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Which Opener Should You Choose for Your Garage Door?

a5cd951e-5ee6-4fa5-afca-293e347d4f7fDid you know that a typical garage door can weigh as much as 360 pounds, depending on the materials used to build it? It’s no wonder that the vast majority of homeowners prefer to let their automatic garage door openers do all of the heavy lifting.

There are plenty of garage door openers available on the open market, and the sheer variety can be a little confusing to the average shopper. The following in-depth guide explains the different types of openers you can buy for your garage door. Here, you’ll learn about what makes each type unique, as well as each type’s relative strengths and weaknesses.

Chain Driven

Chain-driven garage door openers are extraordinarily commonplace, and for good reason. These openers tend to be the most affordable option. Thus, a chain-driven opener is an excellent choice for budget-minded shoppers.

As their name implies, chain-driven garage door openers utilize a chain similar to one found on a typical bicycle. The chain connects to a bar that’s in turn connected to the garage door. As the chain pulls or pushes, the bar pulls the door open or pushes it closed.


  • Usually the least expensive type of automatic garage door opener available
  • Exceptionally durable due to its robust design and construction
  • Able to last for several decades as long as it is properly maintained


  • Noisier than most other types of garage door openers
  • Requires more maintenance than other types of openers
  • Also prone to vibration and drivetrain shock as the unit ages

Chain-driven openers are a common go-to for homeowners, thanks in large part to their value and reliability. If you value quieter operation, however, you may need to look elsewhere.

Belt Driven

Belt-driven garage door openers are another option for homeowners who value the reliability of a chain-driven unit but are unable to put up with the noise that comes with a chain drive. A belt-driven garage door opener trades in the usual chains for a steel-braided belt, giving the door the smoothness and relative quiet that’s difficult to achieve with a typical chain-driven unit.


  • Exceptionally quiet when compared to a typical chain-driven garage door opener
  • Smoother operation in comparison to chain-driven openers
  • Less vibration and drivetrain shock than with chain-driven openers
  • Longer average lifespan than chains


  • More expensive than comparable chain-driven garage door openers

A belt-driven garage door opener could be just the type of opener you need if you value quiet operation. This type of opener can come in handy if your home has a bedroom situated above the garage and you want to keep down noise at night.

Screw Driven

Screw-driven garage door openers offer a unique proposition. Their unique design makes them ideal for installation in compact environments where every cubic foot of space counts. The design also makes screw-driven doors especially reliable, since these types of openers use fewer parts than the average garage door opener.

On a screw-driven garage door opener, the carriage is mounted on a threaded steel rod. As the garage door opener’s motor rotates the rod, the carriage moves back and forth allowing the door to open and close. The unit’s design also allows for greater torque output, allowing the machine to open heavy doors that other openers may struggle with.


  • Easier to install in smaller garages due to its relatively compact design
  • Fewer moving parts when compared to other garage door openers


  • Noisier than a belt-driven opener but is still quieter than a chain-driven opener
  • Higher maintenance than other options
  • Not as effective for heavier doors
  • More sensitive to extreme temperature swings in some regions
  • More expensive than a comparable chain-driven garage door opener

A screw-driven garage door opener is a good choice if you have a small garage. Belt-driven openers still beat their screw-driven counterparts when it comes to noise, however.


Wall-mounted units are perhaps the least common of all garage door openers. These units, commonly known as jackshaft garage door openers, are typically used in garages whose ceiling heights preclude the use of traditional garage door openers.

Just as their name implies, wall-mounted garage door openers feature a motor mounted to one side of the garage door. The motor is directly connected to the torsion spring, which it drives in order to open and close the garage door.


  • Ideal for garages with vaulted or cathedral ceilings
  • Fewer moving parts, like its screw-driven counterpart
  • Exceptionally quiet when compared to other openers


  • Usually the most expensive type of garage door opener available
  • Functional only on sectioned garage doors fitted with torsion springs

Every garage is different, and each garage requires a solution that works best for the conditions at hand. Armed with the above information, you’ll be able to make the right choices when it comes to buying a new garage door opener. Generally, AAA Garage Door recommends the belt drive as the most effective option and the chain drive as the most economical option. While the others have their place, these first two work for the vast majority of homeowners.

When the time is right to replace your garage door opener, turn to the experts at AAA Garage Door, Inc. We’ll not only help you choose the right opener for your garage door but also take care of the installation.


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