Garage Door Opener Buying Guide

Tired of getting out of your car to manually open the garage? An automatic garage door opener makes life easier, while also enhancing your home's safety and providing secure access and lighting to your garage. Install a garage door opener and enjoy the comfort and safety of automatic access to a safe, well-lit garage.

Secure Your Garage with the Best Opener

When shopping for a new opener for your garage door, take the time to browse 

through all the features to find which one suits your needs best. From the drive 

system to speed and power, discover which garage door opener is right for you.

Once you've settled on the perfect opener, book an in-home consultation to have 

our pros install it for you.

Garage Door Opener Drive Systems

Since most standard openers run on similar designs — a trolley connected to the garage door moves on a rail powered by a motor, opening or closing the door — the biggest difference between models is the drive system. The motor that moves the trolley on garage doors can operate on a chain-drive, belt-drive, screw-drive, or computer-controlled drive.


With this system, a lifting mechanism that moves along a threaded steel rod. These units are powerful and, because they have few moving parts, they require the least maintenance. The body of the opener rests in the centre of the garage ceiling.


Functioning similarly to the chain-drive system, this system uses a belt rather than a chain to move the trolley. This belt provides quieter, smoother operation, making it a good choice for homes with living or sleeping spaces above or adjacent to the garage. Because belt-drive systems have fewer moving parts, they're simpler to maintain.


This system uses a metal chain to lift the door up and down along its tracks. Chain-drive systems are the most common and usually the least expensive, but they sometimes make more noise than screw-drive units. Like screw drives, chain drives sit in the centre of the garage ceiling.

Computer-Controlled Driee

No chain, screw, or belt drives this type of system. The body of the unit sits directly above the door, rather than in the middle of the ceiling. This is particularly helpful in garages that have limited headroom, and it leaves more garage ceiling space open for storage.


Choose a motor with power adequate to lift your door. If you have double doors, look for at least a half-horsepower motor. Even on a single door, a larger motor is likely to last longer.

Also look for a unit with soft starting and stopping that operates more quietly, with less wear and tear on the door. Higher-end openers operate more quickly, reducing the time you have to wait in the driveway. For safety's sake, the faster-opening models still close at a standard, slower speed.


Garage door openers have motors that run on either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). Both plug into a standard home power outlet, but DC-powered openers convert AC to DC power.

The advantages of a DC motor include smaller size, quieter operation, and softer starts and stops, while the advantages of an AC motor include better safety, more efficiency in power transmission, and better lighting.

Look for a system that comes with a back-up battery in case there's an electrical outage.


All garage door openers produced today use "rolling codes" for the greatest security. Each time the door is opened, a new, random code is generated. This prevents code theft and ensures that a neighbor's remote control will not open your garage.

All models also include a manual release that will allow you to open the door if the power is out. Some higher-end models include a function that opens the door just a little bit so the cat or dog can get out.


Most openers include a security light that comes on as you activate the system and stays on long enough for you to get out of the car and go into the house. Many remotes include buttons that turn on the light without activating the door.

Garage Door Opener Controls

Most garage door openers come with a remote control, whether it's a one-button, two-button, or three-button remote. You can also gain entry to your garage with a wall-mounted keypad, which can be programmed to lock the door for a set amount of time — a handy feature if you'll be away and want peace of mind.

Remote Controls

Some garage door openers use a one-button remote, while other models include a remote with two or more buttons that can control multiple openers. Multiple buttons are useful if you have more than one garage bay, each with a separate door. Mini remotes are small enough to fit on keychains.


Doorbell-like buttons or keypads can be mounted to the wall — interior or exterior — near the door to allow it to be opened without a remote. Look for this as an accessory if it doesn't come as part of the standard opener kit.

Related Articles

Generator Buying Guide

Generator Buying Guide

Generators are great when there is a power outage at home, on camping trips or on a job site. Learn more about generators in our Generator Buying Guide.
Wood stove heater in living room

Heater Buying Guide

From pellet stoves to electric baseboard heaters to garage heaters, find out which is best for you in our Heater Buying Guide.
Security Camera Buying Guide

Security Camera Buying Guide

Smoke alarms are mandatory in every building and dwelling across Canada. Find one to keep you and your family safe with the earliest detection.