to move the door. Garage door openers that use this type of system require the least amount of parts. Screw drive garage door openers are less noisy than chain drives, but not as quiet as belt drives. It has less parts than both belt drive and chain drives and therefore is less likely to break. That being said, it does require maintenance. Lubrication about twice annually should do the trick and prevent wear on the screw heads. Screw drive garage door openers are not ideal for very heavy garage doors such as large one-piece doors that are found in older homes because that extra strain can really wear down the screw heads quickly.
Garage Door Opener Speed
The average garage door opener can open your door at a rate of seven inches per second. If speed is important you can find a door that will open at twice that speed. If speed isn’t a priority for you, you can find some systems that work slower. The speed does not dictate the quality of the opener.
You will find openers that run on AC and DC power. Both types of openers will plug into a standard power outlet. The DC power openers will convert the AC power. The DC models tend to be smaller, quieter, and have softer starts and stops. You can also find battery backups on DC power units. This will let you use the door in the event you lose power.
Choose Your Features
You should decide which features you want before you start shopping for the best smart garage door opener. You will find that certain features are standard.
Important things we recommend our readers to consider before purchasing an opener are components like remotes/keypads, lightning, and doors. Most garage door openers are sold separately from the door itself. You should make sure the opener you want will have enough power for your current door (or the new door you’re going to be installing).
Most garage door openers come with two remotes and one keypad, but not all do. Remotes cost around $40 and keypads around $60. Lastly, lightning features are great to have to illuminate the interior of the garage as you pull in. These types of lights (also called security lights) usually stay on about 30-60 seconds after the garage door closes. If the garage door opener does not come with a light, it can cost about $50-$100 to get one installed.
Most (but not all) garage door openers will come with items like remotes, wall mounts, and keypads will come with your garage door system. A manual release is standard on all garage doors. The manual release is what you will use when you lose power. A security light will also be standard. Most garage door openers are protected by a 3 to 5 year warranty. If you find one that has a 10 year or lifetime warranty on their motor, that’s a great indication the manufacturer is confident in their product.
Best Smart Garage Door Opener Features
You will find that some of the higher end garage door openers will come with special features such as integration with smart home ecosystems like Alexa, Xfinity and Nest. The best WiFi garage door openers will have home automation capabilities through built-in WiFi connectivity. This enables you to operate the opener with your smart phone and check on its status remotely (to make sure you didn’t leave it open for example). The best smart garage door openers are even vehicle compatible. You will also find the best systems have an auto close function. Some of the other options you’ll see are battery backup, rail extensions, motion sensors, and locks. You may not find all of the features you want in a single system, so decide which are the most important to you.
7 Best Garage Door Opener Reviews of 2018
It’s time to ask the question- what is the best garage door opener? In this section we’re going to review our top 7 picks for the best garage door openers on the market. We’ve listed as many features and benefits that we can think might be important to you, but it’s important that you look into your top smart garage door opener picks closer before making your final decision!
The Chamberlain C410 model garage door opener comes with a chain drive and one half horsepower motor. You’ll get medium lifting power, perfect for a standard sized garage door. Once the system is installed, download the MyQ smartphone app to have control of your garage door anytime and anywhere. You will have to pay for the service after the first thirty-day free trial.
You will get two, three button remotes with the system. This will let you control up to three openers or Chamberlain lighting systems. The remotes are long range giving you up to 1,500 feet. Even though this is one of the less expensive garage door openers from Chamberlain, it is still made from the highest quality materials.
This best garage door opener is accompanied by a ten-year warranty on the motor. There is a one year warranty on the chain, parts, and accessories. However, if you’re looking for something a little more high tech, Chamberlain also makes some of the top smart garage door openers with some extra features in the next couple of reviews.
Best WiFi Garage Door Opener
This is one of the best smart garage door openers with built in WiFi technology. An app on your cell phone will give you the power to open and close your door with a touch of a button. This model also comes with a battery backup for functionality even in power outages. This unit is super quiet with a steel reinforced belt drive.
A standout feature is the MAX Lift Power System. This will give you maximum lifting ability. You will have the equivalent of one and quarter horsepower, which is the highest lifting capacity you are going to find in this category. If you have extremely large or heavy doors, this is the unit you must buy.
MyQ smartphone control is the app you will use to control your garage door. You will be able to create customized schedules for your garage door and lighting through the app. This unit also comes with Chamberlain’s long-range remotes and security features. The unit itself is also made of the highest quality materials. You will be able to install this unit yourself. Chamberlain offers installation videos, pre-programmed remotes, and tech support.
This model comes with a lifetime warranty for the motor and belt. The parts have a five-year warranty. The accessories have a one year warranty. All of this is why we give it the award for the best wifi garage door opener.
Best Smart Garage Door Opener
You’ll always have control of your garage door opener with the built-in connectivity technology. You will be able to open, close, and know the status of your door anywhere you want with the app. This model comes with a battery backup. You will be able to open and close the door even in a power failure. The one half horsepower motor, paired with the reinforced belt gives you the strongest lifting capacity in its class.
The belt drive gives this system is reinforced with steel. You’ll have a quiet yet powerful performance. The remote for this system has a range of 1,500 giving you a quick entrance and exit. The wireless keypad will give you access with a simple four-digit code.
The security included in this system is top notch with a 100 billion code encryption. You will be protected from hacking, and the Posi-lock will protect you from forced entry. This makes it a better option for home security by far.
You can get a warranty for the different parts of this system. The motor comes with a ten-year warranty, which is why we have dubbed it the best smart garage door opener. The Belt has a fifteen-year warranty. The parts and accessories have a one year warranty.
This system is one of the most powerful best-rated garage door opener at three-quarter horsepower. It has a traditional chain drive, but Genie still promises that its operation is quiet. This particular model has Safe-T-Beam system that prevents accidents with an invisible infrared beam across the opening of your garage. The door will automatically reverse if something crosses the beam while the door is going down.
If security is a concern then you’ll love the Intellicode technology that changes the access code upon each activation. This prevents unauthorized access by someone. You will be able to set this garage door opener up yourself with the simple push of a button. This technology is called SmartSet and is only offered by Genie.
You will get a bunch of accessories including two remotes, a wireless keypad, and a multi-function wall console. The wireless keypad can be programmed for a pin and be mounted inside or outside the home. This system has a lifetime motor warranty. The parts have a five-year warranty.
This unit has a powerful DC motor but still provides an extremely quiet motor operation. The motor is noticeably quieter than AC motors, especially with the belt drive system. This unit is perfect if you have someone living above your garage. There is an LED light to illuminate your garage. Making this system fit right in with the other smart bulbs you have throughout your home. It’s easily the best rated garage door opener on the market.
The numeric display will make it easy for you to install this system yourself. If your car has a built-in opener, you can program it. This eliminates the need for an extra remote. This unit is SkyLinkNet compatible, allowing you to control and monitor your garage door opener from your smartphone. Additionally, there is an auto close timer option so you’ll never forget to close your garage door. If you want a warranty for this system, you will have to contact the customer service department.
This garage door has built in wifi making it easy to connect and get mobile updates. You will be able to receive alerts and control the door from anywhere and connect this opener to your wifi home network controls. Every time you use the remote a new code is sent, reducing the likelihood of someone cloning your remote.
The Posilock prevents someone from forcing your garage door open. The alert 2 closed system uses an invisible light beam to auto-reverse the door if there is an obstruction. The system also has a standby mode that consumes 75% less power. This particular model has standard lifting power with a half horsepower motor and chain drive. Each unit comes with a four-year motor and a one-year parts warranties.
If you have an especially large or heavy garage door, this is the best garage door opener system for you. This unit has a lifting capacity of five hundred and fifty pounds. The installation kit comes with the ability to install seven and eight-foot rails. There is only one moving part with this garage door opener, making it totally unique from all of the other openers out there.
Sommer Direct Drive garage door opener’s motor moves along the chain silently. The chain is embedded in the steel rail. This motor is extremely quiet with very little vibration. This is the perfect unit for those with living space above the garage. Having unique design of this system puts the motor up front at the door. This maximizes the amount of power the system can produce.
Be aware that Sommer has had a history of having problems with the circuit boards. This has caused some systems to not properly function when it comes to moving the door up and down.
You can have your unit sent in for servicing. But do you want to have to send in a brand new unit for fixing when you’ve just spent three hundred dollars to purchase the system? Read up on recent customer feedback and see if it’s worth the risk for you! It’s still a great option, especially for heavier doors.
Will You Install the Garage Door Opener Yourself?
So you have decided which of the best garage door openers is also the best option for you. What’s next? While installing most garage door openers isn’t technically difficult, it can be time-consuming. You will need some knowledge in electrical to successfully install the opener yourself. Keep in mind that chain driven garage openers are easier to install, while belt driven openers are difficult.
Hire a Pro
Spending a whole weekend setting up a new garage door opener is not on the top of most peoples’ idea of a good time. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can hire someone to install the opener for you. If you’ve never done this installation yourself, it will take a pro considerably less time.
According to Fixr.com, the average cost to install a garage door opener falls within the range of $200-$650. Home Advisor found the National average cost for a garage door opener install to be $337. A chain driven opener will be on the lower end of cost and a belt driven opener on the higher end.
The DIY Route
If you decide to do the installation yourself you will need a multimeter, screwdriver, hammer, adjustable wrench, socket wrench, tape measure, drill driver, hacksaw pliers, wire stripper, level, and ladder. Plan for a few hours to remove the old opener and install the new one. Before you start the installation, check the warranty terms. You may void the warranty by not having an approved professional do the installation.