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Chances are you haven’t given much thought to the type of garage door opener your garage uses. All you know is that when you pull into the driveway, you press a button on your remote, and voila! Your garage door opens. (And if yours isn’t opening, don’t worry — we’ve got a blog post for that.)

But if you’re in the market for a new garage door or your current door needs some updating, you may surprised to discover that there are many different types of garage door openers available. That’s why we wrote the following guide: to help you understand your options and what might work best in your situation. We’ll give you the details on the top four types of garage door openers as well as highlight the key things you need to consider when making your selection.

Types of Garage Door Openers

Here are three common types of garage door openers we recommend, and one we prefer to steer our customers away from.

1. Jackshaft Garage Door Opener

Jackshaft garage door openers are one of the hottest options on the market today. They’re direct drive systems, which means they don’t use belts, chains, or screws. Instead, they mount directly onto the spring bar or shaft of your garage door. Here are a few reasons why jackshaft garage door openers are a popular choice.

Benefits of a Jackshaft Garage Door Opener

  • Quiet operation: One of the standout features of jackshaft openers is how quiet they are. They have fewer moving parts, so they generate less noise while they’re operating. The only sound you hear is the soft hum of the motor, making jackshaft openers the quietest option available.
  • Space-saving design: Traditional garage door openers are typically mounted on the ceiling, which can take up valuable space. Jackshaft openers, on the other hand, are side-mounted on the wall next to the garage door. This helps free up ceiling space, which is great if you need more room for storage or to install lifts.
  • Enhanced durability and longevity: Another benefit of fewer moving parts is that there’s just less stuff that can break down over time. This means that jackshaft openers tend to last longer and require less maintenance. Their robust construction ensures reliable performance over the long haul, giving you peace of mind.
  • Increased security: Many jackshaft systems, such as the LiftMaster 98022, come equipped with a deadbolt lock that secures the garage door after it closes. This feature adds an extra layer of protection against break-ins. Additionally, the release cord is not hanging from the ceiling, making it harder for potential intruders to access your home.
  • Safety features: Just like trolley systems, jackshaft openers have auto-reverse sensors to prevent the door from closing if there’s an obstruction, such as a vehicle or a person, in its path. This ensures the safety of your family and property.
  • Smart technology integration: Jackshaft openers are easy to pair with modern technology. Many models offer advanced programming and automation capabilities, allowing you to control the door from a touchpad or even a smartphone app. You can set the door to close at a specific time each day or receive alerts whenever the door is opened or closed.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Jackshaft Garage Door Opener

While jackshaft openers have clear benefits, there are two important installation requirements to keep in mind:

  • They need a power source (high and low voltage) within six feet of the opener.
  • You’ll need at least seven inches of clearance on the side of the door and three inches above the torsion rod to properly install the unit.

Though they are generally more expensive than traditional trolley systems, the benefits they offer in terms of noise reduction, space efficiency, durability, security, and smart features make jackshaft garage door openers a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

Whether you have a high lift, vertical lift, or standard lift door, a jackshaft garage door opener can be an excellent addition to your home, providing seamless operation and enhanced convenience.

2. Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

While not as sleek as jackshaft openers, belt drive openers do offer some of the same benefits at a lower price. Known for their smooth operation, these openers use a steel-reinforced rubber belt to move the door, making them the second quietest option after jackshaft openers.

Benefits of Belt Drive Garage Door Openers

  • Quiet performance: Unlike classic chain drive systems that involve metal-on-metal contact, the rubber belt in these openers significantly reduces noise and ensures much smoother operation. This makes them ideal for garages adjacent to living spaces where noise can be a concern.
  • Durability with a lifetime warranty: The belts used in these systems often come with a lifetime warranty, highlighting their durability and long-term reliability. You can trust that your belt drive opener will provide years of trouble-free operation.
  • Powerful and versatile motors: Belt drive openers are available in various horsepower ratings to suit different garage door sizes and weights. Whether you have a lightweight single door or a heavy double door, there’s a belt drive motor that can handle the job efficiently.
  • Solid construction for longevity: At Central Oregon Garage Door, we install openers with one-piece solid forged rails, which provide superior strength and stability. This construction reduces the likelihood of issues compared to the weaker, multi-piece rails often found in box store models. A solid rail ensures the trolley moves smoothly during the opening and closing cycles, enhancing the overall performance of the system.
  • Smooth and fast operation: Belt drive openers are not only quiet but also one of the fastest types of garage door openers. Their efficient design allows for quick opening and closing of your garage door, making them especially convenient for daily use.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

Although they’re cheaper than jackshaft openers, belt drive openers can cost up to $100 more than the typical chain drive opener (which we’ll cover below). If you’re working with a smaller budget, that’s something to keep in mind. However, if you are able to afford a belt drive opener, you’ll likely enjoy the quieter performance, enhanced durability, and faster operation it provides.

3. Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

Chain drive garage door openers are a popular and cost-effective option known for their strength and durability. While they are the noisiest of the four types of garage door openers we’ll cover, their strength and durability make them a dependable option for many homeowners.

Benefits of a Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

  • Superior strength: Chain drive openers are the strongest of the trolley operator options. The metal chain mechanism provides tons of lifting power, making these openers ideal for heavy or oversized garage doors.
  • Long-lasting durability: Put short, these openers are built to last. The gears and chain mechanism are designed for longevity, ensuring that your garage door opener can function reliably for years. And many chain drive systems come with a lifetime warranty on the chain, too.
  • Budget-friendly: If price is one of your primary concerns, you really can’t beat the value of a chain drive opener. For a lower cost than the other openers on this list, you get strong, dependable performance.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

The scouting report on chain drive openers is pretty simple. If you need a garage door opener that hits that sweet spot of affordability, strength, and durability, a chain drive opener might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if noise is a concern (maybe you have a bedroom above your garage), you’re likely better off looking elsewhere.

4. Screw Drive Garage Door Opener

Full transparency, Central Oregon Garage Door does not stock or sell screw drive garage door openers. In fact, while we can source and install them, we don’t recommend this option to our customers for a few key reasons.

Disadvantages of a Screw Drive Garage Door Opener

  • Weak performance: Screw drive systems are definitely the weakest of the four main types of garage door openers. They lack the strong lifting power of chain and belt drive openers, which can be a concern for heavier garage doors.
  • Require more maintenance: Screw drive openers require frequent lubrication and maintenance to ensure smooth operation. Without regular care, these openers can experience more issues than their counterparts. This can cause headaches and lead to costly repairs down the road.
  • Higher noise levels: Screw drive openers can become quite noisy with prolonged use. This increased noise can be a significant drawback, especially if your garage is adjacent to living spaces.
  • Cost considerations: The cost of screw drive openers is roughly comparable to that of chain drive systems. However, given the higher likelihood of maintenance issues and the weaker performance, many homeowners find that investing in a chain or belt drive opener provides better value for their money.

Our Recommendation: Skip the Screw Drive Opener

At Central Oregon Garage Door, we prioritize providing our customers with reliable and efficient solutions, which is why we typically recommend belt or chain drive openers for most applications. These alternatives offer better performance, durability, and overall value than screw drive openers.

We’re Here to Answer Your Garage Door Opener Questions

Hopefully, this guide will help you feel more confident about picking the right garage door opener for your situation. Whether you’re still not sure or you’re ready to move forward with installation, we’re here to help! Feel free to contact us with any of your garage door opener questions, and while you wait for us to get back to you, check out our 250+ five-star reviews on Google and see what others have to say about why you can trust us with your garage door needs.

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