Best Garage Door Opener Reviews of 2020
Chamberlain B1381 Bright LED Lighting Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
Best belt drive garage door opener
Built-in Wi-Fi and app connectivity let you control your garage door from wherever you are.
1 Chamberlain B1381 Review
The Chamberlain Group has a big reputation when it comes to garage door openers, and the Chamberlain B1381 doesn’t disappoint.
This beast provides a whopping 1.25 horsepower and comes with a battery backup that will keep your garage door accessible even on the grimmest times when a power outage will keep all your neighbors outside.
Corner to corner lighting will even fill your entire garage as soon as you open the door, so there will be no more guesswork trying to locate the light switch in the dark.
Built-in Wi-Fi and the myQ app will also let you control the garage door whenever you want and from wherever you are, as long as you don’t mind paying a subscription for that. If you decide to get the app though, you can even integrate it with Google or Alexa for smart home control.
Chamberlain B970 Ultra-Quiet Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
Best for the money
An impressive remote range of up to 1,500 feet provides quick and easy access to your garage.
2 Chamberlain B970 Review
From the same guys who made our top pick, the Chamberlain B970 presents itself as the best garage door opener for the money. It brings outstanding value; all packed in a compact system that will never let you down.
Like the B1381 model, this opener outputs 1.25 horsepower and comes with smartphone control and battery backup. It won’t lock you out of your home, but the system doesn’t have the corner to corner light feature though. Nevertheless, the app connectivity will give you security and control.
If you don’t really care about all that smartphone integration, know that you can also manage up to three openers or interior light modules in the old-fashion, from up to 1,500 feet of distance. Packing a host of features and coming rather cheap, this could be the garage door opener you need.
Genie 4042-TKH DC Chain Garage Door Opener
Also great but less powerful
An intelligent garage door opener designed to prevent unauthorized access and accidents.
3 Genie 4042-TKH Review
If you want to combine convenience with an even lower price and don’t mind a little less power, the SilentMax 1200 could be the right garage door opener for you. Its name says it all, and it truly lives up to expectations.
This thing is really quiet and is ideal for a garage attached to your living space. Its smooth operation is ensured by a .75-horsepower motor that features soft start and stop for a no-frills control of the door travel.
It can lift any residential garage door up to 7 feet high, and it integrates a Self Diagnostic Safe-T-Beam system developed to prevent sudden drops.
All these features and power come at a real bargain; however, you shouldn’t expect this system to last for too long.
Chamberlain Group B550 Smartphone-Controlled Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
Cheap but reliable
Chamberlain quality packed into an affordable opener designed for 7-foot garage doors.
4 Chamberlain B550 Review
The Chamberlain B550 comes as a great alternative for the homeowner shopping on a budget. It packs a host of features you’ve seen on its bigger brothers but has a lower capacity, comparable to a .5-horsepower class.
It can handle residential garage doors that rise up to 7 feet, but it will need some extra aid for anything bigger than this. Like most Chamberlain products, the B550 comes with a built-in Wi-Fi system and connects to myQ app, or you can simply manage it with the TriBand remote.
A thing that we miss is the battery backup, so you’ll be locked outside in the case of a blackout. All in all, though, this is an exceptional product that packs a wealth of features which are hard to find on other garage door openers available for this price.
Types of garage door openers
The first step to choosing the best garage door opener is selecting the most appropriate type. You can essentially pick from the following five kinds.
- Chain-driven garage door openers: Are cheap, easy to install, and impress with a long lifespan. These openers use a pulley trolley system, usually operated by an alternating current (AC) motor, although some models may also come with direct current (DC) motors. Because most components involved are robust, these systems are often used for heavy garage doors, mainly in commercial or industrial settings. Although you can also mount them in your home garage, keep in mind that these openers are very loud. This could be an issue if your garage is attached to your living areas. The chain-driven openers with DC motors are slightly quieter, but they can still annoy you, especially during the night.
- Belt-driven garage door openers: Their design is similar to the chain-drive type, but these systems use reinforced belts instead of chains. By avoiding the metal-on-metal friction characteristic to the chain-drive variety, these garage door openers are almost noiseless and perfect to use in residential settings. Furthermore, most belt-driven openers are operated by DC motors, which further contribute to reducing noise. Although more expensive than the chain-driven, they are still affordable and usually incorporate a wealth of perks, including backup batteries, automatic garage lights, and even wireless connectivity. Enough reasons to make them the most popular garage door openers on the market.
- Direct-drive garage door openers: Are similar to both the chain-driven and belt-driven systems, but instead of a moving chain or belt, they come with a fixed chain or belt and a moving motor. Due to this change in the design, these garage door openers are not only quieter but are also more reliable and last longer. However, these openers are very expensive, and for this reason, they are not extremely popular.
- Jackshaft garage door openers: These openers come with a different approach than the models above due to their different way of mounting. While all three types of openers already discussed must be mounted on the ceiling, the Jackshaft is mounted on the wall, right next to the door. They are ideal for those garages where you can’t mount a ceiling system, but their biggest drawback is that they only work with sectional garage doors and they are also expensive. However, they enhance security because they are harder to break open once you closed the doors.
- Screw drive garage door openers: This is one of the first types of garage door openers invented, and it was quite popular for a long time. The screw drive system has always been renowned as sturdy and reliable, but the first models were very noisy and required a lot of maintenance. Manufacturers have only started to address these issues after the emergence of the belt-drive systems, and today’s screw drive garage door openers are quieter and need little to no maintenance. However, they still have the reputation of being noisy and demanding, so they are not too popular. These systems can also have troubles in hot temperatures.
AC vs. DC garage door opener motor
Among the many things to decide when buying a garage door opener is whether you want an alternating current or direct current motor.
- AC garage door opener motors: Are the grand-daddy of them all. Their main advantage is the durability, combined with little to no maintenance. However, these motors are cumbersome and typically noisy.
- DC garage door opener motors: Need more maintenance than the AC kind, but are much more popular. They come with a host of advantages that counterbalance all their drawbacks and are widely used by most manufacturers.
Why is a DC motor better than AC?
The first question that comes to mind is why you would invest in a motor that comprises more parts, needs more maintenance, and isn’t as robust as an AC motor? Well, here are a few good reasons:
- Size: DC motors are smaller. They occupy less space on your ceiling or wall and are also lighter and easier to mount.
- Variable start and stop speed: DC motors start and conclude the opening process at slower speeds, ensuring a smoother motion and gentler action on the door, which will ultimately prolong the door’s lifespan.
- Low noise level: These motors typically use less power than a standard AC motor and are much quieter. They are ideal for mounting in garages attached to the living areas.
- Battery backup: Perhaps the greatest advantage of these motors is their compatibility with backup batteries that will let you open the door even in the case of a blackout.
Horsepower and HP-equivalent
Because the first garage door openers to ever exist have been the AC ones, the standard unit to measure their power has been established as the horsepower (HP). DC motors work in a slightly different way though, and their power is not rated in horsepower.
However, to make things easier for the end consumers, manufacturers decided to keep the horsepower rating and to express the power of their DC motors in horsepower-equivalent. One horsepower equivalent corresponds to a real horsepower, and you’ll usually find the unit in the product’s manual written either as HPc, HPe or something similar.
How many horsepower do you need?
Most garage door openers have a power between 1/3 and 1-1/4 horsepower. We recommend steering clear from the 1/3-HP kind, as these motors are too weak to lift a garage door. They are cheap and could seem to perform well at first, but the burden put on the motor will significantly reduce their lifespan.
Depending on the type of garage door you have, we recommend focusing on the following ratings:
Garage door size
Motor power (HP)
Garage door weight (lbs.)
Over 550 lbs.
Built-in Wi-Fi and smart connectivity
Garage door openers have long come with remote controls that allowed homeowners to open or close the garage door from a fair distance. Most openers still come with remotes, but the emergence of connectivity and the hype of smart homes have also determined manufacturers to adapt their products to the new market trends.
Smart garage door openers have connectivity capabilities and interact with your smartphone either via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
- Bluetooth garage door openers: Can be controlled from a distance of about 20 feet (ft.). They are usually quite limited in function, but you can still use them instead of the remote to open and close the door or turn on the garage lights.
- Wi-Fi garage door openers: Take the concept of smart homes and connectivity to a whole new level. An integrated app will allow you to control the garage door from wherever you are, and most apps will also let you manage other functions, such as switching on and off the garage lights, checking security cameras, or even programming the door to open based on the location of your phone.
What to consider before buying a Wi-Fi garage door opener
Due to the multiple benefits they bring, the Wi-Fi models are considered by many as the best garage door openers on the market. However, there are a few things you should weigh in before buying.
- Garage door compatibility: Not all Wi-Fi garage door openers are compatible with all doors. Some manufacturers have universal openers; others manufacture their devices for specific door models only. It is always recommended to check before buying.
- App accessibility: most Wi-Fi openers connect with your phone through brand apps that may or may not require you to pay a subscription fee. A monthly or yearly fee could annoy some people, but these apps usually offer more safety and security features.
- Integration with smart home services: If you’re a tech geek and want to integrate the garage door opener with other services such as Alexa, Google Assistant, or IFTTT, check if the model you want is compatible with them.
Can I turn a standard garage door opener into a smart one?
Luckily, you can! If you already have a standard garage door opener or like one that’s not Wi-Fi enabled and would like to upgrade it, know that most standard devices are compatible with smart garage hubs that will allow you to enjoy the benefits of a Wi-Fi garage opener without changing the entire system.
Other important features
As if all the above wasn’t enough, there are a few other things to consider if you want to pick the best garage door opener.
- Auto-close function: Closes the garage door after a preset period of time, so you won’t have to press a button on the remote to close it.
- Rail extensions: Most garage door openers on the market work with standard 7-ft. tall doors. If your door is taller though, a rail extension allows the system to raise the door completely.
- Vehicle compatibility: Some openers can connect with your vehicle via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, allowing you to open or close the door by pressing a button on your car’s board. If this feature is important to you, check vehicle compatibility before buying.
- Keychain remotes: Are small remote controls that fit in a pocket, so you won’t have to carry a chunky remote around.
- Locks: Help you prevent other remotes from opening the garage door when you’re not at home. Because most remotes use the same frequencies and the market offers a bountiful range of universal garage door remotes that could work with your opener, this is an essential feature to consider.
How to install a garage door opener
Most garage door manufacturers provide expert installation for their system. If you have some handyman skills though, you can opt for DIY installation and save some cash. Here is how to do it.
Tools & Materials
Installing a garage door opener step-by-step
- Assemble the carriage (torque) tube as instructed by the manufacturer. If you’re replacing an old opener, remove the carriage tube and see if you can reuse it.
- Mount the drive motor, bracket, and cable drum of the new garage door opener onto the carriage tube, following the instructions in the product’s manual.
- Use 1/2×2-inch masonry fasteners to mount the drive motor’s bracket on the wall above the garage door.
- Hang the power unit from the ceiling, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Attach the bracket that connects the arm to the garage door, then attach the arm on the carriage tube to the bracket. The exact position may vary depending on the system you install.
- Lastly, install the safety system. This system is designed to shut down the unit if there is an obstacle in the path of the closing door.
- Plug in your garage door opener, set up your remote or smart controls, and start enjoying the benefits of your new system.
Best Garage Door Opener for the Money
Chamberlain B970 Ultra-Quiet Belt Drive Garage Door OpenerBest for the money
An impressive remote range of up to 1,500 feet provides quick and easy access to your garage.