A garage door opener gives you easy, illuminated access to your home and can improve security of your garage area. Features such as smart-device compatibility and home-automation system connectivity make these devices even more convenient. Learn what you need to know about chain-drive, belt-drive, screw-drive and direct-drive models so you can find the best garage door opener for your home.
Types of Garage Door Openers
Standard garage door openers have a similar design. A motor drives a trolley or carriage along a rail. The trolley is connected to the garage door and as the trolley moves, it pulls the door open or pushes it closed. The main difference between garage door opener models is how the motor moves the trolley. The opener will have a ‘Soft Start & Stop’ for improved safety and quieter closing along with anti-thief ‘reverse drive’ feature which gives further protection against unauthorised entry and an integral courtesy light illuminates the garage interior for safety, security and convenience. Many openers will plug into a 3 pin plug socket just like a normal household appliance. For added safety since 1991 all openers will come with automatic obstruction detection technology which uses a motion detector which will automatically stop if someone or something blocks the sensor. An additional option is a manual key release which allows you to operate the door should the power go out.
A chain-drive garage door opener uses a metal chain to drive the trolley and raise or lower the door. Chain-drive systems are economical choices but tend to create more noise and vibration than other types. If your garage is detached from the house, noise may not be a concern, but if the garage is under a living space or a bedroom, you may want to consider a quieter option.
A belt-drive garage door opener functions similarly to the chain-drive system, but uses a belt rather than a chain to move the trolley. This belt provides quieter, smoother operation, making it a good choice for homes with living or sleeping spaces above or adjacent to the garage. Belt-drive systems have fewer moving parts, resulting in lower maintenance needs.
A screw-drive garage door opener uses a threaded steel rod to move the lifting mechanism. As the rod rotates, it drives the trolley along the track to raise or lower the door. These units are usually quieter than chain-drive systems. Like belt-drive openers, fewer moving parts mean reduced maintenance.
A direct-drive garage door opener also offers a quiet mechanism. The motor itself functions as the trolley and travels along the track, raising or lowering the door. This means the system has a single moving part — the motor — which results in reduced noise and vibration, as well as fewer maintenance requirements.
Look for horsepower (HP) ratings to compare the lifting power between garage door opener models. Ratings ranging from 1/2-horsepower to 1-1/2 horsepower are typical for residential models. If you have a sectional double-car garage door, a 1/2-horsepower motor should be sufficient, but a higher-power model will operate with less effort and less wear and tear on the motor. Heavier or one-piece doors may require higher-horsepower openers.
With so many cheap deals on the internet today it is easy for the consumer to be sucked into thinking about the price of the garage door on offer rather than the specification and features. When considering buying an automated garage door please don’t sacrifice quality over price because you will end up replacing your door time and time again.