I’d wager that your garage door opener isn’t something that you think too much about unless you are revamping your door system or your garage door stops working. Revamping your door system is fun, but a broken opener isn’t so much. But either way, you need something that’s gotta fix your budget and all of your needs. There are several different types of openers on the market, so how do you decide which one is best for you?
Just like with most things related to your home, there seems like there are a lot of options, but once you pair it down a bit, it becomes a lot less overwhelming. There are a few things that you have to decide on for your opener—budget, Drive type, Horsepower, and special features you may like.
Budget is probably the most important thing that you need to nail down. Openers start at about $400 (super roughly) installed and go to around $900 (again, super roughly) installed. Because there is such a huge range of pricing, a budget needs to be addressed. I’m the type of person who can convince herself to buy anything literally. If you’re like me, a budget can save your bank account.
The next biggest thing you gotta decide is what kind of drive type you want; chain drive, belt drive, screw drive, and jackshaft. Chain drives and screw drives are probably the most prevalent, but belts are becoming more popular. Chain and screw drives are oftentimes the cheapest option, Lift master brand doesn’t manufacture screw drives, but they do make chain drives! Since Lift master doesn’t manufacture screw drives, I don’t know too much about them, but I know a fair amount about the chain. Chian drives are great; they typically last a long, long time. I’ve been to calls where the opener installed in the ’70s is still humming along! The downside is that the chain can come off or just get stretched out and need to be adjusted. Probably the biggest downside is that the chain in a chain drive is pretty loud. If your home is attached to the garage, especially if it has living space above the garage, I recommend going with a belt drive.
Belt drives are much quieter but aren’t as common because they are a newer technology. They run as well as chain drives do but are a little more expensive. The belt that they run on is just like a car belt, so It’s a metal belt covered in plastic. These openers have more advanced special features than the chain drives too.
The last option when it comes to The type of drive you want is a screwdriver. These openers work best when you have a lot of storage or tall things in your garage that get in the way of a typical opener. These openers are mounted directly onto the garage door spring shaft and crank the door up that way. These openers are super silent and give you more space. The downsides to this opener are that they are the most expensive residential garage doors you can get. Our service foreman also believes that they can cause the cables to come off the drum more often too, although some people never have trouble with this. It’s probably about a 50/50 in that respect.
Horsepower is also a consideration, although not as huge as some of the others. Most openers are 1/3 or ½ horsepower, but you can get openers that are heftier. Its spring system pulls the bulk of the weight of a garage door, so the opener isn’t typically pulling much weight. So the standard horsepower usually works just fine unless you have an extra-large door like 18×8 feet or larger or a new solid wood door. Otherwise, you’re probably just fine going with the standard ½ or 1/3.
Special features are the shiniest considerations. These are things like wifi compatibility, app hookups, compatibility with your vehicles, and battery backup options.
All of our lift master belt drives are made so that they are compatible with wifi. This means that they are loaded with MyQ technology. This is a special feature from lift master that allows you to download the MyQ app. The MyQ app can sync itself with several things in your home like your lights, heating system, and lastly, your garage door system. If you’re like me, you’ll leave the house and panic, wondering if you left the garage door open. With the MyQ app, you can check to see if your garage is open or closed, then open or close it from anywhere if need be. You can also lock the opener if you’re on vacation and do a few other things!
This is a super handy feature that I recommend everyone think about when purchasing a new opener. These days, most openers will be compatible with hooking up to a vehicle, but you can check by googling Homelink compatibility.
Having an opener with battery backup can be very handy. Most of the time, you won’t need it, but it ensures that you’ll still be able to open and close your garage door a few times if the power supply is lost. This can be really handy in case of a power outage. I’m prone to misplace my house key, leaving my garage door my only method of entering my home. If I were to be gone during a power outage, I’d be hard-pressed to find a new way to get into my house.
If the power goes out and your car is trapped in the garage, it can be challenging to reach the emergency release cord when your car is in the garage. You can always pull that cord and open your door manually, but having a battery backup available to you can save you quite a bit of frustration in that regard. Especially for people who have trouble maneuvering with ladders or in tight spaces, a battery backup may be a good option for you.
I hope after going through some of the considerations to think through that, you’re closer to knowing what kind of door opener you’re looking for! Give us a call today to get some pricing!