Users praise the Sommer Synoris Garage Door Opener 3/4-horsepower garage door opener for its solid German engineering. They also like the quiet, reliable direct-drive system; instead of using a motor to pull a chain or belt to raise the door, the Direct Drive's motor moves along a spring-tensioned, stationary chain. The Sommer Direct Drive is also available in a 1-horsepower model (*Est. $265).
So quiet, a toddler sleeps through it. Belt-driven garage door openers have a reputation for being very quiet, but the Sommer Synoris gives them a run for their money and, according to many user reviews, comes out on top. If you "thought the belt drives were quiet, think again," says one. Reviewers say the only sounds you'll hear come from the door itself -- the motor is effectively silent, even when lifting a heavy, 8-foot-tall insulated door.
"We both couldn't believe how quiet this opener actually is," writes one Lowes.com customer. "We have a 2-year-old toddler and her room is right above the garage. What a relief knowing she is no longer waking up each time the garage door opens or closes."
It's surprisingly easy to install, users say. Most users are pleasantly surprised by how easy the Sommer Synoris is to install. They report install times of anywhere from two to five hours, and they say that the instructions are, for the most part, easy to follow. Customers also say that one person can easily install this garage door opener, as long as that person has a second stepladder to help support the rail.
Reviewers also like that the three-piece rails nest inside each other, which helps fit the garage door opener into a variety of spaces; they say it's great for tight spaces where a longer model won't fit.
Reviewers do find a few flaws. A number say they wish that the Sommer Synoris came with angled metal mounting brackets instead of flat plastic mounting brackets to support the rail. They also that it's worth purchasing your own angled brackets for reinforcement, which is common among garage door openers. And finally, a few say too-long screws on the wall control caused an electrical problem that kept the unit from working, but that problem was easily fixed by substituting shorter screws.
With the Sommer Synoris, customers say there are no worries about making tricky force and stop adjustments. They report that they can position blocks in the channel to establish stop positions, and the door itself learns how much force to apply when starting and stopping; all they have to do is run it through the open and close cycle twice once it's installed. Users report that it opens all the way to the top, even on 8-foot garage doors, with no adapter needed to accommodate the extra height.
It can lift very heavy doors. Users praise the Sommer Synoris' quiet 3/4-horsepower motor. They say that it easily lifts the heaviest garage doors, from a 16-foot-wide, solid-wood model to an 18-foot-wide insulated door with windows on top. The Sommer Synoris is rated for doors up to 550 pounds. This garage door's weakness is speed, or rather the lack thereof.
Many reviewers say that no matter what size or weight of door you have, the Sommer Synoris is slower than most other garage door openers. Others say that the Sommer Synoris' lack of speed is only a minor inconvenience, and it's only a little slower than other models. Another user points out that you can adjust the speed in the middle of the door cycle, although the Sommer Synoris will always start and stop slowly.
Pleasant customer service conquers minor quibbles. Customers have few complaints about the Sommer Synoris Garage Door Opener. The few that do crop up -- minor issues with programming the keypad or adjusting the garage door to seal completely in the Down position -- are addressed quickly and ably by Sommer's customer service staff, which most owners praise as friendly and efficient.
For the most part, users are also happy with this unit's construction. "There is literally one moving part. It requires no, zero, nada greasing," writes one Amazon.com user. "Lots of good ideas here," writes one Lowes.com customer, an engineer who's pleased with Sommer Synoris' fewer moving parts, the way the chain powers the motor and provides a point for it to pull against, and a Motor Box that's smaller than the ones on other garage door openers.
We did, however, find a few complaints that although the Sommer Synoris is supposed to be HomeLink compatible, users sometimes struggled to integrate it with their car's system. Some also say they are disappointed that if you want a wireless keypad, you have to pay extra (*Est. $50). They say the Sommer Synoris, which lives at the higher end of the price range for garage door openers, costs enough that it should include a keypad.
A few minor complaints also surface about the two remote controls. The consensus is that they are, at best, a little odd. Some say the buttons are too small, but the remotes are too big to mount on a keychain and come without a visor clip.
Although we didn't find any expert reviews of this garage door opener, it's received hundreds of user reviews on Lowes.com, HomeDepot.com, and Amazon.com.
Consumer reviewers agree that the Sommer Synoris garage door opener's 3/4-horsepower motor and near- silent performance make it the best direct-drive garage door opener.
About 130 Lowes.com customers give the Sommer garage door opener a cumulative rating of 4.7 stars, and 95 percent of them would recommend it to a friend. The highest compliments are that this model is high-quality and durable; one user reports uninstalling and returning a new Genie garage door opener to purchase the Sommer Synoris.
Review: Sommer 3/4 Horsepower Direct Drive Garage Door Opener, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of Oct. 2012
More than 275 customers give the Sommer Synoris Garage Door Opener a 4.8-star rating, and 97 percent of them would recommend it to a friend. They say the Direct Drive is quiet and powerful, and that installing it is straightforward and easy when compared to other garage door openers.
Review: Sommer 3/4 Horsepower Direct Drive Garage Door Opener, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of Oct. 2012
More than 30 Amazon.com customers give the Sommer Synoris Garage Door Opener an overall rating of 4.7 stars. This is the only website where we found a cluster of comments that the installation instructions could have been better written.
Review: Direct Drive Garage Door Opener 3.4 Horsepower, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Oct. 2012