How to Choose a New Garage Door Opener

Which Garage Door Opener Is Best For You?

A garage door opener’s motor type, horsepower, and drive type affect how it operates, its durability, and its noise level. If you know which drive type and horsepower you want, it’s much easier to choose which opener brand will suit your needs.

Types of Garage Door Motors

There are only two types of garage door motors: AC-powered or DC-powered.

AC-powered motors are the traditional type of motor found in older garage door openers. If you’re buying a new garage door opener, you probably won’t be able to find an AC motor at all. AC motors are clunky – loud, slow, difficult to repair and maintain, and harder on your energy bill. They also can’t be updated with new technologies like battery backups or WiFi connectivity.

DC-powered motors are the current industry standard. They’re much smaller, lighter, faster, and more energy-efficient than their AC predecessors. They’re outfitted with the latest safety and security features, and can include smart opener technology.

When you get a new garage door opener or opener replacement, it will most likely have a DC-powered motor. Precision’s PDS 800 and PDS Ultra 900 opener systems both use quiet, DC-powered motors.

How Much Horsepower Do You Need for Your Garage Door?

The amount of horsepower you need depends on two main criteria: whether you want a long lasting opener verses replacing it every few cycles and the size of your garage door. Here are the things to keep in mind:

  • Less horsepower is more affordable but you’ll be replacing your opener more frequently.
  • Heavier and larger garage doors require more horsepower to get the weight of the door off the ground.

All three sizes work best when your door is properly balanced and the weight is evenly distributed.

1/3 Horsepower

✓  Most affordable

✓  Best for single garage doors

✓  Best for lightweight doors

✗  Shortest lifespan

✗  Least powerful

1/2 Horsepower

✓  Most common option

✓  Best for average weight doors

✓  Best for doors 8 ft – 14 ft wide

✗  Not ideal for very light or heavy doors

✗  Pricier than 1/3 horsepower

3/4 Horsepower

✓  Best for very heavy doors

✓  Best for doors wider than 14 feet

✓  Longest lifespan

✓  Most powerful

✗  Least affordable

Garage Door Opener Drive Types

Unlike motor types, you have quite a few drive types to choose from. Some drive types are quieter, some are more reliable, and some are more affordable. Ultimately, this choice comes down to personal preference and what is most important for your home.

Belt Drive Garage Door Openers

Best Features: Reliability & Quietness

Belt drive openers use a fiberglass, polyurethane, or steel-reinforced rubber belt to guide the trolley, opening or closing the door.

Belt drives are very reliable and incredibly quiet. An ideal choice for attached garages where noise is an issue.

Chain Drive Garage Door Openers

Best Features: Affordability & Availability

Chain drive openers are the most common garage door opener. They operate similar to belt drives, but with a chain pushing or pulling the trolley.

The metal to metal function means these drives are a bit more noisy than their belt driven cousins, but they do tend to be more affordable.

Screw Drive Garage Door Openers

Best Features: Ease of Maintenance & Speed

Screw drive openers are said to be the most maintenance-free opener as they have fewer moving pieces. The motor rotates a threaded steel rod which moves the trolley, allowing for quick and reliable function.

In the past these openers were considered the loudest choice, but recent innovations have improved this.

Jackshaft Garage Door Openers

Best Features: Durability & Quietness

Jackshaft openers are an ideal choice when overhead clearance or high ceilings are an issue, as they mount on the wall next to your door as opposed to above it.

They run quiet and are very durable, but do tend to be more expensive than other types of drives.

Direct Drive Garage Door Openers

Best Features: Reliability & Quietness

Direct drive openers move the door up and down using only the motor. The motor itself moves along a stationary chain to open and close the door.

With only one moving part, these openers are the most quiet choice and very dependable.

Upgrade Your Garage Door Opener

Need help choosing a new opener or want to replace your opener now? Our expert technicians can take a look at your door and give recommendations for horsepower, drive types, and brands.

We repair, replace, and install all major brands of garage door openers.


When you schedule a service appointment with Precision Garage Door, a professional, uniformed technician will arrive at your home in a fully stocked truck. This ensures that at every appointment the necessary tools will be available. We don’t waste your time misdiagnosing the issue, waiting for parts, or arranging additional service appointments.

Serving Greenville, SC and surrounding areas, we can fix broken springs, cables, openers, and more to get your door operating safely and correctly. For more information or to schedule a service visit, please contact us today.

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(864) 326-2989