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  • Writer's pictureChip Riggie

The many types of garage door openers... What drive type is best for you?

There are a handful of options out there when it comes to garage door opener drive types. Here we will cover the different drive types available, how they work, warranties and more.


  1. Chain Drive - Chain drive operators are very popular out there. It is the more common drive type that we see out in the field. But, are they any good? They are typically one of the noisier and cruder methods of moving the trolley back and forth, not to mention that often manufacturers tend to want to pair a chain drive rail with an A/C motor, which makes them even noisier. They can last many years, however, they are often known for their lack of flexibility and often will be the cause of other operator parts failing, such as the nylon drive gear inside the opener. Also, chain drive operators typically do not have a great warranty when it comes to the chain itself. In many cases, a manufacturer will only cover the chain with a 1 year warranty.

  2. Belt Drive - Belt drive operators are typically a bit quieter than their predecessor, the chain drive operator. Manufacturers tend to pair a belt drive rail with a D/C motor, which makes for a very quiet and smooth operation of your garage door. The belt itself is typically rubber and is reinforced with either steel or a composite material, almost like the serpentine belt used on your car. This makes it very strong, yet flexible. The flexibility in the belt typically keeps the belt from destroying any internal parts inside the operator. Also, many manufacturers will provide a better warranty on their belt drive openers, often including a lifetime limited warranty on the belt itself.

  3. Jackshaft - Jackshaft operators were more used in commercial settings in the past but have become more and more popular for residential applications. With a jackshaft opener, the unit is mounted to the wall next to the door and rotates the torsion tube back and forth, lifting and lowering the garage door. This type of operator has caught many homeowners' attention and is thought of as the "better" option for garage door operators. However, what many people don't understand is that when it comes to jackshaft openers, your garage door needs to run nearly perfect. If the door has any hiccups while in the up or down cycles (mostly down) a jackshaft operator can be problematic and malfunction often. There are definitely many pro's and con's with this style of opener. Jackshaft openers, such as the new Liftmaster 98022 shown below, has a different warranty on different parts. For example, the motor has a lifetime limited warranty, a 5 year parts warranty and a 1 year accessory warranty.


We hope that this has summed up some things when it comes to choosing the best garage door opener for you. The only type of operator that was not covered in this post is a screw drive opener. We didn't cover them as we do not supply them and find them to be noisy and problematic.


Also, yes, you can often save few dollars by going to the big box store and buying an opener in a box, which comes with a pieced together, flimsy rail. You will typically have more issues with this type of rail down the road. When you buy an opener from a garage door dealer, such as Mid Michigan Garage Door, you get professional products that will last.


Have a GREAT day and thanks for reading.





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