Cheap Garage Door Openers

Best Rated Garage Door Openers

Our research shows that available garage door openers are generally dependable. Deciding which cheap garage door opener is best for your needs really comes down to the details.

There are four types of garage door openers: chain drive, screw drive, belt drive, and torsion drive. Chain-drive units, which have been around the longest, require the least amount of maintenance and tend to be the cheapest. Screw-drive systems, said to be somewhat quieter, cost slightly more. Ultra-quiet belt drive models surpass the cheap garage door opener price point altogether. Torsion-drive openers are the most expensive, and are offered solely under the Wayne-Dalton brand.

Garage door openers are sold under multiple brand names, although there are only three primary manufacturers. Chamberlain makes the Sears Craftsman line, the Chamberlain retail line, and the LiftMaster professional line, which is sold only through distributors. Overhead Door Corp. manufactures both Genie retail models and a line of distributor-only cheap garage door openers under the Overhead Door name; the company acquired the Wayne-Dalton brand in 2009. Linear LLC acquired Allstar Corporation in 2007 and continues to offer the Allstar line of residential garage door openers under the Linear name. Other product lines previously distributed under the Allstar label include Allister, Challenger, MVP, and Pulsar.

Limited retail options exist for the frugal do-it-yourselfer. Local hardware and big-box stores carry a handful of brands, usually Chamberlain, Craftsman, Genie, and Wayne-Dalton. Of these, Craftsman is exclusive to Sears. A company called Linear also offers cheap garage door openers through home improvement chains on a private-label basis, although we weren't able to locate any vendors. Brands such as LiftMaster and Overhead Door, as well as professional versions of retail brands, can be purchased through authorized installers. While the units themselves aren't necessarily more expensive than what you find on the shelves, you're on the hook for the additional expense of professional installation - usually around $100 per garage door.

Due to the small number of manufacturers, cheap garage door openers vary only slightly from model to model. It may be difficult for the typical buyer to figure out what the differences are, or why they should matter. Why is the Chamberlain HD200D recommended above the Chamberlain HD400D, when they're the same but for different accessories? Only because the HD200D - Home Depot's version of the Chamberlain PD210D - represents the better dollar value. The bottom line is that all the cheap garage door openers on our list rank high in user satisfaction, and their similarity frees you up to make a decision based solely on the little things - like, which comes with a keypad or happens to be on sale.

Cheap Garage Door Opener Types.

When selecting a cheap garage door opener, there are four styles to consider. The first and least expensive option is a chain-drive opener. The (starting at $140), (starting at $138), and (starting at $169) are all chain-drive units. Chain-drive openers can be purchased for as little as $138 or as much as $180. Cheap chain-drive garage door openers need virtually no maintenance and often last well beyond the 10-year life expectancy considered standard for garage door openers. Chain-drive openers are generally considered the noisiest, but newer versions are considerably quieter than older models, according to user reviews of the Chamberlain HD200D. Still, this may not be the best option for light sleepers or in houses where the nursery is near the garage.

Screw-drive openers start at about $160 and top out at around $230. Experts recommend screw-drive openers for consumers who want a quieter system than a chain drive but don't want the added expense of belt or torsion drive. Professional installers recommend that you periodically lubricate screw-drive openers with low temperature grease to maintain their integrity and relatively quiet operation.

Belt-drive openers are the quietest and also the most expensive garage door openers. Prices start at around $195 and climb up to $400 or so. But one downside of this design, as a Lowe's shopper discovered about the Chamberlain G248754 Whisper Drive Plus (starting at $248), is that the rubber belts may become too slack in hot climates.

Like the belt drive garage door openers, torsion-drive models are quiet and expensive ($250-300), and are produced exclusively by Wayne-Dalton. Torsion-drive systems are a good solution for a garage with limited overhead clearance because they can be wall-mounted. However, disgruntled users complain on Epinions and Amazon that the product is unreliable in cold climates. Other consumers gripe that these systems are hard to install, difficult to adjust, and the remotes frequently need reprogramming.

Cheap Garage Door Openers Motor.

The horsepower (hp) of a value garage door opener's motor directly affects the weight it can lift and the speed at which it does so. Most cheap garage door openers intended for home use have either 1/2 hp or 3/4 hp motors. A 1/2 hp motor, like that of the Craftsman 53920, Chamberlain PD210D, Chamberlain HD400D, and (starting at $174), is adequate for most single or double garage doors. If you have particularly heavy doors, you may prefer a cheap garage door opener with a 3/4 hp engine, like the (starting at $158). Don't know the weight of your garage door or how fast you want it to open? Err on the side of power and invest in a 3/4 hp unit.

Cheap Garage Door Openers Safety.

All newer model garage door openers have several safety features in common. First are "external entrapment protection devices, " like infrared safety sensors, that detect obstacles in the path of a closing garage door and stop it from closing when something is in the way. All garage door openers manufactured after 1992 are required by law to have these sensing systems.

In addition to motion detection sensors, rolling security coding was introduced around 1996 as another line of defense against burglary and home invasion. Before the existence of rolling coding, thieves could theoretically use code grabbing devices to "steal" your code if they were nearby when you activated the garage remote. Although this practice was uncommon, notes that consumers liked the extra safety measure, and rolling coding soon became a standard feature in all garage door openers.

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