Although it may seem like choosing a garage door opener would be pretty straightforward, there are actually several factors you should keep in mind to make sure you’ve chosen the right garage door opener for you and your home. Not taking into consideration factors such as the operational noise, the safety and security of the mechanism, as well as the power, could result in you getting stuck with a garage door opener you dread using every day.
One of the most important things you can consider when purchasing a new garage door opener is its power. If your new garage door opener can’t lift your garage door, you’ve just blown the entire purchase. However, as long as your garage door is of the standard residential variety, the 1/2-HP (horsepower) motor provided in most garage door openers should be sufficient.
Something you may not have thought about is just how noisy a garage door can be when opening. If your garage is next to living areas or bedrooms, noise can become a particularly important factor to consider. Keep your eyes peeled for solidly constructed, quiet, and dependable garage door openers.
But if the garage door opener doesn’t advertise its quietness, how can you determine whether you’re getting a noisy one or not? This is where the type of drive operating the garage door opener comes into play. Inspect what type of drive or operating mechanism is used to open the garage door. There are four to consider: direct drives, chain drives, belt drives, and screw drives.
Direct drives are actually relatively new to the USA, but Europeans have had access to them for over 30 years. A direct drive operates by virtue of a moving motor that drives itself along a stationary chain. According to consumer reviews, the direct drives may, in fact, be quieter than belt drives, making them the quietest available. Not only that, but direct drives actually have the smallest number of moving parts, relative to the other products available. That makes them reliable and easy to maintain. Because of the low number of moving parts, consisting mainly of the motor, chain, circuit board, and rail, self-drive openers are often offered with a lifetime warranty.
Chain drives are probably the noisiest out of the bunch. Similar to a bicycle chain, chain drives use a metal chain to open and close the garage door. The benefit of the chain drive is its low cost, often being less expensive than the screw drive or belt openers. Despite their volume, and probably due to its low-cost, chain drives are the most frequently purchased garage door opener. Another downside to the chain drive is its maintenance requirements. As chains grow loose over time, maintenance or outright replacement becomes necessary.
Belt drives are similar to a car’s fan belt, using a sturdy rubber-like belt to open and close the garage door. Belt drives are a quieter choice, though not as quiet as the direct drive. Due to the quality of the material, often made from steel-belted tired, these belt drives require almost no maintenance and come with a lifetime warranty. It is possible for the belt to wear out, however, at which point it would need to be replaced.
Screw drives are perhaps the most middle-of-the-road choice you can get. Not the quietest, and not the noisiest, being quieter than chain drives, but louder than belt drives. There aren’t many moving parts, and maintenance or repair isn’t often required as a result. Constructed from a long, sturdy metal rod threaded like a screw to open and close the garage door, the screw drive is functional without being exceptional.