LiftMaster vs. Chamberlain vs. Craftsman Garage Door Openers
The LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Sears Craftsman garage door opener lineup have a lot in common, and for good reason. They are all manufactured by the same company. The Chamberlain Group, who owns LiftMaster and Chamberlain, has also been manufacturing Sears Craftsman openers for a long time.
The lineup can be confusing, especially when it comes to their myQ smartphone control and accessory compatibility. In this article, we are going to answer the most common questions related to LiftMaster vs. Chamberlain vs. Craftsman garage door openers.
Are LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman the Same Company?
Yes and No.
The Chamberlain Group is the parent company to LiftMaster, which is their “Professional” brand sold to independent dealers. The Chamberlain brand is their “DIY” line of garage door openers that are sold in home stores and online. LiftMaster and Chamberlain are essentially the same company. Craftsman is not.
Craftsman is a separate company that is one of the premier brands for the Sears Corporation. They contracted The Chamberlain Group to manufacture their garage door openers for them under the Craftsman name. The Craftsman brand carries a lot of weight with homeowners due to how Sears always took such great care of their customers.
Never have I seen such fierce loyalty to a garage door brand as I have with Craftsman openers. Chamberlain deserves some credit because the units they manufactured were very dependable.
Who Currently Makes Craftsman Garage Door Openers?
Like we mentioned above, Craftsman garage door openers were originally manufactured by The Chamberlain Group and rebranded for the Sears stores. These older units had a model number that starts with a “139” prefix.
Craftsman garage door openers that start with a “200” as the prefix to the model number are manufactured by Guardian, who took over the name in 2018. If you are in the market for a Craftsman opener, try finding an older unit that was manufactured by Chamberlain. We have seen too many issues with Guardian garage door openers.
Differences Between LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman Openers
The differences between LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman garage door openers can be confusing for many homeowners. These brands have been offered for years as “Professional” and “DIY” options. LiftMaster will differ more as a professional brand, whereas Chamberlain and Craftsman will be more similar since they are both DIY brands purchased online or from a local store.
The Differences in the Drive Rails
Let’s start with the most obvious difference between a LiftMaster opener and a Chamberlain or Craftsman opener. LiftMaster uses a one-piece, solid steel T-rail from the motor to the header. This rail is extremely heavy duty and does a better job at handling heavier garage doors. LiftMaster also uses a 100% chain drive system, which is not found on Chamberlain and Craftsman openers.
Chamberlain and Craftsman garage door openers use a multi-piece drive rail, so it can be packaged in a small box for a customer to take home in their vehicle. The sections push together and once they are engaged, they are virtually impossible to pull apart. While this may not be as strong as the LiftMaster rail, it has been a reliable drive rail throughout the years.
While the box may say chain drive for a Chamberlain or Craftsman opener, it is not actually 100% chain. These DIY garage door openers have always used a 50/50 chain and cable set up, which lowers costs for the manufacturer and makes installation easy for homeowners. The cable can be replaced if it breaks, but overall the system has been reliable.
LiftMaster vs. Chamberlain Warranty
LiftMaster offers a four-year motor warranty and a one-year parts and accessories warranty. Chamberlain has a better warranty on the motor which comes in at six years, and they offer the same one-year warranty for parts and accessories. Where warranties are going to differ drastically is when you actually need warranty work performed on your unit.
Because the garage door is the largest moving object in your home that you will interact with daily, you will have issues. What you want more than anything with a garage door opener is support. If you purchase a LiftMaster opener from a servicing dealer and have them install it, all your warranty including labor during the warranty period runs through them.
Most reputable companies will offer some type of labor warranty for the garage door opener brand they install, which essentially is saying they believe in the product. If you purchase a Chamberlain garage door opener from your local home store and have a dealer install it, your warranty on the unit runs through the store you purchased from.
The downside to this is if you have issues inside your warranty period, you will need to pay the labor to have it repaired or removed, so you can return it to the store you purchased it from.
Craftsman vs. Chamberlain Remotes
LiftMaster and Chamberlain remotes have always been very similar between the brands. The Craftsman remotes were entirely unique and suffered from an issue where the tabs on the inside of the case would break once you opened it to replace your battery. Just about every Craftsman remote we have seen has tape wrapped around it to hold the case together. This was a design flaw that was never resolved by the manufacturer.
LiftMaster 8500W vs. Chamberlain RJO70 Wall Mount Opener
If you’re comparing the differences between the LiftMaster and Chamberlain wall mount garage door openers, take a look at the review we wrote for the LiftMaster 8500W wall mount opener. In that article we explain the differences between the LiftMaster 8500, 8500W and the Chamberlain RJO20 and RJO70 wall mount jackshaft openers.
Are LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman Parts Interchangeable?
One of the most popular questions we receive is whether parts and accessories are interchangeable between the LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman brands of garage door opener. The quick answer is yes, but it depends on the model.
The drive gear and sprocket featured in the picture above is probably one of the most common parts to replace. This part was interchangeable between LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman for many years when all that was around was the old style copper wound AC motors. Front cable pulleys, chain and cable drive systems, limit switches, and motors were all interchangeable for units with green, orange, and purple learn buttons.
Remotes and Keypads
If you have a LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman opener with the same color learn button, any brand of remote or keypad will program to the other brands. The reason for this is they are using the same frequencies.
Does the LiftMaster Backup Battery Work with Chamberlain?
Yes, the LiftMaster 480LM backup battery will work in Chamberlain garage door openers and vice versa. Chamberlain also manufacturers a backup battery under their brand, and it can be used in a LiftMaster opener. The battery will also work with Craftsman openers manufactured by The Chamberlain Group that had a similar sized battery compartment.
Is Craftsman a Good Garage Door Opener?
Yes, the Craftsman garage door openers manufactured by The Chamberlain Group were great openers. Like we mentioned earlier, Guardian started manufacturing Craftsman openers starting in 2018. Whether that is true today, I do not know for sure, as I have seen a variety of units on the market with the Craftsman name on them.
How Long Will a Craftsman Garage Door Opener Last?
A Craftsman garage door opener manufactured by The Chamberlain Group will last just as long as any other Chamberlain model. It’s not uncommon to get 10–15 years of reliable service out of the openers. The build quality between the brands is very familiar and the Craftsman line of openers had an extremely loyal following, which shows the power of the Craftsman name.
MyQ Compatibility Between the Brands
The myQ technology used in LiftMaster and Chamberlain openers is compatible with Craftsman as well. As long as you have one of the yellow, purple, orange/red, or green learn buttons pictured above, and your opener was manufactured after 1993, you should be able to use the myQ technology. When connecting to an older unit, a Chamberlain myQ Smart Garage Control device will need to be installed.
MyQ Opener with Wi-Fi Built-in
If the answer to the question above is a yes, then all you need to do is download the myQ app to get started. LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman openers with Wi-Fi built-in are already equipped with the necessary hardware to connect your garage door opener to the myQ app.
Did LiftMaster Get Bought Out?
Yes, The Chamberlain Group was acquired by the Blackstone Group in September 2021. I don’t know what this means long term for the LiftMaster and Chamberlain brands. Only time will tell.
Is LiftMaster, Chamberlain, or Craftsman Better?
If you are buying a chain drive unit, the LiftMaster brand would be best, since they use a 100% linked chain to drive the unit. No cable is used on the LiftMaster rail.
If you are in the market for a belt drive unit, it really doesn’t matter much, since they all use essentially the same 100% steel reinforced belt.
If you’re looking for the best warranty, LiftMaster would be your best choice, since your parts and labor warranty runs through your installing dealer. Most dealers will back up what they install.
Other than that, you can’t go wrong with any of them, as they are all quality units. Just make sure if you purchase a Craftsman model that it is manufactured by The Chamberlain Group, which will usually feature the myQ logo on the unit.
Hopefully, this article will settle any confusion you may have about LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Craftsman openers. To sum it up, if you want the best overall parts and labor support, have a LiftMaster opener installed by a servicing dealer that is reputable in your area.
If you are a DIY individual who doesn’t mind getting your hands dirty, purchase a Chamberlain opener online or from your local home store, and you will be happy with its years of reliable service. Chamberlain offers videos online that will walk you through best practices when installing your new opener.
If you’re looking at a Craftsman opener after 2018, be careful as it could be manufactured by Guardian, which has been known to have more issues. Hopefully, moving forward, The Chamberlain Group will continue to provide reliable garage door openers for years to come under their new ownership.