Understanding Garage Door Openers

Understanding Garage Door Openers

Choosing a garage door can be quite the process. With so many attractive styles and resilient materials available, your options are endless. You also have a variety of options to choose from when selecting a garage door opener. There are advantages and drawbacks to different types of garage door openers, which is why you should familiarize yourself with these machines.

At EXL Garage Doors, we believe that the more our customers understand about garage door openers, the better prepared they’ll be to select the type that works best for their needs. We’ve created this garage door opener buyers guide to identify the benefits and disadvantages of different types of garage door openers. Let’s take a look at chain drive, belt drive, screw drive and jackshaft garage door opener options.

Why Replace Your Garage Door Opener

Like other major components in the home, you hope that your garage door opener lasts for years without issue. Even if you’ve had to repair it once or twice over its lifespan, that’s still better than having to replace the entire system prematurely. However, there are a few main reasons why you should consider replacing your garage door opener — especially if you’ve had the same opener for quite some time. Here are three common reasons why homeowners replace their garage door openers.

  1. It’s too noisy. Although these noises might have nothing to do with a faulty system, some older garage door openers can generate a lot of noise as they open and close. New models of chain drive garage door openers, as well as other openers that don’t use chains, offer reliable access to your garage without such loud operating noises.
  2. It’s starting to malfunction. Does it seem like your garage door opener isn’t working as efficiently or safely as it originally did? Every machine begins to wear down over time, especially if it’s not cared for properly throughout its lifespan. If you’ve noticed that your garage door opener may be nearing the end of its life-cycle or if you’ve had to get it repaired more than once or twice, investing in a new garage door opener might be a wise decision.
  3. You’re in need of a new garage door system. How old is your current garage door and opener? If your existing garage system shows signs of wear and tear from old age, replacing it with a new system will upgrade your curb appeal and increase your safety.

Chain Drive Garage Door Openers

Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

Most people — regardless of their familiarity with different types of garage door openers — have seen or used a chain drive garage door opener. These are one of the most common types of garage door openers. As the name implies, chain drive garage door openers use a chain that looks like a standard bicycle chain. This chain moves a carriage and J-arm that makes the garage door roll up and down.

Advantages of Chain Drive Garage Door Openers

One advantage of a chain drive garage door opener is that many models are relatively inexpensive. A garage door system is a significant investment for most homeowners. It’s not uncommon for people to choose an affordable yet reliable garage door opening system like the chain drive.

Another advantage of the chain drive garage door opener is that it’s commonly used across the country. Reliable and affordable, you may be surrounded by neighbors who have this type of opener. If you’ve ever wondered how a garage door opener works on a chain drive, you can conveniently ask a neighbor to view theirs in action if you don’t have one.

Disadvantages of Chain Drive Garage Door Openers

Many people feel that they make too much noise. For some people, a noisy garage door is an annoyance they’d rather do without. Because this system involves a chain drive, a constant metal-on-metal movement creates sounds that may be unpleasant. This can be especially bothersome when your attached garage connects to a bedroom, kitchen or lounging space. Thankfully, many newer models of chain drive garage door openers and other garage door components can make its operation exceptionally quieter, and in some cases just as quiet as belt drive openers.

Chain drive garage door openers require periodic maintenance. Think about any other chain drive system, such as one on a bicycle or motorcycle. To keep the drive chain on these machines running smoothly, you need to keep them oiled. The same applies to chain drive garage door openers. You’ll have to keep this chain clean and oiled periodically — usually once a year — to ensure that the system runs well.

Is a chain drive garage door opener the right option for you? Possibly so. If you’re searching for an affordable solution that many homeowners prefer, a chain drive model is a great choice. Most residential garage door servicers, such as EXL Garage, are also highly experienced in providing repairs for these types of garage door openers. We carry a variety of chain drive garage door openers, including:

  • DC Chain Drive Garage Doors Opener 8160: This opener features quiet operation, smartphone connectivity, soft start/stop and protects against forced openings.
  • Elite Series 8587W: This opener is compatible with HomeLink and MyQ app. It has a reliable P3 motor, wall-mounted design and ultra-quiet operation.
  • Premium Series 8360W: This opener features energy-efficient performance with DC battery backup and WiFi capabilities.
  • Premium Series 8365W: This best-selling chain drive system features maintenance-free service and reduced power consumption in standby mode. It also includes a 3-button remote control, wireless key entry system and multi-function control panel.

Belt Drive Garage Door Openers

What’s the biggest difference between chain drive vs. belt drive garage door opener systems? Whereas the chain drive uses a chain to move the trolley, a belt drive opener moves the carriage via a rubber belt. Aside from this difference, both systems work the same way. The belt is typically steel-reinforced rubber, however, an alternative like polyurethane or fiberglass may be used instead of rubber.

Advantages of Belt Drive Garage Door Openers

Advantages of Belt Drive Garage Door Openers

The main advantage of the belt drive garage door opener is that it uses a belt instead of a chain. This significantly cuts down on the noise level during operation since there’s no metal-on-metal contact. They are just as reliable as a chain but do not need to be lubricated. Belt drive garage doors will also push and pull the door at a faster rate than a chain drive.

Disadvantages of Belt Drive Garage Door Openers

One disadvantage of the belt drive garage door opener is that it’s slightly more expensive than a chain drive garage door opener. The belt may also stretch out over time and need to be adjusted to ensure the right amount of tension is constantly applied. These garage door openers are not as equipped to handle the weight that chain drives can lift so larger garage doors may not be suitable for a belt drive.

Are you unsure about a chain drive garage door opener’s constant noise? Then a belt drive garage door opener may be the perfect alternative. Although this opener does cost a little more on average, many homeowners are happy to spend a little more for a quieter and smoother garage door opener. We recommend that homeowners who have bedrooms or common areas attached to the garage use a belt drive opener. EXL Garage is ready to provide you with one of these reliable belt drive garage door openers:

  • Elite Series 8550W: This opener features a battery backup, Security+ 2.0 safeguard access and MyQ Technology with WiFi.
  • Elite Series 8557W: This opener features a steel-reinforced belt for increased lifting strength and Timer-to-Close pre-programming to close the door automatically after a set time.
  • Premium Series 8355W: This opener features a Motor Vibration Isolation System for quiet operation and built-in WiFi capabilities.
  • WLED: This opener features a DC battery backup, home connectivity and automatic garage door locking for added security.

Jackshaft Garage Door Openers

For many years, the only options for garage door openers were chain drive, belt drive and screw drive openers. The jackshaft garage door opener is a relatively newer option for homeowners who do not want to invest in a chain drive or belt drive garage door opener. A torsion bar within the wall mount is connected to cables and pulleys that move when powered by a motor. The cables tighten as the door is raised and loosen as the door is lowered.

Advantages of Jackshaft Garage Door Openers

The most notable advantage of a jackshaft garage door opener is that it can be mounted on the wall of the garage instead of the ceiling. This is ideal for garages that have lowered, damaged or vaulted ceilings that can’t readily accommodate traditional garage door openers without renovations. This system is also quiet and quick, similar to the belt drive opener.

Disadvantages of Jackshaft Garage Door Openers

The biggest disadvantage of the jackshaft garage door opener is that it will likely cost more than other types of openers. It’s also not a necessity for normal-sized garages. Unless you want a wall-mounted opener to free up storage space on your garage’s ceiling, you may consider budgeting for a high-quality chain drive or belt drive garage door opener. If the dimensions of your garage warrant this resource, we’re happy to provide you with a great jackshaft garage door opener:

  • Elite Series 8500W: This opener features connectivity with MyQ Technology, wall-mounted design, motion detection lighting, integrated battery power backup, automatic door locks, and more.

Screw Drive Garage Door Openers

The screw drive garage door opener has fewer components than other types of garage door openers. This version features a motor that moves the carriage via a threaded-steel rod. Because these openers do not feature chains or belts, they’ll never have to be readjusted compensate for wear from normal use. The limited movement of components provides homeowners with a smooth garage door operation for its entire lifespan. The screw also requires lubrication twice a year.

Advantages of Screw Drive Garage Door Openers

Advantages of Screw Drive Garage Door Openers

With fewer moving parts than other types of garage door openers, the most significant advantage of screw drive garage door openers is that these devices require the least amount of maintenance. They can also open the garage door at a faster rate than other openers. Powerful, quick and reliable, these types of garage door openers are ideal for garage doors that are wider and heavier than traditional residential doors.

Disadvantages of Screw Drive Garage Door Openers

Unfortunately, screw drive garage door openers aren’t as common as they once were, being pushed aside in favor of more popular openers like the chain drive and belt drive. While they aren’t as noisy as chain drive garage door openers, they are noisier than belt drive garage door openers. This opener is also sensitive to temperature fluctuations, which makes it a poor choice for homes in regions with significant temperature changes between winter and summer.

When comparing chain drive vs. screw drive garage door opener options, you’ll likely want to invest in a chain drive garage door opener. Although the screw drive garage door opener is an option that you could consider, we always suggest that homeowners look into chain drives, belt drives and jackshafts before looking at a screw drive or other garage door opener. Since screw drive openers are limited, you’ll have a larger selection when considering any other option.

When Is It Time to Replace Your Garage Door Opener?

The garage door system is another appliance in your home that you hope will last for years without issues. For many homeowners, this is the case and they get decades of use out of their garage door and opener system. Most should last between 10 and 15 years and around the 15-year mark you’ll want to consider replacing your garage door opener. It’s always best to have the opener replaced before it breaks. Unfortunately, there are some instances in which the garage door system needs to be replaced sooner than homeowners would prefer. When is the right time for you to upgrade your garage door opener?

  • It starts working intermittently or stops working at times, staying either open or closed when you use your remote control or wall control.
  • You hear strange or loud noises.
  • The door begins to reverse right when you open it.
  • The opener begins to vibrate or shake when in use.
  • You’re replacing your entire garage door system.
  • You’ve had to repair it several times.

Garage Door Openers From EXL Garage Doors

Garage Door Openers From EXL Garage Doors

Which type of garage door opener is best? That depends on your individual budget, needs and preference. With belt drive vs. chain drive vs. screw drive garage door opener options, each has advantages and disadvantages — knowing which remote control garage door solution is right for you starts with understanding what makes them different and how those differences will impact their use.

If you’re unsure of which types of garage door openers you should consider for your home, give us a call. Our helpful staff will tell you about our garage door opener options and identify the models that align with your budget and needs. Give us a call today to learn more about our selection or schedule an appointment for garage door opener repair service.

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