Garage Door Openers Features
Cheap Garage Door Opener Types.When selecting a cheap garage door opener, there are four styles to consider. The first and least expensive option is a chain-drive opener.
Screw-drive openers start at about $160 and top out at around $230. Experts recommend screw-drive openers for consumers who want a quieter system than a chain drive but don't want the added expense of belt or torsion drive. Professional installers recommend that you periodically lubricate screw-drive openers with low temperature grease to maintain their integrity and relatively quiet operation.
Belt-drive openers are the quietest and also the most expensive garage door openers. Prices start at around $195 and climb up to $400 or so. But one downside of this design, as a Lowe's shopper discovered about the Chamberlain G248754 Whisper Drive Plus (starting at $248), is that the rubber belts may become too slack in hot climates.
Like the belt drive garage door openers, torsion-drive models are quiet and expensive ($250-300), and are produced exclusively by Wayne-Dalton. Torsion-drive systems are a good solution for a garage with limited overhead clearance because they can be wall-mounted. However, disgruntled users complain on Epinions and Amazon that the product is unreliable in cold climates. Other consumers gripe that these systems are hard to install, difficult to adjust, and the remotes frequently need reprogramming.
Cheap Garage Door Openers Motor.The horsepower (hp) of a value garage door opener's motor directly affects the weight it can lift and the speed at which it does so. Most cheap garage door openers intended for home use have either 1/2 hp or 3/4 hp motors. A 1/2 hp motor, like that of the Craftsman 53920, Chamberlain PD210D, Chamberlain HD400D, and Genie Powerlift H4000-07 (starting at $174), is adequate for most single or double garage doors. If you have particularly heavy doors, you may prefer a cheap garage door opener with a 3/4 hp engine, like the Chamberlain 248735 Power Drive (starting at $158). Don't know the weight of your garage door or how fast you want it to open? Err on the side of power and invest in a 3/4 hp unit.
Cheap Garage Door Openers Safety.All newer model garage door openers have several safety features in common. First are "external entrapment protection devices," like infrared safety sensors, that detect obstacles in the path of a closing garage door and stop it from closing when something is in the way. All garage door openers manufactured after 1992 are required by law to have these sensing systems.
In addition to motion detection sensors, rolling security coding was introduced around 1996 as another line of defense against burglary and home invasion. Before the existence of rolling coding, thieves could theoretically use code grabbing devices to "steal" your code if they were nearby when you activated the garage remote. Although this practice was uncommon, HomeSecuritySource.com notes that consumers liked the extra safety measure, and rolling coding soon became a standard feature in all garage door openers.
Because of the change in coding technology in the mid-1990s, remotes that work with older garage door openers don't mesh with newer systems. Another explanation offered by a consumer on the Sears site concerns a change in the underlying radio frequency supposedly ordered by the federal government. Regardless of the reason, the fact that old remotes won't work with today's cheap garage door openers is a sore point for some consumers.
Cheap Garage Door Openers Noise.When deciding which type of cheap garage door opener to buy, you'll need to weigh the cost against your sensitivity to noise and the location of the bedrooms in your home. If the sleeping area is located above or near the garage, it may be worth paying an extra $30 to $50 for a quieter product. But if you have teenagers in the habit of sneaking out, you may prefer something that makes a little noise.
As a general rule, cheap chain-drive garage door openers are the noisiest; cheap screw-drive openers are a bit quieter, and belt-drive and torsion-drive openers make the least noise. That said, some professional installers say there isn't much difference between chain- and screw-drive models. They warn that screws may scrape against their metal tracks over time, especially if you don't keep them lubricated, and note that the vibration of the motor and track against the garage ceiling are the causes for much of the noise. Here's a tip: Vibration noise can be minimized with rubber dampening materials.
Low-priced Garage Door Openers Accessories.As you shop, pay close attention to the accessories included with cheap garage door openers. For instance, the Craftsman 53920, Chamberlain PD210D, Chamberlain HD200D, and Chamberlain G248730 each come with only one single-button remote and do not include an outdoor keypad. For approximately $30 more, you can buy the Chamberlain HD400D -- the exact same garage door opener as the Chamberlain HD200D -- but in a package that includes two one-button remotes and a keyless entry pad. Buying an additional remote can cost as much as this minimal upgrade.
The Genie Powerlift H4000-07, like the Chamberlain HD400D, comes with two one-button remotes, but does not include an outdoor keypad. The Chamberlain 248735 Power Drive comes with two three-button remotes and no keypad, while the Craftsman 53985 (starting at $160) has a keyless entry pad as well as two three-button remotes.
The advantage to three-button remotes versus one-button remotes is that they can be programmed so that each button operates a different garage door. Buttons can even be configured to turn a house light on and off. Drivers with two or more garage doors to contend with may prefer a three-button remote to the hassle of carrying multiple devices. If so, investing up front in a model that includes this option can be more cost-effective than buying the cheapest model and purchasing additional accessories.
Wireless key entry pads, like those included with the Chamberlain HD400D and the Craftsman 53985, are a welcome feature for drivers who don't always carry their remotes around, or prefer not to give house keys to the children.
Cheap, no-frills garage door openers are a convenient option for singles or one-car households, but spending a little more for a model with additional accessories may prove a smarter choice for larger families.