As any homeowner knows, there are a million unexpected choices to make when it comes to the details of your home. The garage might not even cross your mind until something breaks, but there are choices about your garage door opener you’ll need to think about.
The two main types of overhead garage openers are chain drive and belt drive openers. They both function mostly the same; the main difference is in whether a metal chain and gears or a rubber belt are moving the door up and down. Depending on your priorities, both are excellent choices!
If you’re replacing an older garage door opener, chances are you have a chain drive opener. Their affordability and reliability have made them a top choice for years - however, belt drive openers are becoming increasingly popular due to their durability, silence, and speed.
Here are some factors to consider as you’re choosing the best opener for your needs:
Belt drive openers are much quieter than their chain drive counterparts. That insanely loud garage door you have? It’s a chain drive opener.
Belt drive openers are recommended for garages where there may be a bedroom or office above the garage door. If you don’t want to disturb your family when opening and closing the garage door, you should consider a belt drive opener.
Then again, you might have a detached garage where noise is not a concern, so a chain drive opener and it’s louder volume might not be a concern for you! You might be able to quiet it by lubricating the chain, but a belt drive opener is your solution to getting a nearly silent garage door.
Chain drive openers need more maintenance because of the metal-on-metal friction. You’ll need to lubricate your chain drive opener at least twice a year to keep it in good shape. On the flip side, belt drive openers don’t need that same maintenance and generally last longer than chain drive openers. Both types of openers should last you about 10 years, depending on the make and model you purchase and how often you open and close it, though belt drives have the potential of lasting even longer.
For the best in WiFi controlled openers, we recommend belt drive models by Chamberlain openers with built in WiFi. We offer this opener in our Deluxe Belt Drive package. This model uses the free app MyQ that allows you to open and close the garage door from anywhere and will notify you when the door has been opened or closed.
This is a great option for homeowners who rent their home out for short term stays and want control of the opening and closing of the door, or for parents who want facts about when someone is coming and going at the house. Depending on capability, you can add on a wifi adapter to other types of openers, including chain drives, for an additional charge.
For a while, chain drives were recommended for many garage doors because of their greater lifting power. But belt drives have come a long way and are equally as powerful for all but the biggest and heaviest of garage doors. Chances are good that either type of opener will suit your needs when it comes to the strength of your opener.
Chain drive openers are the less expensive option, so if cost is your top priority you might want to choose a chain drive. However, while belt drive openers do cost more up front, they tend to last longer due to the trolley moving the belt, rather than continued friction that will occur with a chain drive opener.
Jackshaft openers are another, less common choice for a garage door opener. They are wall-mounted openers that are installed right beside the garage door. Jackshaft openers are great options for garages with either very little or a whole lot of overhead space. They also are a good choice for very heavy wood or solid glass doors or doors with numerous strut supports or heavy insulation. Instead of using a rail track to open and shut the door, jackshaft openers are connected directly to the torsion bar.
While they are typically used for commercial garage doors and are more expensive than overhead chain or belt drives, jackshaft openers can be a solid choice for your home if your priorities include security, long-term dependability, and strength.
What Package Should You Get?
We offer several different packages for installing a new chain or belt drive opener. Each package includes taking down and disposing of your old opener; replacing the opener, sensors, and wall button; programming your remotes; and a five year warranty on parts and labor. It’s up to you to decide what else you would like included: