If you plan to replace your garage door, you might find yourself asking – What size garage door opener do I need? To get the best answer, you need to do thorough research on the right type of garage door as well as garage door openers available on the market.
Besides, the size and location of your garage will influence your decision. For instance, it is not the same to have a garage separated from your home or built inside of the house, under a bedroom. The doors opening way is also essential. Once you decide on the size of the garage door opener, make sure to install them properly and safely.
The Types of Garage Door Openers
There are several garage door opener models on the market, and the primary difference between them is how they move the doors.
- Chain drive – The chain is the one that connects the motor and the trolley. This version is not expensive, it can open heavy doors, and it is easy to maintain. It only needs regular oiling. The biggest objection to a chain opener is that it is noisy, so you might want to avoid it if the garage door is next to your bedroom.
- Belt drive – The mechanism is the same as the chain drive, except it moves smoothly and without much noise. The price is higher than the chain drive.
- Screw drive – A threaded steel bar moves the doors instead of a belt or a chain. It works better on doors that are made in one piece. Belt or chain drive is more suitable for the paneled doors.
- Jackshaft drive – Instead of position on the ceiling, this opener works from the side of the garage doors, which will make your garage more spacious.
- Direct drive – The motor glides along the stationary chain, allowing the doors to open quietly and smoothly.
- Swing out carriage door opener – This kind of opener works on the doors that open in a swing style. Both door wings have a motor installed.
The Power of Garage Door Opener
The help of technology when it comes to the heavy garage doors opening is beneficial. Nowadays, you can find several types of garage doors openers, according to the HP (horsepower) they have.
- 1/3 HP – This garage door opener is suitable for light, single garage doors, which you will be able to lift manually. It is not an expensive option, but this opener won’t last long if you have a wood door.
- 1/2 HP – This garage door opener can lift both single and double regular size garage doors.
- 3/4 HP – This garage door opener will manage to open heavier doors. They are long-lasting and stable, but their price is higher. However, if you have a natural wooden door that can sometimes gain weight due to absorbing humidity, the strength this model provides is necessary.
- 1 HP – This garage door opener is an excellent option if your doors are heavy and more than 16 feet (4.9 m) wide.
The motor on a garage opener can use both AC and DC. However, the DC ones are more effective, don’t produce that much noise, and are usually smaller and lighter.
The Size of Garage Door Opener
Since garage door openers is basically a motor, it is rated with HP (horsepower). In theory, a garage door opener rated with 1/2 HP should lift about 185 pounds (84 kg), while a 3/4 HP opener should lift more than 370 pounds (168 kg).
Unfortunately, it is entirely different in practice. The reason is that manufacturers base the ratings of openers on maximum output without calculating built-in safeguards on newer models.
|0 to 125 pounds (up to 57 kg)|
1/3 HP (0.25 KW)
0 to 300 pounds (up to 136 kg)
|1/2 HP (0.37 KW)|
|0 to 500 pounds (up to 227 kg)|
3/4 HP (0.56 KW)
0 to 650 pounds (up to 295 kg)
1 HP (0.75 KW)
Therefore, the most common 1/2 HP garage door opener will probably lift less than 125 pounds (57 kg). In other words, you can buy this model if your garage doors are 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.6 m) wide.
When you have heavier, over 14 feet (4.3 m) wide garage doors, you should use the 3/4 HP opener. This model can lift approximately 275 pounds (125 kg).
Keep in mind that these numbers are not 100% precise and depend on the age of the garage door opener and its production date. Plus, some of them contain nylon gears and excessive force auto-shutoff that stop working under the action of excessive force.
Garage Door Opener Features
Nowadays, the technology upgraded regular garage doors to a safer, reliable home asset. You can find some additional characteristics that you should think about besides the size of a garage door opener.
- Garage doors safety – Safety is crucial when it comes to the garage doors since they are heavy, and there is no need to risk injury. To achieve this, two types of sensors control the process of opening or closing. One is at the bottom of the doors, so if something is underneath, they will immediately stop closing and start lifting. Also, there are two sensors on each side of the doors, which cover the door’s length. So, if anything tries to go through during the close, the door will stop and start lifting.
- Backup battery – This feature is beneficial if your home loses power for any reason. You will still be able to open the doors even though at the moment there is no electricity. Don’t forget that you should use the battery backup rationally since it can’t be recharged until the electricity is back.
- Security lights – It is useful help when the doors start to open. The newest upgrade is the motion sensor connected to the lights, which will provide more security to your garage.
- Manual release – This option allows you to disconnect the doors from the opener in case of no electricity so that you can open them manually.
- Remote security – Remote control and the door opener are connected, and the code will change after every door opening.
- Remote keypad – An additional security gadget is installed outside of the garage with a keypad enabling you to create the password to open the garage doors.
- Smart technology – Most of the garage door openers can connect to wi-fi. That will allow you to connect your garage opener to the smart system and manage your garage doors via smartphone.
How Do the Garage Door Work?
Most of the garage doors are sectional, and they go upwards when you open them. To achieve that, separate panels connected with hinges will bend and retract once you open your door.
There is a torsion spring on the top of the doors connected to the door opener. Together with steel cables, it helps the doors to glide over the side tracks to lift or lower. Besides sectional, there are several more types of doors:
- Sliding doors – They open by sliding next to one wall, and the opener will also be installed on the side of the wall.
- Roll-up doors – These doors are a bit heavier and slower while opening, so they need a stronger opener. However, this choice will save you space since they are not mounted on the ceiling.
- Side-hinged doors – It is a traditional type of door with two wings that open simultaneously.
- Canopy and retractable garage doors – The difference between these two types is that canopy doors slide up over vertical track and form a canopy. The retractable door slides up over a horizontal track on the ceiling, moving inside the garage.
Garage Door Material
The strength of the support system, which helps to manipulate the door, is crucial. The type of material you need for your door will depend on the type of that system.
- Steel – This material is easy to maintain, long-lasting, and not too expensive. Still, if you scratch it, make sure to repair it as soon as possible since steel can start rusting.
- Aluminum – This material is easy-to-maintaining and not heavy, which makes it suitable for modern style architecture.
- Vinyl – The price of this material is a bit higher than steel, but the advantage is that vinyl is not prone to rust. So, if you live in a beach house or in the region where the humidity is high, this material is convenient and highly recommended.
- Wood – It is a classic, stylish, and durable option. The price will vary depending on the type of wood. They need regular maintenance and repainting.
There will be no damage necessary to fix when something lightly hit your wooden door. The weight of this material is one of the factors to consider when deciding about the door opener.
Whatever type and size of the garage door opener and model of garage door you choose, it will make your arrival and departure from home more comfortable. The secret is to align your door well with the appropriate opener.