What’s the best type of garage door opener for my garage door?

October 4, 2013

Installing a new garage door or upgrading from your current one can be an exciting venture.  It’s a way to jazz up the exterior appearance of a home while also improving a garage’s usability.  The fun part of the project is picking out the garage door from the numerous designs, colors, and decors available for purchase.  While picking out a garage door, many homeowners forget to consider one very important part – the garage door opener.


When deciding on the right garage door for a particular home, it’s important to keep in mind the type of drive the garage door opener will be running on.  Garage door openers have 3 different types of drives to choose from: chain, belt and screw.  Naturally, a homeowner would be curious about which kind of garage door opener is right for them.  Truthfully, all 3 kinds of garage opener drives work just fine.  It’s really up to a homeowner to determine which is the best fit for them.  A homeowner should take into consideration the price, noise, strength, and speed of their desired garage door opening system.


Chain Drive Opener


A metal chain is used in a chain drive opener.  Chain drive garage door openers are the most common type of opener found in garages around the U.S.  This is partly to do with their availability and easy access at home improvement stores and in hardware departments.  Aside from its availability, chain drive systems are also the least expensive of the 3 basic drive systems.  The downside is that they do make a little bit of racket and are the noisiest of the 3 drive types.  Chain systems involve moving gears, and create a metal on metal contact that results in clinking like sounds and vibrations when the garage is opened and closed.  For a home with a detached garage, the noise level may not be a deciding factor.  But, for those homes that may have a bedroom above the garage, it’s a noise that is not easy to ignore, especially late at night as family members come home.  Thankfully, there are now aftermarket products and add-ons that can help to reduce the vibrations and noise of a system if it’s too loud for the homeowner.


Belt Drive Opener


There are a lot of people who blow a big horn for the belt driven systems.  They tend to be a favorite on the market, seen by many as being the best available opener out there.  Belt drive opener systems use a rubber belt, instead of the links of chain in the chain driven system.  Many believe that these belts are just as reliable as the chain drives.  The big difference is the level of noise.  The belt drives are much quieter than the chain systems.  A belt driven system is generally going to be much quieter than a chain driven system because they use the quieter rubber belts to move along the rails that enable its operation. The downside is that belt drives tend to cost more than chain drives, so what you lack in noise, you may be making up for in price, but then again, it may be worth it to the right person.


Screw Drive Opener


I won’t even go into detail about the screw drive systems because they are not commonly used in and around Ohio because screw drive openers cannot withstand the drastic temperature changes of our climate.  They are used in more stable climates where the temperature stays in a constant range year round.  Screw drive systems have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance, but they are slower and noisier than belt drive systems.


Speed in General


Slow and steady wins the race, or so that’s what they say.  When it comes to garage doors sometimes it tends to be their only speed…..slow.  Garage door openers raise and close the garage door about 8 inches per second, on average.  The reason many garage doors close slowly is because they were designed to do so for safety reasons.  Obviously, a garage door falling too fast could cause injury to a person in its path.  But, the smoother a drive system operates, the faster it may operate.  Obviously, the chain systems will travel slower and less smoothly than the belt systems because of the bouncing and movement caused by the gears and chain links of that drive.


The Weight of the Door


Take into consideration the actual weight of the garage door that the opener will be used for moving.  Common garage doors are of a weight that any type of opener should have no problem handling them.  But, once customization of a door comes into play, it’s easy for a garage door to gain enough weight that not every opener will be able to efficiently operate.  For example, doors with more insulation, decorative wooden doors, and doors made to cover larger and wider areas will be heavier and will need a stronger drive system.  For the heavier doors, a chain drive system might be the best choice.  The links on a chain drive system are stronger and able to lift heavier doors better than a belt drive would be able to.  But, the belt drive systems should not automatically be disqualified when installing a heavier garage door.  For moderately sized garage doors, the rubber belt on a belt drive system has shown to be fairly reliable; after all, there are steel strands within the rubber belt for durability.

Still stumped?  Call the Professionals!

While a belt driven garage door opener will be more expensive than a chain drive, to some the benefits of less noise and smoother operation may be worth it.  It all just depends on what suits your homes needs and budget that determines what kind of garage door opener is right for you.  To speak to an expert to determine what kind of garage door opener system should be installed in your garage, call the professionals at Above & Beyond Door Systems today!

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