Garage door openers are gadgets we don’t think about unless we need to buy one or get one repaired. After that, they slowly fade away in the background of your everyday life. Owning a garage door opener is one of the best investments you could make for your home. Although they were invented so people don’t have to leave their cars to open and close garage doors, they now double as security devices that alert you when someone is trying to break into your home.
The market for garage door openers has seen dramatic changes over the century. They had a reputation for being one of the loudest appliances you could have in your home – even louder than a vacuum cleaner. Thanks to the latest advancements in technology, however, there are now models that come with a keyless entry pad that lets you open the garage door without using a remote. For a lot of people, these gadgets are no longer luxuries, but necessities.
If you’re interested in purchasing your first garage door opener or want to replace the one you have, then you’ve stumbled into the best place on the web to start your search. There are only a handful of companies that make garage door openers, and even if a product is under another brand name, there’s a big chance it’s manufactured by one of the major companies like Chamberlain. The plus side to this is that you are guaranteed a product made by a company that specializes in making quality garage door openers.
Considerations When Choosing a Garage Door Opener
The power of your opener will determine a lot of its performance, including the speed it’s able to open and close your garage door, the weight it can handle, and its overall durability. Powerful units may be noisier, so they may not be your best choice if the garage is located near a bedroom where it could disturb someone. If you want a quiet and powerful opener, expect to find them at a higher price point.
Controls and Features
The most common way to operate garage door openers is with a remote. Entry-level units will surely include at least one remote for users to conveniently open and close the door from the comfort of their cars. If you’re looking for an opener that comes with its own lighting, controls for the lighting will also be included in the remote. Some openers will include a wireless external keypad that’s secured with a code in case you are unable to use the remote. Some units can even be controlled using your smartphone for added convenience. Other important features include motion-activated lighting and automatic close. The latter is very useful in case you forget to close your garage door since it can be set to close automatically after 1, 5 or 10 minutes.
Garage door openers are all equipped with a safety feature that prevents the door from closing when an object is under it – good news if you have kids or pets at home. Units manufactured by companies like Chamberlain are all equipped with a PosiLock system, which means they’re impossible to open without the use of heavy-duty equipment. Some entry-level units may not include a physical locking mechanism. Other security features you can expect to find with garage door openers is the rolling code system. They work by constantly refreshing the code used to open the device.
The kind of drive you choose will also greatly affect the price of the product. There are three kinds of drive available with garage door openers: the chain drive, belt drive, and direct drive. The most common type of drive with affordable openers is the chain drive, which is known to be louder and more ‘clanky’.
The 5 Best Garage Door Openers in 2016
Our Top Pick:
- Can be operated with the use of your smartphone
- Easily programmable remote controls while adding MyQ smart home technology.
- Includes battery backup and whisper drive quiet performance
- Timer-to-Close feature can automatically close the garage door after 1, 5, or 10 minutes.
- Motion-Detecting Control Panel turns lights on automatically when movement is sensed and allows easy programming of remote controls, keypads and MyQ lighting accessories.
- Auto force-sensing technology constantly monitors garage door opener system and adjusts forces to temperature fluctuations
- Quick-install rail system provides faster and easier installation – assembles in 60 seconds.
- 200 watts of light with adjustable light time delay
- HomeLink compatible (the in-vehicle remote control system)
The Whisper Drive w/MyQ Tech is, by far, Chamberlain’s most popular product to gate. The MyQ enabled technology lets users monitor and control the garage door opener from anywhere in the world, provided there’s internet access. Control isn’t limited to just opening and closing the garage door either. The home lightings can also be set to turn on or off using the MyQ app. This product isn’t just your average garage door opener. It features an industrial-strength chain and includes two 3-button remote controls and a cordless keypad. This unit is surprisingly quiet and comes with better warranty than older products from Chamberlain. With the right tools, installation is simple enough. The manual gives clear and concise instructions on how you can go about doing it. If you want a clean, professional-looking work, we recommend hiring experts to get the job done. The product itself is a wonder, but be warned that some of the items tossed into this bundle don’t include a lot of information. Owners of the Whisper Drive w/MyQ Tech reported a hard time with the MyQ technology and what other accessories were compatible with the opener. Fortunately, Chamberlain’s customer service team is always there to help. Another good approach to the problem is to download the manual first so you know what you’re getting yourself into. The Whisper Drive w/MyQ Tech is the real deal. If you’re shopping for your first garage door opener or looking to replace your old one, we can guarantee that this product is worth every dollar you’re paying.
- Powerful 1/2 hp motor with a rugged and reliable, industrial strength chain drive
- Accessories include one pre-programmed, 1-button, tri-band frequency remote that provides consistent performance over a long range which includes easy push button wall control and safety sensors
- Patented security + 2.0 rolling code technology and Posilock anti-theft protection assures that once the door closes it stays locked
- Safety sensors project an invisible beam preventing the garage door from closing on people, pets or other objects
- Certain vehicle makes/models may require a compatibility bridge device to operate your garage door opener via the home link buttons
The Chamberlain PD210D is a ½ horsepower unit that’s as reliable as it is affordable. If the price of the Whisper Drive w/ MyQ Tech is a little too steep for your budget, this product is a good alternative. It comes with all the essential accessories and features to get the most out of your opener, including safety sensors and an easy push-button wall control. If the invisible beam from the safety sensors is broken or interrupted by a person or object under the garage door, the device stops. You can’t program the remote to open multiple garage doors, so this may not be the best option if you have more than one garage. Also, this product only comes with one remote, but most users didn’t consider this a problem and just went ahead and bought additional ones. Because this unit is a belt drive opener, expect it to be noisy. The good news with this Chamberlain product is that the manual covers everything and leaves nothing in the dark. From the installation to the maintenance, you won’t be second-guessing whether you’re doing things right or not. Overall, the Chamberlain PD210D does exactly what it’s supposed to do and is a reliable mid-ranged garage door opener.
- ½ HPc DC motor allows for quiet, smooth operation with soft starts and soft stops.
- Includes 2 3-button transmitters, wall button, and Safe-T-beams.
- Easy to install: Lightweight unit and electronic push button programming make installation set up fast and easy.
- Long life: Dual pinion gear chain drive system provides longer, more reliable life.
- Comprehensive Safe-T-Beam system meets or exceeds all UL, state, federal and CSA regulations, and incorporates an auto reversing system that stops and reverses a closing door if anything passes through the beam.
- Limited Warranty: 5 Year Motor, 1 Year Parts.
The Genie DC ChainLift comes with a powerful ½ HPc DC motor that’s backed by a 5-year warranty, making it one of the smartest purchase choices for a garage door opener this 2016. It’s long lasting, quiet, and easy to install. The product also offers IntelliTouch and Intellicode Technology as its security features so you don’t risk having your garage broken into. One of the main selling points of the Genie DC ChainLift is the inclusion of two 3-button remote controls so you and your partner won’t have to fight over who gets the remote every time the two of you leave for work. The wall button control also provides easy access just in case you don’t have your remote with you. On Amazon, the Genie DC ChainLift has received stellar reviews from satisfied customers. It can lift up to 350 pounds – a little more than other ½ horsepower units that can only handle up to 300 pounds. According to many of the reviews from Amazon customers, the Genie DC Chainlift is labeled as a quiet product compared to other units. This is good news if you’re tired of the noise your old garage door opener makes. Like other garage door openers today, the Genie DC Chainlift can also function as a garage light. The light bulb isn’t included, but this means you can choose your preferred brand and type of light right off the bat. Considering the decent warranty you get for both the motor and other parts, and its decent performance, it has earned its reputation as among the best garage door openers.
- Easy installation featuring non-polarized wiring making installing the wiring error free
- Handles sectional garage doors up to 7 feet tall and 18 feet wide
- 8-foot extension is available to accommodate larger doors
- Accessories included: 3 function wall panel, two 3 button remotes and FREE wireless keypad
- Auto reverse safety system
The Decko 24300 is another quality product that has captured our attentions with its features and ease of operation. It’s well-designed, generates little noise, and includes everything you need for easy installation. And if you’re not quite sure you’re doing things right with the installation, Decko’s customer service department is there to help. According to some users of this product, you can dispense with screwdrivers and put everything together using your bare hands to push the screws. But to be on the safe side, have a tool box ready just in case. The product itself weighs a little over 33 pounds and already comes with its own batteries. It can fit into garage doors that are up to 18-feet wide and 7-feet tall, but it can easily handle larger garage doors that are 8-feet wider. In terms of accessories, you get all the necessities such as 3 function wall panels, a wireless keypad, and two remote controls. The Decko 24300 also comes with a dual lighting system, although you’ll need to supply the lightbulbs yourself. The auto reverse safety system is another welcome feature. You don’t need to worry about pets or children playing under the garage door unsupervised.
- Premium heavy duty 1 HP motor for maximum performance
- rail for 7 ft. – 8 ft. door height/full installation kit included
- Extremely quiet garage door opener with virtually no vibrations; Perfect for homes with living spaces above the garage
- Includes two x 2-button transmitters and interior wall station
- Secure Rolling Code Technology, Home Link Compatible
If you’re looking for a garage door opener with the quietest operation, the Sommer Direct Drive is a premium choice. Whether you have a large or small garage door, you are guaranteed a smooth operation and long-lasting use. The features include two 2-button remove transmitters and a wall control-pad. Sommer Direct Drive is HomeLink compatible – great for tech-savvy users. We should mention, however, that this product does not include an exterior wall station. For the price you’re paying for this device, it seems a little strange why the manufacturer would leave that feature out. Thanks to the Sommer Direct Drive’s 1 horsepower motor, it can lift an impressive 550 pounds easily. You get a lot of advantages by choosing this product, but its biggest con is its lack of a rolling code security system. The other units we’ve covered in this review have that feature, even though they’re more affordable. So, whether this unit is perfect for you or not depends on what you’re willing to work with. If you want power and super-quiet operation, you’ll be more than satisfied purchasing the Sommer Direct Drive. If you’d like to prioritize security, then we suggest choosing from the other four products. Overall, the Sommer Direct Drive is still impressive and deserves its high ratings and positive reviews.