Drive system and horsepower are the most important
garage door opener controls what may be the largest, heaviest moving object in
your home (a garage door can weigh up to 600 pounds), so safety is crucial. Federal
law requires all garage door openers made since 1993 include sensors to prevent
the door from striking anybody who may be in its path. Automatic
reverse, which stops the door and lifts off any obstruction, is another common
what to keep in mind when you buy a garage door opener:
- Noise: If you're very
sensitive to sound or have living space directly above or adjacent to a garage,
a belt-driven or direct-driven model is your best choice.
- The motor: If your garage door is particularly heavy -- as is the case for insulated
models or those with extra layers of metal, wood or reinforcement -- a
3/4-horsepower or even a 1-horsepower motor will be better able to lift the
heavy door. Know your garage door's height before you shop. Every garage door opener in this
report can handle a 7-foot-high garage door without modification, but most
require extension kits for taller doors. Expect to pay about $50 extra for most
extension kits, although in some cases you may have to choose between multiple
extension kits based on your garage door's height.
- Professional installation: If you're not
prepared to spend a minimum of four hours removing the previous garage door
opener and installing a new one, get a professional.
- Remote-control reliability: If you live in a
densely populated area, the signals from all of your neighbors' garage door
openers may interfere with your own opener. Look for a dual-frequency garage
door opener, which automatically switches between two frequencies to reduce
features you're likely to encounter when you're shopping for a garage door
opener (and why they matter) include:
- Rolling-code security technology selects a new, nonrepeating access code from
billions of possibilities every time you use the remote control. This keeps
would-be burglars guessing at your opener's code, and it also keeps your
neighbor's remote control from accidentally opening your garage door.
- A keypad or touchpad
for remote entry. If this feature
doesn't come standard with the unit you
chose, it can generally be added as an option.
- Battery backup allows you to keep
using your garage door opener during power outages. This feature is rare; it
only shows up on a few higher-end models.
- Overhead lights are standard equipment on all the garage door openers we evaluated. Look for lights
that you can control independently of the door's opening or closing; some
models also come with a motion sensor to automatically activate the lights when
you're in the garage, and some can accommodate extra-bright 100W bulbs (instead
of the usual 60W).