There is no way around it. If you have a garage door, you need a garage door opener. Opening garage doors manually is hard work, tedious and time consuming. Some car doors are also simply impossible to manually open because of their weight.
What no one probably told you is just how overwhelming it can be to choose the perfect garage door opener for you. There is a huge variety of different types and brands. All the choice can halt you in your tracks. Where do you even begin to separate the good from the bad?
I’ll try and help you choose the best garage door opener for you by breaking down the different type, introducing you to the best brands and then giving an overall assessment of what I believe to be the best.
The 3 main type of garage door openers
This is the most common type of garage door opener by some distance. This type of garage door functions by pulling the doors up and down from overhead using a chain that looks similar to a bicycle’s. It does this through a “trolley” that is connected to a metal J-arm bar that’s fixed to the door.
- Very dependable.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Easy and cheap to service.
- By far the noisiest type of garage door opener.
- Requires a “re-adjustment” and oiling every now and then.
- Can take the least amount of weight.
Screw drive garage door openers work exactly as the name suggests. A huge, vertical, threaded steel pole runs between your garage doors in a special housing. When it is turned by the motor it rides the trolley up and down. It is the simplest type of opener with the least amount of parts. They operate louder than belt drive openers, but softer than chain drive ones.
- It is the most powerful option. It lifts gates the fastest and is often used for double garage doors.
- Due to its simplistic nature they require little maintenance.
- Doors go up and down very smoothly.
- They are known to have issues in areas with extreme temperatures.
- They can be relatively expensive.
Belt drive openers work almost exactly the same as chain drive openers. The only difference is that they utilize a belt, made from various materials, instead of a metal chain.
- This is the most quiet type of garage door opener.
- They can take more weight than a chain drive opener.
- It is the most expensive type of opener.
- It is not as powerful as screw drive openers.
From this information you can see that which type of motor you should look at depends on your needs. If you do not mind spending a bit more and you have an attached garage, belt driven garage openers are probably the best. If you have a big double gate garage that’s separate from the home, maybe a screw drive opener is more suitable.
Top garage door opener brands
As far as the best garage door opener brands go it’s a bit of a one horse race. Chamberlain’s is by far the biggest brand with the widest variety and best customer satisfaction ratings. Go search garage door openers in any online store and you will see how dominant they are.
Most brands produce all 3 types of gate door openers.
Here are some other noteworthy brands:
- LiftMaster, of which Chamberlain is the parent company.
Extra tips to choose which garage door opener is best for you
There are a few other considerations you should take into account when choosing a garage door opener, here are two other important ones:
Garage door openers usually come in the following HP specifications:
1 HP: As the most expensive and most powerful motor, you don’t really need to consider this option for a normal residential home. It’s mostly suitable for industrial doors or oversized garage doors.
3/4 HP: This is probably the best, and most balanced option. It has enough power for even double, normal sized garage doors. The extra power ensures that the motor is not under as much strain as the 1/2 HP option so they last longer. With this extra power, comes extra cost too.
1/2 HP: This kind of motor is only really suited for small, normal garage doors. Even wooden doors or garage doors that are insulated could be too much for them, which leads to extra strain and more maintenance work.
Best garage door opener
Based on all the information above I would select the following as the best garage door opener for most people in most situations:
Chamberlain WD962KEV 3/4 HP Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
I chose this specific motor for the following reasons:
- Chamberlain has consistently been the most trustworthy and high-quality manufacturer of garage door openers.
- Chamberlain WD962KEV 3/4 HP gives you the perfect balance between power and affordability and is suitable for most doors.
- Similarly belt drive openers are quiet and have high reliability.
All the factors above combine to make a worthwhile purchase. It is true that you get what you pay for, and this is why we recommend forking out a bit more now, but save you a lot of comfort (and potentially costs) in the long run.