Best Garage Door Opener – Buyers Guide

garage door opener
Written by Ken Coul

Whether you use your garage for a vehicle, or as an extra pad, it is a place that is basically open to the elements and designed to be easily accessible. That is why, garage door manufacturers developed over the decades, automated systems that are both easy to install and use, as well as secure and rugged enough to provide ample protection for your vehicles and contents.

Top-Rated Garage Door Opener List:

PhotoProduct nameFeatureProsView on Amazon
1. Chamberlain B510 Ultra-Quiet & Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener with MED Lifting Power1. Chamberlain B510This is the Chamberlain B510 Ultra-Quiet & Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener with MED Lifting Power

  • Home Bridge

  • Receive Alerts

  • Schedule to close

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2. Genie Excelerator II 1500 1 HP Direct Screw Drive DC Garage Door Opener2. Genie Excelerator II 1500 1 HP Direct Screw Drive DC Garage Door OpenerThis is the Genie Excelerator II 1500 1 HP Direct Screw Drive DC Garage Door Opener

  • SmartSet™ programming

  • Opening speed of 12”/sec

  • Auto Seek Dual Frequency

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3. Sommer Direct Drive 3/4 HP Garage Door Opener3. Sommer Direct Drive 3/4 HP Garage Door OpenerThis is the Sommer Direct Drive ¾ HP Garage Door Opener

  • Advanced traveling motor technology

  • Galvanized steel rails

  • Soft start and soft stop

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4. Chamberlain B730 Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener4. Chamberlain B730 Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage Door OpenerThis is the Chamberlain B730 Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

  • Advanced traveling motor technology

  • Galvanized steel rails

  • Soft start and soft stop

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5. Genie 550 1/2 HPc Belt Drive Garage Door Opener5. Genie 550 1/2 HPc Belt Drive Garage Door OpenerThis is the Genie 550 1/2 HPc Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

  • IntelliCode® Access Security System

  • GenieSense™ Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology

  • Safe-T-Beam® Non-Contact Reversing System

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6. LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series 8500 Jackshaft Operator6. LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series 8500 Jackshaft OperatorThis is the LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series 8500 Jackshaft Operator

  • Smartphone compatible

  • Recurring Scheduling

  • Home Bridge

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7. Craftsman ½ HP 954985 Chain Drive Garage Door Opener7. Craftsman ½ HP 954985 Chain Drive Garage Door OpenerThis is the Craftsman ½ HP #954985 Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

  • Smart Motion LCD wall control

  • Posi-Lock system

  • Safety reversing sensors

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8. Ryobi Garage Door Opener Module System Accessories8. Ryobi Garage Door Opener Module System AccessoriesThis is the Ryobi Garage Door Opener Module System Accessories for Ryobi GD200

  • without getting twisted around

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9. Chamberlain B970 Smartphone-Controlled Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener with Battery Backup9. Chamberlain B970 Door OpenerThis is the Chamberlain B970 Smartphone-Controlled Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage

  • LCD smart wall control panel

  • Wireless keypad

  • One ¼ HP equivalent DC motor

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10. Asante Garage Door Opener Camera Kit10. Asante Garage Door Opener Camera KitThis is the Asante Garage Door Opener Camera Kit

  • Unlimited cloud access with the free app

  • Night vision infrared (IR) lights

  • Wide Application

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Essentially, a garage door is another access route for more than just your vehicle, so you want to install a good, solid and reliable design. One that will be easy to open, and securely sealed when closed.

After checking out many online garage door opener reviews, and even testing in real life some of the best garage door openers, including everything from the most basic designs, through top rated garage door openers and even trying out one craftsman garage door opener, I finally was able to present you with my list of the best electric garage door openers on the market today.

Best Garage Door Opener Reviews:

 

1. Chamberlain B510 Ultra-Quiet & Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener with MED Lifting Power

Chamberlain happens to be one of the leading garage door brands and producers in the US, if not the world. This company provides excellent solutions to many other brand names and has its own line. The

B510 is one of its proprietary lines and is a home bridge version, which essentially means its IoT. Now, we all know how great an IoT device can be, especially if it does connect flawlessly. The B510 is controlled via three options; these are MyQ Home Bridge, Internet Gateway, or Siri® voice control.

You can program this device to send you alerts every time the garage door is opened and closed, and you can set schedules for the doors to close automatically as well as control the lights.

One of the best features is the security sensor that will stop operations when an obstacle is sensed under the doors closing area. The other security-safety feature is an electronic anti-tampering device that will stop any forced opening from occurring.

This device uses AC and has a ½ HP engine which lifts the aluminum doors effortlessly, and the drive belt system is silent, so you don’t get too much noise when operating the device.

This device does not come with the IoT systems; you need to download those in order to activate them.

Specifications

  • Drive Type: Belt
  • Motor Power: 1/2 HP
  • Power Source: AC
  • Battery Backup No

 

 

2. Genie Excelerator II 1500 1 HP Direct Screw Drive DC Garage Door Opener

Genie is an excellent product, but did you know it was built by Chamberlain, well now you do. This is an exceptional model, and the Excelerator II is aptly named. This device comes with a 140V DC power source, so its power is not rated in HP, however, when estimating its equivalent, it would be rated at 1 HP.

The speed of this device is exceptionally fast, and it opens at a rate of 1 foot per second, so the door will open in just around 12 seconds, depending on the absolute height of the doorway.

This model is operated using the Genie SmartSet™ programming platform, and it automatically

seek 315 or 390 MHz frequencies when emitted by a remote.

The GenieSense™ Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology is the integrated safety system that monitors the doors operations, and it comes with their Safe-T-Beam® Non-Contact Reversing System that will stop operations when an obstacle passes the security beams.

The security features include the IntelliCode® Access Security System which is an encryption method that prevents piracy of the radio signal through fast signal seeking.

This device can be operated by any smartphone, it’s an IoT, and is Aladdin Connect™,  HomeLink®, and Car2U® Compatible.

Specifications

  • Power: 1 HP equivalent motor
  • Opening speed: Up to 12.0 in/sec
  • Lighting 2 light bulbs (not included)

 

 

3. Sommer Direct Drive 3/4 HP Garage Door Opener

The Sommer Direct Drive ¾ HP equivalent, Garage Door Opener Model 1042V001 is a direct drive system, which works with a DC power source. This is a steel rail and stationery chain model that is ergonomically designed for minimum moving parts, reducing wear and maintenance. This device only has one moving part, a motor that glides along the chain embedded in the steel rail.

This model claims it can operate 8 feet tall doors with weight as high as 550 pounds and for 80,000 cycles. With this pedigree, we expect amazing lifetime experiences from this device.

This unit comes with a wall console, safety beams and a remote, and integrates with Homelink.

The advanced traveling motor technology has been tested and proven and is confirmed to work for 80,000 cycles, the DC motor provides up to 70 door movements per hour and delivers a soft start and soft stop silent operation.

The back jump feature removes system tension after the door closes, and the galvanized steel rails are reinforced in the middle providing extra load-bearing integrity.

The Sommer Synoris safety feature is an integrated photosensor activated obstacle safety device which immediately reverses the direction when an obstruction is sensed.

This is a quiet model and is nearly vibration free.

Specifications

  • Drive System: Direct
  • IoT: Homelink Compatible
  • Horsepower: 75
  • Maximum Bulb Wattage: 40
  • Number of Bulbs Required: 2
  • Rail Length: 84-in

 

 

4. Chamberlain B730 Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

This is the Chamberlain B730 model and is one of their leading models.If you think the B510 was a great model, then just know that this beats the B510 hands down in every aspect, so if your budget is available, I will invest in this model.

The B730 has all the features of the B510 and more and is also controlled via three options; these are MyQ Home Bridge, Internet Gateway, or Siri® voice control.

You will need to download the IoT software to activate it, but once you do you can program this device to send you alerts every time the garage door is opened and closed, and you can set schedules for the doors to close automatically as well as control the lights.

This door comes with the same high-quality security sensor that will stop operations when an obstacle is sensed under the doors closing area. The other security-safety feature is an electronic anti-tampering device that will stop any forced opening from occurring.

This device uses AC and has a ¾ HP engine that manages the aluminum doors effortlessly. With the silent drive belt system, you get a silent operation.

This model comes with a battery backup, which saves a lot of hassle when there are power shortages.

Specifications

  • Drive Type Belt
  • Motor Power ¾ HP
  • Power Supply AC
  • Battery Backup Yes
  • Lights Turn on Yes
  • Soft Start / Stop Yes
  • Timer to Close Yes

 

 

5. Genie 550 1/2 HPc Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

The Genie 550 is a ½ HP equivalent DC powered garage door. This model provides a lightweight option for handling 7 ft’ doors that weigh up to 500 Lbs.

Since it’s a Genie, it comes with their GenieSense™ Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology which is a program for monitoring the device during operation. It integrates with their Safe-T-Beam® Non-Contact Reversing System that monitors for obstacles and stops the operation.

The system is a drive belt, which is extremely quiet and comes pre-programmed for fast and effortless operation.

This model is compatible with Aladdin Connect™ as a stand-alone, and will also work with the IRIS® Home Automation System. It is also HomeLink® and Car2U® Compatible.

The security measures include their IntelliCode® Access Security System that blocks combination transmissions from securing the doors access code.

Specifications

  • Power: ½ HP equivalent
  • Power Source: DC

 

 

6. LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series 8500 Jackshaft Operator

The LiftMaster 8500C model is a DC powered jackshaft garage door that is fabricated by Chamberlain. This is the extra-large garage door that will give you extreme height capabilities.

This model comes with a 200W light for extra brightness, and you can attach the optional EverCharge® Standby Power System is a backup battery pack.

The 8500C is a home connectivity device (IoT) and will link to your smartphone using MyQ® Internet Gateway or the MyQ® Home Bridge.

This model provides programmable door closing scheduling with light control features.

This is a wall mount design, so no matter the height, you can reclaim any lost celling space with this model. It also comes with an obstacle safety sensor that prevents closing.

Specifications

  • Drive system: Jackshaft type
  • Power: DC
  • Voltage / Phase: 115V, 60 Hz
  • Remote Lighting System: 1 light with adjustable light time delay
  • Sectional Door Dimensions: Up to 14 feet (4.3 m) high or 180 square feet (16.7 m2),
  • Load bearing: 650 lbs., (295 kg).

 

 

7. Craftsman ½ HP #954985 Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

The Craftsman ½ HP Chain Drive Garage Door is another Chamberlain model, and this one is a 1/2HP AC powered device that comes with their Smart Motion LCD wall control that provides much functionality, including time display, system diagnostics, temperature and has a motion sensor that turns on the garage lights automatically.

This model comes with their Safety reversing sensors that will automatically reverse the door when anything interrupts the sensor beam during closing.

The security features include a Posi-Lock system that securely locks the down when closed, and comes with a wireless and keyless entry pad.

Since this is a chain driven garage door opening unit, be prepared for some noise, the upside is that it is budget friendly. Also, remember to maintain the chain, and keep the moving parts oiled and greased, especially during the wet and cold seasons.

Specifications

  • Opener Type Chain Drive
  • Power ½ HP
  • Power Source AC
  • Illuminated Wall Control: Yes
  • Lights: Yes
  • Manual Release Handle: Yes
  • Safety Sensor: Yes
  • Wall Control Panel: Yes

 

 

8. Ryobi Garage Door Opener Module System Accessories

This is a kit of four accessories made by Ryobi that will accessorize your Ryobi GD200 garage door to provide you with additional excellent performance. These accessories include:

  • Garage Bluetooth® Speaker #GDM120

This accessory will deliver you a clear, crisp audio streaming from any smartphone device from up to 30 ft. Away, and will give you a hands-free calling experience when situated in the garage.

  • Garage Laser Park Assist #GDM222

This accessory activates when the door opens, and it uses two class two lasers to help guide your parking for the right distance from the wall or other obstacles in your garage. This is an exceptional accessory that will save you a lot of hassle when there are more than one driver parking cars in your garage.

  • Garage Fan #GDM421

This is a cute feature, it’s very helpful on hot days, and it installs on the base of the unit, using a dual-pivot point, you can get the fan to cool down the garage.

  • Garage 16GA 30 FT. retractable cord reel #GDM330

This is an excellent accessory for when you need an extension cord without it getting twisted around your cars tires or other floor obstacles. This accessory is a 30 ft 3 outlet extension cord that hangs overhead from the door opener and provides you with a clutter free option for tooling and other power requirements.
 

 

9. Chamberlain B970 Smartphone-Controlled Ultra-Quiet and Strong Belt Drive Garage Door Opener with Battery Backup

This is the Chamberlain B970, and is the top of their line belt drive garage door opener and comes with all the features you would expect from the top of their line model.

This is a MyQ® smartphone-controlled system that connects via WIFI to all and any smartphones, pads and other devices that connect with IoT devices.

The powerful DC engine delivers a 1.25 HP equivalent, and there is an integrated battery back up pack. The wall panel delivers system diagnostics and shows the time and temperature, and there is a keyless keypad.

This is a very quiet system, and while you need to purchase and download the connectivity software, this is an exceptional garage door motor. Since this is a belt system, you don’t have much maintenance to perform, but its always good to check the integrity of the belt between seasons, and make sure that the motor is maintained for very cold weather conditions.

Specifications

  • Drive Type  Belt
  • Motor Power 1 ¼ HP equivalent
  • Power DC
  • Battery Backup Yes
  • Lights Turn Yes
  • Smartphone Control Yes
  • Soft Start / Stop Yes
  • Timer to Close Yes

 

 

10. Asante Garage Door Opener Camera Kit

The Asante Garage Door Opener with Camera is a retrofit kit that attaches to an already installed motor unit and will integrate seamlessly with LiftMaster, Genie, Craftsman, Chamberlain and Skylink models.

This is an IoT camera unit that gives you more than just control over the garage door; it also lets you see what is going on inside the garage.

Since it’s an internet camera unit, you can watch the live streaming video at any time from the comfort of your smartphone. The system will also send you emails and text alerts when the system has been activated by the door or from a security sensor interrupt.

This model has a broad range and will link to a WIFI with a 5,000 ft3 range. You only need one Assante extender unit, and you can connect multiple cameras, giving you views from any location.

This is an iOS and Android compatible unit and works through the cloud. It also has night vision infrared (IR) lights that you control manually.

Bottom line, this is a great accessory to add to any door opener.

Specifications

  • Camera Resolution 640×480
  • App Requirements Android 4.0 and above or Apple iOS 6.0+ and above
  • Wireless Connectivity 10/100Base-TX Fast Ethernet
  • Wired Connectivity 10/100Base-TX Fast Ethernet
  • Network Protocol IPV4, DHCP Client
  • Power Consumption 5 Volts DC, 2.0 Amps
  • Dimensions 33″ X 4.33″ X 1.18″

 

 
 

Garage Door Opener Guide 101

Its time to understand the difference between the garage door opener types, and there are four of them to understand. These four all operate similarly; the difference is in the mechanical design. The engineering mechanics of a garage door requires a motor to drive a trolley or carriage along a rail. The garage door is connected to the trolley/carriage which moves when the trolley moves, The main difference between the types is how the motor moves the trolley/carriage.

A chain-drive garage door opens the door by using a chain to drive the trolley. These devices are economical and usually the cheapest to buy, but are also the loudest with the most vibrations, which is obvious to the design when using a chain. These might be great for commercial use, but at home, when you want quiet, these models can be quite annoying, especially when operated at unusual hours.

A belt-drive garage door uses a belt instead of a chain; the operation is identical. However, the main difference is in noise and vibration. Belt systems are quieter and produce less vibration during operation. These are great economic devices for residential use. They also have less moving parts. Also, they tend to be more maintenance free than a chain system

A screw-drive garage door uses a threaded steel rod that rotates and drives the trolley along the track as it turns. These are much quieter than both the belt and chain systems and are also simpler in design. They have fewer moving parts and therefore are less maintenance intensive.

A direct-drive garage door opener is considered to be the quietest of all designs, and some claim las also the most powerful. These are motors that are attached to the rails, and they move like a truck, on wheels, operating the doors directly. This is the least moving part mechanism, where the only moving part is the motor wheels in the rail, as such they are virtually vibration free and extremely quiet.

All about the Power

There are two power sources, AC and DC, essentially DC is quieter and more compact than AC, and both connect to a standard wall outlet. The big difference is in power gauging, where AC can be converted into HP, while DC can only be converted into what is termed HP equivalent.

Now, when talking horsepower (HP), most models range between ½” HP to 1 ½” HP, anything under is too weak, and anything over is for commercial sized doors. In most cases ½ HP is enough for most applications, however, if you want that extra security in power, go for a 1 HP device. Take heed that the more powerful the motor, the less wear and tear on the system, and if you maintain the engine parts, oiling and greasing chains and wheels, you will have a very quiet and long-lasting system.

Garage Door KPI’s

There are seven key performance indicators for garage doors, and these are:

  1. Noise. If you live in a quiet area or live above the garage, you don’t want a loud device. So, do not buy a chain model, the three other types are great, and then it boils down to budget.
  2. Dual-Frequency Remote-control. It’s not about whether you have a remote control or not; it’s about how efficient your remote control will work in an urban setting. If you live in a densely populated area, where there are many garage doors, and many IoT’s, you will have a lot of RF interference, and this means you need to have a “dual frequency” system. Dual frequency systems will reduce the noise interference and reduced the number of false starts.
  3. Rolling-code security technology. In the age of IoT, where hacking and cracking is as popular as Ma Big Mac, you need to have a security system that integrates an RCS technology. This technology basically changes your garage door code after every use and selects a code from billions of possibilities. This is a great device to thwart burglars, as well as stop other devices interfering with your system, and opening the door by mistake (on purpose)
  4. A keypad or touchpad. This is a not a must, but it’s an additional security feature that to have whenever you misplace or forget your remote or smartphone.
  5. Battery backup. I am a great fan for battery backups, especially when power outages occur when you never want them, but then whoever wants a power outage. I suggest you buy a model that has a battery backup, its worth the extra money, and will always be there for you.
  6. Overhead lights. These are standard features in all the best models, so if your model does not have lights, don’t buy it. While the lighting system can be options, most models might not give lights, but have a light housing ready for use; I suggest you always include these in your mode of operation. Nothing beats a lit-up garage at night.
  7. Internet connectivity. The age of the IoT is on us, and every day brings hundreds of new applications and designs into the market. There is no point in buying a “dumb” garage door when you can now connect a smart one to your cell phone, along with your coffee maker, indoor lighting, and soon to be a driverless Just imagine having a driverless car with a manual garage door, sorry, that just doesn’t work.

Materials and Construction

Garage doors, just like anything else, can be cheapo models that are designed to blow away with the first wind in Autumn, or they can be nuclear bunker doors aimed to withstand an alien invasion during a meteor strike, and a solar flare all at the same time. Most garage doors will be made of lightweight, uninsulated aluminum, while other more expensive and more attractive to some will be made of heavy glass, wood, and steel construction. Make sure you match the power of your device to the weight of the door.

Dimensions

Doors come in all sizes, and so you need to consider width and height as factors in weight bearing and construction integrity. The larger the door, the more powerful a motor, add to this the materials, and you start to get the picture. In general, most garage doors are 7 feet high, and these doors will weigh around 500- 600 Lbs., for the aluminum version.

Safety is a Must

Do not buy a garage door system that doesn’t have safety features. This means that your 600 Lbs., the door will not come crashing down on your two-year-old child. Yes, it important to be graphic about this issue. Always make sure your garage door model comes with at least two security features, the first is an automatic stop or reverse based on the pressure after closing has commenced, this means that the system will stop when it feels resistance. The second and the more important feature is a proximity sensor, which detects any obstacles that come in contact with the sensors beams. This automatically stops the door from closing, and in some versions initiates an immediate reverse.

 Installation

Garage door openers are not hard to install, once you have a garage door in place, connecting the new device is simple, just follow the instructions, and you will be able to set up any garage door systems electro-mechanical components within four hours. I state electro-mechanical since I cannot state how long it will take you to set up and sync any IoT software. However, the garage door opener will be installed and ready for use in conventional methods within 4 hours for most models.

Just for your convenience, never start a construction/installation project without all the tools, and make sure you have a clean and dry surface to work on. If its winter, and its wet, make sure there are no open electrical sources that can be dangerous.

If you are not comfortable in installing the device by yourself, then get a professional and don’t skimp on this, the last thing you need is a great garage door opener installed incorrectly, and then all your money is lost on the first operation.

Homelink

I am not a proponent of one system over another, if it works, use it. Homelink is by far the most popular car dashboard to garage door communications device. Whether you need it when you have a smartphone operating device or not is up to you.

Seasonal Maintenance

I am a firm believer in preventative maintenance; this means that you need to care for your moving parts properly. All connections, areas that move and are connecting two parts of a whole need to be watched for wear and tear, as well as for corrosive damage. The cold season brings a plethora of problems, and extreme cold is unforgiving on some substances. Also, salting snow will increase corrosion in many parts, so before the winter, grease, oil and prepare your motor for the season. Summer also has its issues, and if you live in a dry, dusty area, or where there is a lot of construction, you need to protect your devices from dust, which causes friction and can wear gears and tear chains over time. Also, here, wash with solvents and then oil and grease chains and moving parts.

Direct motor drives need their wheelbases maintained, this is the only moving part that is external, and you don’t want the wheels or cogs to be damaged.

FAQ

How much horsepower do I need for a double garage door?

It depends on the engine you use. If you use an AC engine, then you will need anywhere from ¾ HP to 1 ¼ HP. For DC motors, you do not measure in HP but need to estimate the equivalent pull. Essentially you need ½ HP for a standard sized garage door, and if you can afford it buy something with more power, so you have fewer maintenance issues.

Are Craftsman garage door openers made by Chamberlain?

Yes, Craftsman is made by Chamberlain, so too is the Overhead Door Co, Liftmaster, and Genie. Which attests to the exemplary level of confidence and professionalism that Chamberlain provides in its brand products.

How long do automatic garage door openers last?

Generally, garage doors will last between 10 – 15 years. Good maintenance will provide a longer life, and if you are prepared to replace parts, then they can last even longer. Although, with the speed of technological progression (IoT, materials), you might end up changing the door with a more efficient and secure one after ten years.