Choosing the Best Garage Door Opener to Meet Your Needs
Consider Noise, Strength, Price and Value.
Deciding on the best garage door opener in the huge variety of brands and models on the market can be a difficult task. Follow our guidelines on how to choose the best model for your needs. Chain drive, screw drive, jackshaft and belt drive garage door openers have all been considered.
Choosing the best garage door opener is not a breeze as there are many things to consider when buying one. You need to consider the size and type of garage door you have, the location of the garage relating to the house and your budget. You also need to decide whether to hire a professional installer or “do it yourself.”
Although price is an important factor in determining the overall value of a garage door opener, a low price does not always mean you are getting the best value for your money. The ease of use, included features, warranty and suitability for your specific needs can make a higher priced opener a better overall value.
Following are 4 different categories to consider when selecting the best garage door opener for you. The best in the quiet garage door opener category, the best for heavy garage doors, the best for price and value and the best screw drive model. Consumer reviews are also considered for each model we recommend, which typically shows the real value and real life performance of a certain garage door opener.
Best Garage Door Opener – TOP PICK OVERALL
If you have to choose just one and you don’t have an uber heavy solid wooden garage door or custom carriage house door, the Chamberlain WD822KD is hard to beat. This well equipped belt drive model is outstanding among quiet garage door openers, highly rated by consumers and backed by a great company that offers a lifetime motor warranty. See below for more info.
Quiet Garage Door Openers
Among four different types of garage door openers, the belt drive garage door opener offers the quietest and smoothest operation. Quiet belt drive models are best suited for homes with living areas adjacent to or above the garage.
Chamberlain WD822KD 1/2 HP Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
According to consumer reviews on Amazon.com, Milo.com and Chamberlain-DIY.com, this model is the most popular with an average consumer review rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
The Chamberlain WD822KD is designed for the DIY market and most homeowners claimed that installation of this belt drive garage door opener is very doable and intuitive to set up. The owner’s manual lays out a step-by-step set of instructions, including troubleshooting tips.
The motor is so quiet you can barely hear it. As with all Chamberlain and LiftMaster units, safety and security features include automatic lock, motion reversal in case of obstructions, rolling code remotes and more.
- Two 3 button multi-function garage door remotes
- Multi-function control panel
- Wireless, keyless entry keypad
- 200 watt (max.) light system
- Motor Vibration Isolation System (MVIS®) for quieter operation
- Lifetime motor warranty
Typically priced under $200, the Chamberlain WD822KD is a great deal when you consider everything you get. It doesn’t fit the “cheap” category, but it definitely warrants the “Best Value” label.
Craftsman Model 53918 – 3/4 HP* Belt Drive with Battery Backup
The Craftsman 53918 is not only quiet, it is loaded with features, including battery backup, and it won’t break the bank. At about $200, this highly rated Craftsman model is ranked among the best garage door openers by consumers, and for good reason. Here are a few of the reasons:
- 3/4 HP* DC Powered Motor with soft start and stop operation
- Quiet Belt Drive lifting mechanism
- Full complement of safety features
- 2 included Security®+ 3 button rolling code garage door remotes
- Wireless, Keyless entry keypad
- 2 Light system with up to 200 Watts of light and adjustable delay
- 10 Year motor warranty
- 3 Year parts warranty
With over 100 consumer reviews on the Sears.com site, the average rating for the Craftsman Model 53918 is 4.5 out of 5 stars. Professional installation is available.
*The power for DC motors is measured in Newtons, not horsepower. This model uses a DC motor with power comparable to a 3/4 HP AC model.
LiftMaster 3850 3/4 HP Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
This LiftMaster Model 3850 is a belt drive garage door opener with a powerful 3/4 HP DC-powered motor and battery backup. This model fits the best garage door opener category in the professionally installed line.
The Model 3850 garners very high marks from consumers. With 16 consumer reviews on the Liftmaster.com website, all but 2 received 5 out of 5 stars. All of LiftMaster’s garage door openers have an extensive set of safety and security features, including garage door sensors and rolling code remotes. The Model 3850 also includes:
- An automatic door lock system
- Powerful 200 watt (max.) light
- Smart Control Panel® with time and temperature display, as well as a motion sensor to turn on the light when you enter the garage.
- Premium 3 button garage door remote that lights up when your hand comes near it.
- Standby Power to open and close your garage door up to 20 times in 24 hours if you experience a power outage.
Priced above $300 before installation, the LiftMaster 3850 is not cheap, but it is a great choice in the professionally installed category. For do-it-yourselfers, consider the comparable Chamberlain WD962KD. If you don’t need the battery backup feature, consider the LiftMaster 3585.
Best Garage Door Opener for Heavy Garage Doors
Chamberlain PD752D 3/4HP Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
The Chamberlain PD752D is hard to beat for strength and overall performance. If you need a workhorse, this is a great choice.
Power comes from a 3/4 HP motor fitted with Chamberlain’s Motor Vibration Isolation System (MVIS®). The MVIS® system quiets operating noise with a “floating motor” mount that creates a buffer between the motor and any noise transmission to your house. The enclosed gear case also offers continuous lubrication of the industrial strength chain.
Features are generous on the PD752D, including a deluxe control panel, two 3 button garage door remotes, PosiLock® technology to keep your garage door securely locked when it is closed, as well as the full complement of standard Chamberlain safety and security features.
Consumer reports for this model are outstanding, with 4 perfect ratings on the Chamberlain-DIY.com site and more than 60 out of 70 reviews on Amazon.com rating 4 or 5 out of 5 stars.
If you prefer Sears Craftsman products, Chamberlain also makes the Craftsman 53990 3/4 HP chain drive model with nearly identical features.
LiftMaster Model 3575 3/4 HP Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
The professionally installed LiftMaster 3575 combines the brute strength of a 3/4 HP chain drive garage door opener with a great set of features, including and Liftmaster’s Motor Vibration Isolation System to limit noise.
If you don’t have a 14′ tall garage door or the need for a premium control panel with a motion sensing light control, this model give you nearly everything the higher priced Liftmaster 3595 offers. Both models include 3 button remote controls, although the Elite Series model 3595 includes a remote that lights up when your hand come near it.
Best Garage Door Opener Based on Price and Value
Chamberlain PD210D 1/2 HP Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
For the budget wise, you can’t beat the Chamberlain PD210D. An affordable 1/2 HP chain drive garage door opener with fairly good consumer reviews, the PD210D is priced very affordably in the $150 range.
The PD210D has few included options, but it does include a multi-function control panel, one 1 button remote, PosiLock® garage door lock and the full complement of Chamberlain safety features.
Craftsman Model 53918 – 3/4 HP* Belt Drive with Battery Backup
When it comes to pure value for a highly rated garage door opener, it’s hard to beat the Craftsman 53918 at about $200. This powerful belt drive model is loaded with features, including battery backup.
The model 53918 also rates among the best garage door openers based on over 100 consumer reports at Sears.com. See Quiet Garage Door Openers above for more details.
Screw Drive Garage Door Openers
For loyal screw drive fans, here are two of the best garage door opener picks based on consumer reviews. Genie wrote the book on screw drive models, so it’s hard to go wrong as long as you first check consumer feedback on specific models.
Genie 3860 Direct Lift Plus Screw Drive Garage Door Opener
The Genie Direct Lift Plus is a very good screw drive model with a nice set of included accessories. If you have the choice between the Direct Lift and the Direct Lift Plus, go for the “Plus,” which includes two 3 button garage door remotes with rolling code security, a deluxe control panel and a wireless, keyless entry keypad.
Genie designed this model with a solid steel screw and fewer moving parts for longer life and lower maintenance. The 1/2 HP motor is strong enough to open most 1 and 2 car garage doors and the Direct Lift Plus carries a 15 year motor warranty and 3 year parts warranty. Consumer reviews are very good, with comments like this: “Does the job quietly and well.”
Chamberlain PD432D Screw Drive Garage Door Opener
Not to be outdone, Chamberlain designed its own screw drive model that is a very solid performer. The Chamberlain PD432D is a 1/2 HP Power Drive model with a low maintenance, enclosed drive screw for quiet, smooth operation, and a self-lubricating rail.
The PD432D comes standard with a deluxe control panel, two 1 button remotes and a two light system that produces up to 200 watts of light. This model carries a 6 year motor warranty. NOTE: If you live in Canada, the PD432D is not available for sale in your country.
Best Garage Door Opener – Final Words
If you are looking for the best garage door opener overall, the Chamberlain WD822KD is a real winner. This 1/2 HP quiet belt drive garage door opener will satisfy most picky homeowners.
For brute strength, the Chamberlain PD752D is a very good choice. Chamberlain’s MVIS® floating motor mount limits noise transmission for this model and makes it a consumer favorite.
In the low priced category, the Chamberlain PD210D is a strong contender if you don’t need many accessories and you don’t need a quiet garage door opener. The Craftsman 53918 is a best buy when you consider all the included accessories.
If you are loyal to screw drive garage door openers, you have probably owned a Genie at some point in your life. The Genie Direct Lift Plus has solid engineering, low maintenance needs and a nice set of included accessories.
Choosing the best garage door opener for your needs will hopefully be a little easier. It’s hard to go wrong with the models listed above, as long as the specs are suitable for your home and your specific garage door.