How to choose Garage Door Opener

A garage door opener is a costly investment that needs to be taken with a lot of research and a lot of knowledge. The worst thing you can do is to purchase the cheapest model out there. Will it meet your requirements, can it be used on your garage doors and will it last are just some of the questions you won’t get an answer to.

In order to help you choose the garage door opener that is perfect for your garage and your budget, we decided to write a buyer’s guide. Here you will find all the factors and elements you need to consider before making the purchase. By the time you read the entire buyers guide, you will be a professional and know precisely which model to choose and why.

how to choose garage door opener
how to choose garage door opener

Installing a new garage door opener or repairing the old unit?

The first question you should answer is to replace the old unit or to repair it. There are pros and cons of both options. Keep in mind that if your unit is designed before 1993 it lacks modern safety features and it should be replaced as soon as possible. Those garage door openers are not safe to use and burglars can use various methods to open the garage door and gain access to your property!

A broken garage door opener that is still covered by a warranty can and should be repaired by the provider. Basically, you will get a fully functional unit that will last for many years and you won’t have to pay a dime. In some cases, you can repair the unit all by yourself literally for $10 or even less.

To summarize all the things we mentioned until now. If you have a warranty for a garage door opener or the fix is affordable you should go for this option. If you have an old unit or the repair is expensive, make sure to invest in a new garage door opener. It will last much longer and it will be much safer.

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See our best garage door opener reviews click here.

Installing the unit by yourself or hiring a professional?

All homeowners need to make a clear difference when it comes to installation of a garage door opener. Some models are made to be installed as DIY projects and you will literally need a few hours. Others are made for professionals and they won’t be easy to install. This is especially related to Liftmaster garage door openers.

The best thing you can do is to purchase a suitable model for your skills and knowledge if you want to install it as a DIY project. Some models are extremely easy to install and you can do it even if you don’t have suitable skills.

{It is important to add that a few garage door opener manufacturers make units that are compatible with the older systems. This refers to the ability to swap the main components and get a fully functional system. Make sure that the old and new units are compatible before proceeding.

If you are hiring a professional, you need to add this price to the overall cost of the garage door opener. It will depend on the unit you want to install, the location and the overall complexity.

Noise a garage door opener makes

For those of you who have bedrooms above a garage or close, the noise level is the first and the most important factor to consider. Almost all units make some level of noise but the differences are massive. The main reason for that comes in the form of the electric motor and the drive system. More affordable garage door openers make more noise. High-end units almost don’t make any noise at all.

Those who need a quiet garage door opener, we recommend belt drive units. They are very quiet but slightly expensive. Chain drive models are the loudest but also the most affordable. Once again, if your bedroom is above a garage you need a belt drive system. This is the only acceptable alternative.

Power of a garage door opener

All garage door openers come with an electric motor that has specific power output. This translates into the ability to use that unit on heavier of lighter garage doors. Most of you will be perfectly happy with a unit with a power of ¾ HP. In addition, all power ratings are expressed in horsepower or HP.

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A heavier garage door will need more powerful electric motors, ranging up to 1HP. Lighter and smaller units need less power to operate so you can get all the benefits from the 1/5HP unit. Installing underpowered garage door opener on heavy doors isn’t an option and it won’t work or it will break down after a few days.

Smart features or quality?

Here we can see that new garage door openers come with impressive features that can transform the unit into a complicated and sophisticated device. Some of those features allow you to control the unit from any place in the world, to install optional extras and to help you park a car better.

All of those features are nice to have but they are not mandatory. We personally recommend you to get a garage door opener of a higher quality than to go for a unit with better features and lower quality. If budget isn’t an issue for you, then a high-quality model with smart features would be the best choice. Most homeowners will never or rarely use those smart features so they are not as needed as you may believe.

Size of the garage door

All garage door openers can be installed on garage doors with up to 7 feet size. If your door is bigger you will need an extension kit or another garage door opener. Here we can see another benefit of hiring a professional. He will use a rail with made from a single piece due to the fact it can transport it easily. Those rails are easier to install, last longer and they can be used on more complicated systems.

DIY garage door openers come with rails made from sections simply because a manufacturer has to pack it in a box and ship to you. The bottom line here is to always consider the size of your garage door when looking for a new opener. It is the most crucial factor you will have to consider.

Overall security

A new garage door opener must be safe and secure to use and to protect your garage at all times. The main feature you must have is rolling code technology. It uses a new code each time you open or close the door and it cannot be hacked. A fixed code technology can be hacked within seconds.

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Additional safety features we like and recommend are additional locks, security camera support, and notifications. What this means is that you will get a notification on your smartphone when the system is used. It is common on garage door openers that can be connected and operated via the internet.

The rolling code technology is a must and additional locks are highly recommended. A garage door opener without these features isn’t a secure choice and we won’t recommend it.

Level of safety

New garage door openers are controlled by the federal government.  A unit you will purchase must be approved and must meet their regulations. It is the safest choice and it means that the unit has been properly tested and it is approved to be used. Before choosing and purchasing a unit, we recommend you to check does it meets the federal government requirements.

What about battery backup?

A battery backup is precisely as the name suggests. You get a battery that will be installed to the system and it can be used to power the garage door opener for a specific period of time when there is no electricity. Homeowners who live in areas where power outages are common need this system. It is an affordable investment that can make a massive difference and allow you to use the garage door opener when no one other can. Those systems use DC motors and small batteries. The batteries will have to be replaced after 2-3 years.

The final word

The best garage door opener is the one that can be installed on your garage door (meets the requirements), it is safe to use and it will last for years. We hoped now you can tell which unit is right for you and which ones will be the safest and the most appealing choice.