Residential Garage Door Opener Types: Chain Drive, Screw Drive, Belt Drive, and Side Mount.
Garage door openers consist of belt, chain, screw (discontinued- see below), and side-mount applications. Factors such as price, durability, and technological advances have each contributed to the current garage door opener market. Let’s take a look at each type of garage door opener.
Builders tend to use chain-driven openers because of their cheaper components and simpler construction. As the true original form of electronic garage door openers, there’s no denying that the chain drive transformed the way we live. Since the garage door opener became mainstream, a majority of Americans now use their garage like a front door. Chain drives are cheap, plain and simple. Their quality is questionable, their durability involves plastic cheap components, the warranty is nowhere near that of other garage door openers, and they are down right noisy. Most consumers are choosing not to have chain driven garage door openers installed, which has led to a change in retail sales focus for large corporations. Chain drives are rarely available even at your typical home improvement stores. There are models that account for the growing demand for wood faced, or “overlay” garage doors. These garage doors are much heavier- up to twice as heavy. For this reason, the chain drive can be quite practical for such applications.
Screw Driven Garage Door Openers
Screw Driven Openers came along and had their glory years. For a period of about 20 years, the screw drive garage door opener was the best thing available. These openers addressed the issue of being loud, and popularized newer features such as battery backup systems, infrared safety sensors, and electronic limit and force settings. Unfortunately, the screw drive has really gone by the wayside, as consumers typically choose between two options…the chain drive or the belt drive. The screw driven garage door openers are well known for having terrible trouble during above average temperature changes, and still contain cheaper plastic parts used for main operating functions- much like the chain drives.
UPDATE 2017: Screw Drive garage door openers have been discontinued by all major manufacturers.
Belt Driven Garage Door Openers
These are the most popular garage door opener in today’s market for several reasons. The belt driven opener brought a new age of technology to the garage, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. Belt driven garage door openers brought wireless control from anywhere in the world using our phones and laptops, automatic self-adjusting limits, lifetime warranties on major drive components, fingerprint access technology, DC motors with self-lubricating gears encased in steel housings, automatic closing features, and more is yet to come. Even the lower end of belt driven garage door openers offer so much more than the openers of the 1980’s and 1990’s.
The jackshaft garage door openers are applied to the side of a garage door, rather than along the ceiling. Side-mount openers use a shaft collar that attaches the opener to the end of the garage door shaft. When installed properly, the jackshaft is much more useful for situations that call for high lift garage doors, or homes with ceiling clearance issues. These openers are handy to free up storage space above the garage door.