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Which Garage Door Opener is Best for You?


Garage door openers can vary widely when it comes to design and power. When installing a new garage door opener, it’s important to understand how each design works so you know which is best for you. You’ll also need to know how powerful of a motor you’ll need, depending on how heavy your garage door is.

Chain Drive Openers

Garage door openers that operate on a chain drive design are some of the most durable and affordable on the market. They use a metal chain to lift and lower the garage door — perfect for one piece wooden doors as well as heavy oversized doors. These doors hold up well to weather, especially in high winds like some winter rain storms we get in Sacramento. They do have one downside — they can be pretty noisy, a definite factor if your door is near a living room or bedroom.

Belt Drive Openers

If you do have a door attached to the house near a bedroom or living room, or you want your neighbors to still like you, a belt driven door is one of the quieter doors on the market. There’s no metal parts, so there’s nothing to bang or rattle as the door goes up and down. But since it’s not metal, the belt can wear out faster. There are two different types of belt drive openers with different currents. These include:

  • AC Drive doors operate at full power, which can be jerky and a bit noisier.
  • Direct Current Drive doors feature softer operation, which tend to not only be quieter but also more durable.

Screw-Drive Openers

These doors operate on a long metal rod that runs against a plastic toothed section to lift and lower the door. There are fewer moving parts, so screw drive doors tend to be affordable as well as quieter. These doors are perfect for residential areas, as well as businesses where a louder door might otherwise disturb the sales atmosphere. Because they have fewer moving parts, there’s less maintenance required, although frequent lubrication is necessary. If a door is not well oiled, it can wear down the plastic teeth faster.


A door’s horsepower (HP) is usually ½, ¾, or 1 HP. ½ HP doors are the most common, but might wear out faster for heavier or insulated doors. Openers that are ¾ horsepower are ideal for heavier doors, especially one piece wooden doors, double car garages, heavily insulated doors and doors wide load rating. These openers tend to be more expensive. 1 HP doors are designed for industrial or oversized doors usually meant for commercial businesses.

4 Types of Commercial Door Installations

There are 4 basic types of doors ideal for commercial installation. Probably the most popular door, overhead doors are lifted via a track or rail to a horizontal position with the ceiling. They come in a variety of materials, including glass and aluminum to wood or metal. Most are sectional and connected with hinges. Roll up doors roll up in to a single coil. They are thinner than an overhead door, but are extremely flexible and can roll up with ease. They are ideal when there is no room to accommodate rails necessary for an overhead door. Fire rated doors are a good idea especially in the Sacramento area due to the prevalence of wildfires in the face of climate change. Scissor gates move from left to right and can be constructed of highly impenetrable materials. They work best as reinforcement to a traditional commercial door.