- When it's raining outside and you're staring at a closed garage door from inside your dry vehicle, you're going to wish you had an automatic garage door opener installed.
- The Chamberlain WD832KEV garage door opener is reliable, works well, and doesn't have a bunch of extra features you don't need.
Some people think they can live without an automatic garage door opener. They tell themselves they don't need the extra expense. They might go so far as to convince themselves opening and closing a garage door is good exercise.
Then they're driving home in the middle of a storm, realizing as they pull into the driveway that someone is going to have to step out in the rain to open the garage door.
After a storm soaks you to the bone once or twice as you're participating in your garage door "exercise," you'll be ready to install that garage door opener immediately. Few things feel quite as good as watching that garage door open automatically as you sit inside the dry car.
If you haven't shopped for a garage door opener lately, manufacturers have made a lot of advancements in these units in recent years. They're safer to operate, easier to install, and run more quietly than in the past.
Here are the best garage door openers:
- Best overall: Chamberlain WD832KEV
- Best for heavy doors: Chamberlain B970
- Best on a budget: Genie 1035-V
Updated on 8/7/2020. We updated prices and links. We also removed the Ryobi Ultra Quiet due to it being out of stock, but will add it back in if it becomes available again in the future.
The best overall
When you want a reliable, quiet garage door opener without extra bells and whistles, the Chamberlain WD832KEV is a smart choice and a good value.
The Chamberlain WD832KEV gives you all the most important features you need in a garage door opener, without jacking up the price for features that may not be as useful. It simply opens the door quickly and quietly.
Chamberlain says the WD832KEV has "whisper" quiet operation. That's probably a bit much to expect from a garage door opener, but this opener does run very quietly compared to other units, which is great if your garage is right under a bedroom or another part of the house that demands quiet.
One of the nicer high-tech features in this garage door opener is the inclusion of MyQ technology, which allows you to control the operation of the door with a smartphone app.
This Chamberlain opener includes a timer, so you can have the garage door automatically close after 1, 5, or 10 minutes.
Note that the WD832KEV is only made to work on doors that measure up to seven feet high. If you have a taller garage door, you must purchase an extension kit. You'll have to buy the light bulb separately as well.
Additionally, with a 1/2-horsepower motor, the WD832KEV isn't the most powerful opener available, so it will struggle with heavy wood or steel doors.
Pros: Reliable opener with only the most important features, runs very quietly, includes an automatic timer, offered at a good price point
Cons: Only works with doors up to 7 feet in height, motor could be more powerful
The best for heavy garage doors
The Chamberlain B970 has the horsepower needed to handle older garage doors, while still running more quietly than other heavy-duty openers.
One problem people have with large, heavy wooden garage doors at older homes is that many openers can't handle the weight. The Chamberlain B970 has a 1.25-horsepower motor, which is quite a bit more powerful than some other models, giving it the power to raise heavy doors.
The B970 is belt-driven with steel reinforcement, which allows it to run more quietly than other styles of heavy-duty garage door openers. Beyond its powerful motor, this Chamberlain model has a battery backup system, smartphone access, and long-range remote controls, all of which simplify the operation of the opener.
Additionally, the B970 includes encryption features that prevent others from hacking the system to gain entry to your garage. The Chamberlain B970 is pricey, but it delivers when it comes to excellent build quality and anti-vibration features.
It does need an extra component that's not included to use the HomeLink feature that's built into many newer vehicles. Similarly, if you want to use the extra Internet-related features, such as having the system sense when your vehicle is nearby and automatically open, you might run into trouble while setting them up.
Pros: Handles over-sized and heavy wooden or metal garage doors easily, good anti-vibration features, carries a 1.25-horsepower motor, steel-reinforced belt runs quietly
Cons: Carries an above-average price point, some tech connectivity features are difficult to set up
The best on a budget
Because it doesn't have advanced features, the price for the Genie 1035-V is low, so it works perfectly for those on a budget.
Most garage door openers are pretty expensive. So if you need an opener on a budget, the Genie 1035-V (also known as the Genie Chain Drive 500) gives you that desirable low price point. It doesn't have a lot of high-end tech features, nor will it manage heavy garage doors, but it does the basic work of raising and lowering the garage door perfectly well.
Installation of the 1035-V is an easy process because its components are lightweight. Even with a lightweight design, it still can open doors of up to 7 feet in height and up to 350 pounds in weight with its 1/2-horsepower motor.
To receive this low price, you will have to make a few sacrifices. For example, the Chain Drive 500 only has one light bulb socket, and it is limited to a 60-watt bulb. Other options in our guide can take two 100-watt bulbs, providing much more light. And the kit doesn't ship with an exterior keypad opener, so you'll have to buy that separately.
Pros: Very low price point, extremely easy to install with a lightweight design, included instructions are clear, will work well for standard garage door designs
Cons: Includes inexpensive parts, doesn't have a lot of high-end features, limited to one light bulb for illuminating the garage
How to choose a garage door opener
Types of garage door openers
When selecting a garage door opener for your home or business, you have a few operating mechanisms from which you can choose. Each type of opener uses a motor to move a trolley (or the motor itself) along the rail, which lifts and lowers the door.
- Belt Drive: The belt drive on a garage door opener uses a steel-reinforced rubber belt to lift and lower the garage door, allowing it to run quietly and smoothly. If you have living quarters above the garage, a belt drive is a smart choice. But it does require a bit more maintenance than other models.
- Chain Drive: A chain drive garage door opener has been the most common type of opener available for many years. It uses a metal chain to move the trolley to open and close the door. Chain drives will cause more vibration and noise than other types of openers, but they do tend to cost less than other options.
- Direct Drive: With a direct drive system, the motor functions as the trolley, which means the entire motor moves along the rail. Because these systems don't have multiple moving parts, they tend to run quietly with minimal vibration.
- Screw Drive: For a garage door opener with a screw drive, you'll have less maintenance and moving parts to monitor over time. This type of drive uses a threaded rod to open and close the door, which works well for wider and heavier doors. The screw drive opener tends to run more quietly than other options too.
Key features for garage door openers
The garage door opener traditionally has been a simple device. And it still is for the most part. But as with a lot of household items, technological advances are finding their way into garage door opener hardware. There are quite a few cool features in modern garage door openers, some of which are things you never knew you needed to automate the process of opening and closing a garage door.
- Automatic Close: If you commonly forget to close your garage door, you can set up some systems to automatically close an open door after a certain period of time.
- Battery Backup: Should the power ever be out at your home when you drive up with your vehicle, some garage door openers have a battery backup so they'll still operate, allowing you to exit the car inside the garage, rather than caught outside in a rainstorm.
- Controls: Most garage door openers will ship with a wall-mount button for inside the garage and remote control devices you can place in your vehicle. Some will have a keypad that you place outside the garage door, so you can enter a code and open the door.
- Horsepower: The horsepower measurement, often shortened to HP, describes the power the garage door opener motor has. A motor with a greater horsepower measurement will open and close the door more quickly, while also being able to handle larger and heavier doors. Motors between 1/2 HP and 1 HP are the most common for residential garages.
- Security Code: To avoid problems with hackers accessing your garage door opener code, your unit should have some sort of encryption or rolling code technology built into it.
- Security Lights: Most newer garage door openers have at least two bright light bulbs, as well as lights activated by motion. On the other hand, some older or cheaper openers are limited to a single light bulb. This doesn't help much with a garage darkened by shadows, leaving you unsure if the rustling in the corner is your cat … or a skunk that snuck into the garage.
- Smartphone Control: Many newer garage door openers allow you to connect the device to your home's Wi-Fi network. You then can open and close the door through a smartphone app. In fact, many of these apps will give you an alert on the smartphone when the garage door is open for a certain period. Some opener models even can connect to your existing Smart Home system, incorporating all your appliances on one system.
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