Smart Garage Door

Smart Garage Doors

Having a smart garage door opener can be a huge help to your home. Controlling and monitoring your smart home garage door can take on several forms.

At the simple end, you can keep your eye on whether the door is open and get an alert pinged to your smart phone if it’s accidentally been left ajar.

If you want to go all-in, you can install a smart garage door opener so you can slide into the driveway and on into your garage without jumping out the door or struggling to winch up a roller-shutter.

We’ll look today at a variety of smart garage door openers and appliances so there’s something for everyone.

First, though, we’ll take a more detailed look at the mechanics of garage door openers before getting into the “smart ones.”

Garage Door Openers

If you decide you want to invest in a smart garage door opener, you’re faced with a choice of 5 type of mechanism straight off the bat:

  • Chain-Drive
  • Belt-Drive
  • Direct-Drive
  • Screw Drive
  • Jackshaft

Chain-Drive

Chain-drive garage door openers are affordable and dependable but they do kick out quite a lot of noise and they’re also prone to vibrate.

If you have a garage attached to your house, chain-drive openers are not the best bet.

As long as the noise doesn’t bother you, the strength and durability of chain-drive garage door openers means they continue to remain one of the most popular choices.

Belt-Drive

Belt-drive garage door openers work in much the same way as chain-drives but with a belt rather than chain in place.

You’ll get a noticeably quieter and smoother action but you will need to pay more for the privilege.

Direct-Drive

With a direct-drive garage door opener, the motor acts as the trolley and raises or lowers the door as it travels the track.

With just one moving part, you’ll get less noise and maintenance in these reliable units.

Screw Drive

This type of garage door opener uses a threaded rod to shift the lifting mechanism.

A little quieter than belt-drive alternatives, you’ll get few moving parts and blissfully little maintenance with a screw drive garage door opener.

You’ll be able to use this radio protocol with clickers (keypad controllers), burglar alarm modules, and passive lighting switches.

Jackshaft

This type of garage door opener uses a threaded rod to shift the lifting mechanism.

A little quieter than belt-drive alternatives, you’ll get few moving parts and blissfully little maintenance with a screw drive garage door opener.

You’ll be able to use this radio protocol with clickers (keypad controllers), burglar alarm modules, and passive lighting switches.

Features of The Best Garage Door Openers

While functionality varies considerably from model to model, there are a few common factors worth thinking about if you’re looking at garage door openers.

Auto-Reversing

Safety is critical with garage door openers.

All of the best units come with automatic reversing so the direction of the door is switched in the event it encounters any unexpected obstacle.

While this came to market in 1982, it was signed into federal law by 1993 so all compliant door openers mitigate risk in this way.

If you’ve got an older garage door opener dating to 1982 or before, it’s worth checking to make sure you and your family are not in any danger.

Manual Door Release

While a manual door release might seem to go against the grain of automating entry in the first place but it’s a vital component.

Smart garage door access is awesome but how about if there’s a power cut? You might very well still want to get into your garage and a manual door release allows you to get in even if there’s no power.

Unfortunately, the manual release in older models is a weak point with burglars able to hook the manual release from outside. If you have a garage door opener that doesn’t seem well protected in this area, use a couple zip ties to keep the release catch out of harm’s way.

Rolling Code Technology

One of the inbuilt problems with smart home technology is the concern about hacking.

While no system is invulnerable, the safest garage door openers make use of rolling code technology. In plain English, each time you use your garage remote, a fresh code is generated. With over 1 million codes, the chance of being compromised is negligible.

This kind of coding technology has been about since 1993 so if you have an existing garage door opener pre-dating this, you might want to ask yourself a few security questions.

Power

You’ll need to angle for just the right amount of power for the job.

If you’re too ambitious, you’ll get an overpowered unit that saps electricity. Sell yourself short and you might even end up in danger with the door opener unable to perform its duty putting you or your car in jeopardy.

For most fairly new garage doors of a typical size, a ½ HP motor is sufficient. If you’ve got double doors or a larger structure, you’ll need a garage door opener powered accordingly.

Battery Back-Up

We’ve glimpsed at the pros and cons of a manual door release but how about battery back-up in the event of an interruption to your power supply?

While you’ll only enjoy a limited number of uses from this reserve, it’s well worth having on hand and is invaluable if you suffer any extended loss of power.

Security Lights

Generally, smart garage door openers come with integrated security lights.

Also, depending on the approach you take, you can use your opener in combination with a range of other smart home appliances and modules to enhance functionality, and make your life safer and easier.

With motion sensors thrown into the mix, you can fully secure your garage door for less than you might imagine.

Other Garage Door Solutions

Perhaps the idea of automating access to your garage is not for you.

That’s the beauty of smart homes, there’s no prescribed solution simply what meshes best with your needs.

If you don’t fancy a smart garage door opener, you could think about a keyless entry system or a simple monitoring kit.

We’ll look at each of those to round out our look at smart garage doors…

Keyless Entry Systems

Perhaps you’re not interested in using your smartphone or an app to control your garage door.

Keyless entry systems allow to to choose and distribute a numeric code so you stay in complete control of who enters your property through the garage door.

The immediate benefit of this type of system is the fact you can go out without being burdened by keys.

You’ll also be able to set multiple codes so this is ideal for large families and also for properties rented out on Airbnb or similar.

The main thing to keep in mind is that a keyless entry system does not make a garage door security system. You’re simply replacing one type of access with another.

These keyless entry systems certainly have their place as an extra layer of convenience to make your life easier but how about if you want to keep your eye on who’s at home?

Monitoring Kits

With a monitoring kit, you’ll get alerts sent to your smartphone if your day is left open when it shouldn’t be.

Staying in control of any security breaches from afar is simplified no end when you can get in-app alerts and often watch footage of your entrance if you’re using a monitoring kit alongside other devices in your smart home.

You’re not going to get any help with the door being physically opened for you, but if you want to stay abreast of who’s at the door even if you’re not home, think about a simple garage door monitoring kit.

5 Best Smart Garage Door Opener & Appliances

We’ll highlight 5 of the best smart appliances so there’s something for everyone covering all main bases of intelligent garages.

If you want to double down on smart garage door openers, use our guide as a starting point and carry out some further research on which type would work best for you.

We’ll look now at a broad spread of smart garage door appliances so you can get an overview of your various options…

1) Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener with Hub

One way to assume remote control of your garage door is to invest in Chamberlain’s classic MyQ smart garage door opener that comes with the hub needed to get going straight out the box.

With MyQ, you simply add the hub to your existing garage door then you can control access using MyQ app on your phone.

You’ll be able to control who goes in and out of your garage even if you’re not at home, and you can set up scheduling to streamline things further.

You’ll able to link up with Nest appliances and arrange for the AC to come on when the door is opened or the heating to go off as it closes. You can also use Google Assistant but you will need to pay a monthly fee. Subscription also applies if you want to make use of IFTTT devices in your smart home so you can create customizable scenes and schedules.

Pros

  • Works seamlessly with existing door openers post 1993 so you can enjoy remote garage door access from your smartphone
  • Get alerts and customized notifications when anyone comes and goes using the garage door
  • Integrates with Google Assistant and IFTTT for a modest subscription fee

Cons

  • Lack of geofencing is less than ideal

2) Insteon 74551 Garage Door Control & Status Kit

If you’re already invested into Insteon, you’ll be well aware how effective their dual-mesh smart home products are.

For anyone with an older 2-wire smart garage door opener, this control and status kit lets you assume remote control using your smartphone while also receiving notifications in the event of any security breach. Alerts are dependent on the hub which is sold separately.

This opener is the perfect combination of peace of mind and convenience. No more grasping for your keys when your hands are full and no more worrying if you really did close the door on your way out.

It’s well worth considering an extender so you can boost the range of your Insteon network.

Pros

  • Powerline communication to open and close your garage door from your smartphone
  • Sensors alerting you to the status of the garage door
  • Build out your system with a wireless camera

Cons

  • You’ll need an Insteon hub but this is a multipurpose unit well worth adding to your smart home
  • Only works with traditional 2-wire garage door openers

3) Domino Engineering Keyless Entry System Hardwired Garage Door Keypad

Everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to smart homes. For many, nothing but bleeding-edge solutions will do. For others, it’s convenience without too much tech.

If you want to go back to basics and ramp up your garage door security without relying on a remote or smart phone or any keys whatsoever, this Domino coded entry system is well worth considering.

Set a 6-digit code then head out for your morning run without needing to bother with keys or your cell phone.

Rest safely knowing your kids can still get in even if they’ve forgotten their keys yet again.

This nifty little keyless entry system proves that you can think about smart home technology in many different ways and tailor a solution to your needs. If you want simplicity and security alongside a healthy slice of convenience, this makes a great choice.

Pros

  • Sidestep keys, remotes and controllers for all the convenience of coded, keyless entry
  • Backlit keys so you can punch in at night without straining your eye
  • Just ½-inch thick so very easy to mount even in restricted spaces

Cons

  • You’ll get no ability to open or close your garage door remotely

4) Skylink Household Alert Wireless Garage Door Monitor Kit

If you’re a Skylink fan, you’ll be able to take Remote control of your garage door if you use this kit in tandem with the garage door opener.

The core function is to allow you to get audio or visual alerts if your garage door is opened or closed. Choose between a beeping or alarm so you can take action if needed.

This is not a plug-and-play solution and to get the most from it you will need to dig deeper for more sensors along with other Skylink modules. That said, that’s what the best smart home is all about so if you want to build out an impressive garage door system, Skylink delivers.

Pros

  • Added security of a piercing 95-decibel siren in the event of any breach
  • Receiver good for up to 16 sensors so a very flexible solution
  • Super-simple set up and the benefit of a visual alert to accompany the audio

Cons

  • You will need to think about extra kit like additional alert sensors

5) Chamberlain Smartphone-Controlled Belt-Drive Garage Door Opener

We’ll round out with a superb belt-drive garage door opener from the legendary Chamberlain, a name synonymous with these nifty devices.

If you’re looking for a smart garage door opener that offers the excellence of a robust belt drive that gives off remarkably little noise with the MyQ technology allowing you to control access from afar, look no further.

Your smart phone becomes your remote control and you can receive notifications about the status of your door even if you’re not home.

And when you do come home, even if you have the grandest of entrances, 1500 feet of range should be more than enough to ensure you glide smoothly into your smart home.

Pros

  • Exceptional brand heritage at an affordable price-point
  • Rugged build drive is strong and powerful while quiet in operation
  • Remote range an impressive 1500 feet

Cons

  • A few gripes about wireless capability

Final Word

Taking the time in advance to think about what, exactly, you want from your smart garage door will help you considerably when you’re on the buying trail.

With keyless entry systems and monitoring kits, we’ve tried to give some different approaches to the standard garage door opener.

If you do want automated exit and entry, our guide to smart garage door openers should help you along the way. You should be able to see at a glance which type would work best and you’ll probably be surprised at just how little they cost.

Rather than exhaustively listing out lots of the same products, we’ve given you a very small taste of a selection of methods you can use to automate your garage door and integrate this security element with the rest of your smart home.

Smart garage doors and openers have a lot more scope than saving you from remembering your keys so take action and secure that vital area of your home. Learn more about smart home devices!

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