Best Garage Door Opener Reviews & Top Selection for 2017
Garage door openers have the same function, but the design varies, with some more efficient than others. With a well-designed system, opening and closing your garage door should be easy, and there should be safety features installed as well so accidents involving its opening and closing can be avoided.
This only goes to show how important it is to have best garage door opener. Only if you have the right information and knowledge of these garage door openers can you get maximum value for your money and time.
Best Garage Door Opener - Our Top Picks
Having the best garage door opener makes your life easier. Read our reviews to find out what’s available.
Chamberlain WD1000WF 1-1/4 HPS Smartphone Controlled Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener
The WD1000WF has Wi-Fi built-in so you can use it to open your garage doors without the need for extra hardware.
It also comes with MyQ Technology Smartphone Control so you can use it with your smartphone. Simply download the free app and you can control your garage door from your mobile.
The WD1000WF has a battery built in so even if there is no power the system will continue to run. Unlike other garage door openers, the WD1000WF runs quietly, making it the ideal choice if there is living space over your garage.
Chamberlain WD832KEV 1/2hp MYQ-Enabled Whisper Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
The WD832KEV is equipped with a ½ HP belt drive for powerful performance, and its Motor Vibration Isolation System reduces noise when it’s running. The WD832KEV also uses MyQ Technology so you can access and use its many features on your smartphone.
This allows you to not just open garage doors but also house lamps and outdoor fixtures. It also has a Timer-to-Close feature that will close the garage door in 1, 5 or 10 minutes, great if you forget to do it often. In addition, the remote uses a tri-band frequency so the signal is always clear.
SOMMER 1052V000 Direct Drive
The 1052V000 Direct Drive is notable for many things, like its powerful 1 HP motor, Secure Rolling Code Technology and compatibility with Home Link. But in addition to that the system only has one moving component so it doesn’t make as much noise as other garage door openers.
When set up, the motor smoothly glides by the chain, and it doesn’t produce any vibrations. Since the motor is located at the rear, the 1052V000 is able to make full use of its power. The package also comes with a rail for 7 to 8 ft. doors and also equipped with an interior wall station and 2 button transmitters.
Genie 2042-TKC QuietLift 800 1/2+ HP DC Belt Garage Door Opener
Designed for homes that want a silent but reliable system, the 2042-TKC comes with a 2 3-button remotes and a 1/2+ HPc DC belt and works as advertised. This system is also popular among electric bike users and also comes with a wireless keypad that works with different garage and gate systems. Programing is easy and once set up opens garage doors without any problem.
The instructions for the Genie are easy to follow, and it comes with a Safe-T-Beam system that ensures safe and efficient operation. There is also an auto reversing system that stops automatically if something goes through the doors. This only goes to show that the Genie is not only versatile but safe as well.
Chamberlain MyQ-enabled Whisper Drive Garage Door Opener
The MyQ-enabled Whisper Drive is one product that lives up to its name.
With its auto force sensing technology, the system is able to constantly monitor your garage door and respond quickly. Along with the CIGBU Internet Gateway you can now control your garage anywhere you are with your smartphone.
It comes with a programmable remote control, battery backup, quiet drive and a timer to Close feature so you can program it to close after a period of time. The Whisper Drive also comes with a motion-detecting control panel that automatically turns the lights on when movement is detected.
SOMMER Direct Drive 1042V001 3/4 HP Garage Door Opener
The Direct Drive 1042V001 uses s special frequency system so opening garage doors is trouble free, and this technology also reduces the possibility of frequency interruption. The Direct Drive 1042V001 remote is compatible with a wide range of garage doors and works quietly, and there’s a lifetime warranty for the garage door opener.
The remote is easy to program and the secure rolling code technology ensures smooth performance. The entire installation is bundled and comes with a rail for 8 foot doors. Sommer garage door opener is also one of the quieter ones we have come across so that’s another plus.
Liftmaster 8500 Wall Mount Garage Door Opener Package
The Liftmaster 8500 is one of the more powerful products in the Liftmaster line, and it comes with a 24V DC motor for dependable and smooth operation. The system also comes with variable speed start and simple installation on wall mounts. Once set up, the 8500 keeps a constant eye on your garage door and makes the proper adjustments as temperature changes.
The 8500 is programmable so it’s easy for you to set up program codes. The casing ensures lubrication is continuous, and a six foot long cord is included. If something passes under the garage door, it will automatically stop.
How Garage Door Openers Operate
Garage door openers operate basically the same way: they have a motor that moves a carriage or trolley along a rail, and the carriage or trolley is linked to the garage door, and as the carriage moves, the door is pushed closed or pulled open. While the function is the same, the way the motor moves the carriage or trolley varies.
Garage door openers are equipped with motors that work with direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC). Both of them work with your typical home power outlet, but the openers that use DC will turn AC into DC.
There are advantages with a DC motor, such as its soft starts / stops, silent operation and compact size. In addition, DC motor openers have a battery backup so it keeps running even if there’s a power outage.
Types of Garage Door Openers
There are four types:
Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
A chain-drive garage door opener comes with a metal chain which moves the trolley to lower or raise the door. Chain drive garage door openers are among the most affordable, but you have to make sure that it is of good quality as some of them can be noisy and produce vibrations.
If your garage is not connected to your house, noise won’t be an issue, but if it is linked to your house or there is living space above the garage, a quiet system will be necessary.
Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
A belt-drive garage door opener has many features similar to a chain drive, but it uses a belt instead of a chain to set the trolley in motion. The difference between a belt and chain is the belt is quieter and smoother, so it is preferred by those who want a quiet garage door opener.
Another advantage of belt drive systems is they have fewer moving pats than their chain driven counterparts. This not only makes them quieter but also means less maintenance.
Screw Drive Garage Door Opener
These systems have a threaded steel rod which acts as the lifting apparatus. As the rod begins to turn, the trolley is driven across the track to lower or raise the door. Screw drive garage door openers are more silent compared to chain driven systems, and they also need less maintenance.
Direct Drive Garage Door Opener
A direct-drive garage door opener is also notable for its silent operation. In these systems the motor acts as the trolley, moving along the track, lowering and raising the garage door. Because of its design, it only has one moving component in the motor. What you get is a quiet, vibration free and low maintenance machine.
Useful Tips to Find the Best Garage Door Opener
- Read the Product Description
This one seems pretty obvious but some forget to do so. Before you buy, read the product description and make certain the garage door opener is compatible with your garage door.
The horsepower (HP) rating tells you how much lifting power the garage door opener has. The horsepower varies, but the range is from ½ HP to 1 ½ HP for residential homes. So how much do you need? It depends on what kind of garage door you have.
If your garage door is of the sectional double-car type, a ½ HP garage door opener should be enough, but a more powerful system will reduce wear and tear. The rule is the heavier your garage doors are – one piece doors usually fall into this category – then the more powerful openers you will need. 1/3 HP is for the lightest garage doors, while ½ HP is good for most garage doors., while ¾ HP and higher is for large doors.
One more thing: you might notice that systems using DC motors have HPc ratings. HPc is horsepower comparable while HPS stands for horsepower similar. These are designed to help buyers assess its power.
- Remote and Manual Access
There are other features which well-made garage door openers should have. This includes wall mount buttons, remotes or keypads to open a garage door. Good systems also have a manual release feature so you can disengage the opener in your garage and manually lower or raise the door.
- Security Light
These systems should have a security light that turns on when the garage opener is active and goes off after a certain period.
- Multitasking mode
Many wall mount buttons, remotes and keypads can handle several garage doors, with most capable of handling up to three garage doors. If you have several garage bays with numerous doors, this feature will be useful.
A noisy garage door will be an issue if there’s a room up the garage or it is right next to your house. It's the same with air compressors, noisy ones are just annoying. The good news is most of the garage door openers today are designed to run quietly.
- Ease of use and Installation
The most powerful garage door opener is useless if you cannot operate it easily. A feature packed garage door opener is nice, but it must be easy to set up and install. The good ones take only a couple of minutes to install, and programming should be easy too.
Other Essential Features to Look For
Garage door openers are equipped with several features to set them apart from the competition. One of the most useful would be rail segments for tall doors in the 7 to 8 ft. range. The remote must have good range and there should also be a keychain so you can carry it with you.
Home automation is a growing trend among these systems and it is certainly worth looking into as it gives you the opportunity to control your garage door opener in a remote location.
Wi-Fi connectivity is another useful feature. If your garage door opener is connected to your wireless network, you’ll be able to open and close it with your mobile phone. Most of these systems even have a free app so you can control its functions with your tablet or smartphone. For this to work of course, your garage door opener must be smart compatible.
Some of these systems have vehicle compatibility built in, and that means you can control the functions of the garage door opener from your vehicle. This is not yet common, but you can find it in some models and can really be convenient.
An auto close feature is also built into many of these garage door openers. What this does is allow you to program the garage door to close after a few minutes. Since this feature often works with gates too, it can be a convenient feature and security enhancement as well.
Safety and Security Features of Garage Door Openers
Some of these systems have specially designed locks so remotes won’t be able to open the garage door. This is a security feature in case you leave the house and want to make sure no one gets in the garage.
You will also find a lot of these systems have soft start / stop motors. These mechanisms have been put in place to minimize wear and tear and to ensure the system runs quietly.
A battery backup is one feature that most would consider essential so you can continue using the system even if there is a power outage. You may also want to look for systems with motion sensing capabilities so the doors run automatically.
Should You Upgrade Your Garage Doors?
For security and safety reasons, you should upgrade your garage doors if it is was made before 1993, as most garage door openers only work with doors made after 1993.
Modern garage door openers generate electronic beams which extend from the opening of the garage door. This provides extra protection and entrapment. When an animal or person makes contact with the beam, it sets off the safety mechanism and causes the door to change directions. Other door openers have a system built in so the door acts appropriately when it makes contact with an object.
Another reason to upgrade your garage doors is it will let you take full advantage of these door openers’ security features. Aside from the features we have already mentioned, remotes transmit new codes for activating the opener. Most of these devices also have rolling codes to reduce the possibility of theft and prevent accidental opening of your garage door by your neighbor’s remote.
What does this mean? Whenever you open your garage door, the system sends you a new code, so there is no way for someone to try and guess. The other functions we mentioned earlier like Wi-Fi connectivity and access from your mobile are only possible with garage doors that were built at least around 1993 or 1991, depending on the garage door openers you bought.
Benefits of Garage Door Openers
Garage door openers are not new, and in fact have been around since the 1920s. However, they have never been more necessary than they are today as there is greater need for safety.
A garage door opener provides extra security that manual garage doors do not have. Security is further enhanced by the rolling codes, ensuring you and only those authorized access can use it. Aside from the codes, the presence of lights is enough to scare off would-be intruders.
The other security benefit offered by these devices is you can program them to close automatically at a predetermined time to prevent intruders from gaining access to it.
Protection from Extreme Weather
A garage door opener doesn’t just keep your car safe from criminals, but it also acts as protection from the weather. Garages that are left open expose the vehicles and other items inside to rain and strong winds, causing damage. With a well-designed garage door opener, you can use the system to secure your vehicle.
Vacation / Disable Modes
Most of these garage door openers have an option to disable the controls. When this is activated, the system controls and remote functions are disabled, and the only way you can access the system is by way of the control panel. Usually there is a button on the control panel that you tap to disable or enable this mode.
This is a feature you should find useful if you spend a lot of time away from home. Because the garage door can only be opened from the control panel, burglars won’t be able to open it with remote controls.
The majority of these garage door openers are energy efficient. Even though they have a lot of features and capabilities, they use very little power and only operate a few seconds at most. When your garage door is closed there is very little amount of power used.
Which Garage Door Opener is the Right One?
People look for different things when they buy a garage door opener, and knowing your needs is going to be key to finding the right one. Here are a few quick suggestions.
Given a choice between the various drive types mentioned above, go with the belt drive as it is the quietest.
As for the motor type it is a matter of personal preference. Some like the AC motors because they are more common while others prefer the DC because the starting and stopping options are better. In addition they become with backup options in case the power goes out.
If you really want a quiet garage door opener, look for one with a VIS (vibration isolation system) as it will keep the noise down to a minimum.
If your garage door is going to be used extensively and subject to wear and tear, a garage door opener with a soft start / stop option is ideal.
If you are interested in automatic lighting and various safety features, a garage door opener with a wall motion detector is your best option. Now if your garage has multiple doors, a 2 or 3 button transmitter will let you open and close these doors. If necessary, make sure the system comes with rails for 7, 8 and 10 ft. doors.
If you’re confused as to which features are necessary, it depends on your usage. If you don’t always have the transmitter, a keypad will be handy, or at least several transmitters for you or other members of the household. A lockout feature is important for security reasons, while open door monitors allow you to keep an eye on the garage from different parts of your home.
Finding the best garage door opener used to be difficult and time consuming. Yet we know how important it is. Oftentimes we take for granted the function of garage door openers until it ceases to work. But why wait for something to go wrong when you can buy the best? You can check out the products we have recommended here or you can browse the web, what’s important is you do research first.