Chain-driven garage door openers offer the most power for your dollar -- but they're noisier than belt-driven garage door openers. Consumer reviews are largely driven by discussions about noise level and how smoothly a garage door opener can raise and lower a door, although ease of installation also figures prominently.
With its lack of frills -- one remote control instead of two and no wireless entry keypad -- the 1/2-horsepower Chamberlain PD210D (*Est. $140), which is also sold as the Chamberlain G248730 (*Est. $140), draws the most attention from reviewers for its good return on value. But it also wows several users for its relatively quiet operation. Other owners are less satisfied, saying that the PD210D is quieter than a screw-driven opener but no different from any other Chamberlain basic unit.
The Chamberlain Power Drive PD752D (*Est. $200) -- also sold as the Chamberlain G248735 and the Craftsman 53990 -- pleases a few reviewers, too. "No loud mechanical or electrical noises when it's operating," says one Amazon.com reviewer. On the other hand, it also earns more complaints than the PD210D, perhaps due to its more powerful, 3/4-horsepower motor. Observations about noise level seem to depend on what sort of garage door opener reviewers had before their current one. For example, one Amazon.com user, having switched from a Chamberlain belt-driven model, can't get used to the PD752D's relatively noisy operation and writes: "Now when the garage door goes up or down it is like a freight train riding the tracks."
Owners say Do-It-Yourselfers can install a Chamberlain garage door opener, but it will take some effort. For example, an extension kit is required to accommodate 8- or 10-foot doors (*Est. $50 to 80). Sears.com, which sells the identical Craftsman 53990, recommends professional installation, and we read reviews by several exasperated owners who say they had to hire a pro after failing to install the garage door opener themselves.
That said, plenty of owners manage the task without incident and they say the project takes four to six hours. Be prepared for some frustration; we found numerous complaints about missing parts or poorly written directions. "It's not a great project for a beginner unless you're very committed and well-tooled," says one Amazon.com reviewer.
Owners say the Chamberlain PD210D is easier to install, taking between two and one-half and five hours. Having help makes the process easier, but most say installing the PD210D by themselves is no problem as long as the instructions get a good read. Once that's done, a Lowes.com customer writes, "anyone that can use a wrench will have no difficulty in completing the installation."
Although owners are generally satisfied with both the Chamberlain PD210D and the Chamberlain PD752D, both models require periodic maintenance. One Amazon.com customer notes that at $129 the PD210D is "decent in price, but not in hassle," while a Lowes.com user describes the quality of the plastic components as "ok, not cheap but not the best."
The PD752D isn't perfect, either. Some consumers complain that parts on the PD752D fail after just a year or two of service (or a few weeks, in extreme cases) or that the door can move jerkily when in motion; one even reports having to climb a ladder periodically to reset the unit.
For a little extra money, the PD752D represents the better value. It has a lifetime warranty; the PD210D's warranty is for six years. It also has two remote controls and a wireless outdoor keypad. Both models use rolling security codes.