Whether it’s heavily raining, sunny, or perfectly calm when you pull up to your driveway, the ideal situation would be to just drive into your garage without having to leave the comfort of your A.C, right? If only there were a way to achieve this. Hmmm… Well, fortunately, we live in the 21st century, where garage doors openers are an actual thing.
Garage door openers basically operate using a motor, which in turn moves a trolley that is linked to your garage door. When engaged by pressing a remote control, or switch on the wall, the trolley either moves the garage door up or down (However, different types of openers may have different driving utilities to them). The most modern of these openers feature the latest technologies and add- ons, including smart features, to increase their overall intuitiveness. They are also made to be smoother and quieter in operation.
That said, choosing among the plethora of door openers in the market today may be really daunting. You will need one that is most reliable, affordable, has the latest features, and is able to handle the dimensions of your door. For this, we have rounded up the best garage door openers which are preferred by most individuals.
Top 10 Garage Door Openers Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Genie Chain Drive 500 Garage Door Opener – Heavy DutyBest Heavy Duty Garage Door Opener
The Genie Chain Drive 500 has a reputation for extremely quiet performance. It has a ½ HP DC motor, which combines with a strong chain drive to provide you with a reliable mechanism for opening your garage door. No matter how much you use it, this garage door opener will last for a long time. The entire setup requires very minimal maintenance. It is easy to use, given the remote door opener with which it comes.
Did you know that this is the best heavy garage door opener? One of the reasons for that is the ease with which you will be able to install it. The rail system comes in five pieces, which easily snap together without requiring additional hardware. It comes with a Safe-T Beam system, which prevents accidents by releasing a discrete infrared beam across the opening. If a human being, object or pet crosses the opening, the door will snap back up into place.
- The chain drive is durable and requires little maintenance
- The garage door opener is easy to install
- Includes a remote control
- The control panel has tiny buttons
- Takes time to open the garage
- The remote doesn’t work from far
2. Chamberlain B970Best Garage Door Opener with Wi-Fi
The Chamberlain B970 is a belt-drive garage opener that has a lot of features you’ll want. It comes with built-in MyQ technology, a battery backup, a steel-reinforced belt, and 2 3-button remote controls. The remote controls can control up to 3 openers and features tri-band frequency that can reach up to 1,500 feet.
This device features Chamberlain’s MAX Lift Power System which gives this unit a lifting force equivalent to a 1 1/4 HP motor. There’s a motion-detecting control panel that can be easily programmed and automatically turns on the light whenever it detects motion.
You also get a wireless keypad and safety sensors. However, MyQ subscription is required if you want to connect this to Nest, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. Take note that this is not easy to install. You may want to hire a professional.
- Backup battery
- Motion detector
- Built-in MyQ technology
- MyQ subscription required
- Not easy to install
3. Chamberlain WD832KEVBest Garage Door Opener For the Money
The Chamberlain WD832KEV is a steel-reinforced belt-drive garage door opener that features a 1/2 HP motor, a quick-install rail system, and Chamberlain’s Motor Vibration Isolation System. Aside from being an ultra-quiet opener, this device also uses MyQ enabled technology which means you can control your opener through your smartphone. Safety features include the timer-to-close feature that automatically closes the door within 1/5/10 minutes in case you forget and a protector system safety sensor.
Also included is a motion detecting control panel, a wireless keypad, and two three-button remote controls. With this opener, you get a lifetime warranty on the motor and belt and 5 years on the parts.
However, to make use of the MyQ technology, you’ll need to get the app which is only compatible with iOS app as well as the Android 5.0 version and above. You also need to purchase the MyQ Internet Gateway CIGBU. Also, this unit is not compatible with older Homelink systems which means you’ll need to buy a repeater to bridge the connection.
- Very quiet
- Easy installation
- Timer-to-close feature
- MyQ technology requires MyQ Internet Gateway CIGBU (sold separately)
- MyQ app limited compatibility
- Not compatible with older Homelink systems (older than 2013)
4. Sommer Direct Drive 1042V001Best Garage Door Opener for Heavy Doors
The Sommer Direct Drive Opener is perfect for heavy garage doors because it is able to lift up to 550 pounds. It features a 3/4 HP motor and a rail that can fit 7 to 8-foot doors. A full installation kit is included to make things easy for the DIY owner. You also get two 2-button transmitters as well as an interior wall station.
The device uses Secure Rolling Code Technology, is Homelink compatible, and features a safety beam sensor. The icing on top? The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on the entire garage door opener – a rarity in this market. This is a really quiet garage opener and it’s not as expensive as some belt-driven units that we have on this list.
However, there have been complaints about the customer service. Also, the remotes are somewhat small with tiny buttons which makes it difficult to use.
- Easy to install
- Very quiet
- Can accommodate 8-foot doors
- Tiny buttons on remote
- Poor customer service
5. LiftMaster 8500 Elite SeriesBest Garage Door Opener with Battery Backup
The LiftMaster 8500 is a jackshaft garage door opener that features a keyless entry keypad that can be used to open and close multiple doors (up to 8). Safety features include rolling code technology, a power lock, and a safety system beam. If the power goes out, you have a backup battery to get you in and out of your garage. This opener is extremely quiet. It has a very smooth and fast operation.
The unit is smartphone compatible using the MyQ Gateway device (sold separately). We love the fact that it installs on the side wall to give your garage a cleaner look. Take note that this isn’t something that you can install on your own. You’ll need a professional to make sure that the tension of the door is just right in order for the opener to function.
- Very quiet
- Power lock feature
- Backup battery
- Need to buy the MyQ Gateway device
- No DIY installation
6. Genie SilentMax 1200Best Garage Door Opener Compatible with Homelink
This is one of the most budget-friendly belt-drive openers in the market. It has a soft-start and stop 3/4 HPc DC motor, a steel-reinforced belt, and has dual frequency. The latter is a great feature if you live in a neighborhood with lots of garages. You never have to worry about your neighbor’s remote interfering with your garage door.
This unit is compatible with HomeLink and Car2U. It is easy to install and program due to SmartSet programming. You get two pre-programmed 3-button remotes, a wireless keyless keypad, a motion detector, and a multi-function wall control panel. The control panel has vacation lock and light control.
The safety features include the Safe-T-Beam system and Intellicode Security technology which means that the door’s access code changes after each activation. The motor and gearbox come with a limited lifetime warranty so that’s a yay! However, it is not smartphone compatible. Also, this opener isn’t easy to install.
- Soft-start and soft stop capabilities
- Motion detector
- Budget-friendly belt-drive
- Not smartphone compatible
- Not easy to install
7. Chamberlain PD510Best Inexpensive Garage Door Opener
The Chamberlain PD510 is a popular choice for a lot of consumers because it’s very affordable and effective. It has a 1/2 HP motor, an industrial strength chain, a 1-button remote, and a wall control. That 1-button remote is one of the highlights of this device because it has tri-band frequency and quite a long range. Safety features of the unit include an invisible beam, a patented security + 2.0 rolling code technology, and a PosiLock anti-theft protection.
The latter ensures that when you lock that garage door, it stays locked. This is HomeLink compatible but some may require a compatibility bridge device. However, as we’ve already stated, you only get 1 remote. Also, this is a chain-driven unit so don’t expect something silent.
- Easy to install
- PosiLock anti-theft protection
- Tri-band frequency remote
- Only one remote
- A bit noisy
8. Sommer 1052V000Best Heavy Duty Garage Door Opener
The Sommer 1052V000 is a heavy-duty direct drive garage door opener. It features a 1 HP DC motor, a rail for a 7-8 foot door, an interior wall station, and two 2-button transmitters. This is a very quiet unit, especially compared to traditional models. The powerful motor makes this opener capable of handling large, heavy doors.
Plus, you get a lifetime warranty on the opener. However, it doesn’t provide a faster operation compared to a 3/4 HP motor. And you’ll want to have it installed by a professional unless you’re knowledgeable about mechanical things. Also, it’s not smartphone compatible. You’ll need to pay more to get that feature.
- Rail for 8-foot door included
- Heavy duty motor
- Near silent operation
- Not smartphone compatible (unless you buy the upgrade)
- Slow speed
- Professional installation required
9. Chamberlain B730
The Chamberlain B730 is very similar to the B970. It is a belt-drive garage opener that comes with a Steel-reinforced belt, a battery backup, and 2 3-button remote controls with triband technology, featuring Security+2.0 code encryption, PosiLock anti-theft protection against forced entry, multi-function wall control, and a wireless keypad. The Chamberlain B730 is HomeLink® compatible and has safety sensors. However, this is a less powerful machine that’s offered at a lower price.
Chamberlain’s PLUS Lift Power System™ gives this a lifting force equal to 3/4 HP. And this does not include a built-in MyQ. You’ll need to purchase the Smart Garage Hub if you want smartphone compatibility.
So, why buy this one? If you want to upgrade your old garage door opener but you don’t want to get the smartphone capability yet, you can opt for this lower cost model. Chamberlain is a reputable brand that’s worth every penny.
- Easy to install
- PosiLock protection
- Triband technology
- Not smartphone compatible
- Fewer features than the B970
10. Decko 24300Best Garage Door Opener for Cold Weather
This is a heavy duty chain drive garage door opener. It has a 3/4 HP DC motor, auto reverse safety system, and a wireless keyless entry pad. Aside from the powerful motor, what makes this unit stand out is the 8-foot extension included. You don’t need to shell out more money in case you have larger doors. The non-polarized wiring along with the easy-to-follow instructions makes installation a breeze.
If you live in an area that has very drastic changes in climate, you’ll be happy to know that this opener has temperature fluctuation control. It will work whether it’s very hot or very cold in your area. However, it is not smartphone compatible. And it’s not as quiet as a belt-driven machine.
- 8-foot extension included
- Powerful motor
- Easy installation
- Not smartphone compatible
- Not as quiet as belt-drive openers
How to Choose the Best Garage Door Opener: the Ultimate Buying Guide
A garage door opener allows you the convenience of opening your garage without having to leave the comfort of your car in the dead of winter or the dead of night. It makes opening and closing garage doors easy for those who are physically incapable. And it offers security, both for you and your vehicle. Safety features can prevent injury (the door closing on a person) or lights turning on when the door opens.
Whether you’re in the market for a garage door opener for your new home or your old one just gave out, you’ll need to be smart about your choice. To help you find the one that’s best suited to your garage, we’ve constructed an in-depth guide that helps you navigate the world of garage door openers. Are you ready?
What are the Types of Garage Door Openers?
Most, if not all, garage door openers operate in the same way. There’s a torsion spring that pulls or releases cables or chains that are attached to the door. When tightened, the spring pulls up the cable which, in turn, pull up the door. When the spring “relaxes,” it releases pressure and the cables/chains let gravity do the work, closing the door. There’s also a motor that starts the process that lowers or raises the door.
It also limits how far the door will open or close. While the design may be similar, there’s one main difference – the type of drive mechanism utilized by the garage door opener to open and close the door.
A belt-drive garage door opener: with this mechanism, a belt drives the trolley, raising and lowering the garage door. This belt can be made of fiberglass, polyurethane, Kevlar polymer, or steel-reinforced rubber.
Belt-drive garage door openers provide quiet and smooth operation, ideal if you live above the garage or sleep adjacent to the garage. These are also great for lifting heavy, oversized doors and require little maintenance.
Chain-drive garage door openers: similar to the belt-driven ones, this utilizes a bike-style chain that is looped around a rail to pull the trolley. Models in this category are typically affordable and very durable. Heavy, oversized, or older doors can easily be opened by a chain-drive opener.
One great thing about this type of garage door opener is the fact that you can still operate it even when the power is out. However, the chains can be noisy and not ideal if your bedroom is adjacent to or over the garage. Also, it requires periodic maintenance.
Screw-drive garage door openers: Instead of a belt or a chain, the mechanism used to lift the door is a very, very long screw. Along, threaded metal rod rotates to move the trolley along the track, raising or lowering the door. This type of drive is less noisy than a chain-drive and, with fewer moving parts, is more durable than the other two types. Plus, it’s generally the fastest opener, twice as fast as a chain-drive garage opener.
However, it does require lubrication from time to time (about twice a year) to prevent wear on screw threads. Also, this type of drive isn’t ideal for heavy, one-piece doors that are found in older homes as the strain can wear the threads faster than you can blink. Plus, this type tends to be pricey.
Direct-drive garage door opener: unlike all the other types of drives, this does not have a stationary motor. Instead, it has a stationary chain that the motor travels along. Because it has only one moving part, namely the motor, this type of drive is extremely quiet and reliable. However, it is pricey (more than the belt-drive ones) and there aren’t a lot of them available in the US market.
Jackshaft garage door openers: unlike all the other drive mechanisms, this one is mounted on the wall, not on the ceiling of the garage. This is a very expensive option but it is probably the most secure. It features a deadbolt mechanism that automatically locks the door whenever it is closed. This type of drive is very durable and has a lot of on-board computerization; perfect if you want something that offers connectivity and automation. However, it only works on sectional doors, not single panel ones. It requires frequent maintenance. And it can be pretty noisy.
Motor Types and Horsepower
Garage door openers can have either an AC or a DC motor. All of them plug into a standard outlet because those with DC motors just convert the AC power to DC power.
Now, should you go for AC or for a DC motor? Well, AC motors are reliable and, more importantly, very affordable. However, DC motors are smaller and a lot less noisy. Plus, some models feature a backup battery for those times when you don’t have any power.
The horsepower required to lift a door or stop it from crashing to the floor on the way down is typically 1/2 to 1 1/2 horsepower. While 1/2 horsepower is enough to raise and lower a majority of door types, it may not be enough to lift solid wood. Higher-powered models (3/4 HP) can lift doors with less effort, opening and closing doors faster and much smoother. 1 HP or higher motors are typically seen in commercial garage door openers.
Features to Consider
Manual release: most garage door openers allow you to manually raise or lower the garage by disengaging the opener inside the garage. This can usually be done only when the power is out. Some models do feature battery backups.
Security light: this turns on when the system is activated and automatically goes off after a certain amount of time.
Home-automation system: some models allow you to control your garage door opener remotely.
Built-in Wi-Fi: lets you connect the opener to your wireless network and operate it using your mobile phone through an app and check on its status (whether you left it open or not).
Battery backup: this enables you to keep using your garage door opener even when the power is out.
Dual frequency: there are times when your neighbor’s garage door opener’s frequency will interfere with your own, particularly if you live in a densely populated area. A model with dual frequency allows the remote to switch between two frequencies to minimize interference.
Rolling-code security: to prevent burglars from cloning your remote to get access to your garage door opener, you’ll want a model that has a new, non-repeating code every time you operate the remote control.
Keypad or touchpad: either internal or external, this provides you with access to your garage without the remote control.
What About Safety Features?
Physical safety is something you should consider when buying a garage door opener. Let’s face it. Garage doors are really heavy (up to 600 pounds). If it falls on you, it won’t be pretty. So, you need to make sure that your opener helps prevent such a situation from happening.
Some models feature automatic reverse which stops its downward motion and goes back up if it senses an obstruction. In most models, this is accomplished through the use of an infrared beam. This beam is shot across the garage opening and if it gets broken, it triggers the automatic reverse. Some models have sensors that will trigger the safety mechanism if it comes in contact with an object.
What About Warranties and Repair Policies?
Because these babies cost over a few hundred dollars, you need to make sure you’re covered if things go south. Generally, a garage door opener has a 3 to 5 year warranty. Some manufacturers include a 10-year to a lifetime warranty on their motors. You also need to check if the manufacturers charge for service calls.