Jun 21, 2022|

The Complete Guide to Smart Garage Door Openers

Garage door openers are an important part of any smart home security system.

Garages are often one of the easiest ways for intruders and thieves to get inside homes, and many homeowners leave their garages largely unprotected. Some people forget to close their garage doors entirely or leave the entryway door inside the garage unlocked at all times.

Fortunately, a smart garage can help you protect one of the most vulnerable parts of your home from wherever you happen to be.

This guide discusses some of the residential garage door openers you can buy. We’ll go over how smart garage door openers work, what you should look for in a smart garage door opener, and provide some helpful tips for choosing the best garage door opener for your home.

Car parked in front of a closed garage door.
 

How do smart garage door openers work?

If you have a smart garage door opener, you can use an app on your smartphone to control it remotely. This can come in handy in a number of circumstances.

If you’re at work and have a nagging feeling that you left your garage door open, you can check your phone to see if it’s open. If it is, you can close it without having to turn around and go home.

A smart garage door opener can also use Wi-Fi connection to communicate with other devices in your smart home to give you a fully automated home experience. Having interconnectivity between your devices allows you to control your smart home products from a central panel like the Vivint Smart Hub or from your mobile device.

You can do a lot with an integrated smart garage door opener. For example, you can program your garage door to close, your outdoor security cameras to activate, and the smart home locks on your front door to lock at 10 p.m.

Once you program your system, you don’t have to do anything more. A smart home security system will perform these actions automatically every day.

Let’s be neighbors.

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Smart garage door opener features to consider

You’ll have to decide the model features you want in order to pick the best garage door opener for your home. There are several types of garage door openers to choose from.

Here are some features that smart garage door openers can have.

  • Auto reversing: Garage doors produced after 1993 are legally required to have sensors near the ground that monitor if anything that will get crushed if the door should close. This functionality makes sure garage doors automatically stop closing and open back up if anything blocks the sensor.
  • Rolling codes: This security feature lets your opener connect with your garage door using different access codes. This doesn’t mean you have to type a different code on a keypad whenever you want to open your door. Garage door opener remotes with this feature communicate internally with your smart garage door and are much less vulnerable to hackers.
  • A battery backup or manual release: Your wireless keypad or wall console and remote may not work if you experience a power outage or lose internet connectivity. You’ll still need a way to open your garage. A door with a battery backup can still operate in the event of a power outage, and a door with a manual release function has a spring system that lets you open your door by hand.
  • Security lights: Garage security lights use a motion sensor to detect movement inside the garage. They light up if they sense motion. This can protect you if you’re walking around a dark, crowded garage so you don't injure yourself. Security lights can also serve as a deterrent to criminals who may try to enter your home through the garage.
  • Horsepower: You’ll need a garage door system with enough horsepower to manage your door. The amount of lifting power you need will depend on the size and weight of your door. For example, if your garage door weighs under 150 pounds, it may be able to operate fine with just 1/3 horsepower. However, if you have an ultra heavy-duty garage door that weighs 800 pounds, it may need as much as 1 1/4 horsepower.
  • Smart functions: Garage door openers with smart features let you open and close your door remotely using a smart device, like your phone or tablet. Smart garage door openers also let you schedule times for your garage door to close automatically. With smartphone control, you can even receive alerts when someone enters your garage or when you accidentally leave it open.

Are belt or chain garage door openers better?

Chain drive and belt drive openers are the most common types of garage door openers. Here’s an overview of how each one lifts your garage door.

A chain drive garage door opener uses a motor that’s attached to a chain—similar to a bicycle chain—to open and close the door. Chain-driven doors are typically the least expensive option available, but they can be noisy.

If your garage is attached to your home and you don’t want to be woken up by it opening loudly at night, a chain opener might not be the right choice for you.

A belt drive garage door opener works similar to a chain drive opener. However, it uses a rubber belt instead of a metal chain. This allows a belt-driven opener to have quiet operation—much quieter than a chain-driven opener. Belt-driven doors typically require less maintenance and last longer. However, they’re more expensive than chain-driven openers.

A few less common types of garage door openers include:

  • Direct drive: Belt drive and chain drive openers have a stationary motor and a moving chain or belt. Direct drive openers use a motor that moves along a stationary chain to make opening the door ultra-quiet. Direct drive openers are more common in Europe than in the United States.
  • Jackshaft: Other types of garage door openers attach to the ceiling. Jackshaft openers use a wall mount on the side of the wall next to the garage door. These wall control openers are extremely secure and have a deadbolt. However, they don’t have manual release and can’t work with one-piece doors.
  • Screw drive: These door openers use a threaded rod, or screw, to open the garage door instead of pulling it up a chain or belt. This allows the garage door to open much faster. However, extra-heavy doors can cause screw heads to wear out quickly on screw drive garage door openers.
Vivint Smart Home Pro installing garage door control in a user's home.
 

How to choose the best garage door opener for you

There are a number of things to consider before deciding on the right garage door opener for you.

  • The size of your garage door: The majority of garage door openers are designed to work with 7-foot commercial doors. You might have to purchase an extension kit if your doors are taller. You might need an opener with more horsepower if you have a heavy garage door, like one that’s made from solid wood.
  • Your other smart home devices: You’ll need your garage door opener to have compatibility with other security devices like your doorbell camera and smart locks if you want it to be part of a larger connected security system. Some openers can even work with home hubs like Amazon Alexa.
  • Potential power outages: Most garage door openers are electronic. That means you’ll need a way to open your door if the power goes out. Make sure your opener has a battery back or manual release function.
  • The location of your garage: You might want to get an opener that can operate quietly if your garage is attached to your home, like a belt-driven system.
  • Your budget: Different garage door models can vary in price. For example, belt drive openers typically cost more than chain drive openers. Take professional installation into account, as well.

Can you install a smart garage door opener yourself?

While it’s possible to DIY a garage door opener installation, it may not be the best choice. Whenever you install a garage door operator, you risk damaging it. Some retailers may even void your warranty if you don’t use an approved installer.

That’s why Vivint’s smart garage door opener comes with professional home installation. Our experts ensure your opener is installed properly and working with your other smart security devices to provide an optimal home automation experience.

Discover Vivint smart garage door openers

When it comes to home security, you want to protect every possible home entryway. A smart garage door opener offers remote control of your door so you can have peace of mind that your garage door is secure, even when you’re on the go.

If you’re in the market for a smart garage door opener, check out the Vivint Smart Garage Door Opener. It’s loaded with security features and is compatible with Car Guard, which enables your garage door to automatically shut after pulling your car out so you’ll never forget to close it again.

An expert from Vivint will also be able to guide you through the process of finding the best smart security devices for your ideal smart home setup. They’ll help ensure security devices like your garage door opener, smart LED lighting, and motion detectors work together perfectly.

Interested in seeing how a Vivint system can make your life more comfortable and convenient? Call us at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

Get a free quote today.

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