Garage Door Opener Buying Guide

Garage door openers help provide convenience and safety. They both open and close a garage door without requiring the driver to get out the car and they provide a safer and more secure garage. There are many features to consider when buying a garage door opener.


Garage door openers can be classed in several ways and each way relates to cost. One important classification to consider is installation. That is, wehther it can be installed by the homeowner vs. those that require professional installation.

Another point to consider when buying a garage door opener is that there are three different types of mechanical drives used, each corresponding to a particular price range. The cheapest types of garage door opener use a chain drive; the moderately priced use a screw-drive; and the most expensive use a rubber belt drive


Garage door openers provide a variety of enhancements that can make your garage door safer, more secure, or better in other ways.

  • Added Security

    For some, security is the most important feature to consider when buying a garage door opener. Some remotes offer a “rolling code” (which changes every time you open the door) used in the newer remote controls help to stop thieves, who can record a transmission of your remote and then replay it in an attempt to open your garage door. Once in your garage, thieves can then gain easy access to your home.

    Some openers come with remotes that can be disabled (for example, if you want to be sure no one enters while you are on vacation).

    And some garage door openers have a remote receiver or sensor that indicates if the garage door is open, allowing you to check whether someone forgot to close it or if it has been opened unexpectedly.

    Some models have controls that will close the door automatically if there is an attempt to open it manually.

  • Quiet Operation

    The rubber belt driven openers are also the quietest. But less noise can also be attained using direct current (DC) motors, which helps reduce the stopping and starting sound. A vibration-isolation system is another approach to noise reduction.

  • Added Safety

    Openers may feature a light that stays on for a few minutes after the opener is activated (similar to the programming of the interior light in an automobile) to allow you to get into the house safely.

  • Speed

    Another consideration when buying a garage door opener is speed. Some models open and close faster than others. Most close at a similar, slower pace, which makes it less likely to trap someone.

  • Disconnect

    An easy disconnection is necessary if there is something wrong with the opener and the door needs to be opened manually, or if there is a blackout and the power to the door is out.

  • Extra Controls

    Most models come with one or two controls, but extras can be ordered.

  • Safety

    Since 1982, it is mandatory that garage door openers have an auto-reverse mechanism so that if the door comes in contact with an object, it will reverse the door’s direction. In 1993, an additional feature to avoid entrapment, such as a photoelectric sensor, is required as part of a garage door opener set.

    service man As with any purchase, check recall information before making your decision. Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) web site for details about recalls. Consumer Reports also has useful information for buying a garage door opener.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Childproofing the Garage
  • Garage Door Safety
  • Introduction to Garage Door Openers
  • Organizing a Garage