Nearly all of the garage door opener brands on the market offer similar features, so the best brand is the one that meets your specific requirements for power, safety, security, and convenience.
How to Choose Your Garage Door Opener
Your horsepower needs will depend on the type of garage door you own and if you have a single or sectional door system. Heavier or single door (one-piece) systems will require more horsepower. As for safety, all garage door openers include a mechanism that will allow the door to reverse direction if there’s an object (or person or animal) that’s in the way of the door’s path while it’s closing. But there may be additional safety features that only some of the brands offer.
If you’re concerned about security, many models offer a rolling code feature to prevent theft or a way to have your packages delivered inside your garage instead of your front steps. Finally, if convenience is a priority, you’ll want to choose a brand that allows you to operate the door from an app – when you’re not even in range of your house.
But at a very basic level, what really differentiates garage door openers are the mechanics used to operate the system. They can be chain-driven, belt-driven, screw-driven, or wall-mounted:
- Chain-driven – These openers use a metal chain to push or pull a trolley that makes the door go up and down. This apparatus can be very noisy, but newer models that use advanced technology are significantly more quiet than older ones. Chain-driven openers are known for being durable and affordable.
- Belt-driven – The trolley on this apparatus uses a rubber belt rather than a metal chain, so it’s much quieter than a traditional chain-driven opener. They require less maintenance, but they are also more expensive.
- Screw-driven – These types of openers use a threaded steel rod operated by a motor to lift and lower the door. The door can travel up and down faster than with other systems, but require more maintenance. They’re not strong enough to handle heavier doors and they can be noisier than belt-driven openers.
- Wall-mounted – They’re also called jackshafts and they’re powered by a motor that drives pulleys and cables. Since these mount on the wall, they take up less space, and they’re generally quiet. But they are more expensive than other types of openers.
Choosing a garage door opener can be confusing and overwhelming, given all of the variables you have to consider. We’ll make things less complicated by summarizing the features offered by five best-selling brands.
Chamberlain and Liftmaster
Chamberlain and LiftMaster are grouped together here because they are owned by the same company – the Chamberlain Group. Both brands are durable, reliable, and extremely popular, and both offer the choice of chain-driven, belt-driven, or wall-mounted systems.
The MyQ mobile app is smart technology that lets you control your garage door whether you’re near your home or far away, and is available for select models of both brands.
As for safety, they go one step beyond auto-reverse technology to include sensors that expand the perimeter of the safety zone and a battery backup that activates if you lose power. Advanced security features include a motion-sensing integrated video camera that lets you see a live feed from your garage, and the ability to have Amazon packages delivered safely to your garage if you’re a Prime member.
So, what is the primary difference between the two brands? Chamberlain openers are easier to install on your own and are better suited for smaller, lighter garage doors. LiftMaster garage door openers are more powerful and offer more advanced features, and can lift heavier doors. They are also more expensive and should be professionally fitted.
Genie was the first garage door opener manufacturer to use screw-drive technology, but the company also offers chain and belt drive openers. The openers integrate with home automation systems and most come with a battery backup. You can also control it using a smartphone app like MyQ, and rolling codes aid with security. Plus, there’s the Genie Safe-T-Beam system that uses an infrared beam to detect when there’s an obstruction in the door’s path.
In its 2020 ratings, The Spruce – a website that offers valuable information about home and garden – selected Genie models as winners in the categories of Best Screw Drive (for power and speed) and Best Belt Drive (for an opener that won’t “rattle and shake.”)
Guardian is one of the largest manufacturers of garage door openers and related hardware, and the company has earned a reputation for producing openers that are durable, reliable, and long-lasting. The company serves customers on six continents.
Guardian offers a Core Series that’s more affordable and a premium Pro Series that’s one of the quietest systems on the market. The Core Series has a ½ HP AC motor, is available with either a chain or belt drive, and has all of the standard safety and security features offered by its competitors. The Pro Series’ outstanding quality is its quiet DC motor that runs smoothly and reliably. Additionally, a battery backup is available if you lose power.
For smartphone control and connectivity, all garage door opener models that include a photo-eye safety system (those manufactured after 1993) can purchase the beam Smart Control Kit that can also be used with your home assistant (like Alexa). It’s most helpful for keeping track of whether or not your door is closed while you’re away from your home. However, it can be used only with sectional doors.
Linear prides itself on offering reliable, quiet, and smooth functioning with DC motors. DC motors use less power and are quieter AC motors, and need less maintenance. They also offer battery backup systems, which aren’t available with AC systems. Their other point of difference is interchangeable rails and accessories, which makes it possible to configure a system in a way that best suits each customer. Linear states that its openers are quick and easy to install.
Like all of the other manufacturers described here, you can use your smartphone to control your Linear garage door opener.
Garage Door Installation in Austin
If you’ve already decided on a new garage door, that’s only half the battle. Trying to determine which garage door opener is best for you can be challenging. At Austin’s Greater Garage Doors, our trained technicians are skilled at determining which garage door manufacturers and garage door openers will work best for you based on your budget and individual needs.
Once your garage door and opener system is installed, you can count on us to provide quick and reliable service if you ever do need a repair. Contact us today to find out how we can make this complicated decision much easier for you.