Is it time to replace the old garage door opener at your house? It wasn't too long ago that many households had manual garage doors but with techology came cheaper prices and now you can get a decent opener for $150 to $200. Garage door openers are easy to operate and most can last for years, even a decade or longer without needing any repairs. I recently moved into a house that was about 8 years old and both the torsion springs broke on both sides of the double garage within about 3 days. From what I could find out from the repair guy, having to replace the torsion springs in garage doors is a common issue. In terms of openers, there are 3 types - chain drive, belt drive, and screw-drive. The chain drive units are the cheapest of all, but they are also the noisiest of the bunch.
The quietest to operate are the rubber belt drive openers, but again you are going to pay a premium for less noise. My chain drive system ran a touch quieter after I tightened all the bolts holding the overhead motor into the ceiling of the garage. The vibrations were less overall. Most garage door openers feature a light that will remain on for a few minutes after the door has been raised or lowered. This gives you time to get into your car and load it up or get out and take in groceries or kids when the light is still shining. Speed is what some garage door openers are marketed for, but in tests that we read, it's not necessary to have a fast moving garage door. In the long run a fast closing door is more likely to trap a person or pet. Some experts recommend that you use a chain drive system for larger or heavier garage doors and the Chamberlain PD752D is a name that pops up quite often. For power, consider 1/2 HP motors that are good for single and double door garages, but when you have larger doors that are heavy, units like the PD752D from Chamberlain offer up 3/4 HP motors for the extra power. You'll often get 2 remotes with any garage door opener system and there is almost always a wall mounted button or switch that resides in your garage for easy opening. The latest garage door opener technology are the wireless keypads that are often located just outside your garage door on the outside of your house. Just enter in a code into the keypad and the door will open up. Great for kids to use after school so they don't have to carry around a garage door opener that they will probably lose. Some openers come with the wireless outdoor keypad as part of the price so be sure to check if the one you want offers that option. A few years back when I was renting a home, the owner agreed to have a garage door opener installed to replace the manual door. A technician came out from Sears to do the install and it wasn't that difficult, although I probably wouldn't attempt to do it myself. For a small fee you can have the store you buy the opener at send someone out to install the garage door opener system for you and make sure it gets done right the first time. We found dozens of reviews online from owners of garage door openers on sites like Sears.com, Homedepot.com, Lowes.com, Amazon.com, and Epinions. Although these reviews are specific to a certain type of garage door opener, they are still very relevant in terms of reliability and ease of use. If you want to read up on chain drive versus belt drive reviews and find out more details on installing a garage door opener by yourself, consider checking out the DIY (do it yourself) websites like Doityourself.com or Easy2diy.com. The top brand names are Chamberlain (also makes Craftsman door openers sold at Sears), Genie, Raynor, Wayne Dalton, and Linear.
Best Garage Door Opener:
RECOMMENDED - The best selling belt driven garage door openers are the Chamberlain WD832KEV Ultra Quiet and Strong 1/2 HP Belt Drive Garage Door Opener ($250). It's expensive, but you'll notice how quiet this unit operates and that is a huge benefit. Owners say the Chamberlain belt drive opener is well worth the money as you get the latest technology with a wireless keyless entrpad that resides outside and lots of extras. The 1/2 horsepower motor can handle almost all single and double garage doors. The 200-watt security light features 2 light sockets, you get two 3-button remotes, and a lifetime warranty on the motor and 10 years on the belt. Consumers say the Chamberlain Whisper Drive is relatively easy to install and others say things like "great opener", "exceptionally quiet", and "very durable". You can research all the Chamberlain products online at Chamberlain.com or view the reviews on Amazon.com.
Top Rated Garage Door Opener:
Want a screw-drive garage door opener? The Genie H6000A-2K ($200) is a top seller in stores like Home Depot and a popular choice on many other sites. The screw-drive garage door opener from Genie is definitely quieter than chain drive systems although the belt-drive from Chamberlain above is still the quietest on the market. The H6000A-2K features a 1/2 HP motor, an AC Direct Drive Screw, a deluxe wall console, two 3-button remotes, Safe-t beam sensors, and a wireless keypad. Owners call it "very quiet" and "reliable" while experts say it's easy to install and will hold up overtime with a 10 year warranty on the motor. You can find it online at HomeDepot.com or at Amazon.com. Geniecompany.com has all the details on this product plus the other garage door openers that Genie offers. RECOMMENDED - Amazon carries the popular Genie ISD990-2X Excelerator Screw Drive Garage Door Opener.
Chain Drive Garage Opener:
Some homes have garage doors that are heavier than the average doors and they require more horsepower in order for the motor to successfully lift and lower the garage door. For heavy doors, or California Door, the Chamberlain PD752D ($170) is a top pick. Chamberlain also makes the Craftsman 53990 which is sold in Sears stores for around the same price. This premium chain drive garage door opener receives great reviews on Amazon.com for it's durability and ease of installation. The Quick Install 5 Piece rail system and Quick Connect terminals let do it yourselfers make quick work of the install. Comes with a lifetime motor warranty, two 3-button remotes, and the safety light comes when the beam is obstructed in anyway. Although chain drive systems are notorious for being noisy, owners say the Motor Vibration Isolation System (MVIS) makes this unit exceptionally quiet compared to other similar models. You can find it at Amazon.com, in Sears stores or at Chamberlain-diy.com.
Garage Door Keypad:
Many of my neighbors are starting to install wireless keypads for their garage door openers which allow them to operate the garage door without a remote control unit. They just type in the keypad code on the outside control and the door will open or close up. It comes in handy when people take walks with their kids or go for a bike ride and don't want to carry a remote with them. I see several kids that get off the bus and walk up to their keypad and enter the numbers to open their garage door. No more keys or remotes that they can lose. You can buy aftermarket products that sync up with your garage door manufacturer so don't be concerned if you already have an installed unit that didn't come with a wireless keypad. You can find them at HomeDepot and other home improvement stores for around $30.