There are lots of little gadgets around your home that you probably don’t give a second thought about — until something goes wrong. Then you really appreciate how much those gadgets improve your everyday life and add to the convenience and ease of even the simplest activities. Your garage door opener probably falls into this category. Every day, your opener works tirelessly to open and close your garage door for you with just the simple click of a button or switch. Then one day — nothing. The good news is, choosing the best garage door opener to replace your old one isn’t rocket science — but it does require a little research.
Chain vs. Screw vs. Belt Drives
Most garage door openers use one of three mechanisms: Chain drives, screw drives or belt drives. Chain-drive openers tend to be the least costly option, and they’re also among the most popular. In a chain-drive opener, a metal chain and sprocket work together to raise and lower your garage door. Chain drives can be a really good option for very heavy doors and wind-rated doors, as well as traditional one-piece wooden doors. However, as popular and dependable as they are, chain-drive options can also be noisy, which may be a consideration depending on where your garage is located.
Screw-drive openers use a metal rod that’s threaded like a screw. When you open or close your garage door, the screw lengthens or shortens to raise it or lower it. Screw drives use fewer moving parts than a chain-drive option, and they tend to be quieter. However, they also generally need more maintenance to ensure they operate smoothly. Typically, that means lubricating the screw and the teeth that “catch” the screw and hold it in place.
Belt-drive garage door openers are very quiet. These openers use a special belt-and-cog system to raise and lower the door. The belt itself is made of a durable, flexible material, cutting down on noise during operation. Belt-drive options might be a bit more costly, but the unit's smooth operation means many homeowners find the added expense worth the cost.
Think About Horsepower
Most garage door openers use ½ horsepower, and for standard doors, it’s generally plenty of power. However, depending on what drive you’re using and whether you have a heavy wooden door, a wind-rated door or a door with plenty of insulation, it might not be enough for routine operation. In those cases, a ¾-HP opener might make more sense. These larger motors are generally more durable and longer-lasting than ½-HP openers, but they’re also more costly.
Get a Pro’s Opinion
Not sure which opener to choose? No worries. Give our team a call and we can help you choose the best garage door opener for your needs, so you can get back to enjoying a garage door that works how and when you need it to.