Types of Garage Door Openers – 3 Options to Go For

Garage doors are essential as they protect vehicles when resting and not on the move from the exterior environments. Irrespective of the garage type, you can find them having sectional, sliding, and even roll-up doors. However, all these types of garage door openers have one thing common and that is they are featured with the basic function of opening and closing garages. 

While most folks appear unconcerned about garage door openers unless these structures develop faults, it is a crucial component to ensure it is pristine or at least functioning superbly. Indeed, if this mechanism malfunctions or stutters, it could disrupt your entire routine, trapping automobiles in or out of the garage and preventing heavy equipment from moving in and out.

Whether you want to install an opener for your new garage door or need a suitable replacement, choosing from the various garage door opener brands can be challenging. But don’t worry. Here is this guide to help you make the right decision.

Different Types of Garage Door Openers

Garage doors open and close over four times per day on average. Thus, the smooth operation is critical to the efficient and proper functioning of your home’s parking space. 

Homeowners who yearn to automate their garage doors had three options for decades: belt, screw, or chain-driven openers. But, there is a sophisticated alternative to the traditional one thanks to the development and introduction of residential jackshaft and direct drives. 

Some common understanding regarding the three main alternatives has shifted as well. Thus, there are three main groups of garage door openers that you can find in the market.

new types of garage door openers

Standard Garage Door Openers

These are the garage door openers people have been using for long and developed a trust on. Read on to learn why.

Chain-Driven Openers

Chain drive garage door openers and systems have been around for a while, appearing as the most traditional door movement mechanism for garages. Yes, they are pretty efficient for various parking space applications. 

Thus, chain drivers are found in many homes and work ‘optimally’ even though they aren’t the most flashy or fanciest. Chain drives are reputed for being extremely dependable, with a lower failure rate than others.

It features a chain that pulls/pushes the carriage or trolley, linking to a J-arm (a metal bar fastened to the garage door).

While this option appears as the least expensive, the noise and vibration of the system caused by metal-to-metal contact and vibration may be an annoyance. Much more, if the garage is sited close or beneath your bedroom, it certainly adds to discomfort. 

Never mind, as the noise level of current DC motor chain-driven units, and “soft start-and-stop technology” is substantially lower than previous machines.

Screw-Drive Openers

This opener for garage doors operates as a trolley riding on a threaded steel rod, rotated by a motor. Such systems are among the fastest these days, opening doors at speeds of 10 – 12 inches per second, compared to the normal 6 – 8 inches per second.

You may find it the most obnoxious way to open a garage door due to its noisy nature. But, it is simple to maintain due to the fewer moving parts compared to some other systems.

Again, screw-drive garage door openers often have problems operating in environments having high-temperature fluctuations from winter to summer and vice versa.

You need not stress; screw-driven opener manufacturers keep improving noise levels and such temperature sensitivity; hence, these new types of garage door openers are adaptable to varying weather conditions.

Belt-Drive Openers

Instead of a chain, belt-drive openers use fiberglass, polyurethane, or steel-reinforced rubber belt for their operation. The trolley is pushed or pulled by the strengthened belt compared to chain-driven variants.

Belt-driven garage door openers like chain-driven openers are quite dependable. But, you would find that these options are quieter. The belt gets activated by a switch, and the trolley is pushed and pulled through the track upward and downward, raising and lowering the garage door.

Since the operations involve fewer moving parts, there is a lower risk of something breaking. Thus, resulting in less maintenance over time, which means fewer problems for you and less financial pressure.

One disadvantage to these belts is that they are at the top of the price scale since they are pretty efficient and run quietly. So, this higher price may impede homeowners looking to cut costs.

DC-Powered Garage Door Openers

DC motors are more efficient, faster, lighter, smaller, and quieter, operating optimally and more smoothly than AC motors. These systems are among the best garage door openers and can install battery backup systems.

An opener motor casing comes constructed with the battery in newer versions. Based on the frequency of opening and shutting the door, the garage door openers can work for two consecutive days if there is a power outage. 

Other services, such as garage security, lighting, and safety alarms, will continue to operate with the help of the battery backup. Brushed DC motors lack the same lifespan as brushless AC motors, but you would find brushless DC motors have an extended lifespan. 

Many DC-powered garage door openers possess different speeds, which allows the “soft-start and soft-stop functionality.”

Garage Door Openers with Direct Drive and Jackshafts

These are comparatively new in the scene and so worth the attention. Read on to learn if they are a superior alternative to the traditional ones.

Direct-Drive Systems

Because the motor moves the trolley, a direct driver is the simplest of all opener types. As a result, there is no thread, belt, or chain in the entire process. This feature makes the door movements easier and allows a smooth and quiet operation that requires little or no maintenance. 

The motor moves over a stationary chain fixed in an overhead rail. Then, a metal, the J-arm, keeps the door connected to the moving motor. Irrespective of the size or configuration of your home, you can find the direct-drive opener working optimally.

Furthermore, such units are commonly built and developed in Germany. You can find these options having a lifetime warranty, even though their prices compare to belt-driven units.

Some downsides of Direct-drive openers are their scarcity, resulting from low demands since only a few people can afford such. Again, repair costs are quite expensive in cases of damage.

Jackshaft Units

People who are not willing to get chain or belt-driven garage door openers can consider the jackshaft garage door opener as a relatively modern option. Unlike other systems, this one is installed on the garage wall, close to the door. 

A 24-volt DC motor turns the torsion bar, raising the garage door through pulleys and cables. Kindly note that the door descends when cable tension loosens and the motor reverses. The wall-mount garage door opener is dependable as well as silent. 

Furthermore, it frees up the ceiling for overhead storage and works well in garages with high or low ceilings. While most other types of openers are more expensive than jackshaft openers, their compatibility is pretty selective.

Still, it is great for garages with vaulted, lowered, or damaged ceilings that make installing typical garage door openers challenging without extensive upgrades.

Tips for Buying the Right Garage Door Openers

The smooth movement of garage doors makes it easy to check on your vehicle when the car alarm goes off and ensures you move in and out of the parking space without any hassles. Choosing a garage door opener is not always easy since you need to compare the types of garage door openers you would find.

Before getting started with the purchase, you should consider a few things.

Your Budget

Determine your available finances before beginning your search for garage door openers. When making a decision, this is one crucial thing you should regard. Get down on researching garage door opener costs to discover the normal price tags, and then decide on your specific budget.

If it is affordable, the belt drive is a good option. Chain drive garage openers are the most cost-effective option.

Size and Weight of the Garage Door

This factor is another crucial aspect to consider, as it helps you make a better choice. While there are vast options, a screw drive might not be the ideal solution if you have a large garage door that is also hefty; but a chain drive could work. Also, if your garage door’s length exceeds the usual, you may require an extension kit to make it work properly.

Noise Level

Unless you’re convinced that the noise won’t bother you, then the chances are that the level of noise from the garage door opener will soon start to disrupt your sleep. This issue becomes more unbearable if you have an attached garage system. 

Experts propose that homeowners look into quieter choices if your garage is directly near your living space. If you’re concerned about noise, a belt or screw drive garage opener is quieter than a few types of garage openers.

Safety Features

Choose a garage opener with safety properties such as infrared beams, automatic reversing action sensors, and rolling codes when buying one. Such an action would prevent likely incidents that could lead to severe casualties.


Be sure to examine the horsepower figures. Garage door opener motors having a horsepower rating of ½ to 1-½ horsepower should be suitable for residential purposes. For double-car sectional garage doors, ½ horsepower is sufficient. More horsepower is required for heavier or one-piece doors.

types of genie garage door openers


Which garage door opener type is the best?

If you want to learn about the “types of garage door openers” comparisons, you should know that each comes with its peculiar features. Thus, these garage door opening systems are effective irrespective of their downsides.

Again, some cost more than others. While chain openers have higher tension strengths, you may find them very noisy, unlike the belt counterparts. However, it is best to consider the mechanism of the door openers, the door weight, safety features, horsepower, and your budget to get the right one.

Is belt drive or screw drive better?

It is no longer news that belt garage door openers have one of the smoothest and quietest operations compared to screw-driven garage door openers. Belt garage door openers do a fine job lifting various garage door types and have excellent speed.

Nevertheless, screw drive systems are quicker to install, thanks to the straightforward process. Furthermore, screw drive units work well for heavier doors, and their operation is not overly noisy, having more efficient power transfer during the entire lifting motion.

Is Genie better than Chamberlain?

Genie and Chamberlain are independent companies that produce excellent garage door openers. Thus, you can find different types of Genie garage door openers with excellent features and high efficiency.

Comparing Genie to Chamberlain garage door openers, you would find both the top model lines available in the market. But, most homeowners prefer Chamberlain door openers for their garages, thanks to their awesome construction and good backup battery offer.

What’s better, chain or belt garage opener?

Both chain and belt-driven garage door openers are famous and make about 95% of the sales within the market. While chain units have greater strengths for handling high tensioned gates or doors and can last for long periods, they are very noisy.

On the other hand, belt drives are quite easy to maintain, support fair door movement speeds, allow a smooth and quiet operation, and allow a stress-free installation process. On the flipside, belt-driven garage door openers have shorter lifespans and lesser strength than chain versions.

What is the average lifespan of the opening units of garage doors?

Garage door openers aren’t built to last indefinitely like other mechanical devices. Some openers last longer than others, but be sure to create a regular maintenance routine to help them last longer. 

Kindly note that these garage door components won’t offer the same results after ten years, even with normal maintenance. Electric openers for garage doors typically have a 10 to 15-year lifespan. This prediction doesn’t mean that your operator won’t survive a little longer. It’s important to remember that this is an average.

What garage door opener type remains the quietest?

The belt drive units are ideal for those who prefer a quiet garage door opener among the three standard garage door openers. Thanks to the reinforced rubber belt in the system, it offers an extraordinarily smooth door action and is notoriously silent. 

Options that run on a DC power are not only quiet during operations but are pretty affordable and would duly serve their purpose for a long period.

What distinguishes AC and DC garage door openers?

The main distinguishing feature between AC and DC garage door openers is the motor types that work in them. While an AC alternates between the power source and the load, a DC moves in a single direction.

Since DC motors employ fewer quantities of power supply, you would find them running almost quietly compared to various AC door opener units.

How much horsepower does a garage door need?

A garage door opener with a motor horsepower rating of 1/2 to 1-1/2 horsepower is sufficient for household use. 1/2 horsepower is suitable for two-car sectional garage doors. For weightier or single-piece doors, more horsepower is necessary.

The table below can help you understand better.

Horsepower Recommended Door Weight
1/4 HP or 1/3 HP Weight reaching 150 lbs.
½ HP Weight reaching 350 lbs.
¾ HP Weight reaching 600 lbs.
1HP Weight reaching 750 lbs.
1 ¼ HP More than 750 lbs.

Can I convert a chain-driven garage door opener to a belt drive?

You can consider switching your garage door’s chain drive to a belt drive if you desire less frequent garage door maintenance and less noise overall. A belt-driven garage door opener will provide a better alternative for quieter operations of your garage door.

Final Words

Since the 1920s, garage door openers have undergone various improvements and have come a long way. There are three basic types of garage door openers; chain drive, belt drive, and screw drive. 

Nevertheless, you can find a few recent additions, with sturdy and efficient constructions such as the jackshaft and direct drives. Kindly read this article to understand the features and operations of various garage door openers and decide which one is right for you.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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