*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.
A garage is defined as a place where cars are parked and they can be partially open or enclosed.
However, your garage can serve as both parking for your car and extra storage room for your property. If your garage is enclosed, this means you’ll be using the door a lot.
Having to pull up the door to open it, or bring it down to close can be difficult, a waste of time, and physically taxing.
A garage door opener is an electric device installed on your garage door that makes it easier for you to open or close by simply pressing a button or using a remote. Garage door openers are a necessity in homes or general buildings.
They consist of a motor that helps in moving the trolley which is connected to the door. Activating the trolley causes the garage door to move upwards or downwards, to either open or close it.
Can a garage door opener be too powerful?
The only danger of using a very powerful opener on your door is that the door may get stuck due to the speed with which it opens.
A high HP opener on a low-weighted door will make the door open slightly faster than normal, but the difference is not too significant.
In the rest of this article, we will discuss the types of openers, power ratings and size of garage door openers, and some common features available with openers.
Types of Garage Door Openers
The types of garage door openers are based on the mechanism that is moving the door, causing it to open and close. The mechanism could be a chain, belt, etc. Listed below are several types of garage door openers.
1. Chain-driven Opener.
As the name implies, this door opener uses a metal chain to link the motor and trolley. These metal chains are responsible for raising and lowering the doors.
It is popular in many homes largely due to its low price, and its ability to open heavy doors.
If you are on a tight budget, you might consider getting the chain-driven opener.
Like every device that makes use of chains, the chain-driven opener is very noisy. If you are someone who is very sensitive to noise, it may be unbearable for you every time the garage door is opened.
Because of the metal chains, these openers require constant oiling to reduce the level of friction. Chain-driven openers are best used in houses with a detached garage so the sound is less intrusive and disturbing.
2. Belt-driven Opener.
A belt-driven opener is a garage door opener that makes use of a rubber belt to control the opening and closing of the garage door. The rubber belt connects the motor and the trolley.
The motions of movement are smoother and quieter because of the rubber, unlike when metal chains are used. The rubber also reduces the number of vibrations on the door when compared to the chain-driven garage door opener.
Another positive thing about the belt-driven opener is that it requires less maintenance than chain-driven opener due to there being less moving parts involved.
Belt-driven openers are great for all types of houses, and are preferable in houses where the garage is attached to a bedroom or living room.
3. Screw-driven Opener.
This opener makes use of a threaded steel rod that causes the trolley to move in different directions. As the rod rotates, the trolley lifts up or lowers down.
They also require lower maintenance as fewer moving parts are involved in the process of opening and closing the garage door. Like the belt-driven openers, the screw-driven openers are recommended for garages attached to the house and in proximity to bedrooms and living areas.
4. Direct-drive Opener
This is the easiest opener to use for a garage door.
It simply consists of a motor that aids the opening and closing of the garage door by moving the trolley itself. It does not require screws, belts, or chains in its operation process.
It also works in a very quiet and smooth fashion and doesn’t require much maintenance. It is an ideal opener for any and all property types.
5. Jackshaft Openers
This type of opener is made for modern garage doors. They are mounted on the torsion bar at the side of the garage door and they raise or lower the garage door.
They are suitable for all types of garage doors and are very expensive to acquire.
The Power of Garage Door Openers
The force that is responsible for the opening and closing (the up and down movement) of the garage door is known as horsepower or HP. There are various types of horsepower, and the size and weight of a garage door determine the type of horsepower to be used.
⅓ HP – These are used for very low-weighted garage doors. They are relatively cheap to purchase but are not recommended for wooden doors because wooden doors absorb moisture. They are used for single-car garage doors that do not require much power
½ HP – They can be used to lift both single and double-sized garage doors. This strength is a good choice if your garage door is between 8 and 12 feet wide. They provide adequate power for homes with multiple cars.
¾ HP – These garage door openers may be used to lift heavier doors. They are very stable and also durable, but they are on the expensive side.
They are a great fit for wooden doors that absorb moisture during humid weather and become heavier. They work well for garage doors that are around 14 feet wide.
- 1 HP – This is the recommended option if your garage door is large and very wide. They are also a good choice for high-tech garage door openers.
Sizes of Garage Door Openers
When it comes to the sizes of garage door openers, there is no one-size-fits-all. There are also no generalized sizes. The size of your opener depends on
- The size of your garage door
- The location of your garage door. Is it detached from your home or built onto or under it?
- The mechanism of opening the door.
Other Features of Garage Doors Openers
During the installation of your garage door opener, you have the option of adding other features to it. These features are a personal preference, and not a necessity, as your door opener will still function optimally without them.
Manual Release – This is a feature that gives you the option of turning off the electrical control on your garage door. It comes in handy when you need to open your door to only a certain height and not necessarily all the way.
The manual release gives you the option of raising or lowering your garage door manually to any level of your choice.
Remote Control – This is a very convenient way of controlling your garage door. The default controlling method of your garage door is via passcode-controlled buttons or keypads mounted on the wall.
A remote control gives you the ease of opening or closing your garage door at your convenience. You do not have to get out of the car to open the door, you can also close it without having to be in the garage.
Auto-close Feature – This is a feature that allows you to pre-set a time after which your garage door will close itself, whether or not you are there. It can be programmed for 30 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours, or whatever time you decide after you leave it open.
The next two items are more advanced features of garage door openers.
Motion detectors – This feature prevents the garage door from totally closing when it detects an object underneath it.
The motion detector basically scans the ground when the door is raised, to detect the presence of any larger object or person. If the sensor detects the presence of anything, it stops the garage door from closing.
This is a very important safety measure for homes with kids and pets, where they might play or try to rush through under a closed garage door.
Security Lights – Garage doors can be installed with security lights that come on once the garage door is opened.
This helps to light up your environment especially during the dark. It makes it easy to see when you are driving in or out of the garage.
One great feature of the security light is the ability to turn off after some minutes of inactivity, thereby conserving electricity.
A garage door opener is a necessity of convenience in the home.
The type of opener you should get depends on a few things such as your budget and the type of drive material used. If you are on a tight budget and don’t mind the noise every time your garage door opens, you should consider getting a chain-driven opener.
The horsepower of your garage door opener should be proportional to the weight of the door. The heavier the door, the higher the horsepower.