The Best Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

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The best belt drive garage door opener for most people is the Chamberlain brand. Their automatic openers feature Wi-Fi with integrated smartphone control, battery backup, motion activated lights on select models, and an ultra-quiet design. Upgraded Chamberlain models feature the powerful 1 1/4 HP Max Lift motor with a steel-reinforced belt that will provide smooth, reliable operation and a battery backup to power the unit during power failures. Built in Wi-Fi with MyQ technology allows you to control the garage door opener from your smartphone with no additional accessories. Included in most upgraded packages are two remotes, one outside keypad, safety sensors, battery backup, and inside wall button with timer-to-close feature making this the best garage door opener.

If you are looking for a more basic garage door opener, Chamberlain offers chain drive models that also include Wi-Fi smartphone control. They feature a reliable chain drive, proven 1/2HP AC motor or quiet DC motor, Wi-Fi smartphone control, integrated lights, and some models come with two remotes and one outside keypad. These units are great for anyone looking to save money and someone who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. All Chamberlain units feature great motor warranties, and parts are readily available online or at most garage door dealers.

Why Is Chamberlain the Best Garage Door Opener for Most People?

Chamberlain garage door openers are the best because they manufacture reliable automatic openers with innovative safety, convenience, and smartphone features. They have been making openers for decades under the Chamberlain and LiftMaster brands, as well as private labels for many companies. Their garage door openers have excellent parts and service support, and they continue to be industry leaders with the introduction of their Wi-Fi units. They include great features such as timer to close, one touch to close outside keypads, and battery backup integration for the ultimate in safety and security.

Battery backup integration in Chamberlain garage door openers makes for a seamless experience when opening and closing your garage door during a power outage. The integrated battery is tucked away inside the motor housing and stays charged while the unit is plugged in. If the power goes out, the backup battery will power your garage door opener, so you are not left stranded or stuck. This is a great convenience feature that we discuss in detail later in the article.

Chamberlain was one of the first companies to introduce smartphone capable garage door openers that allow you to control and monitor your garage door from anywhere in the world. Their MyQ smartphone app has proven to be very reliable and continues to be updated and supported. They are years ahead of any other garage door opener company in this regard.

The MyQ app allows you to set daily schedules which will close your garage door at a certain time after it has been opened. This is a great way to keep your home secure when you are away. Built in Wi-Fi allows you to open or close and monitor your garage door from your smartphone with email or push notifications. No one has been doing smartphone capable garage doors openers longer than Chamberlain.

Ultra-Quiet DC Motor with 1 1/4 HP Max Lift Power System

Select Chamberlain garage door openers feature the 1 1/4 HP Max Lift Power System designed to work in excessive heat, cold, and humidity. The Max Lift System has the highest lifting capacity in its category in North America and features anti-vibration technology to ensure quiet, smooth operation. Being able to generate the lifting force equivalent to 1 1/4 HP gives this unit ice break strength to help break free a garage door frozen to the ground.

The Chamberlain Max Motor is designed to lift the heaviest garage doors including carriage house wood and steel back insulated garage doors while providing a lifetime motor warranty. Larger garage doors have more mass, which makes it hard for garage door openers to open and close, as it takes power to get the weight moving down the tracks. The Max Lift Power System is designed to handle these loads daily, ensuring your garage door will always perform at its best.

Recently, Chamberlain has introduced DC (direct current) motors in many of their U.S. based garage door openers. DC motors have been used for many years throughout Europe, and now finally the United States is taking advantage of this technology. DC motors are quiet when running, and they allow for soft starting/stopping when the unit is in operation.

What this means is the garage door opener will take off slowly on initial start and pick up speed and then slow down right before the end of its cycle. This makes for much quieter operation when the garage door opener is activated, and it reduces wear and tear on your garage door commonly seen from traditional AC motor garage door openers.

Traditional AC motors are either on or off. When you hit the button, they are going full speed until the cycle is complete. The instant full speed jerk will wear a garage door prematurely over time, whereas a DC motor has a more gentle touch. This increases the life of your garage door… especially the area where the garage door opener pick up arm connects to the stile on the door.

Another great feature of garage door openers with DC motors is they do not have a starting capacitor. A starting capacitor is a part that stores energy to help a traditional AC motor get running. Not having this part is one less item you have to worry about replacing. If a garage door opener with an AC motor is activated too many times in a row, it can blow the starting capacitor. This is more common in hot climates, where temperatures can reach the triple digits.

Modern garage door openers with DC motors utilize electronic force and travel limits that are built into the circuit board. This is a great feature because the circuit board will always analyze the last few cycles and make adjustments. This is great for changing weather conditions when a garage door might be a little more hesitant to roll, especially in freezing climates. Furthermore, not having physical travel limits will eliminate travel problems some garage door openers have when corrosion builds up inside the motor head on the travel assembly.

Motor Vibration Isolation System

Chamberlain garage door openers feature a Motor Vibration Isolation System to help eliminate unwanted vibration and noise. This is especially important if there is a bedroom, living space, or nursery close to the garage.

The hanging brackets for the garage door opener are attached to the ceiling joists. When a garage door opener has excessive vibration, this gets transferred up through the hanging brackets and into the structure of the home. This vibration is loud enough to wake anyone sleeping or relaxing in a bedroom nearby.

The Motor Vibration Isolation System offered by Chamberlain eliminates the noise and vibration that is transferred through the garage door opener hanging brackets. This results in a much more pleasant experience for all who are living in the home. The quiet operation allows you to open and close your garage door at all times of day, not having to worry about who you are going to disrupt.

Ultra-Quiet Belt Drive with Steel Reinforcement

Chamberlain garage door openers utilize a super quiet belt drive system for the ultimate in noise reduction. The drive belt is made of high-quality materials using rubber and reinforced with steel for years of worry free operation. Belt drive garage door openers provide ultra-quiet performance since there is no metal on metal when in operation, which is great for attached garages… especially if there is a bedroom next to the garage.

Having a bedroom next to or above a garage can be problematic if the garage door opener creates too much vibration and noise. Many times the master bedroom or the nursery is above the garage, which is why it’s important to have a quiet garage door opener. This allows you to use it at all times of the day without worrying about waking up loved ones.

The rubber belt also acts as a shock absorber while in use. This allows a little give when running your garage door up and down, which will reduce wear and tear on your automatic opener and door. Reducing wear on your garage door system means everything will run worry free for a longer period of time, therefore saving you money. Couple this with a lifetime belt warranty, and you have a super quiet garage door opener backed by one of the best warranties in the business.

Belt vs Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

If you plan on purchasing a Chamberlain garage door opener, the chain drive units are not 100% chain drive. They use a half cable and half chain drive system. The system is very reliable, but if something was to break, it would be the cable. The LiftMaster professional line which is made by Chamberlain uses a 100% chain drive system.

Chamberlain belt drive units use a 100% belt drive system which is the same belt found on their LiftMaster professional line of garage door openers. Chamberlain chain drive garage door openers are quiet, but the belt drive units are even quieter and a great choice for anyone looking for less noise during operation.

Will the Belt Eventually Break?

Broken steel reinforced drive belt on garage door opener

The belts on Chamberlain garage door openers will usually fail around the ten-year mark under normal usage. But, in that time it will have given you many years of quiet service, which is what most people want. Especially if they have a bedroom or nursery above their garage. The good news is Chamberlain offers a lifetime warranty on their belts. When the belt fails on your garage door opener, give them a call, and they will mail you a new one. Installation is simple.

PRO TIP

Manual travel limits on garage door opener
Manual travel limits on garage door opener

If you plan on replacing the belt on your garage door opener yourself, here is a tip that will save you a lot of frustration. If you have an older garage door opener with manual adjustments, you need to check the travel limits. The inner slide that attaches to the carriage will need to be in the up or down position, depending on where the limits are currently set. You might have to remove the cover of the garage door opener to determine this. If you have a newer garage door opener with electronic limits, this tip will not be relevant for you.

Smartphone Control with Built-in Wi-Fi

The free Chamberlain MyQ app allows you to control and monitor your Wi-Fi garage door opener from your smartphone with no monthly fees. This control allows you to let someone into your home without giving them a key to your front door or the pin to your outside keypad. This is great for babysitters, housekeepers, the repairman, or your dog walker.

Another great benefit of receiving notifications on your smartphone when the garage door opens is being able to monitor when your kids come home. Many parents know the general time of day when their kid comes home, and they will receive a push notification when the garage door has opened. This is a great way to rest assured your kids have arrived home safely.

The Chamberlain MyQ app allows you to control and schedule your garage door and MyQ lighting. You can set schedules in the app to turn lights on and off and close your garage door at preset times to keep your home secure, especially when you’re away on a trip.

There are integrations with third-party partner apps such as Google Assistant and IFTTT that would require a monthly fee if you want to control your garage door with your voice or through their automation software. If you only use the MyQ app, there are no monthly fees. We use the MyQ app daily and find it more than sufficient at controlling and monitoring our garage door without having to connect it to a third-party service.

Chamberlain Secure View 1080p Integrated Video Camera

Upgraded Chamberlain garage door openers feature an integrated video camera that enables you to see what is happening in your garage through a live feed or a recorded event. The camera offers a 1080p, glare resistant, night vision lens that can auto adjust for light levels. The camera can be manually tilted and rotated 360 degrees, so you can choose the exact location you want to watch. The camera also allows for 2-way audio, so you can communicate in real time with whomever is in your garage.

Battery Backup for Power Outages

With the growing number of power outages and wildfires plaguing communities, having a battery backup garage door opener that will operate when the electrical power is out is not only convenient but can save lives as well. Chamberlain has been leading the way with battery backup integration in their garage door openers for years. This feature can save lives in case of a natural disaster by allowing the homeowner to open their garage door when the power goes out.

The state of California introduced legislation that would mandate all new garage door openers installed in residential homes be required to have a battery backup, so there is an egress point during a wildfire or other natural disaster. There were many homeowners that we’re told to evacuate during a wildfire and were unable to open their garage door due to the power going out. Garage door openers feature a red emergency release cord, but many homeowners do not understand how they work and combine that with a heavy garage door that has not been properly maintained, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The backup battery in garage door openers will eventually need to be replaced and when that time comes the opener will make a loud beeping noise alerting you it’s time to replace the battery. This built-in feature is great, so you don’t have to worry about when is the right time to replace the battery.

Dual Motion Activated Lights

Super bright integrated LED lights
Super bright integrated LED lights

Many homes do not have sufficient lighting in the garage, so having a garage door opener with two motion activated lights will help when you enter the garage. The deluxe wall button included upgraded units has a motion sensor that will turn on the lights for 4 1/2 minutes as soon as it detects motion in the garage. This will give you plenty of time to grab something from the garage without having to flip a switch on and off, and prevent anyone from leaving the garage light on. The built-in lights will provide more than enough lighting for the average garage. Since most garages only have a single light bulb in the center, the dual light system on premium units will be a welcomed addition to any garage.

If you need consistent light, there is a light button on the wall button that allows you to control the two lights on the motor head manually. The lights will stay on until you press the light button again or run the unit from the wall button or remote. Another great convenience feature for a poorly lit garage.

Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery for Chamberlain MyQ Openers

Amazon has teamed up with Chamberlain garage door openers to offer Amazon Key In-garage delivery. It is FREE for Prime Members, and gone are the days of missing or wet packages. The service is secure and contactless, and you can receive real-time updates every step of the way. If you have a Chamberlain Secure View Garage Door Opener with Camera, you can watch deliveries happen in real time. It’s nice having peace of mind knowing your packages are safe in your garage until you are ready to retrieve them.

The way it works is eligible Prime members will be able to choose “in-garage” shipping at checkout when shopping at Amazon.com. On delivery day, the customer will receive a notification in the morning with a 4-hour delivery window. You will receive an “Arriving Now” notification in which you can watch the delivery happen live if you have installed the right equipment. No special codes or keys are given to the driver, and the driver will not move on to their next delivery until the garage door is fully closed.

Lights Turn on When Crossing Safety Sensor Beam

Chamberlain safety sensors activate the main lights when you cross their path with the door in the up position… Chamberlain exclusive feature
Chamberlain safety sensors activate the main lights when you cross their path with the door in the up position… Chamberlain exclusive feature

One feature that is seldom talked about on Chamberlain garage door openers but quickly becomes a favorite for many homeowners is the light activation when you cross the safety sensor beam. This is popular with many homeowners that like to sit outside in the evenings with their garage door open. The light on the garage door opener will activate when something crosses the safety sensor beam. The light will stay on for the normal 4 1/2 minutes, and the light timer will reset everything when the beam is broken. It is a small hidden feature that many Chamberlain owners are very fond of.

This feature used to be standard on all Chamberlain & LiftMaster garage door openers. Today, they only offer it on select models. If this is a feature you use, make sure the specs say “Yes” under the area that says “Lights Turn On When Entering Garage”.

Chamberlain Included Accessories

Long-Range Remotes

Chamberlain garage door openers come with long-range Security 2.0 remotes with Triband technology, which boosts range up to 1,500 feet for quicker entrance and exit into the garage. Some included remotes have three buttons and can be programmed to all Chamberlain, LiftMaster, or Sears garage door openers manufactured after Jan. 1st, 1993. The remotes are also capable of operating MyQ lighting and LiftMaster gate openers. The remote uses CR2032 batteries that can be replaced using the visor clip included to pop open the case.

Outside Keypad with One Touch to Close

The outdoor wireless keypad included provides convenient access to your garage when coming home or working in the yard. The flip up cover offers protection from the weather, while the backlit keys allow for use in low light conditions. A temporary pin can be programmed to allow limited access for guests or workers. The best feature of all is the one-touch to close, which allows you to close your garage door by pressing the enter button. This eliminates you from having to enter your four digit pin every time you leave for a more efficient exit. The keypad uses a 9V battery that can be replaced easily with no tools.

Motion Wall Button with Timer to Close

Select upgraded Chamberlain garage door openers feature a digital readout that tells temperature and time. The unit is designed, so you can program remotes and keypads from the wall button. Some models also include a motion sensor on the wall button that will turn on the lights when motion is detected, and the dedicated light button allows you to turn on the lights manually if needed. Timer to close is built into the wall button on some models, which allows you to set a predetermined time to elapse before the door starts to close. This is a great feature if anyone in your household tends to leave the garage door open.

Safety Reversal Sensors

The safety sensors included are designed to prevent the garage door from closing on people or pets. They are mounted six inches off the ground and when something crosses the beam, the garage door opener will reverse direction and start going back up. Chamberlain includes convenient snap on brackets that allow you to mount the sensors to the garage door tracks. This will save time on installation and help keep the sensors far enough from the garage door while it’s moving to prevent interference. Safety sensors on garage door openers are only active on the close cycle.

Battery Backup

The battery backup included with upgraded Chamberlain garage door openers comes in handy if you have a power outage. You will be the envy on the block when your garage door goes up while your neighbors are stuck in their garages. This convenience feature allows life to go on as usual until the utility company can get the power restored.

Easy DIY Garage Door Opener Installation

Chamberlain company offers some of the easiest garage door openers to install. They provide outstanding technical support online and over the phone to assist with full installation, programming accessories, and diagnosing common issues. Their website is loaded with owner’s manuals and technical articles for setting up and configuring any product they offer.

Chamberlain garage door openers feature a unique snap-lock rail assembly that does not require tools to assemble. The remotes come pre-programmed for convenience. The safety sensors snap onto your garage door tracks for ease of installation and to provide a secure fit. We have another article on our website discussing the best garage door opener installation kit.

The Chamberlain website or YouTube channel offers installation, programming, troubleshooting, and how-to videos to help assist with any problem that may arise. There are many professional videos to walk you through the process and phone support to help if you get stuck. After the opener is installed, you can watch one of their many MyQ videos to help connect your smartphone to your garage door opener for the ultimate experience.

Rail Extension Kits for Oversized Garage Doors

The most common height for residential garage doors is 7 feet tall. If your garage door is 8 feet tall, you will need to purchase the Chamberlain 8ft Extension Kit. The extension kit will provide additional parts, so your garage door will open the full height when using your Chamberlain opener.

If your garage door height is over 8 feet tall, you will need to purchase the Chamberlain 10ft Extension Kit. This will provide the longer rail and belt to accommodate garage doors up to 10 feet tall.

The extension kits should be available for chain and belt drive Chamberlain garage door openers. If you are having a LiftMaster Professional opener installed, your dealer will provide the correct one-piece drive rail for your height of garage door.

Where Can I Find a Professional to Install My Garage Door Opener?

The best place in the world to find a local contractor is your local realty office. Realtors are some of the hardest working people. They always need home service companies to do repairs on homes they are about to list or a property that is closing in a few days, and the home inspector found a few things wrong. They most likely have already filtered through the bad companies and will most likely have a good reference.

We have Google to be a great source for finding contractors online. Their top priority is to provide relevant results for what you are looking for. Their reviews are reliable and the ones who do cheat the system by posting fake reviews, eventually get knocked back down to the bottom or removed from Google.

Many other online services like YELP and Angie’s List will show relevant results based on which businesses do the most advertising with them. We have experienced this first-hand running our own service company. For this reason, we don’t use these service nor do we recommend them.

Chamberlain Parts and Warranty Support

One of the most important aspects of any product is warranty and support… especially when that product is controlling the largest moving object in your home. All Chamberlain garage door openers feature a lifetime belt warranty, generous motor warranty, 5-year warranty on parts, and a 1-year warranty on accessories.

The Chamberlain brand is well known and distributed through the U.S. and parts are available through thousands of LiftMaster independent dealers or online. Because of the similarities between Chamberlain (DIY brand) and LiftMaster (professional brand), any garage door dealer can repair or service a Chamberlain opener. The two brands share many features and benefits.

What many people don’t know is Chamberlain, LiftMaster, and Sears Craftsman garage door openers are all made by the same company… The Chamberlain Group. LiftMaster is the professional version of Chamberlain and only sold through independent dealers. The only difference you are going to see between the two brands is LiftMaster uses a one-piece rail and Chamberlain uses a two piece rail. You could argue the one-piece rail is better, but Chamberlain multi-piece rails hold up just fine. In fact, we have never seen one fail.

The Chamberlain Group has made Sears Craftsman garage door openers for many years. Most Craftsman openers resemble the Chamberlain unit in many ways. Sears chose to go in a different direction with their remotes and some replacement parts, which make their units hard to recommend. The remotes that came with previous generation Craftsman openers were never as good as their Chamberlain counterparts. Some replacement parts in Craftsman units were slightly changed, so you had to order parts from Sears, which could take 4-6 weeks. For this reason, we always recommended Chamberlain openers over Sears Craftsman.

Chamberlain vs. LiftMaster Garage Door Openers

The motor heads on Chamberlain and LiftMaster garage door openers will be very similar because they are manufactured by the same company. Actually, most of the parts used on both brands can be interchanged because the only difference is in the branding. The Chamberlain brand is their DIY line that is sold online and at home improvement stores. The main difference you are going to see is the rail that is used and the chain drive system.

The Chamberlain brand uses a multi-piece sectional rail that is packaged in a compact box, so the customer can take it home easily from a store or have it shipped to their home. The LiftMaster brand uses a solid one-piece rail that is around 9-10’ long. The LiftMaster rail is only available through servicing dealers because the cost to ship is very high.

The chain drive system on Chamberlain and LiftMaster garage door openers is different. The Chamberlain brand uses a chain and cable system, while the LiftMaster uses a solid chain drive. While the solid chain drive is more reliable, the chain and cable system on the Chamberlain has proven to be reliable and provide years of service. If you do have issues several years down the road, you can easily purchase a replacement online and install yourself.

The belt drive system on Chamberlain and LiftMaster garage door openers is identical. Both brands use a full steel reinforced belt to drive the system that is backed by a lifetime part warranty. If your belt wears out on your Chamberlain, you can call their customer service department and provide some information, and they will send you a new belt.

PLEAE NOTE: The most considerable difference between Chamberlain and LiftMaster is how the warranty is handled. On the LiftMaster unit, your warranty will run through the installing dealer. This is important because if you were to have an issue with the unit, your dealer will come out and make necessary repairs and replacements onsite. If you have issues with a Chamberlain unit you purchased from your local home center, the homeowner has to get on the phone with support and diagnose the issue themselves. If the unit needs to be returned to the store, the homeowner will have to remove it or pay a service company.

Subscription-Based Partner Integrations

Screenshot credit: MyQ Partners Website

The Chamberlain MyQ app is free to download and use. If your Chamberlain garage door opener has Wi-Fi built in, it will walk you through how to set up the opener with the app. If you are looking to integrate the garage door opener with other smart home devices and services, then you may have to pay a monthly fee depending on what service you connect it to.

Which Garage Door Opener Brands to Avoid?

This is a private label Guardian garage door opener. I called the installing dealer/distributor to get parts for this unit and they stopped carrying the brand due to the excessive amount of issues they were seeing with these units.
This is a private label Guardian garage door opener. I called the installing dealer/distributor to get parts for this unit and they stopped carrying the brand due to the excessive amount of issues they were seeing with these units.

Based on our experience, try to avoid any brands that don’t have any servicing dealers in your area. You will want to avoid brands like Ryobi which are sold at Home Depot because there are no servicing dealers at the time of writing this article. When you have issues with a Ryobi garage door opener, you will have no choice but to remove it from the ceiling and take it back to the Home Depot. Furthermore, most servicing dealers in general will have no experience with this brand, making it hard for them to make any recommendations over the phone.

Marantec and Guardian brands are mainly installed by builders because they are low-cost units with a small dealer network. Many times they are brought into a market to install in new homes. When the homeowner has issues with them, there are no servicing dealers to be found. Marantec is one of the hardest garage door openers to program accessories to and the Guardian brand will either have safety sensor issues, constantly need to be reset, or the belt will break. These are the most common issues we encounter.

The brand that is going to surprise you the most is we do not recommend Genie garage door openers. Genie openers used to be great with their reliable screw drive that had a very loyal following. Recently, they have chosen to go after builder business, so their entire lineup was changed to reduce costs for the builders. They had many recalled units, and today we are seeing brand-new units fail within two years of being installed, only to have the local genie distributor say parts are no longer available.

The Chamberlain Group which manufactures Chamberlain and LiftMaster garage door openers has LiftMaster servicing dealers all over the world. Any LiftMaster dealer can service or get parts for a Chamberlain garage door opener because the two brands share so many parts that cross over from model to model. These brands are readily available in every market, and parts are available everywhere online.

Why Did I Choose the Chamberlain Brand?

Simple. Because it is the brand I would buy. If you notice, in this article we are not linking out to Homedepot.com or Amazon.com trying to get you to purchase a particular model of garage door opener. There are no affiliate links in this article. This article is not a sponsored post, which means we were not paid to write it. We are recommending a brand based on our experience.

There are many models of garage door openers on the market today. I’m sure there are other brands that offer a similar experience with comparable features and support. Most importantly, find a local dealer that can properly install your garage door opener and provide support when needed. They might offer a different brand based on their experience or demographics. Either way, building that relationship is important, so you have someone local you can rely on.

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