Although some people believe that garage openers are a luxury, in actuality, they are an extremely smart investment for homeowners wanting to protect their vehicles and add some visual appeal to their home.
Realtors indicate that homes with high-end garage door openers sell more quickly than homes with a less trendy garage door opening system. These same realtors suggest that their clients see an 85% return on the money invested in a quality garage door opener when it comes time to sell their home.
Why do prospective home buyers want a home with a reliable garage door opener, you ask? We’ve all been to older homes with antiquated garage door opening systems. When you try to open the garage with the garage door opener, the garage door glitches or shakes as it opens. Sometimes, older garage opening systems will not open a garage door all the way, or will not allow a door to completely close. A garage door that cannot close completely poses a very obvious security risk to a home, and is definitely a cosmetic eyesore as well.
The Best Garage Door Openers – Ryobi, Chamberlain, Liftmaster, and More!
Buying Guide – How To Choose Your Garage Door Opener
Another reason to have a new, high-tech garage door opener is that they are safer for you and your family. According to a 2007 study conducted by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, over 13,300 people suffered incidents related to garage doors. Installing a state-of-the-art garage door opener is a great way to avoid injury and remain safe while you use your garage.
Besides acting as a solid investment and excellent safety feature for your home, the most important function a garage door opener serves is one of convenience. An automatic garage door opener allows you to quickly enter and exit our garage with ease.
This garage door opener buying guide will outline a few of the more popular garage door opening systems on the market. From there, we’ll also identify a key features and accessories you’ll want to make sure your new garage door comes equipped with before installing one in your garage.
Garage Door Opener Types
While there are several different garage door openers types currently available on the market, belt-driven and chain-driven garage door openers are the most popular.
Chain-driven garage door openers are a great choice for people wanting to outfit their new home with a sturdy, dependable garage door opener. What makes chain-driven systems so popular is that they are generally the most cost-effective garage door openers available in home improvement stores. Besides the affordable pricing, chain-driven garage door openers are extremely strong and durable, and are an excellent option if you live in a part of the country with long winters, or you have a very heavy garage door.
Belt-driven garage door openers resemble chain-driven systems, except a reinforced belt is what opens your garage door if you’ve got a chain-driven garage opener as opposed to a reinforced steel chain.
The belts in belt-driven garage door openers are usually constructed from steel-reinforced rubber, polyurethane, or fiberglass. What makes belt-driven garage door openers a popular pick among homeowners is that they are usually much quieter than chain-driven outfits.
Other Garage Door Opener Styles
Other garage door opening types to consider are screw drive, direct drive, and jackshaft garage door openers. Screw-based garage door openers are intriguing because they utilize a rotating steel bar that rotates like a screw to lift and close your garage door.
Jackshaft garage doors are becoming a trendy garage door opener in newer homes because they provide an increased level of security to the home. Jackshaft garage systems are mounted to the wall that is right next to the actual garage door itself, as opposed to being mounted to the ceiling.
Because the mount is attached to a side wall in a garage, jackshaft garage door systems are outfitted with a deadbolt that substantially increases the security level of the garage door system.
Another popular garage door opener type to consider is a direct-drive garage door opening system. What’s so unique about direct-drive garage door openers is that the chain or belt of a garage door opener remains completely stationary while the motor moves up and down the belt to raise or lower the garage door.
This is completely opposite of how a chain or belt-based garage door opener works. In a chain or belt garage opener system, the chain or belt moves to adjust the garage door while the garage door opener remains stationary.
Recommended Garage Door Opener Features
Not all garage door opening systems are equipped with the same features or benefits, so it’s important to figure out what you need in a garage door opener before installing one in your garage.
Look for Low-Noise Garage Openers
People living in urban environments or suburban neighborhoods should definitely consider purchasing a garage door opener that is belt driven or runs on a direct drive system. Belt-driven garage door openers are the quietest garage opening systems on the market, making them ideal for people who need to be mindful of the noise they make as a courtesy to nearby neighbors.
If low noise is a high priority for you, make sure to check out our recommendations for the quietest garage door openers that you can find today.
Stay Safe With Automatic Reversing
The automatic reversing feature is perhaps the most important safety element found in newly-designed garage door openers. Automatic reversing changes the direction of a closing garage door when it senses something is in its way.
This is especially important if you have pets or children who like to play outside — you don’t want them getting trapped underneath an old garage door system that is not outfitted with an automatic reversing feature.
Although all new garage door systems are required by federal law to have automatic reversing, if you’re in the market for a garage door opener, find one with high-powered sensors. The more robust the sensors, the quicker the garage door opener detects that an obstacle is in the path of the door.
Get a Keypad for Remote Entry
If you’ve got a growing family, buying a garage door opener that comes with a keypad is a great way to ensure that your kids or spouse can safely get into your house even if they don’t have a car.
After putting a new garage door in your home, you’ll have the option of attaching a keyword-protected touchpad to the outer frame of your garage door. When a family member wants to open your garage door, all they need to do is enter the keypad’s password and voila — the door will open for them.
A remote keypad is a necessary garage door accessory if you’ve got a busy family who comes and goes on different schedules throughout the day.
Garage Door Opener Reviews
Chamberlain 3/4 HP Ultra Quiet Belt Drive
It’s easy to say that all garage door openers are basically the same. The truth is, they do all do the same job – they open and shut your garage door. Where they differentiate themselves, though, is in ease of use. You always want something that is easy to install, easy to repair, and easy to operate. In short, you want something like this garage door opener.
One of the best things about this particular model is that it’s really easy to put together. Even if you’re the type of person who tends to avoid anything that’s hooked up to electricity, you’ll be able to get this garage door opener up and running in just a few minutes. It’s got all of the usual bells and whistles, including a great battery back-up system. If you don’t have a reliable electrical connection, you’ll be very grateful to have this feature – all it takes is a quick button press to get your garage door open even when the power is out. It’s a small touch, but one that’s great to have when it becomes necessary (If you’re interested, check out all of our Chamberlain garage door opener reviews).
Unfortunately, this door opener is not compatible with a number of garage door remotes. While this is fine for those who are good at keeping track of their manufacturer remotes, it’s not great for those who need a replacement. More importantly, though, it’s a bit of a pain for those who are used to syncing their garage doors with their cars. It’s not a huge problem, but it is the kind of inconvenience that you would hope could be avoided in this kind of garage door opener.
Ryobi Ultra-Quiet Garage Door Opener
Quiet and garage door opener are terms that don’t typically go together too well. Traditionally, garage door openers have been loud and ungainly beasts, made more for efficiency than any kind of peace and quiet. Ryobi is among the many that have made quieter garage door openers, and for the most part, they’ve succeeded in their efforts.
The best news about this garage door opener is that it’s really quiet. It probably won’t wake someone up a few rooms away when it is opened, although ultra-quiet might be overselling things by just a bit. It’s also very easy to install, which is great because it has a number of cool features associated with the wi-fi functionality that you’ll want to use sooner rather than later. Taken as a whole, it’s a nice machine that delivers on most of its promises. It is not, however, quite perfect and that’s worth talking about as well.
This is a touchy garage door opener. Expect to have some issues with the remotes from time to time, though they do tend to reset themselves. Likewise, the sensors are a bit on the touchy side and you’ll have to mess with them a little bit at first to make the whole thing work. Once you get past those little issues, though, you’ll find that you have a good, quiet garage door opener that gets the job done. It might not be the fanciest machine on the market, but it does work very well.
Chamberlain B970 Smartphone-Controlled Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
Chamberlain does a remarkably good job integrating newer technology with older systems. Its line of smartphone-controlled garage door openers are all great, with each handling a different part of the market. If you’re worried about noise, though, you’ll definitely want to make sure you look here. The Ultra-Quiet model is a giant step forward compared to some of the rest of the garage door openers on the market.
Quiet and smart are the two adjectives that you’ll see in the marketing for this garage door opener, and to be fair they are both apt. This really is a very quiet garage door opener, albeit one that does still have a good deal of strength to it. It’s not quite a whisper, but it’s much quieter than the average garage door opener. It’s also smart, with a great app that is fairly easy to set up. It’s not quite perfect, but it is close.
If there is a complaint, it’s that this garage door opener is a little tough to set up. Most people will need several hours to get it up and working correctly, and that’s if you do everything right the first time. If you aren’t particularly mechanically adept, it’s probably a good idea to get the professional installation with this one. The installation is enough to turn people off, but those who make it through the process really will get a good garage door opener.
SOMMER Direct Drive 3/4 HP Garage Door Opener
The SOMMER Direct Drive garage door opener is a great example of how one feature can make a garage door stand out. Taken as a whole, it’s hard to say that it does a lot more than any other garage door opener. It opens most doors without a problem and it shuts them just as easily. Where it shines, though, is with one major feature.
The real selling point of this garage door opener is that it’s incredibly quiet. While the advertising might make you doubt the claims, the truth is that this is as close to silent as you are likely to find on the market. There’s a lot to love about all the other features, of course, but you’ll be amazed by the fact that you can reliably open up the garage door without alerting everyone else in your house.
If you’re looking for something to nitpick, you’ll probably want to take a look at the speed. This is not a fast garage door opener by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t really seem to struggle with doors, though – it’s just a little on the slow side. This might be a bit annoying if you are in a huge hurry, but otherwise, the few extra seconds won’t bother you. All in all, this is more of a minor annoyance than a real problem.
Genie SilentMax 1200 Garage Door Opener
Silence is a fairly relative term when it comes to garage door openers. While the best models really are whisper quiet, most that are advertised as such really just dull the noise. Fortunately, Genie’s SilentMax does live up to its reputation by giving users not only a quiet experience but one that works every time.
As you might expect from the name, this really is a very quiet garage door opener. It won’t disturb someone a room over, though there is still a little bit of sound. In addition to being quiet, it’s also fairly strong – it will handle most doors without a problem. It is also easy to install so you won’t necessarily have to spring for the professional installation.
The big issue with this opener, and with most quiet openers, is that it’s slow. This can be a pain if you are in a rush, but it’s usually not much of a problem. Customer service also isn’t always great, but that’s rarely a problem for this unit. All in all, it still works quietly and reliably.
Chamberlain C450 Smartphone-Controlled Durable Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
What do you really want out of a garage door opener? Do you want all the latest tech, or do you just want to be able to open your garage door. It’s odd, but it often seems like you have to choose one or the other. Thanks to this model from Chamberlain, though, you can get both at once.
There are a few really nice factors that help separate this device from most other garage door openers. The big one, of course, is that you can control it with your smartphone. This isn’t just a great thing for those who like tech toys, but it’s also a great benefit for those who don’t want to haul around a remote for their garage doors. Despite the high level of tech involved, this is also still an opener that is very easy to install. If you’ve ever installed a garage door opener before, you’re more than qualified to install this one. A special note should also be made about the ‘learning’ button, which is separate from the opener but makes it very easy to program in new remotes or phones.
One thing you will notice when you install the device is that it uses more plastic than one might hope. Most of the plastic pieces don’t seem to be involved with the heavy lifting, but they are nonetheless quite easy to break. This is something you’d want to keep an eye on, though most users don’t report problems with breakage. Taken as a whole, though, is a great garage door opener that leverages newer technology to give you an overall better experience.
Genie ChainMax 1000 Garage Door Opener
Genie’s one of the most reliable companies out there when it comes to garage door openers. While their openers might not have the highest-tech features, they’re always reliable and stand up to repeated use. There’s a lot to love about the ChainMax 1000, but most of it comes down to the fact that it simply works.
The good stuff is here is all that you’d expect from a reasonable garage door opener. It’s quiet, it’s strong, and it keeps working longer than you’d expect. The installation is also very easy, even if you’ve never installed a garage door opener before. This is as good an experience as you could hope for with this kind of device.
There are no pressing issues with this garage door opener. There are quite a few plastic parts used in the construction, but there’s no real evidence that these cause a problem over the short-term. They may not hold up for twenty years, but you’ll still get a long run out of this machine. In the end, can you really ask for anything more?
Craftsman ½ HP Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
While Craftsman probably doesn’t live up to its reputation in most cases these days, it still makes a fantastic garage door opener. It provides the exact kind of service that it’s always provided, so you know you’re getting something good. If you take a look at the features on this garage door opener, you’ll discover something that’s definitely worth a purchase.
The watchword for this unit is dependability. You get the feeling when using it that everything is going to keep working as intended. You can, for example, reliably install this unit even without the professional help offered at the store. It takes a few minutes to set up, but it’s nearly certain that even the most inept DIY enthusiast can’t hurt this unit. Once you have it set up, it will keep working. It doesn’t seem to struggle with most doors and it operates quietly. It’s exactly what you’d hope a garage door opener would be.
While the unit itself is good, there are some massive complaints about customer service. In truth, you’re probably better off getting a repair company to come out rather than having the manufacturer do any of the works. Fortunately, these units don’t fail very often and most problems are fairly minor. As long as things are working as intended, you’ll have a great experience with this garage door opener. There’s really not much more you can ask from this type of product.
Genie PowerLift Garage Door Opener
Genie is definitely one of the best-known names in garage door openers. That notoriety is mostly positive, largely thanks to products like the PowerLift garage door opener. It’s a nice garage door opener that will get the job done every time.
This is a very simple garage door opener in the best way possible. It’s very easy to install and doesn’t feature anything you don’t need. The wall console has a few cool features, but most of what you’re getting is a good garage door opener that works every time.
The biggest problem with the unit is a lack of strength. That’s not a huge deal for most, but if you have an exceptionally heavy door – or one that freezes to the ground – you might find yourself in trouble. Unless you need a hardcore opener, though, this Genie model is a good choice.
Skylink AN-1622K Atoms Garage Door Opener
The Skylink AN-1622K doesn’t stand out for any of the usual reasons. It doesn’t have a ton of big marketing buzz surrounding its features and it certainly doesn’t have any big technological breakthrough attached. What it does have, though, is a good repuation. It is simply a agarage door opener that works.
This is a very solid garage door opener for a few reasons. The big one is that it is incredibly quiet. While that might not be the big selling point for some, it’s very nice to see in any garage door opener. Beyond that, you’re looking at a very well put-together machine. It doesn’t have many problems and it works as it should every time. Finally, the included keypad is a nice touch that helps out those who need to make sure that guests or house-sitters have access to the garage even without having extra remotes.
The downside to the lack of sound on this one is definitely the opening speed. While you would think that its motor would mean that it could handle heavy doors with ease, the truth is that it’s fairly slow when raising even a relatively light garage door. It’s almost certain that this is done to cut down on sound, but it does take some getting used to. If you don’t mind waiting a bit for your garage door to open so you don’t have to deal with the noise, though, this might be a fantastic garage door opener for you.
Skylink EQ-1511 Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
Skylink makes a really good garage door opener. Its products might not always have the fanciest features or the splashiest designs, but they always work as designed. The EQ-1511 is another great example of what you can get from a garage door opener that’s short on flash. Rather than being filled with new toys, it just gets the job done.
This is a good example of a product that does a lot of basic things really well. It’s very quiet, though it’s not necessarily marketed as an ultra-quiet opener. It’s strong enough to lift even heavier doors and won’t give you problems during operation, but it’s still simple enough to install that you won’t need professional help. It’s a nice, simple garage door opener that won’t make you tear your hair out a few weeks after installation, so that definitely counts as a win in today’s market of over-complicated door openers.
The big downside to this one is that it isn’t HomeLink compatible. The HomeLink system is very popular in cars these days, and it’s rare to pick up a new vehicle that won’t let you program your remote to the car’s garage door opener console. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to do that with any Skylink product – you can order an extra receiver, but it’s far simpler to just go with a remote. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it’s really all that’s wrong with this system.
Liftmaster Garage Door Opener
Having a battery backup can be a lifesaver when you’ve got a heavy garage door. While might be able to deal with a manual release in some cases, it’s not going to help if you’re having a major problem with the door. This battery backup is a great piece of technology that will keep your garage door working even when the power is out.
This battery back-up is very easy to use and to install. You really don’t need to have any familiarity with garage door openers to get it set up, which is great. Even better, it will let you know when the system is operating on battery power so you can trouble-shoot any potential problems with your primary garage door opener’s power system. It may not be a huge deal to some, but it’s one of those little convenience features that really does make life easier (check out all of our Liftmaster garage door opener reviews).
There are, however, some issues with charging the battery. Customer service is usually pretty good about helping out customers who deal with these problems, but they’re not going to be able to handle every issue in a timely manner. That means, unfortunately, that some customers are going to get stuck when they thought they had a battery back-up. It’s definitely a problem to consider, but you’ll be able to avoid it if you are conscientious about checking your charge.