The automobile is one of humankind’s most useful and practical inventions. Reigning supreme as the king of personal transportation, the car has done it all, from inspiring subcultures to significantly improving the convenience of travel. Unfortunately, there are a few parts of car ownership that will require some responsibility.
The subject that we will be discussing today does not necessarily govern your responsibility as a car owner, but you will find that it does concern an additional consideration. We are going to be discussing garage door openers, which can significantly improve the ease of parking your car when you get home.
There are many different types of systems which are used for opening garage doors. Some systems will make use of mechanical advantage to make it easier for you to open the garage door manually. Today, we are going to be focusing specifically on garage door openers that use electricity as a power source.
Of course, other garage door opener varieties have their pros and cons, but the needs of most car owners will be fulfilled with ease by a garage door opener which operates using electricity. Electric models have the advantage of improved convenience coupled with lower noise than other openers.
Without any further delay, let’s jump right into what a garage door opener is and what exactly it will do for you. You will find that this is an area of some contention, or confusion, at the very least. We figured that we should get the basics out of the way before we get into anything more specific.
If you have already purchased a garage door opener, you will know what you are in for, but if this is your first time making a purchase, you may have a few questions. One of the more surprisingly common questions that we get concerns what exactly constitutes a garage door opener.
While the little remote that is used to open your garage with some models is technically a garage door opener, the term, as used here, refers to the entire mechanism. Proprietary remotes as a method of opening your garage door are growing less and less common, regardless.
Garage doors can be rather heavy, which makes it so that garage door openers will have to be made to heavy-duty specifications. The durable construction of these products means that they are usually a rather substantial investment regarding money and even installation time, should you choose to install it yourself.
You may be wondering exactly how a garage door opener operates, and we will be looking at that in a short moment. There are three primary methods of operation that are used in electric garage door opener models, and each of them is ideal for their own particular application.
History Of The Garage Door Opener
The garage door opener, at least in its electric incarnation, has existed for longer than many would assume. Though it sounds like something which would have been invented in the 60s or 70s, it has in fact been around since 1926. While this may have been the birth of the design, it did not truly take off until 20 years later.
You may be wondering why it took so long for the garage door opener to grow and popularity, and you will find that it resulted from a combination of factors. For example, cars were not exactly common commodities once the 1920s rolled around, making the garage door opener slightly ahead of its time.
Another factor which contributed to the growing popularity of the electric garage door opener was the added convenience of a few refinements. While the initial electronic garage opener design did not have controls that were easily accessible, this was ironed out in the two decades it took for them to catch on.
While the first models may have been more difficult to open, most later electric garage door openers made use of a switch positioned at the entrance to your driveway. Some garage door openers feature a switch that was closer to the door itself, sometimes even placed beside it.
Another feature which was added was the option to open your garage door from the interior as well. In addition to the main switch that was meant to be used when parking in the garage, an interior switch allows you to easily open your garage door if you find that you are already indoors.
Since it was first popularized, the basic concept of the garage door opener has not changed that much aside from the method used to control or activate the opener. The first significant shift was from switches to remote controls, which reduced the installation cost and improved the convenience of garage door openers.
After remote controls were implemented for garage door openers, the next step was to add the functionality to a smartphone. Our cell phones are now capable of doing so much, why shouldn’t they be able to open up our garage door? This also improves the security with which you can open your garage.
That brings us to the present day, where garage door openers have been refined to the point that they are rather affordable for nearly all homeowners. If you have had enough of straining yourself to raise your garage door, you should opt instead for a garage door opener to ease the burden.
Benefits Of Having A Garage Door Opener
Here’s few benefits of having a garage door opener:
The main reason for investing in a garage door opener is the simple convenience of being able to open your garage door remotely. If you drive your car to work every day, you will not want to have to get out and back in your vehicle every time you get home just so you can manually open the garage door.
In addition to wasting your time, leaving your car running while you open your garage door can leave you open to opportunistic car thieves. Instead of having to leave your car before parking it, you can just open your garage door at the touch of a button as soon as it is in sight.
If you install a garage door opener, you will no longer have to carry a garage key with you either. Since most modern garage door openers work using smartphones, your pockets will be less cluttered than they would be otherwise, making you more comfortable and less jingly.
Saves You Time
While this may sound similar to the aspect of convenience, we would argue that it is far more important. There are only so many minutes in a day, and no matter how much time you spend, you should endeavor to do things more efficiently, there is a reason for the saying that time is money, after all.
The last thing that you will want to do after a long day at work is to get out of your car and spend a couple of minutes opening up a garage door. After working all day, most people want to get into some clothes that are more comfortable and to relax, which is a lot easier when your garage door opens for you.
Over the course of a year, two minutes a day amounts to about twelve hours, which shows just how substantial of a difference a garage door opener can make for your daily routine. If you would like to make your return home as smooth as possible, mainly when driving, opt for a garage door opener.
Ideal For Those With Injuries
One of the best parts of a garage door opener is that it does all of the heavy lifting for you, both literally and figuratively. While most customers will want a garage door opener because this automated method of operation makes it easier to open, some customers are unable to open their garage otherwise.
If you currently have or you have had a back injury, a garage door opener will ensure that you will not hurt yourself further trying to raise your garage door. Depending on the type of garage door that you have installed in your home, you will have to put a certain amount of effort into opening it.
Garage door openers are ideal for customers with all sorts of injuries, not only those which concern the back. Any damage that will compromise your ability to lift or move larger loads will make it much more difficult to open your garage door, so an opener may be a wise investment.
Over the course of this section, we are going to be taking a look at the different methods of operation that are used in garage door openers and how they compare to each other. We will only be examining the systems which are used to run electric garage door openers since most other types are largely discontinued.
In a garage door opener that makes use of a chain drive, the trolley which pulls your door open is connected to a chain, which has a few pros and cons when compared to the other options. Chain drive systems tend to be the most common method which is used to run garage door openers, so they tend to be the most affordable.
Aside from price point, you will also find that chain drive systems are much more durable than some of the other choices since the chain is made out of metal. If you live in a harsher climate, you may wish to consider a chain drive system since it will be less likely to fail on you.
Screw drive garage door openers tend to be a bit of an in-between when compared to the other two varieties. While there may not be too many areas in which screw drives stand out, you will also find that there are not too many downsides to them. This combination of aspects makes screw drive garage door openers the safest choice.
While these garage door openers are louder than belt drive models, they are quieter than chain drive openers. Where screw drive openers genuinely stand out is in their level of reliability. Much like chain drive models, the components in screw drive garage door openers are made of metals, so they can withstand a good deal of damage.
Garage door openers which make use of a belt drive to function are similar to chain drive models in practice, but they make use of a rubber belt instead of a chain. While this makes belt drive garage door openers functionally similar to chain drive models, there are a few fundamental differences between them.
Since rubber is used in the construction of the belt, you will notice a significant reduction in the amount of clanking that is produced by your garage door opener. Lower noise levels are ideal for users who will return home from work later at night and would rather not wake up the whole family.
One of the trickiest parts of purchasing a garage door opener is the installation process. Before you even make your purchase, you will always want to ensure that your chosen garage door opener is compatible with your garage door. Take a look at the size of the opener and the door sizes it can accommodate.
Some garage door openers are made specifically for use with certain types of garage doors, so you may wish to search for a purpose-built opener before anything else. While it does not have to be explicitly stated that your chosen garage door opener will work with the door you have at home, it helps ensure your peace of mind.
Let’s move on to the installation process itself. You have a choice of installing your garage door opener yourself or instead opting for a trained professional to do the job. Keep in mind that a falling garage door can present a hazard to your health as well as your car, so you will want to be able to trust your installation.
Your garage door is not the only thing that may end up falling on you if your opener is not installed correctly. Since most garage door openers are designed to be mounted on the ceiling, the opener itself may end up falling on you. The most dangerous part would be the motor box, which can get quite heavy.
You may be wondering what the ideal choice is when it comes time to install your garage door opener, but we can’t answer that question for you. If you have experience in DIY and you are comfortable taking your safety into your own hands, you can go ahead and install the garage door opener yourself.
Installing your own garage door opener is the most affordable way to do so, as you can do it for free if you have all of the required tools at home. While the installation process is free when you look at it from a financial standpoint, you may end up sinking a few hours of your time into the installation.
If you have any doubts as to your capabilities when it comes to installing your garage door opener, we recommend that you seek a professional who is capable of doing it. While you will spend more money on the installation, you will be able to trust that your garage door opener is not liable to fall at any moment.
Here are the most known manufacturers:
Chamberlain is a brand of the Chamberlain group, a company which also owns LiftMaster, but there are a few fundamental differences between models coming from these brands. Chamberlain prides themselves on the manufacture of garage door openers that are simple but capable enough to provide excellent performance.
Chamberlain garage door openers are usually designed to be more affordable than other models. This ease of accessibility is compounded by the design philosophy at Chamberlain, where products are made to be as easy as possible to install. If you do not want to hire a professional, you will want a Chamberlain opener.
Genie’s history as a brand can be traced all the way back to 1923 and the foundation of the Alliance Manufacturing Company. Up until the mid-1950s, Alliance had nothing to do with garage door openers, and then they released the Genie, one of the most popular early garage door opener models.
After being purchased a few times over, Genie ended up as their own brand, but their specialization in the domain of garage door openers didn’t change. While Genie’s garage door openers may be quite affordable, they still maintain a degree of quality that is not present in other budget options.
As we explained earlier, the rights to the Liftmaster brand are owned by the Chamberlain Group, but these garage door openers are entirely different from the models that are sold under that name.
If you are looking for a quality garage door opener, Liftmaster is usually the best option.
Since Liftmaster models are designed to be installed by professionals only, they come included with features that you will not find present on most other models.
If you have an unusually heavy garage door or if you need an opener with superior performance, opt for a Liftmaster.
Garage Door Safety
As with any other product, you will want to ensure that you are as safe as possible. We already discussed the relation between proper installation and safety, but we are also going to take a look at safety in a wider lens. While a garage door opener can injure you, there are other reasons to be careful in your garage.
You will want to be as careful as possible during the installation process if you should choose to install your garage door opener yourself. If you take care while you are attaching your opener to your garage door, it will be much less likely to catastrophically malfunction and end up potentially hurting you.
Aside from being injured once you are done installing your garage door opener, you will also want to be careful while you are putting it up because the installation can be hazardous. In fact, the installation process can be the most dangerous part of owning a garage door opener in the first place.
When you are using your garage door opener, you will want to ensure that you only drive under it once it has completely retracted your garage door. If your garage door is still hanging down, you may accidentally bump into it, or it may end up falling on you or your car if there is a sudden power failure.
Another way to ensure that things always go smoothly in the domain of safety is to purchase a product which you are sure is compatible with your chosen garage door. If you are unsure whether or not your garage door opener is compatible, you may wish to consult with a professional before installing it.
As you can see, garage doors can be more dangerous than you expect, and this varies from garage to garage. Since different doors are made out different materials, they will also have various weights. There is a vast difference between a 50-pound garage door falling on you and a 100-pound garage door doing the same.
There are a few ways to ensure that your garage door opener remains properly maintained, and most of them are relatively simple. Your garage door opener is a moderately complex piece of machinery which makes it much more likely to fail if it is not maintained regularly.
All that you will usually have to do is ensure that the track is free of any dust of possible buildup that can result in an obstruction. Keeping the track clear is often the best way to ensure that you have no issues with your garage door opener, but you should give the other components a cursory glance as well.
Garage door openers are one of the best investments that you can make as a homeowner if you use your car relatively often. Now that we have gone over the basics feel free to move on to our buying guide, in which we will review five of the best garage door openers available.