Best Garage Door Openers: Open Wide

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 8 Best Garage Door Openers

best garage door openers open wide

Hands up if you’ve ever toiled on a car behind creaky garage doors with enough gap in the seals to let in heat during summer and snow during winter. Actually, a solid number of us have likely changed engines or replaced fenders curbside or in the parking lot of AutoZone. Ok, replaced wipers and batteries, at least.

For those of us who’ve grown up and gotten a real garage, installing a door opener is some of the best money one can spend. Every unit on this list has a remote control so you can sneak into the shop and work on your totally horrible promising project car after hours. Plus, most of them can be programmed to play well with OEM door openers (not that any of our horrible hoopties around here have such decadence).

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: LiftMaster Premium Series 1/2-HP Garage Door Opener

Yes, they still rate these things in horsepower, a mystifying measure for such devices. Your author finds great humor in looking at the sticker on the garage door opener installed at his home and imagining half a horse up in the rafters, toiling away. Fun fact: most LiftMaster items are compatible across their own product line, making things easy if you're replacing an existing unit.

LiftMaster kicks off our list because this is broadly similar to the one residing on the ceiling of my own garage. It works without complaint, refusing to rat me out when it takes me longer than it should to complete a tire changeover or do an oil change. Programming new remotes is a cinch with the well-labeled buttons and a wireless keyless entry pad permits the programming of one-time codes for when a delivery driver is dropping something off in the middle of the day.

Pros

  • Seamless operation, keyless convenience

Cons

  • Obnoxious branding on everything

Bottom Line

  • A great option for single or double doors

Yes, they still rate these things in horsepower, a mystifying measure for such devices. Your author finds great humor in looking at the sticker on the garage door opener installed at his home and imagining half a horse up in the rafters, toiling away. Fun fact: most LiftMaster items are compatible across their own product line, making things easy if you're replacing an existing unit.

LiftMaster kicks off our list because this is broadly similar to the one residing on the ceiling of my own garage. It works without complaint, refusing to rat me out when it takes me longer than it should to complete a tire changeover or do an oil change. Programming new remotes is a cinch with the well-labeled buttons and a wireless keyless entry pad permits the programming of one-time codes for when a delivery driver is dropping something off in the middle of the day.

2. Chamberlain Direct Drive Wall Mounted Garage Door Opener

Your author discovered this type of garage door opener earlier this year and committed to making it the next unit that he buys. The dandy wall mount garage opener mounts discretely on the wall next to the garage door, increasing the functional space in the garage.

How? By placing the opener astride the door, it frees up overhead space for anyone planning to install a lift or who's simply finding headroom at a premium in the place in which they park their car. App integration is part of the deal now as well, permitting control from anywhere you have a wi-fi connection. The seller of this unit promises "nearly silent operation" and I can confirm from first-hand experience this is a very accurate statement.

Pros

  • Great design, ultra-quiet, app feature

Cons

  • Double the price of conventional units

Bottom Line

  • My next garage door opener

Your author discovered this type of garage door opener earlier this year and committed to making it the next unit that he buys. The dandy wall mount garage opener mounts discretely on the wall next to the garage door, increasing the functional space in the garage.

How? By placing the opener astride the door, it frees up overhead space for anyone planning to install a lift or who's simply finding headroom at a premium in the place in which they park their car. App integration is part of the deal now as well, permitting control from anywhere you have a wi-fi connection. The seller of this unit promises "nearly silent operation" and I can confirm from first-hand experience this is a very accurate statement.

3. Genie Chain Drive 3/4-HP Garage Door Opener

Genie seems to be one of the major players in the garage door opener market, at least in terms of online sales. This unit is one of the highly rated and heavily reviewed items of its type on Amazon, good for a solid 4.7 out of 5 stars from nearly 750 customers.

The main difference between this option and others on this list is the inclusion of a battery backup system, permitting the door to cycle itself about fifty times after the initial power failure. Most doors have an emergency cord dangling inside the garage to disconnect the door from the chain in the event of a power loss; this works fine but there is definitely something to be said about being able to hit the remote if you're rolling up on a lights-out situation.

Pros

  • Battery backup, more powerful than other openers

Cons

  • Only a single bulb on smaller 500 model

Bottom Line

  • Get the 3/4 horse 750 unit

Genie seems to be one of the major players in the garage door opener market, at least in terms of online sales. This unit is one of the highly rated and heavily reviewed items of its type on Amazon, good for a solid 4.7 out of 5 stars from nearly 750 customers.

The main difference between this option and others on this list is the inclusion of a battery backup system, permitting the door to cycle itself about fifty times after the initial power failure. Most doors have an emergency cord dangling inside the garage to disconnect the door from the chain in the event of a power loss; this works fine but there is definitely something to be said about being able to hit the remote if you're rolling up on a lights-out situation.

4. Chamberlain Smartphone-Controlled Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

The cheapest of the three options offered by this company that sounds suspiciously like a command issued by Captain Picard. The simply-named Workhorse - also referred to as the BU100 across some of the promotional materials - comes with all the basics required to electrically get your garage door off the ground.

Its seller says the thing is good for either an 8- or 16-foot wide door, so long as they are they typical suburban height of 7 feet tall sectional. A 3/4hp motor hauls on a chain drive to hoist either a single or double garage door. This model comes with just one visor clip remote but does include a large pad button for use inside the house. Ratings are pretty good, too.

Pros

  • Smartphone options, quiet belt drive

Cons

  • Someone will surely complain it's able to be hacked

Bottom Line

  • Luddites need not apply

The cheapest of the three options offered by this company that sounds suspiciously like a command issued by Captain Picard. The simply-named Workhorse - also referred to as the BU100 across some of the promotional materials - comes with all the basics required to electrically get your garage door off the ground.

Its seller says the thing is good for either an 8- or 16-foot wide door, so long as they are they typical suburban height of 7 feet tall sectional. A 3/4hp motor hauls on a chain drive to hoist either a single or double garage door. This model comes with just one visor clip remote but does include a large pad button for use inside the house. Ratings are pretty good, too.

5. beamUP Workhorse BU100 Garage Door Opener

The cheapest of the three options offered by this company that sounds suspiciously like a command issued by Captain Picard. The simply-named Workhorse - also referred to as the BU100 across some of the promotional materials - comes with all the basics required to electrically get your garage door off the ground.

Its seller says the thing is good for either an 8- or 16-foot wide door, so long as they are the typical suburban height of 7 feet tall sectional. A 3/4hp motor hauls on a chain drive to hoist either a single or double garage door. This model comes with just one visor clip remote but does include a large pad button for use inside the house. Ratings are pretty good, too.

Pros

  • Cost-effective, you can make Star Trek jokes

Cons

  • Weird light positioning

Bottom Line

  • Very affordable way to get started

The cheapest of the three options offered by this company that sounds suspiciously like a command issued by Captain Picard. The simply-named Workhorse - also referred to as the BU100 across some of the promotional materials - comes with all the basics required to electrically get your garage door off the ground.

Its seller says the thing is good for either an 8- or 16-foot wide door, so long as they are the typical suburban height of 7 feet tall sectional. A 3/4hp motor hauls on a chain drive to hoist either a single or double garage door. This model comes with just one visor clip remote but does include a large pad button for use inside the house. Ratings are pretty good, too.

6. beamUP Centurion BU800 Garage Door Opener

Following briskly on the heels of Beam Up's budget unit is this top-shelf opener that includes a wide array of technology. It has a 1.25hp motor, the biggest on this list, which should raise a 16-foot wide double garage door skyward with ease. Extra LED lighting solves your immediate illumination problems, though we are of the opinion that there's never enough light overhead in a modern garage.

Included in the box are a motion sensor that'll flick on those LEDs for courtesy when you walk into the space, a pair of remotes, a keyless entry pad, and configurable tech permitting you to control this thing from your smartphone. Note that while this is a powerful unit, doors measuring 8- or 10-foot tall will require an extension kit ... conveniently available from the same seller.

Pros

  • Full-service package with modern features

Cons

  • Pricier than similar options

Bottom Line

  • An app-ready device with power motor and LED illumination

Following briskly on the heels of Beam Up's budget unit is this top-shelf opener that includes a wide array of technology. It has a 1.25hp motor, the biggest on this list, which should raise a 16-foot wide double garage door skyward with ease. Extra LED lighting solves your immediate illumination problems, though we are of the opinion that there's never enough light overhead in a modern garage.

Included in the box are a motion sensor that'll flick on those LEDs for courtesy when you walk into the space, a pair of remotes, a keyless entry pad, and configurable tech permitting you to control this thing from your smartphone. Note that while this is a powerful unit, doors measuring 8- or 10-foot tall will require an extension kit ... conveniently available from the same seller.

7. Mighty Mule 9000 Series Garage Door Opener

Your author won't argue that this is the saddest looking garage door opener on our list, with a simple black box and plain-jane illumination window. However, who really looks into the rafters at their garage door opener? Oh, that's right; gearhead weirdos like you and me.

This is a 1hp motor, so it's capable of opening large doors. Its belt drive should make the thing quiet and, despite my disparaging remarks earlier in the listing, that plain-jane light shade does cover a bunch of LEDs. It can also be configured to work with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Pros

  • Neat tech toys

Cons

  • Booooooring design

Bottom Line

  • Looks aren't everything

Your author won't argue that this is the saddest looking garage door opener on our list, with a simple black box and plain-jane illumination window. However, who really looks into the rafters at their garage door opener? Oh, that's right; gearhead weirdos like you and me.

This is a 1hp motor, so it's capable of opening large doors. Its belt drive should make the thing quiet and, despite my disparaging remarks earlier in the listing, that plain-jane light shade does cover a bunch of LEDs. It can also be configured to work with Alexa and Google Assistant.

8. Commercial Garage Door Opener - 3 Three Button Station

We're finishing today's list with this item simply because I like it and I'm the one writing the post. These commercial garage door openers are the kind you'll find in dealership service bays and U-Haul centers. Warehouses, too, if you're into that kind of thing. To be clear - this isn't the garage door opener itself, just the controls.

But what cool controls! They have a very satisfying feel to their operation, with each of the three buttons offering a tactile click at the end of their long travel. Yes, these are able to be used with a residential door if installed by someone who knows what they're doing. Recent reviews call this $12 gadget a good deal; your gearhead buddies will call it cool.

Pros

  • Looks baller (to car nerds, at least)

Cons

  • Your spouse might question its usefulness

Bottom Line

  • Pretend you're operating the doors at Barrett-Jackson

We're finishing today's list with this item simply because I like it and I'm the one writing the post. These commercial garage door openers are the kind you'll find in dealership service bays and U-Haul centers. Warehouses, too, if you're into that kind of thing. To be clear - this isn't the garage door opener itself, just the controls.

But what cool controls! They have a very satisfying feel to their operation, with each of the three buttons offering a tactile click at the end of their long travel. Yes, these are able to be used with a residential door if installed by someone who knows what they're doing. Recent reviews call this $12 gadget a good deal; your gearhead buddies will call it cool.

Garage Door Opener FAQ

What types of garage openers are there?

There are four main types: chain drive, belt drive, screw drive, and direct drive.

What are the differences between garage door opener types?

Chain drive units are the most traditional and most common, using a roller chain to pull a trolley (attached to the door via a drawbar) back and forth. Belt drive is similar but swaps the chain for a rubber or composite belt. A screw drive opener uses a threaded steel rod upon which a trolley rides to drag the door up and down. Finally, a direct drive only has one moving part - the motor - which moves along a spring-tensioned chain to lift or lower the door.

How do I program a garage door opener?

With almost all units, there will be a button labeled 'learn' or 'program' to help with this function. Generally, the user would press this button then - within a fixed time frame of usually a few seconds - press a corresponding button on the remote or control you are looking to program. Most have so-called rolling codes to prevent unwanted entry.

How much horsepower do I need for my garage door opener?

The bigger your door, the more power you'll need. Look for something over the 1 horsepower mark for double doors to be on the safe side, as anything less than that may struggle to open and close the thing. Consider the construction of your door, too; if it's made of steel, it is likely to be far heavier than a composite unit.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our [s]‘90s sedan shopping habits[/s] operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: GagoDesign/Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments
  • Jeff Semenak Jeff Semenak on Sep 19, 2020

    Genie has been around a long time. My Grand-Parents house, built in 1958, had one and it worked flawlessly until the house was sold in 1977. Heavy Redwood double car garage door.

  • Detlump Detlump on Jun 30, 2021

    I have 4 Chamberlain direct drive units in my pole barn. My personal experience - I have had to replace 3 of the 4 circuit boards in the wall mount controller due to failure. What happens when they fail? The doors open! So if the unit fails when you're not home, etc. you will have an open door whenever you get back or notice it. The default failure mode in all 3 cases was to open! As a result I installed remote power cutoffs for each so I depower them after using to prevent this from happening again. I have an alarm in my barn and the failed doors opened causing the alarm to go off and the police to arrive. Supposedly the problem is solved with new circuit boards but I am cautious about that. The power cutoff switches work for me as I don't go into the pole barn that often.

Next