Linear LDCO800/801 Garage Door Opener Review

With the rising demand in quiet garage door openers, the Linear LDCO800 and 801 models have become popular due to pricing and features. The unit is equipped with one of the quietest DC motors on the market in a simple, sleek design. The slow start and stop feature incorporated into the operation was a hit with homeowners because it added to the quiet, smooth operation.

In our service company, we have installed hundreds of Linear LDCO800 garage door openers. When we started using this opener, most other companies in our area were installing LiftMaster due to brand recognition. I stuck with Linear because it made more sense from a value standpoint, and it was more installer friendly.

If you currently have a Linear garage door opener or if someone recently quoted you a price for one, you’re probably wondering if Linear makes good automatic openers. In this article, we are going to share everything you will want to know about the Linear LDCO800 and LDCO801 models, including the difference between the two. Enjoy!

Linear LDCO800 vs. LDCO801 Garage Door Opener

Let’s start with the most obvious question: What is the difference between the Linear LDCO800 and LDCO801 garage door opener?

The answer is simple. Linear changed the model from 800 to 801 when corporate logos were updated on packaging, products, and user manuals. Both units are identical in design and function. That’s it!

Who Sells Linear Garage Door Openers?

Linear garage door openers are sold directly to the trade through a distribution network. When I refer to “the trade”, I am referring to garage door companies that install new openers and doors. While you may be able to find someone online selling Linear openers, this will most likely be the motor head only. Linear uses a one-piece solid rail, which makes it expensive to ship, which is why local distributors mostly sell them.

Is Linear a Good Garage Door Opener?

Yes. Linear makes excellent garage door openers. We have installed hundreds of the Linear openers on everything from 8×7 non-insulated garage doors all the way up to 18×7 heavy carriage house wood doors. The Linear LDCO800 was by far our most popular due to the price point paired with the quiet DC motor. Even though the LDCO800 is not rated for carriage house wood doors, we never had an issue with premature failure due to the weight. The Linear unit that really should be installed on heavier wood carriage house garage doors is the Linear LCO75, which is their 3/4 HP unit with an old school AC motor.

All garage door opener brands are going to have issues, regardless of what anyone says. We deal with all brands daily while doing service work at customers homes. I would rank LiftMaster and Linear at the top when it comes to the best garage door openers. Genie has always been a major player in the market, but many installers got a bad taste in their mouth when they started cheapening units and mainly targeting home builder business. Although, I have heard recently they have worked out most of the bugs, and they are doing better these days.

Who Makes Linear Garage Door Openers?

Screenshot Credit: https://www.nortekcontrol.com
Screenshot Credit: https://www.nortekcontrol.com

The Linear Corporation has been a trusted brand in the access control industry for both commercial and residential markets since 1961. If you have ever entered into an apartment complex or neighborhood gate, you most likely have entered the code on a Linear Access Control panel. They have years of experience with telephone entry systems and access control for gates and garage doors.

Today, The Linear Corporation is now part of the Nortek Control family, which has many brands under their umbrella. The range of companies spans from home automation, security, health and wellness, audio/video, access control, and even hostile vehicle mitigation.

Linear LDCO Openers are Quiet

Linear garage door openers that have the LDCO prefix feature DC motors. The “DC” stands for direct current and the motors are smaller, quieter, and have the ability to change speeds. The ability to change speeds during the open and close cycles allows the unit to soft start and stop during operation. This makes for an extremely smooth initial start because the motor is not having to run full speed when you press the button. Linear openers with DC motors are some of the quietest motors on the market.

Homeowners Want Quiet Over Anything Else

If there is one feature I would rank above all others when it comes to garage door opener, it would be quietness. This is the most requested feature we receive from homeowners when quoting new units. A quiet garage door opener is especially popular with families with newborns or bedrooms right above the garage.

Linear LDCO Belt Drive is Super Quiet

Linear LDCO800 Belt Drive Opener Ru...
Linear LDCO800 Belt Drive Opener Running

The Linear LDCO801 garage door opener can be paired with a chain or belt rail. While most LDCO units with chain drives are quiet, there are some units that have a type of harmonic vibration that causes the chain to slap the rail. For this reason, my recommendation would be to get the LDCO801 with a belt drive. The LDCO801 with a belt drive rail is one of the quietest garage door openers we have ever installed. They are even quieter than most LiftMaster openers.

Linear LDCO800/801 is Battery Backup Ready

The Linear LDCO801 garage door opener is battery backup ready and compliant with the California CA-969 law. What this means is outside of California, the unit is sold without a battery backup, but you do have the option of having one installed at a later date. In California, the unit has to be installed with a battery backup due to the recent law that was passed.

Linear vs. LiftMaster Garage Door Openers

The way I use to sell Linear vs. LiftMaster all came down to whether the homeowner wanted to control their garage door opener with their smartphone. If they said yes, I always pushed LiftMaster because they have been doing it the longest and their software was established. If the homeowner wanted something more basic, I always pushed Linear because their LDO and LDCO units were basic, reliable, less expensive, and overall great units.

LiftMaster Metal Carriage vs. Linear Plastic Carriage

LiftMaster uses a metal carriage and Linear uses a plastic carriage. At first glance, the LiftMaster carriage looks much heavier duty. What’s interesting is we have replaced more carriages on LiftMaster units than we have on Linear units. Mostly due to the metal shearing down the carriage.

LiftMaster Rail is More Heavy Duty

Solid one-piece LiftMaster steel rail

With that being said, the LiftMaster rail is much heavier duty than the Linear. LiftMaster uses a steel rail, while Linear uses an aluminum rail. We have never seen a LiftMaster steel t-rail fail, but I have seen a Linear t-rail fail on a very heavy wood carriage house garage door. In all fairness, the Linear rail should have had the additional “carriage house” reinforcement piece added to the rail, which would have been the proper way to install the opener.

Linear is a Harder Sell Than LiftMaster

In our experience, it was always much harder to sell a Linear garage door opener to a homeowner than a LiftMaster. The LiftMaster brand always did advertising on TV and their brand recognition was much better, even though Linear makes a great unit. LiftMaster also has one of the oldest smartphone apps which is very popular, which only adds to their long-term viability and market penetration.

Linear Openers are Homeowner-Friendly

I never understood why some garage door opener manufacturers would make it so hard to program new remotes or diagnose sensor issues until I spoke to a manufacturer rep at a trade show. He told me right to my face, it’s so that we can go out and charge a service call to homeowners. Now, I never agreed with this. I always felt that something simple like programming a new remote should be straightforward and any homeowner should be able to do it. Linear makes it easier than anyone.

Linear Remote Programming is Easy

Programming a new remote on a Linear garage door opener is as simple as pressing and releasing the learn button and pressing the button on the remote you want to program. That’s it. There is no long-drawn-out process or video required to do something as simple as programming a remote. And, that’s how it should be. LiftMaster openers are very similar.

Programming Linear Opener Limits

The Linear DC garage door openers are one of the few that allow you to program the up and down travel limits separately if you need to make small adjustments. Most other brands make you go through the complete programming cycle again if you mess up.

They are also one of the few that allow you to individually remove accessories like remotes and keypads without having to complete clear the circuit board.

Diagnostic Chart on Back of Linear Motor

Diagnostic chart on back of Linear LDCO800/801 garage door opener.

One of my favorite features of the Linear garage door openers was they featured a diagnostic chart right on the back of their motors that would tell you what issue you are encountering. This was a neat feature that no other manufacturer was including, and it helped save homeowners lots of money in service calls by being able to resolve simple issues themselves.

Linear Safety Sensors are the Best

Linear safety sensors mounted on the versatile Linear sensor brackets.
Linear safety sensors mounted on the versatile Linear sensor brackets.

Linear makes the best safety sensors and brackets, especially for the installer who puts them in homes every day. The two-piece brackets can be installed a hundred different ways, and the clip in design on the sensor allows them to be easily rotated. Of all the brands we have installed, this design is the easiest for homeowners to adjust on their own.

Now, I am not going to say we never have issues because we do. When homeowners bump into these sensors, they can rotate on the bracket, causing issues with alignment. But, getting them lined back up is as simple as rotating the sensor a little until the lights come back on solid.

Linear Smartphone Control

The Linear LDCO800 and LDCO801 garage door openers are not Wi-Fi ready which means they will not connect to your smartphone out of the box. In order to do that you would need to purchase an external accessory made by Linear or another third party company. If you’re looking for a good, simple garage door opener with smartphone control, I would recommend the LiftMaster 8160W. The LiftMaster myQ app is probably the most established software when it comes to controlling your opener from your smartphone.

Linear Openers are Installer-Friendly

Linear garage door openers always felt like they were designed for the installer, right down to how the units were packaged. When installing this brand, you always felt like the person who came up with the designs and packaging was once an installer themselves. Here are a few reasons why they are more installer friendly.

Chain and Belt Rails are Interchangeable

Because the sprocket on a Linear unit is attached to the rail, belt and chain rails can be swapped and installed on the same powerhead. This makes it easier for an installer in the field because they don’t have to carry as many power heads. Throwing an extra belt rail on your truck is easy, and it gives you something to offer when a homeowner is requesting a belt drive unit.

6ft Power Cord

At the time of writing this, all Linear garage door openers come with a 6ft power cord. This may not sound like a big deal, but to an installer it is a huge plus. Most garage door openers only have a 3ft or 4ft power cord, which many times can be too short when dealing with offset ceiling outlets or higher ceilings. The 6ft power cord on a Linear garage door opener has always seemed to be the perfect length to accommodate most installations.

Sensor Brackets Install Easier

Linear safety sensor brackets are two-piece, and their design allows you to install them in a variety of ways, which is beneficial for installers. Not every home is the same, so while you may be able to install on the wall at one home, another home might force you to install the sensor brackets on the vertical tracks. Because the Linear sensor brackets are so versatile, you can do this without any issues whatsoever.

Linear is One of The Best Companies to Deal With

All the years we have installed Linear, we have received exceptional support from our local reps when dealing with issues, warranty, and any other support we have needed. In the garage door industry, you don’t get paid for gas and time when you need to return to a home to replace parts under warranty. These expenses are the responsibility of the garage door company.

I have had some great Linear reps over the years that have gone out of their way to accommodate us with complimentary parts to help offset the cost of doing warranty work. We are lucky to see or ever talk to manufacturer reps from other companies, much less receive any type of compensation for issues we have with their products. This type of service from Linear trickles down to the homeowner in the form of great service because a garage door installer knows the manufacturer has their back.

Private Label Linear Openers

There is a nationwide garage door company called Precision Overhead Garage Door Service. They have installed the Linear LDCO800 garage door opener for years with their private label logo on the side. If you see a similar looking unit with this name on the side, it is most likely a Linear LDCO800 or 801.

Linear LDCO800/801 Opener Issues

Linear-LDCO800-Opener-Chain-Rattling

We have had some issues with the Linear LDCO800 openers, but the same can be said for every other brand out there. Even with all the issues we have had, the unit has always been a favorite of mine and popular with our customers as well. Let’s go over some of the issues we have experienced over the years.

Chain Rattling Against Rail

This is a newer issue we have experienced in the last few years. At first, we never had this issue, which leads me to believe some changes were possibly made to the sprocket on top of the unit. I have never been able to confirm this, but an employee of mine who was a welder and metalworker swore the sprocket looked and felt different.

While some customers experience a mild version of the rattling, others experience extreme rattling, which usually requires the chain either be tightened or loosened. I have never been able to confirm this with the manufacturer. Because of this, I recommend having the Linear LDCO801 installed with a belt drive rail. This will eliminate any issues with chains rattling and provide a super quiet experience that most homeowners are seeking.

Top Drive Sprocket Shreds

Linear chain sprocket with the teeth completely stripped off.
Linear chain sprocket with the teeth completely stripped off.

If you tighten the chain too tight to get rid of the rattling, you will prematurely shred the top sprocket on your Linear LDCO800/801 garage door opener. The good news is it is an easy fix. Most homeowners can do this themselves by detaching the rail from the power head, or any garage door company can complete this easily in well under an hour.

Field Resets During Excessive Power Outages

During the major 2021 freeze in Texas, electricity was on and off for days, wreaking havoc on households with no end in sight. During this time and immediately after, we received hundreds of phone calls because garage door openers were not running correctly. Because we have installed so many Linear LDCO800 units with electronic limits, we received most of our phone calls about that unit.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, your Linear LDCO garage door opener will most likely need a field reset. This will clear the limit settings from the memory, which will allow you to reprogram the travel and force settings for your garage door opener. The best news about the whole situation was the field reset solved the issue with just about every homeowner I helped. We didn’t have to replace circuit boards.

All Brands of Garage Door Openers Have Issues

LiftMaster, Chamberlain, Genie, and Linear are at the top of the food chain when it comes to residential garage door openers. All of these brands have issues, just like every vehicle on the road today. If you stick with one of the top brands, most garage door repair companies are more likely to have replacement parts for your opener on their truck when they visit your home.

Replacing the LDCO800/801 Circuit Board

We recently replaced a circuit board in a Linear LDCO800 garage door opener we installed a few years back. After installing the newer 2022 LDCO board, I programmed the customer’s older MCT-11 remotes. When I went to test the remotes, they would only work when a couple of feet away from the powerhead. I changed the batteries in the remotes and still had the same issue. I was also having the range issue with the customer’s built-in buttons inside their vehicle. Nothing was making sense.

I went out to my service truck and got a couple of newer Linear MTR3 remotes and programmed them to the new circuit board. They worked perfectly close up and far away. I programmed the customer vehicle and it worked perfectly. This was the first time I had come across this issue, so I made a phone call to Linear technician support.

The Linear support representative on the phone told me that Linear recently changed their circuit boards from wideband to narrowband due to interference issues they have had with remotes. The newer replacement LDCO circuit board was narrowband, and it is designed to work better with the newer Linear MTR3 remotes. If you intend to change the circuit board in your Linear LDCO garage door opener, make sure to budget for new remotes, as your old ones may not perform as expected.

Linear LDCO800/801 Manuals and Guides

LDCO800 Homepage
LDCO801 Homepage
LDCO801 Brochure
LDCO801 Installation Manual
LDCO801 Quick Programming Guide

Conclusion

If you are looking for a quiet, simple garage door opener, the Linear LDCO801 is a great choice. The unit is reliable, easy to program, and accessories for Linear garage door openers are generally cheaper than other brands. This unit will also make a great unit for a rental property since the force and travel limits are electronic. This will help prevent anyone from making adjustments to your garage door opener with a screwdriver that could cause issues down the road.

Would I Recommend the Linear LDCO801 Opener?

Yes, it is a great unit. But, I would get it in the belt drive variation. The belt drive model is super quiet and does not have the rattling issues that are sometimes present with the chain drive. We have installed hundreds of these units over the years, and they have proven to be a good garage door opener for installers and homeowner alike.

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