Trying to choose the right garage door opener for your home is an important decision. While it may seem like many garage door openers are all basically the same, several key differences between them affect their operation, convenience, cost, and much more. Figuring out these differences enough to choose the best garage door opener for your home is very simple as long as you focus on these key areas.


Choosing a garage door opener with the right amount of horsepower is vital. A lack of power will cause the motor to struggle or even fail to open the door. Not having suitable power also puts considerable wear and tear on the motor, causing it to need replacement much sooner.

Garage door openers with one-third horsepower are the lowest you can get. They are very affordable, and they tend to get the job done with basic and light garage doors. However, they wear out much faster than more powerful models, and they might not be powerful enough to pick up heavier doors.

Motors with one-half horsepower are some of the most common options available. They’re still very affordable, and the extra horsepower helps them more easily lift heavier garage doors. They’re even suitable for double doors.

If you have very wide or heavy doors, a three-quarter horsepower motor is the better option. It will last the longest out of all of these horsepower options, but it is also the most expensive.


Garage doors come in several variations, each with their own pros and cons. The type that will work best for you depends on several factors such as the design and layout of your home, your budget, the type of garage door you have, and your preferences.

Chain Drive

The most popular type of garage door opener is the chain drive system. Chain drive garage door openers lift and lower the garage door with a chain that looks very similar to a bicycle chain. Known for being very durable and budget-friendly, chain drive systems have been a favorite of homeowners for many years.

The main downside to chain drive garage door openers is that they are very noisy compared to other systems, and they vibrate a lot. They are best suited for homes with detached garages or no bedrooms above the garage.

Belt Drive

Belt drive systems use fiberglass or rubber belts reinforced with steel to lift and lower the door. A belt drive garage door opener is much quieter than a chain drive system, making them great options for attached garages, even if there are bedrooms overhead. They also require less maintenance than chain drive systems.

However, belt drive garage door openers are more expensive than chain drive systems. Additionally, rubber belts may stretch due to heat in summer or contract in the cold of winter, negatively affecting the functionality of the opener.

Screw Drive

Utilizing a screw-shaped steel rod to open and close the door, screw drive systems are known for being fast and dependable. They don’t require regular adjustments like belt and chain systems, and they’re easy to maintain. Screw drive systems are best used in homes with wider and heavier garage doors.

Some disadvantages of screw drive garage door openers are the slightly higher price point and the need to replace the rods over time due to wear. While screw drive systems are quieter than chain drive garage door openers, they’re not as quiet as most belt drive systems.

Direct Drive

Like chain drive systems, direct drive systems also utilize a chain to raise and lower the door. The difference with direct drive systems is that the chain is stationary while the motor moves on the track to raise and lower the door. Chain drive openers have a stationary motor that moves a chain. Direct drive garage door openers are even quieter than belt drive systems, and they require very little maintenance.

However, direct drive systems are also very expensive. Due to how new the technology is, the availability of the system is also lower than the other options.

Wall-Mounted or Jackshaft

Finally, another newer option for garage door openers is the wall-mounted system, also known as a jackshaft system. Jackshaft garage door openers are mounted on the wall and use tension springs, ropes, and pulleys to raise and lower the door. Wall-mounted systems are great for garages with tall ceilings or to keep overhead storage available for bikes, shelves, tools, and other items. They are also extremely secure with deadbolt systems to lock the door automatically, and they’re very quiet.

However, like with direct drive systems, jackshaft garage door openers are more expensive than other options. In addition, certain types of garage doors, such as single-panel or roll-up, are incompatible with jackshaft systems.

Backup Options

No matter what garage door opener you pick, you need to ensure that it has some mechanism in place to allow the garage door to open even when the power is out. Not having a backup system in place is an inconvenience at best and a severe safety hazard at worst.

Nearly all garage doors have manual releases. With the pull of a rope that hangs from the track, you can disconnect the opener from the door and lift or shut the door manually. This is a very simple and cost-effective option. However, it’s not a great option for people without the physical capabilities to open or shut the garage door manually.

Battery backups are much more convenient, but they’re also more expensive. With a battery backup, the door will function as normal even when the power is out. The best part of battery backups is that they instantly start recharging when the power is restored to your home.

Additional Features

Garage door openers now come with a wide range of special features that you can install to increase convenience and customization. For example, smart home technology can be integrated into your garage door opener to allow you to check if the door was left open, remotely open or close it, and it can even guide you while parking.

Auto-shutting options set the door on a timer. If the door is left open for too long, the door automatically shuts to help prevent pests and intruders from getting in.

Lights mounted on the overhead motor for certain systems illuminate the garage as soon as the doors open, allowing you to more easily see as you try to park at night.

If you’re in the market for a new garage door opener, or if you need repairs, replacements, or maintenance work done on your garage door opener, you can count on our experienced technicians at Absolute Services to provide you with prompt and skilled service. In addition to garage door openers, we also offer repair work on garage doors, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing, and more. To learn more about any of the services we provide to the areas in and around the Louisville, Kentucky area, contact us at Absolute Services today.