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Published Aug. 23, 2021

The open-shut of a garage door opener signals the arrival and departure of family. However, if the device is loud or unreliable, those entrances and exits might be more irritating than happy. A new garage door opener should be on your to-buy list if your garage door gets stuck more often than not and wakes the neighbors every time it’s activated. 

The best garage door openers glide freely and operate quietly, so you don’t even know they’re there. From wall-mounted to smart garage door openers, the options keep growing. Today, it’s a matter of narrowing it down to a model that fits within your budget and includes features that make your life easier. Ultra-quiet or extra powerful, belt-drive, or chain-drive—they’re all out there and ready to do the heavy lifting. Check out the best garage door openers that made our list, and get key tips for picking the right model for your home. 

How do the best garage door openers work?

There are several types of garage door openers: chain-drive, belt-drive, screw-drive, direct-drive, and wall-mounted. Chain and belt drives come with a stationary motor that moves the chain or belt to open and close the door. Direct-drive garage door openers have a stationary chain with a motor that moves along the length of the chain to open the door. Screw-drive garage door openers have a threaded rod along with a trolley that moves and opens the door. Wall-mounted models are designed with a torsion bar and put the motor on the wall next to the garage door rather than on the ceiling.

Chain and screw-drive models work well for heavy doors, but they tend to be noisy. Belt and direct-drive models are quieter but are often more expensive. Wall-mounted garage door openers are quiet and take up less space, but they’re not as strong as the other types. 

A garage door opener shouldn’t hesitate to lift a standard-size garage door. Standard aluminum doors require a one-half horsepower residential door opener. One-piece and oversized garage doors need more power, three-quarters to one horsepower. (Commercial garage door openers can have up to one and a half horsepower, but that’s not usually needed for residential use.) 

Think about backup power, too. You’ll still need to get into (or out of) the garage during power outages. Models with a backup battery will take the heavy lifting out of your hands—literally—no matter the power status. 

Related: Find out why air compressors are the low-key, must-have tool for your garage.

What smart features are available in the best garage door opener?

Nowadays, nearly everything comes in a smart version, including garage door openers. WiFi-enabled garage door openers connect to an app that you can load onto your mobile devices. From there, you can remotely access the door’s controls and, with some apps, status. You can let in guests when you’re away from home or get notifications if the garage door opens unexpectedly. 

Many models can also link to smart hubs to interact with the rest of the smart devices in your home. With some models, that means voice control over the garage door, too. Some models include valuable add-ons that include speakers, parking assist modules, or carbon monoxide detectors. It all depends on the model and the extras offered by the manufacturer.

Best smart garage door opener: Genie StealthDrive Connect Model 7155-TKV

Voice Control and Backup

This Genie garage door is compatible with Amazon and Google’s virtual assistants and offers battery backup. Genie

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The Genie StealthDrive Connect Model 7155-TKV connects to a long list of smart home systems, including Alexa and Google Assistant. The app offers 3D-installation instructions for easy setup. The device also allows you to use voice control to open (or close) the garage door from anywhere. Beyond connectivity, this model’s quiet belt drive offers one- and-a-quarter horsepower, making it powerful enough for larger doors.

The best garage door opener keeps family sleeping and neighbors happy

A squeaky garage door can make fast enemies, and squeaks aren’t the only issue that crop up. Depending on the location of your garage, even a well-functioning garage door opener can disturb sleeping babies, guests, or family members if the garage is near a bedroom. 

Belt-drive and wall-mounted garage door openers offer quieter operation than chain and screw-drive models. If you go the belt-drive route, there are two motor options—DC and AC. Of the two, DC motors are a little quieter. Stay away from chain-drive models if noise is an issue. Even a well lubricated chain-drive model will be louder than a belt-drive or wall-mounted garage door opener.

Best quiet: Chamberlain B550 Smart Garage Door Opener

Smooth and Silent

A quiet belt drive designed for smooth performance keeps this garage door opener from waking the neighbors. CHAMBERLAIN

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The Chamberlain B550 Smart Garage Door Opener comes with one-half horsepower and a belt made with high-grade, rubber-like materials that dampen noise. It’s compatible with several popular smart home systems, offering remote control when you’re away from home. The app sends out push notifications to let you know if the garage door opens or if you left it open. There’s a myQ Guest feature that allows you to give three people access to your account and, therefore, the garage. Finally, this model comes with safety sensors, a wireless keypad, wall control, and two vehicle remotes. 

Unusual roof lines may need a wall-mounted garage door opener 

Wall-mounted garage door openers (also known as jackshaft or side-mount garage door openers) install on a wall on either side of the garage door. These models use a torsion bar to open and close the door. They’re commonly used in garages that have high or unusual roof and ceiling lines. You might also want to consider a wall mount if you have a large vehicle or use a carrier on top of your car. 

Wall-mounted models offer quiet operation, and they’re easy to access for maintenance. However, because of their location and how they operate, they’re not designed for heavy doors. They also need to be installed near an electrical outlet.

Best wall-mount garage door opener: LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series

Space Saver

The wall-mounted LiftMaster is compact, quiet, and easy to maintain. LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series

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The LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series garage door opener’s sleek design gets bonus points for the general strengths of all wall-mounted models. First, it’s compact and takes up less space than an overhead model. That makes it easy access for maintenance and updates. This model gets top marks because the design reduces vibrations and other noise. As a bonus, it’s smart, giving you remote access from anywhere.

What is the best garage door opener for large doors?

Variations in garage-door design may necessitate the use of a more powerful garage door opener. A couple of factors come into play when buying an opener for a heavy door. First, consider the opener’s horsepower. A standard aluminum garage door only needs an opener with one-half horsepower. Solid wood doors, however, may require three-quarters horsepower. You can find models with up to one and a half horsepower, but these are typically used in commercial settings rather than in residential areas. 

The other main factor is the drive type. Chain drives offer better durability and strength over belt-drive, wall-mounted, and direct-drive openers. The downside is that chains are noisy, but if you’ve got a big, heavy door, these models won’t give out under a big load.  

Best chain-drive garage door opener: Genie Chain Drive 7035-TKV

Heavy Duty Drive

This three-quarters horsepower model keeps the door running with a DC motor and automatic battery backup. Genie

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The Genie Chain Drive 7035-TKV powers the chain drive with a DC motor. While this model will be noisier than a belt-drive or wall-mounted model, that DC motor does make things quieter. The Genie Chain Drive 7035-TKV garage door opener has an automatic battery backup built in, so you don’t get stuck inside or outside when there’s no power. Included in the package are two pre-programmed remotes and a wall console with a vacation lock.

What’s the most budget friendly?

Budget-friendly garage door openers offer excellent power and sometimes a few extras like built-in lights and battery backups. There are a few smart garage door openers that fall under $200 that give you added remote options. The differences are typically in noise level and installation limitations. 
Most of the lower-priced garage door openers are chain-drive models. That inherently makes them louder, though the ones with a DC motor are quieter than those with an AC motor. Wall-mounted, direct-drive, screw-drive, and belt-drive models don’t typically fall in the affordable category. 

Best budget: beamUP Workhorse BU100

Affordable and Reliable

The beamUP has the three-quarters horsepower needed for larger doors and illuminates the garage with a built-in LED security light. beamUP

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The beamUP Workhorse BU100 lifts your garage door with a three-quarters horsepower DC motor. It offers a few high-end options despite its affordable price tag, including a built-in LED security light and smart capabilities. The beamUP can also connect with Alexa, Apple Watch, IFTTT, and HomeLink, giving you the ability to open, close, and check on the status of the garage door from any location with a connection.

FAQs

Q:

Which is better, belt or chain garage door opener?

Belt and chain garage door openers each have their pros and cons. Belt-drive garage door openers are quieter, but they’re typically more expensive. Chain-drive models can lift more weight, but they’re noisy. For some people, noise is a determining factor. In which case, a belt-drive would be better. Someone with a large garage door may need the strength and durability of a chain drive. 

Q:

How do I know if I need a new garage door opener?

It might be time for a new garage door opener if:

– It makes excessive noise that’s increasingly getting worse. 
– It’s slow to open and close. 
– It won’t open at all. 
– It periodically stops and then starts working again. 
– Old technology limits what you can do with the garage door opener.

Q: How long should a garage door opener last?

Most garage door openers last about 10-15 years. Of course, how often it’s used, regular maintenance, and the opener type make a difference in longevity. Some models may last well past 15 years, while others may exhaust before the 10-year mark. 

A final word when shopping for the best garage door opener

The best garage door opener should work so well that you forget it’s even there. When choosing a model, know how much horsepower you need. Power and durability may be at the top of your list if you have a solid wood garage door, or you may have a house design that requires a less obtrusive wall-mounted garage door opener. Then, look for a design that’s within your budget and has convenient features allowing you to enter and exit without needing to give much thought to the garage door at all.

Related: These are the best home security systems for keeping your family and property safe

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