Chain-drive garage door openers offer the most bang for your buck -- but they're noisier than belt-driven garage door openers. For those looking for a powerful, full-featured chain-drive garage door opener, the Chamberlain PD752D (Est. $170) looks like a top choice. This is a heavy-duty, 3/4 horsepower opener that's both reliable and feature packed. Feedback for the PD752D is highly positive. For example, Amazon.com users grant it a solid 4.5 star rating following nearly 190 reviews, with the vast majority rating it at 5 stars. The complaints that are voiced vary, though indications are that you should double or perhaps triple check the carton before beginning installation to make sure all parts are present and accounted for.
While chain-drive openers are usually panned for noise -- and the PD752D doesn't entirely escape such criticism -- many owners are surprised by its relatively quiet operation. That's especially welcome news in light of the fact that at 3/4 horsepower, this opener is powerful enough to open even heavy residential garage doors, including solid wood ones.
The Chamberlain PD752D comes with a full line-up of features. This garage door opener has Chamberlain MyQ compatibility built-in, meaning you only need add the Chamberlain CIGBU MYQ Internet Gateway (Est. $45) to have control -- opening, closing, check door status -- via a smartphone or tablet app (both Apple and Android devices are supported, and the app is free). Other features include two multifunction car remote controls; a wall mounted control that includes a remote lock out to secure your garage door for times when you'll be away; and safety sensors that project an invisible beam that, if broken while the door is closing, will stop and reverse motion. The PD752D also uses a rolling security code that changes every time you use the remote for added protection against break-ins. There's no battery back-up, but a manual release allows the garage door to be opened or closed in the event of a power failure.
If 3/4 horsepower is overkill for your lightweight aluminum or fiberglass garage doors, or if you don't need or want quite so many bells and whistles, the 1/2-horsepower Chamberlain PD210D (Est. $130) is a good budget alternative. There's no MyQ compatibility, though it can be added via the Chamberlain MYQ-G0201 MyQ-Garage. The car remote is a simpler, single function affair as well, and you only get one of them. But you do get the same safety sensors, wall control panel, and rolling security codes of the PD725D. If you want to save a little more, the Lowes-exclusive Chamberlain G248730 (Est. $120) is the exact same garage-door opener sans the multifunction wall control panel; it's replaced by a simple open/close pushbutton.
User reviews are generally strong. At Amazon.com the Chamberlain PD210D earns a 4.3-star rating after more than 140 reviews. Negatives tend to center on installation issues, missing parts, and sales issues with Amazon.com or one of its vendors rather than the garage door opener itself. Several note that the chain drive is a little short for their installation and grouse a little -- or in some cases a lot -- that they had to spring for a chain drive extension kit, which runs some $30 to $60 depending on length. A few also note that the opener is noisy compared to a belt-drive garage door opener. But most are pleased. Value, easy installation, and relative quiet compared to old-fashioned screw-drive openers are oft-cited pluses, as is dependable operation.
Feedback for the Lowes exclusive Chamberlain G248730 is virtually identical, right down to the same 4.3-star rating after nearly 120 reviews. Roughly 92 percent say that they would have no problem recommending their garage door opener to a friend.
One caveat with the above garage door openers is that models sold directly by Chamberlain are intended for do-it-yourselfers. If you are reasonably handy, owner feedback indicates that the job is doable, though perhaps not without a fair share of frustration along the way. If you have doubts about your ability to handle the task on your own, some retailers might be able to recommend an installer.
Another alternative is to purchase the LiftMaster versions of the same products (Chamberlain manufactures Liftmaster garage door openers). Liftmaster openers are sold primarily through dealer-installers, one reason Good Housekeeping recommends them to those who'd rather have a professional installation. If that describes you, the LiftMaster 8587 is the same garage door opener as the Chamberlain PD752D, the LiftMaster 3255 mirrors the Chamberlain PD210D, and the LiftMaster 1355 is the equivalent of the Chamberlain G248730. Because these are garage door openers are intended for the installer market, reliable pricing is not available on line, but a list of dealers can be found on the LiftMaster site.
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