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What to Look For When Selecting a Garage Door Opener

Consider Horsepower, Type of Drive, Noise Generated, and How Much Home Security It Provides

© 2011 by Alan Bridge all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

Exterior view of a new home, photo courtesy Alan Bridge

Garage Door Openers come in many different shapes and sizes. They are great to have, but you need to make sure the one you select is right for you. There are many different features you need to look out for in a garage door opener; let me explain them each in turn and then you can decide which features are important to you.

Key Features of Garage Door Openers

The first consideration is power. You need to make sure the opener you select has enough power to open your garage door. An underpowered motor will burn out and will need to be replaced. I recommend that you get at least a 1/2 horsepower motor.

Depending on the location of your garage, the noise generated by a garage door opener can be very disturbing. If your garage is near a bedroom, operating the door opener will disturb anyone who is trying to sleep inside. This is an important consideration if someone in the house goes out to work early in the morning, before everyone else wakes up.

Exterior view of a new home, photo courtesy Alan Bridge A garage door generally provides access to the rest of the house, and for this reason the security of the garage door is important. If it can be opened easily, an intruder could gain access to your house.

Focus on Home Security

The security of the locking mechanism is equally important. Intruders who have a de-coding device can intercept older remote control systems and they can then re-produce the signal sent by the remote control to open the garage door opener. Make sure the system you purchase has a safeguard to prevent this happening.

The way in which you operate the garage door opener will greatly influence its convenience to you. Most people opt for a remote control so they can open the door from their car without having to get out. You should also have a back-up keypad on the wall that you can use if you lose the remote control.

Modern garage door openers are designed with the safety of the user in mind. Many have built in systems that will stop the door if a person or object gets in the way. This is very important if you have children or pets. You need a door opener that will automatically stop if it detects something in its path.

Choosing a Specific Type of Garage Door Opener

Now that you have a feature set in mind, you need to find the right garage door opener for you. You need to decide what type of drive system you require. The drive system is the mechanism that moves the garage door. The choice of drive system will affect the cost of the unit and the noise it creates. Here are a few bullet points on each:

  1. Chain Drive
    • Oldest
    • Most popular
    • Noisiest
  2. Belt Drive
    • Quietest
    • Most expensive
  3. Screw Drive
    • Most powerful, used for bigger doors
    • Rare, difficult to find in the market
  4. Torsion Drive
    • No need for an overhead track and motor
    • Gives an extra 6 or 8 inches in height (useful for RVs, etc.)

Where’s the Best Place to Purchase One?

I generally recommend purchasing online on a website such as Amazon as you can read garage door opener reviews from people who have purchased the specific model you are interested in in the past.

Purchasing online is a great option if you intend to install the garage door opener yourself. Alternatively, ask some of your friends and neighbors who they purchased their garage door opener from and installed it. Try to find someone who comes highly recommended! Angie’s List is a great service to find thousands of unbiased ratings and reviews on service companies in your area; join Angie’s List today.

About the author:

Alan Bridge blogs at where he focuses on detailed reviews of products he has used himself, such as the Fluke 87-5 multimeter and the Liftmaster Garage Door Opener.

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Article© 2011 Alan Bridge All rights reserved.

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