How to Choose an Opener for Your Garage Door

If you’re about to buy a new garage door, you’ve probably considered all the major factors. You’ve thought about cost, taken measurements for size, and have settled on the perfect style. One factor you may not have considered, however, is the garage door opener. As this controls how your new door opens and closes, it’s a key part of the buying and installation process. This brief guide to garage openers will make your choice a little bit simpler.

Types of Operation

There are several ways that your door opener can operate. Some openers use belt drives, whereby a belt moves along rails to open and close the door. Because there is no friction caused by direct metal contact, this drive is quiet, smooth, and easy to maintain. Screw drives are another option. With this operation style, a steel rod is threaded to open and close the door. Steel rod-style openers require more maintenance, as they need to be lubricated on the regular. For an economical option, you may want to look into chain drives. With these drives, a metal trolley is attached to a chain. The friction between the trolley and the chain can cause noise, but many people choose this option due to its relative affordability.


The horsepower of your garage door motor is also an important consideration. As horsepower increases, so does the motor’s ability to handle large weights. Necessary horsepower is determined by the weight of the door, which is in turn affected by size and material. If you have a large door made of thick steel, you’ll need to buy a motor with greater horsepower. Regardless of door weight, however, motors with high horsepower tend to last longer and work better, as it places less stress on the motor.

Extra Options

Any good door opener should come with a few standard emergency features. There should be a manual emergency release, which will allow you to operate the door at all times. You should also look for door opener sensors, which will prevent the door from closing when something is still in its vicinity. Other features include wireless keypads, battery backups, and vacation settings for your door opener.