Best Type of Garage Door and Opener

By HomeAdvisor

Updated February 3, 2021

Opening door and automatic garage door opener electric engine gear mounted on ceiling with emergency cord. Double place empty garage interior with rolling entrance gate.

The best type of garage door opener is the one that delivers the level of convenience that you need at home. Choose the feature most important to you: from reliability to ultra-quiet operation. This guide will help you find the best garage door opener to keep your home and car safe, add curb appeal and enhance your property value.

On This Page:

  1. Types of Garage Door Openers
    1. Chain-Drive
    2. Belt-Drive
    3. Screw-Drive
    4. Jackshaft-Drive
    5. Direct-Drive
    6. DC-Powered
  2. Pros & Cons
  3. Popular Features
  4. Safety Tips
  5. FAQs

Types of Garage Door Openers

There are 6 main types of garage door openers. Here’s a little bit about each to help you choose before replacing an old automatic or manual system.

Chain-Drive Opener

Chain-drive openers work with a simple chain system, much like a bike. This chain connects the trolley to the motor. These openers feature a metal bar, known as a J-arm, that attaches to your garage door.

Since the metal-to-metal contact makes noise and vibrations, chain-drive openers work best in detached garages.

Belt-Drive Opener

Belt-drive openers replace the chain with a rubber belt, for quiet opening and closing. Its operation is as reliable as the chain-driven models. Popular belt materials are:

  • Fiberglass is durable and absorbs sound waves
  • Polyurethane is strong and quiet
  • Steel-reinforced rubber is perfect for heavier doors

This alternative to chain-drive openers offers smoother operation but costs $30 to $60 more than the chained models. They are ideal for light to moderate weight doors.

A garage door runs between $350 and $1,100. Find the garage door cost that matches your budget and get your project started right.

Screw-Drive Opener

The screw-driver garage opener consists of a long, threaded rod and gears that open and close the door. Though this a noisy option, it has fewer moving parts and requires little maintenance.

This system opens doors at about 10 to 12 inches per second. The standard is 6 to 8 inches per second. The best screw drive garage door openers are ideal for small and lighter doors.

Jackshaft-Drive Opener

The jackshaft-drive opener’s 24v DC motor is strong enough for large doors in 2-car garages. Its sidewall operation frees up your garage ceiling, for easy overhead storage. They’re also popular because their compact technology is more visually appealing.

Unfortunately, these benefits come at a cost. Jackshaft-drive openers are more expensive than other options. But the good news is that these systems save you money in the long run. Get a garage door opener installation estimate and set up an efficient system that needs little maintenance.

Direct-Drive Opener

Direct-drive openers feature a trolley-free design with noiseless operation and smooth movement. Its powerful motor moves the stationary chain in a sturdy steel rail. It is low maintenance and offers lifetime warranties.

This pricey opener style is more common in Europe, so they have limited availability in the US. As they become more popular in the US, it’s easier to get them installed. Find a garage door installer near you and set up the opener that best suits your needs.

Direct-Current Opener

Direct-Current (DC) openers are fast, quiet and smooth. With a lighter footprint in your garage, their soft-start and soft-stop technology offers variable speeds. Some feature battery backup systems to work for up to 2 hours without electricity.

Brushless DC motors are more long-lasting than those with brushes. Find the best garage door opener repair services in your area to keep your system working in top condition.

Find Garage Door Opener Pros Near You

Pros & Cons

The best type of garage door opener for your home depends on your budget and needs. Here are the pros and cons of each, to help you decide:

Type Pros Cons

Chain-Drive Opener

  • Affordable
  • Reliable
  • Sturdy


Belt-Drive Opener

  • Quiet
  • Low maintenance


Screw-Drive Opener

  • Fast opening
  • Low maintenance


Jackshaft-Drive Opener

  • Quiet
  • Low maintenance
  • Aesthetic
Not compatible with all door types
Direct-Drive Opener
  • Quiet
  • Lifetime warranties

Direct-Current Opener

  • Quiet
  • Compact
  • Variable speeds


Popular Features

The best kind of garage door openers offer convenience with these popular features:

  • Remote operation
  • Manual release when needed
  • Security lighting

More modern models include added features, such as:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi connection and wireless operation
  • Smart-device compatibility
  • Motion-sensing security lights

Safety Tips

Technology advances make today’s garage door openers safer than ever. Some include vacation settings to keep your home safe while you’re not there. Others feature rolling codes that change every few seconds that prevent hacking.

Motion sensors protect your vehicle, children and pets from the dangers of a closing garage door. This is why they’re legally required since 1993. Motion sensors make garage doors safer for families and prevent unwanted damage to your car. Keep your garage door sensor in top condition with proper maintenance and the best repair services.


What’s the difference between AC and DC garage door opener motors?

Garage door openers run on alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). DC motors are smaller and more powerful than AC. They convert AC to DC power, for a smoother operation. Both plug into standard power outlets. GFCI protection is not required for electrical outlets that are not readily accessible, such as ceiling-mounted receptacles.

Are garage door openers compatible with all doors?

Not all garage door openers are compatible with all doors. Before buying a door opener, make sure it works with your door and that the door size is right for your ceiling.

What is a garage door opener horsepower rating?

Like cars, horsepower measures the strength of your garage door opener motor. They range from ½ to 1 ½ to offer the right amount of power for your door’s size and weight. For average-weight double doors or heavy single doors, you need 1/2 -horsepower openers. Wooden or insulated 2-car garage doors require a 3/4 -horsepower opener.

Not sure which opener is right for you?

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