Garage door openers offer homeowners easy, illuminated access into their houses. These devices can also improve security and provide extra convenience with features such as smart-device compatibility and home-automation-system connectivity. But is your garage door opener the same as your neighbor’s from across the street? In short, are garage door openers universal?
The answer is no. Garage door openers are available in various brands and types, although the general design is pretty similar. The main difference between garage door openers lies in the mechanism that moves the trolley.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the different types of garage door openers, along with how you can choose one and the possibility of using a universal garage opener remote.
What are the Types of Garage Door Openers
As we mentioned above, average garage door openers are designed in a similar way.
There’s a motor that drives a carriage or trolley along a rail. This trolley is connected to the garage door so that as the trolley moves, it pulls the door to open or pushes it to close.
So what makes garage door openers different from one another? Well, the mechanism with which the motor moves the trolley is what sets apart different garage door opener models.
Generally speaking, there are four types of garage door openers:
1. Chain-Drive Garage Door Openers
This type of garage door opener features a metal chain to move the trolley and lift or lower the door. This system is a popular option because of its economic cost, but it tends to generate more noise and vibration than other types.
The loudness of the opener may not concern you if your garage is detached from the house, but if your garage is located under a living room or a bedroom, you should probably invest in a quieter option.
2. Belt-Drive Garage Door Openers
This type of garage door opener adopts a similar mechanism to the one in chain-drive systems, but instead of a chain, it uses a belt to drive the trolley.
Unlike a chain, the belt allows for a quieter and smoother operation. Consider this type of garage door openers if your home comes with living or sleeping spaces above or next to the garage.
Also note that belt-drive opener systems include fewer moving parts, which means lower maintenance demands.
3. Screw-Drive Garage Door Openers
This type of garage door opener relies on a threaded steel rod to drive the lifting and lowering mechanism. As the rod rotates, the trolley moves along the track to change the position of the garage door.
Screw-drive openers are known to be quieter than chain-drive systems. They also have fewer moving parts, which results in reduced maintenance like in the case of belt-drive openers.
4. Direct-Drive Garage Door Openers
Also offering a quiet mechanism, this type of garage door opener has the motor itself serving as the trolley, moving along the track to raise or lower the door.
As such, the system contains only one moving part, the motor, which reduces generated noise and vibration, as well as keeps maintenance requirements to a minimum.
Are there Different Brands of Garage Door Openers
Yes, garage door openers are available in many different brands, which is another reason why they aren’t universal. Major garage door opener brands sold in the United States include LiftMaster ®, Chamberlain ®, Genie ®, Overhead Door ®, Wayne Dalton ®, Marantec ®, and Linear ®.
Are there Universal Garage Door Opener Remotes
Different manufacturers have different remotes to control their brands’ doors. However, some garage door openers are marketed as universal because they’re designed to be compatible with several brands of garage door openers at the same time.
Keep in mind that “universal” remotes mostly work with newer models of garage door openers, so if you have an older version, a compatible universal remote may be difficult to find.
That being said, you still need to identify the manufacturer of your garage door opener to make sure the remote supports your brand.
Once you have the green light, you can program the universal garage door opener remote to control one or two garage doors. If there’s a light control switch, you can also use a universal remote to turn on the garage’s light or even your home lights.
How to Install a Garage Door Opener
Make sure you consult the manufacturer’s installation manual for more detailed or specific step-by-step instructions. However, the installation process for most popular brands and models is similar, so here’s a simple guide on how to assemble and mount a garage door opener:
- Mount the operator plate. These are wood or plastic doors.
- Attach the header bracket.
- Put together the rail system and bolt it to the motor.
- Attach the trolley, pulley, and drive chain or belt.
- Insert the stop bolt in the rail near the motor end.
- Fasten the end of the rail in the header bracket.
- Lift and hold the motor end of the assembly in just about the right position for attachment.
- Assemble the ceiling bracket and connect the opener motor. Don’t plug in the power cord until all the steps listed below have been finished.
- Fasten the door bracket to the operator plate.
- Attach the curved arm to the door bracket then fasten the straight arm to the trolley.
- Mount the obstruction sensor components.
- Install the push button wall switch and attach the wires to the terminals.
- Connect the wiring from the wall switch to the terminals at the opener motor.
- Connect the wiring from the obstruction sensors to the terminals at the opener motor.
- Plug in the opener and observe the controls and safety sensors receiving power.
Garage door openers aren’t universal. They’re available in various brands and types, although the general design is pretty similar. The main difference between garage door openers lies in the mechanism that moves the trolly.