Ultimate Guide to Residential
Garage Door Openers

July 21, 2016

Garage door openers have come a very long way in terms of innovation and design. Purchasing one can be a little confusing with the numerous makes and models offered at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s, or local garage door company. With so many garage door opener options, here are a few things to consider when you are in the market for a new system.

What type of garage door opener do you need? This greatly depends on the size and weight of your door, as well as your own personal preferences – to noise. There are 3 major categories that garage door openers are classified under. These are the belt drive openers, chain drive openers, and the screw drive type openers. When choosing, it’s important to know the differences and the pros and cons of each of these garage door motors.

Belt Drive

garage door opener belt

The quietest of garage door openers, it is also the most efficient and the best at reducing vibrations. The belt drive motor allows for the smoothest operation of the three styles. Belt drive openers usually carry a premium price, but they carry the price well due to its ability to lift the heaviest of residential garage doors without a problem. Are you planning on a fully insulated steel garage door? Or maybe a beautiful custom wood carriage garage door? The belt drive garage door opener will be your doors best friend.

The Chain Drive

liftmaster garage door opener

Walk out into your tract home garage and I guarantee it is a chain drive ½ HP opener. There is a reason why home builders choose the chain drive garage door openers. It is great for your everyday garage door use, it is the least expensive, and is very dependable. However, because of its design, you will hear the opener more than you would with a belt or screw drive system. A standard traditional steel garage door and a chain drive opener is a great match. There are homes we’ve serviced with the same chain drive motor and door combination for nearly 10 years, and sometimes much longer. However, annual maintenance is important to garage door opener longevity, for whatever motor you have.

The Screw Drive

screw drive garage door openers
The screw drive style garage door opener falls right in the middle of the three different styles. It is fairly quiet, and requires the lowest amount of maintenance, with few moving parts (much like the belt drive). Screw drive openers are also very strong and capable of lifting fairly heavy doors with ease. The screw drive opener is not as popular as the first two, but that shouldn’t deter you from purchasing one for your garage door system. As stated at the top of this article, much of your decision should be influenced by the size and weight of the garage door it will be lifting, along with your personal preferences.

New Garage Door Openers with WiFi:

modern garage door openers
With all the advances in technology, garage door openers have taken a step forward by offering Wi-Fi enabled garage door motors. Wi-Fi is an absolute must for garage door openers nowadays. Be honest with yourself, have you ever driven away from your house, and after driving just a few blocks away, you started to wonder whether you did in fact close your garage door or not? Or have you forgotten to give your home keys (or garage door opener remote) to your teenage kids, another family member, or a friend to open your house while away?
liftmaster opener

With the manufacturer’s downloadable app, you are just one button away from garage door operation – from anywhere with Wi-Fi. Luckily, all LiftMaster garage door openers and many other national brands are compatible with Wi-Fi. Even better, if you look at the model names of any LiftMaster opener, a ‘W’ designation after the number (i.e. 8550‘W’ and 8587‘W’) already have the Wi-Fi built into the opener, so all you’re left to do is to download the app on your phone! How about the other LiftMaster models without a “W” at the end?

WAIT THERE’S MORE! Ok, I lied. There is technically a fourth type of garage door opener, it is not as common as the other three, the design is still fairly new and it is just gaining traction in the market. This opener solves many problems if your ceiling is sloped, slanted, or if there is no ceiling at all. The LiftMaster 8500 is called a “jackshaft” garage door opener because there is no chain or belt mechanism that helps lift the garage door.  Unlike every other opener system, the jackshaft opener is mounted next to the garage door and is a direct drive system.It carries a premium price, but it has safety features that will make any homeowner breathe easy while away on vacation, with kids playing in the driveway, and it has its own battery backup when power is not available.

Right Way Garage Doors

Right Way Garage Doors, with two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, carries the following LiftMaster
garage door openers in stock at all times.

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