It isn’t necessarily the part that most people think about first, but choosing the right garage door opener for you is important, and something you should do before progressing any further.
Each type of opener will perform the exact same job; that of opening and closing the garage door, but they each do it in different ways. There are the three basic types of door opener that for many years were the only options available. They are:
In more recent times two other types of garage door opener have become popular:
Each of these types has its pros and cons as you would expect. There is nothing wrong with the older, more traditional types – they are still very much in use today – it’s just that they have been superseded to some degree by more modern technology.
You should not therefore assume that the only sensible choice is either the newer residential jackshaft or direct drive type of door opener. While they may be the best choice for you, it’s equally possible that a chain, screw or belt drive model is a better choice for your particular situation.
1 – Chain drive
A chain drive garage door opener works in a similar way to a bicycle chain drive. The chain is looped around sturdy sprockets and that are driven by an electric motor. The system can also have a battery backup to allow the door to be operated in the event of a power outage.
One of the drawbacks with a chain drive opener is that they tend to be a bit noisy. However, the mechanism also tends to be very robust and strong, with a long-lasting appeal that will see it working continuously and flawlessly for many years. Chain drives are easily maintained and generally have a long useful life.
2 – Screw drive
A screw drive opener is usually a fair bit slower in operation that a chain drive opener. However, that disadvantage is easily made up for by the fact that screw drives tend to be very long lasting with a minimum of maintenance required.
Screw drives are also very quiet in operation, unlike the sometimes clunky chain drives. This is a very stable and dependable door opener that, while a bit sedate, should give many years of trouble-free use.
3 – Belt Drive
Belt drive door openers are well known for their quiet and efficient operation in use. They work in a similar way to a chain driven unit, except that instead of a chain and sprocket, there is a belt and pulley.
As long as the belt is checked regularly for flaws, and as long as it is kept at the proper tension, a belt drive opener will last a long time and be free from problems.
4 – Residential jackshaft
A residential jackshaft garage door opener is ideal for situations where a more traditional type of door opener cannot be used for reasons of height, or for whatever other reason. The mechanism works with a torsion bar, is easy to install and easy to maintain. They are quiet in operation and generally have a long working life.
5 – Direct drive
Direct drive garage door openers are probably the quietest of all in operation. Moving parts are limited, making the mechanism simple and therefore not so prone to possible problems. These drives, because of their very silent operation characteristics, are ideal for situations where a living space is immediately above the garage, especially if it is a bedroom.
In summary, the drive type you select will depend on your needs and priorities regarding cost, noise, maintenance and longevity.