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Garage Door Opener Buying Guide

Garage Door Opener Buying Guide

An automatic garage door opener enhances your home's safety, providing secure access and lighting to your garage. We can help you find the right garage door opener for your unique needs. When deciding on a garage door opener, there are several factors to take into consideration.


Garage Door Opener Drive System

Screw-Drive System Garage Door Opener

Garage Door Openers

A belt-drive system is the fastest-growing drive type because it's very quiet in its operation and is the smoothest drive type available. A belt-drive system is as strong as a steel-belted tire and can lift the heaviest garage doors. It's the perfect choice for replacing a noisy garage door opener and for homes with living space above or adjacent to the garage.

A screw-drive system uses a lifting mechanism that moves along a threaded steel rod. These units are powerful, and they require the least maintenance because they have few moving parts.

A chain-drive system uses a metalchain to lift the door up and down along its tracks. Chain-drive systems are the most common and usually the least expensive, but they sometimes make more noise than screw-drive or belt-drive units.

At least one manufacturer now offers a computer-controlled drive mechanism that uses no chain or screw. Unlike the other three drive systems, the body of this unit sits directly above the door, rather than in the middle of the ceiling. This is particularly helpful in garages that have limited headroom, and it leaves more garage ceiling space open for storage.



Garage Door Opener Power

Choose a motor with power adequate to lift your door. If you have double doors, look for at least a half-horsepower motor. Even on a single door, a larger motor is likely to last longer.

Also look for a unit with soft starting and stopping that operates more quietly, with less wear and tear on the door.

Higher-end openers operate more quickly, reducing the time you have to wait in the driveway. For safety's sake, the faster-opening models still close at a standard, slower speed.



Safety and Security With Your Garage Door Opener

Federal law mandates that all garage door openers include features that prevent the doors from crushing objects in their paths. In most cases, an electronic beam controls this. When a person or an object breaks the beam, it triggers the safety mechanism, causing the doors to reverse direction.

A computer-controlled system monitors the operating speed of the door and can compensate for changing conditions, such as a door closing too quickly or making contact with an obstruction.

All garage door openers produced today use rolling codes for the greatest security. Each time the door is opened, a new, random code is generated. This prevents code theft and ensures that a neighbor's remote control won't open your garage.

All models also include a manual release that will allow you to open the door if the power is out. Some higher-end models include a function that opens the door only high enough so the cat or dog can get out.

Most openers include a security light that comes on as you activate the system and stays on long enough for you to get out of the car and go into the house. Many remotes include buttons that turn on the light without activating the door.



Remote Controls and Keypads for Garage Door Openers

Some garage door openers use a one-button remote, while other models include a remote with two or more buttons that can control multiple openers. Multiple buttons are useful if you have more than one garage bay, each with a separate door.

Some brands even offer mini remotes that are small enough to fit on a keychain.

Doorbell-like buttons or keypads can be mounted to the wall — interior or exterior — near the door to allow it to be opened without a remote. Look for this as an accessory if it doesn't come as part of the standard opener kit.

Some keypads allow you to lock the door electronically for a specific amount of time, such as when you're going to be away on vacation. Another popular function is delayed closing, which is a pause between the time the button is pushed and the door is closed. You have plenty of time to exit through the door on foot instead of running through, dodging the lowering door and the electronic beams.