What is the Best Garage Door Opener?
Has your garage door opener finally given out? Instead of automatically replacing it with a newer version from the same brand, you might be interested in comparing different options to help you find the best garage door opener for your Florida home.
Because everyone’s needs differ, garage door openers are not one-size-fits-all. Many brands and models will get the job done, but your final selection should be based on the style and weight of your garage door, any safety and security concerns you have, smart home compatibility requirements, and other desired features. Here, we’ll help you sift through the most important qualities of a garage door opener so you know what to shop for.
Most single- or double-car garage doors made of steel or aluminum pair well with a 1/2 horsepower opener. If your garage door is oversized or made of heavy wood, consider a 3/4 to 2-horsepower model.
The simplest way to determine what horsepower you need to lift your garage door is to check your existing unit. If this opener worked well for many years, buy a replacement with the same horsepower. If it struggled to lift your door or failed prematurely, upgrade to a higher-power unit, especially if your existing one is a 1/3 horsepower model.
There are three primary types of garage door lift systems – chain, belt and screw – plus two newer options introduced in recent years called direct drive and jackshaft. If budget is your top priority, a chain-driven opener is the best choice for you. If you’re concerned about noise, consider a belt-driven opener. For low maintenance, a screw-driven system is your best bet.
As for top performance and durability, direct drive and jackshaft lift systems are best, although these cost more than their traditional chain, belt and screw counterparts.
The lift system you choose has a significant impact on how loudly your garage door opener operates, but this isn’t the only factor to consider. The best garage door openers feature motor vibration isolation to help eliminate unwanted noise. If your home has a bedroom, nursery or other living space above the garage, vibration isolation can help reduce the disruption of opening and closing the garage door.
The average garage door opens at a rate of seven inches per second. If you want yours to move faster than this, look for an opener with a higher operating speed. If the opening rate doesn’t matter to you, a slower speed may help reduce wear and tear over time. Be aware that an opener’s speed rating doesn’t indicate its quality.
Power Options & Backup Batteries
As you shop for the best garage door opener, you’ll find that different models run on AC or DC power. Both types plug into a standard power outlet and operate seemingly the same. However, DC models tend to be smaller and quieter and have softer stops and starts. You also need a DC-powered unit if you’re interested in battery operation.
A high-end garage door opener with a backup battery can save you from getting stuck inside or outside your house during a power outage. This is not only convenient but can even be lifesaving if you have an emergency and must evacuate your home or get to the hospital during a blackout. Expect the ability to open and close your garage door up to 20 times on backup battery power.
A vast majority of garage doors come with two primary safety features: infrared beam sensors and automatic reverse. These tell the door when an object lies in its path as it closes, at which point the door reverses directions to prevent an accident or injury. These sensors are only active on the close cycle.
Garage doors are designed to protect your car and keep intruders out. Of course, this is only effective if the door is closed. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to accidentally leave the garage door wide open. That’s why timer-to-close is such a beneficial security feature. Models that offer this convenience allow you to go inside with your arms full – no need to come back out and close the garage door. It also eliminates the worry that someone could leave the garage door open on accident.
Other security features, including rolling codes and lock mode, are more mainstream. Rolling codes make it virtually impossible for criminals to steal the code from your remote because it changes every time. Lock mode is useful when you leave town because it prevents remotes or keypads from opening the door. When you return home, you must enter the garage through the house and program the opener out of lock mode before you can use it normally again.
Most garage door openers have two light bulbs: one in the front and one in the back to help illuminate every corner of the garage. These bulbs activate automatically when you open or close the garage door and remain on for a predetermined amount of time (usually 4.5 minutes).
Motion sensor lights are another option. These come on automatically when you enter the garage or leave your car, eliminating the need to fumble around in the dark for a light switch.
A less common safety feature is light activation when you cross the infrared beam. This is a popular feature amongst Florida homeowners who like to sit outside on summer evenings with the garage door open.
Remotes & Keypads
Most garage door openers come with two remotes, which are traditionally clipped to the visor in your car. If you have an in-car remote system, such as HomeLink or Car2U, make sure you buy a compatible garage door opener. Then, you won’t need to keep the remotes in the car, which improves security.
Keypads are another popular way to enter and exit the garage. All garage door openers come with a control panel to open and close the door from the inside, but not all come with a wireless outdoor keypad. This offers convenience when working in the yard or coming home on foot. You can even program a temporary PIN number for houseguests or maintenance workers. When comparing keypads, look for a flip cover to protect against the elements and a backlight for ease of use in low-light conditions.
Ease of Installation
If you’re keen on a DIY installation, it’s helpful to select a garage door opener that’s easy to install. Features such as pre-programmed remotes, snap-lock rail systems, and online tech support and installation videos set some models apart from the rest. Of course, if you get stuck, you can always call in a professional for help with the installation.
Smartphone Control & Smart Home Compatibility
A high-end garage door opener with built-in Wi-Fi lets you monitor and control your garage door from anywhere. For peace of mind, you can set up activity notifications to receive alerts any time your garage door is opened, closed or left open. It’s even possible to establish customized schedules to automatically close the garage door at certain times.
Built-in Wi-Fi also creates the opportunity for smart home connectivity. This makes it more convenient than ever to operate your garage door. For instance, you can coordinate your smart thermostat, locks and lights to react when your garage door opens and closes at certain times of the day, indicating that you’re either leaving or coming home. Check the compatibility of the garage door openers you’re considering with the type of smart home system you have.
The final way to determine if you have found the best garage door opener is to assess the warranty coverage. There should be three categories: motor warranty, lift system warranty, and parts and accessories warranty.
The motor is the most vital part of a garage door opener, so it should have the longest coverage. In fact, the best models have lifetime motor warranties. Lift systems are often covered for one to three years, though some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty. If a lift system fails, it’s usually easy to replace it without buying a whole new opener. A parts and accessories warranty – which covers remotes, wall switches, keypads and other components – should last for one to five years.
Garage Door Opener Services in Jacksonville, Florida
Whether you prefer a LiftMaster, Genie, Chamberlain, Craftsman, Linear or another brand of garage door opener, A1A Overhead Door Company can help. Tell us what your top priorities are from the list above, and we’ll match your needs with a model that will work flawlessly for you. For more information about garage door opener installation and other garage door services in Jacksonville, FL, please contact us at (904) 579-1123.
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