Buying a garage door openerChoosing the right garage door opener can be a daunting task.

As technology improves, the number of options you have to choose from increases significantly.

Still, the truth of the matter is that these options can be narrowed down into a few basic concepts, and an understanding of these concepts will enable you to choose the garage door opener that is right for you.

This article will present the most important concepts to consider when making your decision, and will hopefully make the buying process as painless and as enjoyable as possible.

First things first

When shopping for a garage door opener, the most important thing isn’t the information you find; rather it is the information you bring.

In order to be able to make some of the most basic decisions, you must know the nature of your garage door.

If you have a small garage door, then larger, more powerful openers won’t be necessary.

Alternatively, if you have a large, single door, then you will require one of the more powerful units available.

The size and style of your garage door will make a world of difference in deciding the right garage door opener to buy.

Drive types

One of the first things you will notice when shopping around for a garage door opener is that they are not all the same.

Some will be described as a chain-drive unit, while others will be referred to as screw-drive or belt-drive.

Here is a breakdown of the drive types and what they mean to you:

  • Chain-drive: The chain-drive is the traditional style of garage door opener. It uses a chain to lift and lower the garage door in the very mechanical, clunky manner we are all accustomed to. These units are long lasting, although they are the noisiest of the drive options. While they can be the most economical to purchase, they can also be the most challenging to self-install.
  • Screw-drive: The screw drive system is a newer technology, using fewer moving parts, which significantly reduces the noise of the unit. They cost a little more than chain-drive units, but they are easier to self-install and need very little maintenance.
  • Belt-drive: Belt-drive units are usually the top end model type of garage door openers. They operate like a chain-drive, but a rubber belt eliminates the noisy chain that requires regular maintenance. Installation is virtually identical to chain-drive units.

Motor types

The power of a unit can vary between ½ horsepower to ¾ horsepower.

This is where knowing your information is critical.

If you have a small, single garage door, then a lower power is sufficient.

If you have a large, heavy door – such as a single door for a 2-car garage, then you require a higher power unit.

Additional features

The drive type and power are the most basic and potentially important decisions to make.

The only decisions left are choosing among the additional features.

Some features are standard, such as remote controls, but other features are optional.

Some things to consider are:

  • Security: Some models offer increase security in alarm codes and remote control technology. Is this something you need?
  • Convenience: Some units offer a keypad for the outside of your house, enabling you to open your garage door by entering a code. Will you make use of this often enough to justify the cost?
  • Environmental conditions: Battery backup is offered in some units, ensuring usability even when the power is down. Are power failures regular enough to require this extra feature?


With the knowledge of the garage door you have at home, along with the knowledge of what to consider when choosing a garage door opener, you will now be able to decide which door opener is right for you with greater ease and confidence.

Making the right choice can bring added security, convenience and peace of mind to your home.