Shopping for a new garage door involves several considerations including composition material and the visual style of the door. The type of garage door opener that will actually control the door is an important but often under-considered factor.
Here are the pros and cons for the most common types of garage door openers.
A chain drive opener uses a ceiling-mounted trolley system with a metal chain along a metal bar to pull the door open and push the door closed. The chain drive is one of the most popular garage door openers partly due to the affordable cost and wide availability.
Potential downsides to a chain drive include the noise. The metal chain running along a metal track can cause a decent amount of noise. This should not be a problem if you have a freestanding garage, but is an important consideration if you have an attached garage that abuts bedrooms or other quiet areas of your home.
On the plus side, chain drive openers are fairly strong, as the metal chain is unlikely to break with proper maintenance. If you do start to see wear on the chain, call in a garage door repair person for a new chain before a breakage does occur.
A belt drive opener has the same basic trolley setup as a chain drive, but instead of a metal chain there is a rubber belt pulling along the metal track. The rubber belt has a smoother path through the track, which makes this option quieter than the chain drive.
Belt drives are also able to move faster than a chain drive. The speed might become important if you have a particularly tall garage door that would otherwise stand open for too long after you pull in or out of the driveway. Shorter garage doors might seem to close a bit too fast with a belt drive opener.
A belt drive tends to be more expensive than a chain drive. The belt drive also requires more attention as the rubber belt is more likely to break than a metal chain.
Do you have a low ceiling on your garage or need to use the upper spaces for storage? A jackshaft garage opener might be the right choice for your garage. Unlike the chain and belt openers, a jackshaft mounts to the wall of your garage rather than the ceiling. Instead of having a large pulley system, the jackshaft simply connects straight to the torsion bar on the inside of your garage door.
Jackshaft openers are also quiet, but that quiet comes with a higher price tag. Jackshafts also require more frequent maintenance because there are more mechanical parts involved than with a pulley system. And jackshaft openers can't be used in every type of garage door, as only segmented doors with a torsion bar can connect to the jackshaft properly.