The 7 Best Garage Door Openers of 2020

All the best garage door openers to make your life easier

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Our Top Picks
"This powerful garage door opener has superior features like LED lights."
"This budget friendly garage door opener that carries the Chamberlain name covers all of the bases."
"Has built-in Wi-Fi and can tell you when the door opens or closes."
"A great pick if you want an opener that won’t rattle and shake."
"Faster than both chain and belt drive garage door openers."
"Proprietary direct screw drive delivers exceptional power for ultra-fast opening."
"The LiftMaster 8500 frees up overhead room in the garage."

Garage door openers are one of those products that you don't notice much until they're broken. While choosing a new one may seem straightforward—you just need one that opens, right?—there's actually a fair amount to consider when buying one. For instance, if you live in a smaller home or have a bedroom by the garage, a noisy chain-driven model might not be for you, while home owners with heavy garage doors will need a pick that won't be strained by the extra weight. You also might want to consider an opener with smart features, like being able to open or close your door while away from home. We've researched the top picks to find you the best fit for your home's needs.

Here are the best garage door openers.

Best Overall: Chamberlain B1381 Bright LED Lighting Smartphone

For a garage door opener that delivers a high-end experience and superior features, look no further than the Chamberlain B1381 Smart Garage Door Opener with Battery Backup. This powerful garage door opener has the equivalent of 1 and ¼ horsepower, giving extra lifting power to the belt drive system. It can lift even heavy paneled garage doors, according to users.

Where it really shines as a high-end garage door opener is in the features category. Most notably, the overhead light delivers superior illumination when compared to many other models of garage door openers. There are 100 LED diodes on a light board that provide excellent lighting conditions in the garage—which is especially useful if you use the space as a workshop, for hobbies, or performing car repairs. The lights can be controlled with a motion sensor or manually, and there is an automatic shut-off feature available. In the event of a power failure, you’ll appreciate that this model comes equipped with an onboard battery backup.

The Chamberlain B1381 is also compatible with MyQ, so you can check to see if you left the garage door open (again). Even better, though, is the fact that you can set this high-end garage door opener to automatically shut after a specified period of time. We also like the fact that the control pad has received a 21st-century update and features an LED display that by default displays the current time. In the event of an issue, the display will give you an error code so you can diagnose and correct the problem.

Between the lifting power, incredible illumination, smart door capabilities, and informative LED keypad, this high-end garage door opener is a worthwhile upgrade for your home. It’s pricey when compared to the most basic models of openers but gives you plenty of reasons to splurge on this reliable model.

Best Budget: ChamberlainGarage 1/2 HP Heavy-Duty Chain Drive Smart Garage Door Opener

A budget garage door opener can still get the job done and offer you the convenience and security you’re looking for. Case in point: the Chamberlain C205. This chain drive garage door opener is small but mighty and carries an affordable price tag that won’t break the bank.

Carrying the Chamberlain name, the C205 gives you the equivalent lifting power of a ½ horsepower. That doesn’t sound like much but used in combination with a heavy-duty chain drive system, it’s enough to lift your standard 7-foot garage door. In addition, the Posilock antitheft system ensures that once you’ve closed the door it stays shut. Even though this is a chain drive garage door opener, customers note that the output of noise during operation is better than they anticipated.

The Chamberlain C205 is compatible with the brand’s popular MyQ garage door hub, so that is a bonus if you want to spring for the option of monitoring your garage door remotely.

Best with Wi-Fi: Chamberlain C870 Smartphone-Controlled Garage Door Opener

Don’t ever worry about leaving your garage door open again with the Chamberlain C870 Smart Garage Door Opener. This powerful and well-equipped opener has built-in Wi-Fi and can tell you when the door opens, closes, or is left open too long.

Chamberlain has brought garage doors into the 21st century with their myQ app that allows you to check the status of your garage door from anywhere. However, you usually need to buy and install a separate hub to make this possible. The Chamberlain C870 eliminates the need to purchase a separate hub because it's equipped with built-in Wi-Fi. After installing the opener, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect the unit to your home’s internet connection and then download the myQ app for instant control of your garage door. The myQ technology onboard this Wi-Fi garage door opener makes it compatible with a variety of smart home systems, too. Control your garage door with Google Home, Nest, Wink, IFTTT, or Xfinity Home. Note that myQ requires you to pay a subscription fee to gain access to some of these services.

Aside from this garage door opener’s smarts, people find the chain drive operation to be reliable and surprisingly quiet. The smooth action and heavy-duty chain make the opening and closing process quick and efficient.

Best Belt Drive: Genie SilentMax 750 3/4 HP Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

Belt drive garage door openers have become very popular for their quiet and smooth operation. The Genie SilentMax 750 is a great pick if you want a garage door opener that won’t rattle and shake your whole house every time someone enters or exits the garage.

This model doesn’t compromise on power either; it has the equivalent of ¾ horsepower to quickly and easily lift garage doors and a load up to 500 pounds. It's important to note that while this model can handle a 7-foot garage door, and an extension kit is available for up to an 8-foot door, there is no option for a 10-foot door.

Best Screw Drive: Genie MachForce 2 HPc Premium Garage Door Opener

For a garage door opener that is quieter than your typical chain-drive model, consider the convenience of a screw drive garage door opener. These openers use a threaded rod to push and pull a trolley that lifts and lowers your garage door with ease. The Genie MachForce is our top pick for a powerful screw drive garage door opener.

This model is equipped with a 2-horsepower motor to handle all your lifting needs. Unlike chain drive openers which may need periodic adjustment, a screw drive system requires little maintenance and is faster than both chain and belt drive garage door openers. People frequently comment on the speed at which the MachForce opens the garage door, with one person reporting that it cut opening time by a third.

A screw drive system is quieter than a chain garage door opener, but not quite as quiet as a belt driven garage door opener. It offers plenty of lifting power though, and it's a good choice if you don’t want to worry about frequent maintenance. However, some people report that this type of garage door opener isn’t as reliable in extreme temperature ranges, so that’s something to consider if you live in such a climate. If you're on the fence, don’t let the difference in mechanism scare you away from opting for a screw drive garage door opener, as most people found the Genie MachForce to be fairly simple to install.

Runner-Up, Best Screw Drive: Genie Excelerator 1 HP Screw Drive Garage Door Opener

Another unbeatable option when it comes to screw drive garage door openers is the Genie Excelerator 1 HP Screw Drive Garage Door Opener. This model has a proprietary direct screw drive that delivers exceptional power for ultra-fast opening and long-term durability, even for the heaviest of garage doors.

The Genie Excelerator is powered by a 1 HP DC motor, which can smoothly and quietly open garage doors up to 8 feet tall (as compared to AC motors). It has an enclosed, reinforced C-channel rail system, as well as two pre-programmed remotes, a wireless keypad, and a multi-function wall console that has a vacation lock and light control button. Because there are fewer moving parts with this set-up, there are fewer parts that can break.

Arguably, the best part about this purchase is that it includes professional installation from a Genie professional. All you have to do is sit back and relax as someone else sets up your new garage door opener!

Best Wall-Mounted: LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series 8500 Jackshaft Operator

Save overhead space by opting for a wall-mounted garage door opener, like the LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series. Also called a jackshaft garage door opener, this model mounts to the side of your garage door and does its work from there.

The advantage of the wall-mounted LiftMaster 8500 is the fact that it frees up overhead room in the garage since it skips the usual track necessary to lift the door from above. People that use their garage as a man cave or want more ceiling space for storage (like hanging bikes) will appreciate the extra room. Another bonus of the LiftMaster 8500 is the included garage door deadbolt that can be set to automatically lock. This extra security measure makes it tougher for someone to manually pry open the garage door.

This model was described by one user as the quietest and most secure garage door opener they’ve ever had, and that makes sense—since the noise and vibration of the opener are centered on the exterior wall of the garage, rather than the ceiling. However, the biggest complaint about the LiftMaster 8500 is that the connection to myQ is unreliable—users have had mixed success getting the unit to communicate with their smart device.

Final Verdict

The best overall garage door opener is the Chamberlain B1381 Belt Drive Garage Door Opener (view at Home Depot). When you download the associated app you can control your garage doors no matter where you are. If you're looking for a budget pick, check out the Chamberlain Garage Chain Drive Smart Garage Door Opener (view at Home Depot). This mighty garage opener gets the job done without breaking the bank.

What to Look for in a Garage Door Opener

Drive type Garage door openers work in a variety of ways. A chain-drive model raises and lowers doors with a metal chain — these tend to be inexpensive and able to handle heavier doors, but they’re loud. A belt-drive opener uses a belt and operates more smoothly and quietly. Screw-drive openers, which lift doors with a threaded steel rod, are also quiet and don’t require much maintenance. Finally, a direct-drive opener operates as a single unit — the whole contraption moves to lift the door. These tend to be the quietest, smoothest mechanisms available.

Horsepower You’ll also want to consider the horsepower of your opener. Typically, 1/2 horsepower will work for most doors in newer homes. If you have a heavier solid wood door, though, you may want to opt for 3/4 horsepower so it can lift it with ease. You can also get 1 and 1 1/2 horsepower models, but those are a better fit for commercial or special situations.

Security Since 1993, all garage door openers have been required to have a special reversing mechanism to prevent closure if a child, pet, or car is in the way — but in terms of additional security features, you get what you pay for. If safety is a top concern, opt for a model that changes the access code after each use to prevent a break in.

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