Types of Garage Door Openers

Types of Garage Door Openers

Garage doors are often taken for granted. Practically every day, we push a button and expect them to open with no problems. They are an integrated part of our lives that we rely on to get in and out of our homes — but we rarely consider how much convenience and ease they add to our daily lives.

It’s only when we find ourselves needing one that we truly appreciate the convenience and security they offer. Let’s take a look at the many different types of garage door openers.

Types of Garage Door Openers

Table of Contents

Types of Garage Door Openers

Selecting suitable opener types is a decision that needs some thought, both around functionality and the security and convenience of your garage. AAA Garage Doors offers installation for all major brands, including Amarr, LiftMaster, Sears, Martin and Genie. Here are some of the main types of garage door openers on the market:

Chain Drive Garage Door Openers

Chain-drive openers are best suited for situations where noise is not a significant concern and when working within a tight budget. A few garage types that would suit a chain drive, where the noise won’t be a disruptive factor, include: 

  • Detached garages
  • Workshops
  • Storage facilities

Additionally, if you have a large, heavy garage door that needs a robust and dependable mechanism, then a chain drive is your go-to option, especially if you prioritize a wallet-friendly choice.

Pros of the chain drive garage door opener include:

  • Cost-effective: Chain-drive garage door openers are the best choice for budget-conscious buyers because they are among the most affordable options on the market.
  • Durability and reliability: If you’re seeking a workhorse that can handle heavy lifting, chain drives are up to the task. These openers are built for endurance, capable of enduring the rigors of frequent use from larger, heavier garage doors.

However, there are disadvantages, such as the noise. The operation involves a metal chain moving along a rail, producing a distinct clanking noise that can be pretty loud. You can solve this, to a degree, with periodic maintenance. Regular lubrication of the chain can reduce noise and ensure smooth operation. 

Belt Drive Garage Door Openers

Belt-driven garage door openers are usually chosen by homeowners with attached garages and those who prioritize a peaceful living environment. If your garage is near bedrooms or living spaces, the quiet operation of a belt-drive opener can be a game-changer. The reason why? It lets you open and close your garage door without disturbing the household. Some distinct advantages you can expect with this garage door opener include:

  • Quiet operation: Belt-drive garage door openers are celebrated for their near-silent operation. They use a rubber or polyurethane belt to move the trolley along the rail, creating minimal noise and a smoother drive.
  • Smooth and reliable: The smooth operation of belt-drive openers is quieter and gentler on the garage door. This reduced friction lessens wear and tear on the door and its components, increasing longevity.
  • Low maintenance: A chain-drive opener needs constant care and lubrication to reduce the noise level, but the belt drive is already quiet. It doesn’t need regular lubrication, making it a hassle-free option for homeowners.

The primary drawback of belt-drive openers, however, is their cost — they do tend to be more expensive than chain-drive garage door openers. However, homeowners consider the investment worthwhile for the quieter and smoother operation they offer. 

The cost isn’t the only disadvantage, though. The other reason why it is more quiet is because it is less robust. While the belt drive is reliable for most standard garage doors, it struggles with heavy or oversized doors. 

Screw-Drive Garage Door Openers

Screw-Drive Garage Door Openers

Screw-drive openers are a versatile choice with standard garage doors and moderate climate conditions. If you need your garage door to open and close quickly, these openers do just that. Their strength also makes them suitable for heavy or wooden garage doors, where other types may struggle. The pros of these openers are:

  • Simplicity: Screw-drive garage door openers are known for their straightforward design and fewer moving parts. This simplicity translates to less maintenance and fewer potential points of failure.
  • Speed: Another advantage is their speed. Screw-drive openers often open and close garage doors faster than other types, which can be a significant time-saver.
  • Strength: These openers are versatile and suitable for most garage door types, including heavy wooden doors. They offer consistent performance, even with doors requiring more muscle to lift.

Unfortunately, these garage door openers do come with one other “s,” which is sensitivity. Screw-drive openers can be sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations. In regions with severe climate variations, professionals will have to deter this issue with proper insulation and maintenance.

Wall Mount Garage Door Openers

Wall mount door openers are an option for high-ceiling garages with limited headroom for traditional openers. It is also a good option for those prioritizing quiet and efficient operations. 

They are perfect for attached garages, particularly when bedrooms or living spaces are nearby. Let’s look at the benefits in detail:

  • Space-saving: Wall-mount garage door openers are designed to be mounted on the wall beside your garage door. The innovative design frees up valuable overhead space for garages with limited ceiling clearance or for homeowners with storage racks.
  • Quiet and smooth operation: Wall mount openers use a quiet belt or chain mechanism and minimize vibrations, making them perfect for attached garages where noise could be disruptive.

The convenience and space-saving features of wall-mount garage door openers do come at a premium. They tend to be more expensive than traditional overhead openers, both in terms of initial purchase and installation costs. The design, while innovative, is also complex. They have to be installed by a professional who understands this specific opener. This can add to the overall cost, but it ensures that the opener is properly set up for optimal performance.

Jackshaft Garage Door Openers

Not all garage door openers are the same, just like not all garages are not the same. In fact, some garages have unusual layouts or high-ceiling garages, maybe even limited overhead space. Standard, run-of-the-mill garage openers don’t work for these situations, but a Jackshaft could be your solution for the following reasons: 

  • Space-saving design: Jackshaft garage door openers are lauded for their space-saving design. They are mounted on the wall beside the garage door, eliminating the need for overhead space that traditional openers require.
  • Versatility: Unlike some doors that can only pull up a standard-size garage door, the Jackshaft is suitable for various garage door types. It can be used for standard, heavy and even a custom-made door. They are also adaptable for both residential and light commercial applications.

The benefits of space-saving and quiet operation come at a premium. Jackshaft garage door openers tend to be more expensive than traditional overhead openers, both in terms of initial purchase and installation costs. 

Direct Drive Garage Door Openers

Direct Drive Garage Door Openers

Direct drives are another option for homeowners looking for peace and quiet from their garage. They are also a low-maintenance solution. These openers suit standard to moderately heavy garage doors, making them versatile for various applications. Consider the advantages of these openers:

  • Silent operation: Some garage doors are noisy while others are quieter — direct drive openers can be practically silent. They are quieter than other openers because they have only one moving part, a stationary chain in a steel rail, which reduces noise and vibrations significantly.
  • Minimal maintenance: Another benefit of only having one moving part is that there is less wear and tear. The direct drive garage door lasts longer with fewer maintenance requirements than the other types.
  • Space-efficient: The compact design of direct drive openers minimizes the use of overhead space in the garage, making them suitable for garages with limited ceiling clearance.

While direct-drive openers are strong and reliable, there may be better choices for exceptionally heavy or oversized garage doors. They don’t have enough power to lift heavy doors, like some others do.

Hoist Garage Door Openers

Hoist garage door openers are used interchangeably for commercial and industrial settings where high-lift or heavy garage doors are standard. For residential applications, they are typically unnecessary unless you have a high-lift or specialized door configuration. Advantages of a hoist garage door opener include:

  • Ideal for high-lift doors: Hoist garage door openers are designed to work with high-lift garage doors characterized by vertical or near-vertical tracks. The tracks allow the door to be suspended higher within the garage, giving the necessary power to lift heavy doors efficiently.
  • Versatility: While primarily designed for high-lift doors, hoist openers can also work with standard and vertical lift doors.

While great for industrial use, they may be overkill for most residential homes with standard garage doors. Due to their extra power, the openers tend to be more expensive than common residential garage door openers. Installation may also require professional expertise, adding to the overall cost.

Smart Garage Door Openers

Smart garage door openers are ideal for tech-savvy homeowners who value convenience, remote access and advanced security and safety features. They are also ideal for families with multiple drivers, as each user can have their own access credentials. Additionally, if you often worry about whether you left your garage door open, the real-time alerts smart openers provide can ease your concerns. Smart garage door openers come with some notable features, such as:

  • Remote control: One of the advantages of smart garage door openers is the ability to control your garage door from anywhere using a smartphone app. The remote access offers convenience, allowing you to open or close the garage door even when you’re not at home.
  • Voice control: Many smart garage door openers are compatible with popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. 
  • Automation and scheduling: Smart garage door openers often come with additional automation features. You can set schedules to open or close the door at specific times. For instance, you can program your garage door to close automatically at a specific time each evening.
  • Real-time alerts: These openers can send real-time notifications to your smartphone, informing you of any garage door activity. Whether you’re at work or on vacation, you can see who is accessing your home as soon as they open your garage. 

Smart garage door motors typically come at a higher initial cost than traditional openers due to the added technology. Homeowners must also consider that the ability to control the garage door remotely relies on a stable internet connection and the functioning of the app or voice assistant. If there are connectivity issues or the app malfunctions, it can be frustrating.

While smart motorized garage door openers offer security features, they can also be vulnerable to hacking or unauthorized access if not adequately protected. It’s crucial to ensure your smart garage door opener has strong security measures in place.

What to Consider When Choosing a Garage Door Opener 

What to Consider When Choosing a Garage Door Opener

Selecting the perfect garage door opener is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It’s a decision influenced by multiple factors discussed in this section, such as:

  • Priorities: What’s your primary objective for the garage door? Is it primarily for security, aesthetics, insulation or ease of use? Defining your priorities will help you narrow down your choices.
  • Efficiency: Energy efficiency is a growing concern for homeowners. Opt for a garage door with good insulation to maintain comfortable temperatures in your garage and home. Good insulation can also help reduce energy costs.
  • Durability: Your garage door opener should withstand the test of time and weather. Look for materials like steel, aluminum or fiberglass, which offer durability and longevity. Consider your local climate — you might find that some openers perform better in specific conditions.
  • Cost: Budget is often one of the larger factors in decision-making. A high-quality garage door opener is an investment that adds value to your home, but it’s essential to balance that with your financial situation. Remember that AAA Garage Door can make the process stress-free with convenient financing packages. This helps you spread the cost and fit it comfortably into your budget while ensuring you get a top-notch product.

If you’re looking for affordability without sacrificing reliability, consider chain-drive openers, as they are one of the more budget-friendly choices, making them the most popular type of garage door openers. But if you are looking to aim for a middle ground between price and performance, belt-drive openers are often favored.

If you are more concerned about security, smart garage door openers take the lead. Their advanced connectivity and real-time alerts provide enhanced control and monitoring that none of the other garage doors can offer. Alongside them, look for openers with rolling code technology, which changes access codes with each use, adding a layer of security. Jackshaft and direct drive openers are another option, with their wall-mounted design. By keeping the opener out of sight, they are harder to tamper with.

If you have a hefty garage door, hoist openers are tailored to the task. They’re built for heavy, high garage door lifts. Screw-drive openers are another sturdy option, suitable for substantial doors like wood or custom-made ones. If you have a lighter garage door, chain-drive openers can also be adjusted to work efficiently. 

Chat to AAA Garage Door For Your Installation

At AAA Garage Door Inc. in Salt Lake, UT, we understand the importance of a reliable garage door opener and stock a variety of garage door openers suited for all budgets and garage styles. We are a family-run business with a customer-centric approach. 

Since 1994, we’ve been committed to providing our valued customers with fair and honest service. Contact us today for a quote on your garage door opener installation.

Chat to AAA Garage Door For Your Installation

Felipe Pinales

Reviewed By: Felipe Pinales - Felipe is Nebraska’s first IDEA-certified Master Technician. He has been employed by AAA Garage Door for 6+ years, and has had the Master Technician Certification in his sights since he began. Felipe has also passed four written examinations including Residential Installer Certification, Commercial Sectional Door Systems Technician Certification, Commercial Rolling Door Systems Technician Certification, and Rolling Steel Fire Door Technician Certification. Felipe is constantly looking for ways to improve his abilities within our industry. His goal is to become the best garage door technician possible to best assist his customers and fellow co-workers.