When making a decision on a new opener, there it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. With so many available options for garage door openers, we’ve made the buying process simple and easy for you. We’ve gone ahead and reviewed our favorite garage door openers from manufacturers we know and trust. Our 2019 review list for the best garage door openers highlights the key features from each model. Before jumping into our top opener picks for the year, it’s a good idea to know the difference between opener types and what each one can do for you.
Chain Drive vs. Belt Drive Openers
When searching online or in a store for a garage door opener, you’ll come across two types of opener. A chain drive opener is best equipped for heavier doors such as wood or doors larger than the standard 7 ft tall and 8 to 16 feet wide. The metal chain it uses helps in lifting heavier loads at the cost of increased noise. A belt drive opener is best for homeowners with garages connected directly to their homes as they produce much less noise. Despite having less lifting power, they are reliable and are a good choice for any homeowner.
Why Screw Drive is Obsolete
While at one point the most well known and common type of garage door opener (especially in the West), the screw drive has lost its appeal in recent years due to improvements in available technology. If you haven’t had your garage door serviced in the past 10 to 20 years, chances are you may still own a screw drive opener in your home. While their make was simple and fewer parts meant less maintenance, these internal parts were sensitive to temperature fluctuations and they were prone to freezing or melting depending on location. Today, very few manufacturers still make screw drive openers. Many still offer parts for maintenance purposes but you’ll have a hard time buying newer screw drive openers as more manufacturers begin to discontinue them. If you wish to read more on the benefits and disadvantages of each opener, continue reading more by clicking here.
Battery Backup Laws
With recent changes to SB 969, any newly installed garage door opener within California must come with a battery backup beginning on July 1st, 2019. The battery backup is an added safety mechanism meant to give people the ability to operate their doors even if power is cut to their opener. A backup battery can provide up to 24 hours of continued use. If you’re a California resident, continue reading more about SB 969 on our FAQ page here. Our 2019 review list will let you know if any opener is not recommended for California homeowners.
Smart Garage Door Openers
Technology has made it possible to equip new garage door openers with extra features that gives homeowners control over their garage door for a more personalized experience. Wi-Fi integration lets you monitor your directly from your phone. These Wi-Fi enable openers are known as smart garage door openers and they use an app called myQ. Both Liftmaster and Chamberlain use myQ. Added features allow you to do things such as control who goes in and out through your garage door, receive real-time alerts when movement is detected, and the ability to connect to other devices currently on your network.
LiftMaster WLED Garage Door Opener
The LiftMaster WLED Opener has it all. This opener includes Wi-Fi integration, reduced noise, and smooth operation while also being the brightest opener currently on the market. We can’t recommend this opener enough.
Best Smart Garage Door Opener
Using the MyQ app and the LiftMaster WLED’s Wi-Fi integration, homeowners are granted full control their door from anywhere in the world. This opener can connect to popular apps and services such as Key by Amazon, Google Assistant™, and Siri® through Apple® HomeKit™. Allow your dog walker into your home, have Amazon packages delivered safely inside your garage, and let your children inside the house once they get home from school all from the myQ app. You can also connect to a Nest camera for even more security and better monitoring of your garage.
- MyQ: Add an extra layer of security to your home. Get full control of your garage door no matter where you go, straight from your mobile device.
- LED Lighting: With 3,100 lumens of garage lighting, almost twice the amount of other openers, this opener will keep your garage door brightly lit no matter the time of day. Great for people who leave for work before the sun rises, or those who come home once the sun has already set.
- Warranty: With a lifetime warranty on both the belt and the motor, and a 5-year warranty on the LEDs and internal parts, this opener is sure to last you many years
- Battery Backup: Open or close your garage door even if power gets cut to your door. A battery backup can save lives during emergencies, allowing senior citizens or those with physical disabilities to open their door even during power outages.
- Belt Drive: The go-to garage door opener type for many homeowners, a belt drive is a reliable opener for many garage doors. They are quieter than chain drives and can reduce noise inside your home. If you own an attached garage, you’ll also notice less vibration and movement.
LiftMaster 8550W Opener
Just because your garage door rattles and whines whenever you open it doesn’t mean you have to get used to it. The belt drive system works in tandem with a DC motor to make it virtually silent. If you seek comfort, peace, and quiet then consider getting the LiftMaster 8550W. This belt drive opener is also SB 969 compliant to keep your door working even during emergencies.
Quietest Garage Door Opener
Thanks to both the rubber belt and DC motor, the LiftMaster 8550W opener is extremely quiet and operates smoothly without the noise and rumbling you’ve become used to hearing. This model is perfect for homeowners with any rooms directly above or next to their garage, as all you’ll here is a low hum. This opener is perfect for families with children and babies who sleep in a room directly above the garage, especially if you leave to work from your garage each morning.
- Quiet: Along with the rubber belt to reduce noise, this opener runs on a DC motor for even quieter operation. A soft start feature helps to reduce strain on the opener, resulting in extended life and lower maintenance cost.
- Smartphone Control: Full control of your door through the myQ app gives you the tools necessary to keep your family safe through remote monitoring and real-time notifications.
- Security: Wi-Fi connectivity lets you pair your garage with a Nest camera for even greater security! This opener automatically deadbolts your door and makes your garage almost impenetrable.
- BatteryBackup: Perfect for areas prone to harsh storms and power outages. A battery backup will let you leave and enter your garage even after power has been cut to your home.
LiftMaster 8587W Garage Door Opener (Outside of California)
If you have a door bigger than the standard, or if you own a heavy door (such as wood), you’ll need increased motor power to lift the extra weight. The LiftMaster 8587W is the most powerful garage door opener that LiftMaster currently sells. The opener uses a chain belt to support the extra weight and minimize strain to the opener.
Best Heavy Garage Door Opener
With ¾ horsepower and LiftMaster’s strongest i-beam rail to date, this opener was made for the heaviest of lifting. The extra power is ideal for any heavy duty lifting and is meant to last you a long time. The best opener if you own a heavy door and use it on a daily basis.
- Chain Drive: The durable bicycle-like chain in this opener ensures heavy lifting and less strain on the opener, reducing the amount of maintenance required from normal usage.
- Power: I-beam support and ¾ horsepower means this opener will never struggle when opening your door. Perfect for two car garages, wood doors, and heavy wind-resistant doors.
- Wi-Fi: Integration with the myQ app allows homeowners to stay updated on any movement linked to their garage door. Receive notifications and allow only those you trust into your home.
- Security: Every time you open your door, the opener is sent a unique code so that only you can open your door. Closing timer, motion detection lighting, safety sensors, and the ability to automatically deadbolt the door when closed ensures that no intruders get in.
LiftMaster 8500W Opener
Have you been thinking of using your garage space for something other than your car? For instance, maybe you’d like to finally build that home gym of yours you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe you finally have some time to sit back and relax and now is the best time to start working on your mancave. Perhaps you simply lack the space for a traditional garage door opener and you need something a bit more practical. The LiftMaster 8595 was designed for people like you. Because this opener is mounted onto the wall, it opens up extra space in your garage with the added bonus of less noise and movement.
Best Wall Mount Opener
Wall mount openers are designed for smaller garage spaces or for people with roof obstructions that makes installing other openers difficult. Aside from less noise and vibration due to the nature of the opener, the DC motor on the LiftMaster 8500 makes noise almost non-existent. The LiftMaster 8500W will give you the space you need to realize your garage dreams.
- Space Saver: Free up overhead space with the LiftMaster 8500 and give your garage a more spacious look and feel. A good choice for people who want to transform their garage into an office, a gym, or another room.
- Noise Reduction: Using a rubber belt, this opener will hum rather than screech when used. No longer attached to the ceiling, noise reduction is increased and vibration is reduced.
- Safety Features: Full control of your garage door straight from your phone. MyQ gives your door extra security features to help keep your family and your belongings safe.
LiftMaster 8355W (Outside of California)
If you don’t need the extra bells and whistles that other openers provide, such as opening timers, motion detection light activation, deadbolt garage door locking, and an LCD programming panel, get the LiftMaster 8335W. If you just want an opener that can open and close your door while saving you money, then this AC powered belt drive opener is a solid choice for you.
Liftmaster 8355 vs. 8355W
The W included at the end of many LiftMaster openers stands for Wi-Fi. It lets you know if the opener can connect with myQ connectivity for those who enjoy total control of their door straight from their mobile device. Whether you choose to purchase the LiftMaster 8355W or the LiftMaster 8355 comes down to two important factors. The first factor is: What are you looking to get out of a new garage door opener? If you only care about getting an opener that can properly close and open your door, then the 8355 may be a good choice. The second factor, which is the most important one, is how much time you’re willing to spend looking for a non W model. When searching online, you’ll mostly see listings for the LiftMaster 8355W as this is the newest version. You’ll have better luck checking your local hardware store for an older model. Each year, it becomes more difficult to find older models without Wi-Fi integration. Like the screw drive openers of the past, technological advancements have pushed openers without Wi-Fi integration out of favor.
- Reliability: The LiftMaster 8355 is the perfect choice for homeowners with a standard, single car garage door.
- Quiet: This model comes with the Motor Vibration Isolation System, which, combined with the rubber belt system, will make the door practically silent.
- Security: All openers include safety sensors and automatic reversing systems to protect your family and stored valuable from getting crushed underneath. While you won’t have motion detection lights or timers, you still get the necessary safety mechanism for a safe garage.
- Wi-Fi: If you choose to go for LiftMaster 8355W, you’ll get access to all the benefits provided by the myQ app.
LiftMaster 8160WB Garage Door Opener
The LiftMaster 8160WB was made for homeowners seeking an opener with all the latest features at an affordable price. SB 969 compliant, capable of lifting heavy doors with ease, and myQ integration makes this a budget-friendly choice for many homeowners.
Best New Garage Door Opener
Ideal for people seeking out a less expensive garage door opener, the LiftMaster 8160WB combines the power of a chain drive opener with the noise reduction and smooth operation of a DC motor for increased reliability. An ideal choice for California residents who need a more powerful opener for their door without compromising on noise.
- Budget Friendly: A less expensive alternative to popular belt drive openers, this chain drive LiftMaster 8160WB packs more than enough bang for your buck.
- Battery Backup: Most chain drive openers use an AC motor rather than a DC motor, which does not allow for a battery backup. This opener uses a DC motor. If you live in California and own a large or heavy door, the LiftMaster 8160WB is a great choice for the extra heavy lifting.
- Chain Drive: Perfect for people with an unattached garage or a heavier door, a chain drive opener is capable of lifting heavier loads compared to belt drive openers.
- DC Motor: While most chain drive openers tend to be noisy due to the chain belt that lifts the door, the DC motor allow it open more smoothly and is quieter than other chain drives. Perfect for those sensitive to loud noise.
Chamberlain B730 Opener (Discontinued)
If you need a reliable opener without the extra bells and whistles of newer openers, consider getting the Chamberlain B730. This is a belt drive opener running on a DC motor, which means you’ll reach ultra-quiet levels of noise and reduced vibrations compared to chain drive openers. While this opener does not include Wi-Fi integration, it is still myQ compatible – you just need to purchase a myQ hub if you wish to explore the extra features that a smart garage opener has to offer. This model also includes a backup battery, which makes it compliant with SB 969 and is a safe choice for California residents.
- Reduced Noise: DC motor and belt chain helps to reduce noise from door operation while simultaneously allowing for smoother usage. Let your family continue sleeping when you leave for work.
- Powerful: With a motor capable of reaching ¾ horsepower, this belt drive is ideal for two car garage doors. A great opener for homeowners who have larger doors that aren’t as heavy as one made of wood.
- Battery Backup: You’ll never have to worry about your safety or the safety of your family with this opener. Installed with a backup battery, in the case of a power outage or power surge, you will still have the ability to open and close your door for up to 24 hours. This makes it a safe choice for senior citizens or people with disabilities who may have trouble manually opening their door during an emergency.
Chamberlain B750 (Outside of California)
The Chamberlain B750 is pretty much the same opener as the B730 with two key differences. The main difference is that the B750 does not include a backup battery right out of the box. You need to purchase it separately and then get it installed onto your opener, which adds extra cost. Unlike the B730, however, this opener includes built in Wi-Fi that allows for easy access to myQ without the need to purchase a central hub.
- myQ technology: Access your garage door from anywhere in the world. Great for those who like having a smart home and full control over the appliances and gadgets in their home.
- Power: Like the B730, the B750 is great for home with a two car garage door. The extra power from the DC motor will reduce stress on the opener.
- Noise Reduction: Chain drive system combined with DC motor reduces noise significantly. Best for people with attached garages and a room directly above.
Summary & Next Steps
We hope this guide gave you the insight necessary to make an informed decision when you decide to purchase a new garage door opener. If you’re a savvy homeowner with experience working with hardware tools and equipment, opener installation can take about 2+ hours. Because of safety risks associated with improper installation and the possibility of damaging the garage door opener or the door itself, we recommend proper installation through an experienced technician. If you need help installing your new opener, call Garage Door Medics to set up an appointment for a new garage door opener installation by (858) 381-3567.