First off, when referring to the “size” of a garage door opener, we aren’t talking about the physical amount of space that it occupies. Instead, the term “size” describes the power that a garage door opener produces.
Modern residential garage door manufacturers like LiftMaster, typically offer three opener sizes: ½, ¾, and 1 horsepower (hp). If you’re in the market for a unit, how do you know which size motor best fits your home’s needs? Here are a few things to consider before purchasing an opener.
How Wide is Your Garage Door?
Since a garage door opener’s job is to raise and lower a garage door, it’s important to size a unit to match your garage door’s physical size and weight.
The first step in selecting an automatic opener is to determine which type of garage door you have. Generally, garage doors come in two widths: single and double. Single garage doors are 10 feet wide and 8 feet tall, and anything wider than 10 feet is typically considered a double door.
Depending on the material, a ½ hp opener should be able to open most single garage doors. Larger, double doors usually require at least a ¾ hp unit and may need even more power if the door is constructed of heavier materials.
What is Your Garage Door Made of?
The material has just as much impact on the power requirement as garage door size. Lightweight materials such as aluminum, vinyl, or fiberglass don’t require nearly the same power output as doors made of wood or steel, so be sure to consider weight before purchasing a garage door opener.
The drive type is another critical factor to consider when sizing a garage door opener. There are three main drive types to choose from, each with its pros and cons.
Chain Drives – Chain-driven garage door openers have been the standard for decades and with good reason. Chain drives offer the most lifting power at the most affordable price. On the downside, chain-driven units tend to be noisier than their belt or screw-driven counterparts; and require more maintenance.
Belt Drives – Essentially, belt and chain drives function similarly, but since garage belts are made from soft, noise-dampening materials, they are quiet and discreet. However, the low noise levels do come at a price because belt-driven units can’t bear the same weight as a chain or screw-driven opener.
Screw-Drives – Screw-driven garage door openers are the most expensive of the three types, but you get what you pay for. With only a few moving parts, screw-driven garage door openers are durable, quiet, and require very little maintenance.
Not Sure Which to Buy?
Sizing a garage door opener is a necessary process. Oversizing a unit will give you unnecessary power and needlessly cost you extra. On the other hand, an undersized garage door opener will result in underwhelming performance or even fail to open your garage at all.
If you want to ensure that you are purchasing the perfect unit for your home, contact us today! Our licensed garage door experts can help guide you to the ideal unit and help you install it.