The best garage door openers we tested

Garage door openers are quite durable. Now that houses are automated on the inside and cameras keep an eye on the exterior, it’s time for the garage to catch up. “Did I close the left garage door when we left?” owners want to know from their bedroom or vacation cabin, and be able to lower the door remotely if they forget. The doors themselves are now whisper-quiet thanks to modern belt-drives comprised of long-lasting metal-infused rubber or polyurethane. Chain-drive systems are no longer in use.

Door activation technology has evolved in a similar way. Some units, such as Amazon Key, allow in-garage delivery, while others are receiving integrated video cameras to keep track of who’s in and out of the garage. Many openers can now be controlled by Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Here are five fantastic devices: four openers ranging in price from under $150 to over $500, as well as a $30 module that automates nearly any garage door opener from the last three decades.

The best garage door openers we tested
8.7
Best-at-Everything (Except Cost) Opener
8500W LiftMaster

PROS

  • Long-lasting and silent (uses 24-volt DC motor).
  • Except for an integrated camera and direct Alexa connection, it has every function possible.
  • Rugged, sleek-looking module (if that matters in a garage) (if that matters in a garage)

CONS

  • Installation Most individuals should avoid dealing with torsion springs since they are harmful.
  • The interface of the myQ phone app only shows one garage door at a time.
  • Per door, an opener, torsion spring, and installation can cost up to $1,000.

The LiftMaster 8500W has nearly every feature you could want: quiet operation, battery backup, deadbolt locking every time the door closes, soft open and close (slower speed the first and last foot), smartphone and smart device control, power to raise tall or heavy wood doors, secure access for Amazon delivery people, an LED ceiling light, and a quieter DC motor. It mounts to the garage wall and attaches to a torsion spring (see FAQ), freeing up the area between the door rails for overhead storage or a shop lift. The LiftMaster brand is mainly focused on the installer network at parent firm Chamberlain Group; the consumer-oriented Chamberlain RJO70 is similar to the 8500W. This wall-mount (or jackshaft; same meaning) opener is unrivaled if you have the funds. The LiftMaster 8500 is $150 less expensive than the 8500W, but it lacks features like battery backup and Wi-Fi.

The best garage door openers we tested
7.8
Best Affordable, Quiet Opener
Essentials of Genie Stealth 500

PROS

  • Belt-drive rather than chain-drive technology is used.
  • Wireless control is possible with RF screw-in LED bulbs (of the lights)
  • The Stealth 500, according to Genie, works on 500-pound doors.

CONS

  • There is no access to the internet.
  • There is no battery backup.
  • Some customers say it’s tough to program HomeLink in their vehicles.

In a garage door opener under $200, quiet indicates belt-drive, whereas most jackshaft openers cost over $350. The Stealth 500 Essentials is a belt-drive device with few frills. Wi-Fi isn’t supported; only HomeLink and Car2U in-car wireless are supported (the built-in garage door openers). Genie does include a pair of RF-enabled LED light bulbs that can be controlled independently. A basic in-garage push-button control and a single-button wireless remote are included. Some consumers say they wish they had paid the extra $50 for the Genie StealthDrive Connect, which includes Wi-Fi, battery backup, and Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant.

The best garage door openers we tested
7.3
Lowest Cost Opener
ATR-1611C Skylink Atoms

PROS

  • Small motor unit with DC motor
  • The importance is cited by many users.

CONS

  • Even a 7-foot-tall aluminum door, according to some users, causes the motor to “struggle.”
  • Some installation pieces, as well as the shuttle (traveler) and emergency release, have been eliminated to save money.
  • Wi-Fi, a keypad transmitter, an auto-close timer, and the ability to use LED lights for general illumination are all unavailable.

The entry-level Skylink opener is chain driven, but it comes with a lot of functionality for the price of $130. It has a 1/2 horsepower motor, an LED light, easy start and stop (exactly like the premium LiftMaster / Chamberlain wall-mount openers), and a 7-foot drive chain rail. A separate kit is required for 8- and 10-foot doors. The wall control is a single button that functions similarly to a doorbell. It’s possible to use a backup battery. Some consumers claim that if they had to do it all over again, they would choose for a somewhat more expensive Skylink model. However, when costs for the next model hit $150-$175 there is more competition.

The best garage door openers we tested
7
Best Opener with Integrated Camera
B4545T Chamberlain

PROS

  • Two-way talks are also possible with video.
  • Wireless external keypad, two in-car remotes
  • Lights are turned on via a motion-detecting wall control panel.

CONS

  • There is no battery backup. (The Chamberlain B6765T with camera does, but it costs an extra $65.)
  • It is more expensive to record and save video.

The myQ Chamberlain Smart Garage Door Opener is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled wireless garage hub and sensor. It’s probably compatible if your garage door opener has safety sensors, which almost all have. For an extra $60, you can upgrade to the myQ Smart Hub + Ring Camera, which adds video. With the myQ smart opener, you can check whether the door is open (then close it), have Amazon Key in-garage package delivery, and tell if the door is open (then lock it). Chamberlain is also delivering a newer white version, the myQ-G0401-ES, which is the same price as the previous model but has Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and is less sensitive to ceiling vs. wall placement, according to the company.

The best garage door openers we tested
7
Best Upgrade Tool for Existing Openers
myQ Smart Garage Hub by Chamberlain

PROS

  • Most garage door openers manufactured since 1993 can be upgraded for $30. (when safety sensors were made mandatory)
  • Bluetooth setup is really simple.
  • The knowledge that the garage door will not be left open all night gives you peace of mind.

CONS

  • According to the instructions, the module must be put high on the garage ceiling, which makes installation more difficult (high on a wall works, too)
  • People expecting the Amazon delivery person to snoop around in your garage will be disappointed (they’re too busy to do so).
  • Ring’s video storage package allows users to “share films and photographs,” in case something that happens in the garage has to be seen by a larger, even social media audience.

The myQ Chamberlain Smart Garage Door Opener is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled wireless garage hub and sensor. It’s probably compatible if your garage door opener has safety sensors, which almost all have. For an extra $60, you can upgrade to the myQ Smart Hub + Ring Camera, which adds video. With the myQ smart opener, you can check whether the door is open (then close it), have Amazon Key in-garage package delivery, and tell if the door is open (then lock it). Chamberlain is also delivering a newer white version, the myQ-G0401-ES, which is the same price as the previous model but has Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and is less sensitive to ceiling vs. wall placement, according to the company.

Some others we suggest

Garage Door Opener Types

The majority of garage door openers are suspended from the ceiling. The trolley (or traveler) and the arm that attaches to the door are moved by a chain, belt, or long steel screw that runs from the opener (operator in industry parlance).

Chain drive is the most cost-effective and quietest option. If bedrooms or a work-from-home office are over the garage, this is a horrible idea. The chain should be greased at least twice a year.

The traveler, arm, and door are all moved by screw drive using a threaded rod. The unit is little, yet it packs a punch when it comes to opening doors rapidly. It is less noisy than a chain-drive opener. The screw should be lubricated on a regular basis. The company has a little market share.

The belt drive is very silent. The belt does not require any upkeep. A damaged belt is easier to replace than a broken chain. The vast majority of openers are chain- and belt-driven, with belt-drive increasing market share as the price differential narrows.

The jackshaft (also known as wall mount) is installed to the left or right of the garage door. It’s quite silent. The distance between the garage door edge and the side wall should be around 12 inches.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Garage Door Opener

Your basic necessities are determined by your doors. Almost any opener will work for a single 8- to 10-foot-wide non-solid-wood door. The most affordable are roughly $125-$150, with a half-horsepower motor and chain drive. The most powerful models have 1.25-1.5 horsepower and cost $200 or more. They can lift heavy double doors and do so more quickly. Prepare to be perplexed by horsepower ratings that are “lifting-equivalent.”

Smartphones, Alexa, and Google Assistant can all be used to control many openers. They’re a part of home automation as a whole. The first embedded cameras, as well as linked garage cameras, allow you to view who just entered the garage. When your garage door opener is connected to your home’s Wi-Fi, it can send you notifications and photographs of who recently opened it. Amazon, for example, can deliver to your garage. Battery backup is becoming increasingly widespread, with California requiring backup on all openers sold after July 2019. AC motors are being phased out in favor of higher-performing DC motors. The lights are LED and will endure for the life of the opener, which is around 15-20 years.

What Is the Best Way to Program a Garage Door Opener?

The maximum opening height can be adjusted on garage door openers. These are usually found on the housing of the opener. Manufacturers’ programming for syncing with handheld remotes and built-in car remotes (known as HomeLink) varies. It usually entails pushing and holding the desired button in a specific order to clear any previous codes and save the new one. Additional steps to link the opener to your home Wi-Fi network and a smartphone app normally take only a few minutes.

Methodology

We looked at the specifications of garage door openers (also known as operators in the industry) for features that are important to users, such as quiet operation, lifting capacity, power to operate heavy or double doors, and the ability to be controlled by smartphones, tablets, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. We also took into account what owners had to say about how their garage door openers performed and what features they appreciated or wished they had. The LiftMaster 8500W was thoroughly tested and provided as a comparison point. It contains about every function a user might want, but it comes at a high price.

FAQ

Chain- or belt-driven garage door openers: which is better?

They both do the same thing, but a belt-drive or wall-mount opening will keep things quieter. Chain drives are more durable than belt drives, so they may last longer, but they are much noisier. Screw-drive openers are acceptable, but they are not as silent as belt-driven openers. A DC motor (which is more expensive but is becoming more widespread) is also quieter than an AC motor. A door with nylon rollers and ball-bearing axles is quieter than one with steel rollers.

What is the best way to install a garage door opener?

Two individuals are required for several parts of the installation. It’s possible that putting in the first of two openers will take all of Saturday. You can get rid of the second one on Sunday morning. Make careful to use large lag screws (which are usually provided) and secure them in wood studs rather than wallboard. You might want to get advice from a specialist.

What is a torsion spring opener, and how does it work?

The weight of the garage door is counterbalanced by springs. A pair of extension springs travel in the same direction as the door rails on most garage doors. A torsion spring (seen above) is made up of a metal tube and spring that runs above the garage door and saves space. When the door is pushed down, it stores energy and then releases it when the door is pushed up. A torsion spring above the garage door is directly driven by a wall-mount (jackshaft) opener. Because the garage door motor is mounted on the wall rather than suspended from the ceiling, space above the garage door is freed up for storage or working on an elevated automobile on a shop lift.

The door still rattles as it goes up and down, even with a new opener. What’s the matter?

Ensure that the roller wheels are lubricated. Replace old steel roller wheels with plastic/nylon roller wheels (which are better) and ball-bearing shafts (better). Pulleys must be replaced. Check to see if the door tracks are twisted. Check to see if the opener was set at a 90-degree angle to the door, rather than a couple of inches off-center. Is there still a lot of noise? Request a service call from a nearby garage door installer.

How do I know the garage door is secure now that I’ve installed it?

Make certain you did the following as well: Replace the old safety sensors with the new ones that arrived with the door; never use the old ones again. Replace the springs if they are I’m not sure how old; there should be a color code that corresponds to door weight so you know which spring to buy. At the very least, feed a spring cable (safety wire, $15-$20 per garage-door pair) through the middle of each existing spring (two per door) and secure it on both ends. It will not fly off and crack a windshield or injure/kill someone if or when the spring breaks. Install new weather-stripping on the sides and bottom for comfort, not safety.

How can I ensure that the door closes securely?

Keep rakes and shovels out of the way near the doors so they don’t fall in the path. Small objects on the floor should be kept away from ankle-level sensors in case they are accidently pushed into their pathways. Hand-tighten the screw that locks the obstacle sensor’s aim before going on vacation, then brush away any sensor cobwebs that might capture a sensor-blocking leaf or shred of paper. Also, if the door is open at 9 p.m., some openers can be set to close every night.


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