Considerations - Garage Door Openers

So you're shopping for a garage door opener. Fortunately this is one product category where there are a small number of major manufacturers, and the things that separate one from the other are fairly obvious.

Most units have a light, a button you can mount somewhere inside to push (for when you want to leave the garage), a sensor that you mount by the door so it knows to stop if there is something in the way, and a wireless RF remote that you can use to open the door from in your car. Some units also have a keypad you can mount outside the house, so that if someone arrives home some other way (say, by bicycle), they can open the door without needing to carry an opener.

Noise Level

Air Conditioner

If your garage isn't attached to your house, then how much noise your opener makes may not be important, but if the garage door opener is mounted on the garage door ceiling right below somebody's bedroom, then you should consider a quiet opener.

The mechanism used to move the garage door dictates how noisy the opener is likely to be when it's in operation. Belt, chain and screw drives are typical. Belt and screw drive openers are typically quieter than chain, and also more expensive.


Most units run at an average speed of about 5 inches per second, but one unit in particular, the Genie Excelerator, opens about twice this fast (as long as you have a door that rolls up; if your door is one piece that swings open, it won't open it any faster than the rest).


Typical openers are 1/2 horsepower, or 3/4 horsepower. The heavy duty unit might be worth the extra money if you've got an especially heavy garage door (for example, a solid wood double garage door); but for most typical doors (even double), a 1/2 horsepower unit is adequate.


Older openers used a simple analog signal from the remote control transmitter to ask the unit to open. Modern units use digital codes that change every time you use the remote, so even if someone "captures" the signal when you're using the remote, and plays it back later, it won't open the door.

If your vehicle has the ability to "learn" the code from your opener, you'll have to make sure it's compatible with the opener you're thinking of buying. Make sure you check the vehicle's manual to see what it's compatible with.

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