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SACS’ Complete Guide to Garage Door Openers


When you’re designing a new garage door from the ground up, it’s easy to think all your research and work is done the moment you hit the “Order” button. But that’s only the first half of the project! There are also a bunch of choices you need to make when it comes to the garage door opener you choose. 

Automatic garage door openers have come a long way – along with all the other post-modern, smart-house tech we use inside the home. You have price and horsepower to consider, sure – but you also have to consider the drive type, speed, springs, security features, and more.

Wondering what all there is to know about garage door openers? We’ve broken it down into this handy guide!

Garage Door Opener Drives

A garage door opener drive is the mechanism that powers the garage door. There are 5 types of drives to choose from:

Belt Drives

A belt drive garage door opener is a standard upgrade to the common chain drive opener. Because a belt is a continuous surface of flexible material, it provides smooth, quiet operation of the garage door.

Chain Drives

A garage door chain drive is one of the most common types of automatic garage door openers. They utilize a chain which raises and lowers the door. They are the most affordable drive for garage door openers, but the chain can generate noise and vibration. 

Screw Drives

Garage door screw drives are the most expensive option when it comes to an opener. They use a completely different mechanism than the pushing and pulling on chain and belt drives. The primary benefit is that there are less moving parts, which mean less maintenance. Your garage door will open smoothly due to how it operates, but it does generate some noise like a chain drive.

Jackshaft Drives

Jackshaft drive openers are mounted on the side of the garage door, rather than the ceiling. This makes them a good option for garages with limited headroom. Jackshaft drive openers are very quiet, but they can be more expensive than other types of garage door openers.

Direct Drives

This is the newest type of garage door opener drive and, for now, one of the most expensive. They use a direct drive motor to lift and lower the door, which makes them super quiet and super durable.

Garage Door Opener Horsepower

Garage door openers are not one-size-fits-all. An opener that works well for a typical steel panel garage door might not be the right choice for an industrial overhead door, or a solid wooden carriage house door. You’ll need to choose the right horsepower, otherwise you may end up installing a garage door opener that burns out from overload.


  • Door weight: The heavier your garage door, the more horsepower you will need.
  • Door type: Some types of garage doors, such as wood doors and one-piece doors, are heavier than others, and will require more horsepower.
  • Frequency of use: If you use your garage door frequently, you’ll want to choose an opener with a higher horsepower.
  • Climate: If you live in a cold climate, you will want to choose an opener with a higher horsepower to help it lift and lower the door in cold weather.


  • 1/2 horsepower: This is the most common size garage door opener, and is suitable for most standard 16×9 garage doors.
  • 3/4 horsepower: This is a good choice for heavier garage doors like wood doors or one-piece tilt-up doors.
  • 1 horsepower: This is a better choice for very heavy garage doors or for garage doors that are used frequently.

Garage Door Opener Security Features

There are many different models of garage door openers that include one or more modern convenience and security features that can benefit a homeowner.

First, let’s talk about the mandatory one. Since 2019, per SB969 every new garage door installation and new garage door opener installation must include a battery backup unit. This is convenient in cases of power outages, and potentially life-saving in cases of wildfire evacuations. Garage door openers with backup power units allow for 24-hours’ worth of use, and only need replaced every 2 years or so.

Now for some of the non-mandatory features:

  • Remote access via smartphone
  • Compatibility with home security systems
  • Security lights
  • Motion sensing lights
  • Remotes with rolling codes
  • Vacation mode
  • Timer/schedule

Cost Comparison for Garage Door Openers

Let’s get down to brass tacks – what’s this new garage door installation going to cost?

In Sacramento, the average overall cost for the new garage door opener and the labor for installation and setup is $419. The typical range is $253-$659, with the full range being $100-$950. So many things affect this price, including drive, horsepower, features, labor cost, etc.

  • The most affordable type of garage door opener will be a standard ½ horsepower chain drive opener with basic keypad/remote features (and a battery backup!).
  • You’ll pay more for a quieter belt, screw or jackshaft drive.
  • Smart features like remote access and home security integration will up the price point.
  • If you have a heavy door, you may need more horsepower or a high-cycle opener.

Two last miscellaneous options to consider in your search for a new garage door opener:

  • Solar-powered garage door openers are a thing now. These can save you money on energy bills, but may be limited in terms of power. Also, they’ll be on the higher end of the cost spectrum.
  • Manual garage door openers have always been a thing. They are far and away the cheapest garage door opening system. But they’re not convenient and not everyone has the ability to operate them.

See? There’s a lot to choosing the right garage door opener!

If you’re not sure what options will work best for you, consider discussing it with a garage door repair company like SACS for guidance in choosing the best one. We can always find the best combination of quality, convenience and budget, so you can rest assured your garage door opener fits your home and your lifestyle.

Garage Door Repair Guide: Replacing Your Rollers

Looking for a guide on how to replace garage door rollers? This is a simple repair but there are a few risks involved. First, you’ll need to place some heavy-duty clamps on both sides of the track, below the garage door. You’ll then disengage the emergency release lever. Using pliers, you’ll slightly bend the track and ply the roller out to replace it. It’s important to exercise caution here as the door could come crashing down and severely injure you. If you don’t feel comfortable replacing the rollers on your own, call a repair company for assistance.