You probably don't think about your garage door opener much. Not until it breaks, at least. Now that it has, you suddenly have a decision to make. There are several different types of garage door openers on the market and you have to choose one. Use this information to narrow your search and find the right opener for your needs.
Belt or Chain Driven
This is the most common type of garage door opener out there. It's nothing fancy but it gets the job done. Both types work essentially the same way, with a long line of material between the door and the opener. Lengthening and shortening that line is what pulls the door up and down. Chain drives unsurprisingly use a chain and belt drives use a long strip of rubber to achieve this result. The primary differences between the two will be volume and price. While still less expensive than other types of garage door openers, belt drives are more costly than the more popular chain openers, but they are quieter and cause less vibration.
If you are just looking for a basic garage door opener for your garage and aren't worried about noise, than a standard chain-driven model should be just fine. Belt-driven models are a much better choice when your house extends over the garage. That reduced noise will be important to whomever is using the room right above the garage.
A screw-driven garage door openers operate using a giant screw to open and close the door. This is done in the form of a long steel rod, twisted to give the motor something to grip onto. They are known for being quiet and fast, but because of the cost, aren't as popular as the chain and belt-driven variants.
If the ceiling in your garage is especially high, then a screw driven model might be a better choice than the more traditional opener types. This is because a chain or belt-driven model needs to be positioned parallel to the ground at a height specific to the height of the garage door. With an especially high ceiling, you will need to install quite a bit of infrastructure in an otherwise open space to position the opener correctly and add rails for the door. Instead, you can install a screw-driven opener on the wall above the door and have the door pulled straight up into that high ceiling.
Direct drive openers are actually just a variant on chain-driven openers but are often the quietest and some of the most reliable. The difference is the lack of moving parts except for the motor. As mentioned, a traditional opener shortens and lengthens a chain to raise and lower the door. With a direct drive opener, the chain is a permanent fixture and the opener moves along it, bring the door along for the ride. It's easy to see how a well-maintained system could be extremely quiet.
These openers are great anywhere you would install a traditional chain operated model, but you are interested in getting something that is quiet and efficient. The same arguments for a belt driven model apply, and you can often add the benefits of a longer warranty to that list.
Choosing a garage door opener isn't nearly as hard once you know what to look for. If you are still stuck, see if the tech who will be doing the installation can make a recommendation for you. They have first hand knowledge of what works well and what doesn't, and they can let you know if you are making the right decision before you make the purchase and realize that you bought the wrong type of opener.Share