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Garage door openers: chain, belt, screw, or direct drive?

Garage One - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Looking for a garage door opener? In Toronto, Brampton, Hamilton and throughout Ontario, Garage One is the supplier and installer of choice when it comes to garage doors and their associated components. However, selecting the opener that’s right for you is a choice that you may find puzzling as there are four different varieties available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Garage One Garage Door Installation-Openers: A man installing a garage door opener.

Chain drive
The most common variety of garage door openers, and the most affordable. As the name suggests, these devices operate via a chain—similar to a bike chain—that pushes and pulls a trolley that’s connected to a metal arm called a J-arm. The J-arm is the component that’s attached to the garage door itself. Chain drive garage door openers are known for their reliability but also their noisiness. For this reason the recommendation tends to be to use this type of opener with garage doors that are detached from the rest of your home rather than one that’s next to or beneath a bedroom.

Belt drive
This variety is structurally similar to the chain drive but rather than a chain, this type of opener relies on a belt component made of fibreglass, polyurethane or steel-reinforced rubber. In terms of function, it’s just as reliable but much quieter. However, you will need to shell out a few more bucks for this drive model.

Screw drive
This type of garage door opener relies on a threaded steel rod to move the trolley that opens the door. One advantage of these units is that they have fewer components and therefore require less maintenance. However, historically they’ve proven to be noisier than belt drives and also haven’t done well in climates with big seasonal fluctuations in temperatures. Newer models have improved on both of these issues. An additional advantage is that they open quicker—10 – 12 inches per second versus 6 – 8 inches per second—than all other models. Closing speeds—7 inches per second—are capped across all models for safety reasons.

Direct drive
Many consumers report that direct drive garage door openers are quieter than all other models tried. However, they’re also the slowest to open. This variety of opener has a motor that travels along a stationary chain, which is embedded in an overhead rail. A J-arm links the motor directly to the garage door. The price point is approximately the same as the belt drive and generally comes with a lifetime warranty.

Installing your garage door opener

Installation of your garage door opener in Toronto, Brampton, Hamilton and throughout the rest of Ontario is a task best left to Garage One. We’ve provided our services to over 50,000 clients in various cities throughout the province. Contact us today to get a free estimate on garage door products and services.

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