There's nothing like having someone else do all the heavy lifting for you. With many garage doors weighing in excess of 200 pounds, having an automatic garage door opener takes all of the labor out of getting in and out of your garage.

When choosing a new garage door opener, it pays to know about the different types of openers available. The following provides an in-depth look at four common openers along with the different advantages each type offers.

Chain Drive

Just as the name implies, a chain-driven garage door opener uses a chain attached to a metal trolley to open and close the garage door. They're not only the most common type of garage door opener used, but they're also the most affordable option available for homeowners.

Chain-driven openers offer excellent durability due to their relatively simple and robust construction. With the proper amount of care and upkeep, you can expect one of these garage door openers to last for years on end.

Unfortunately, chain-driven garage door openers are also the noisiest out of the four most common options available. This is due to the constant rattling and bouncing that often plagues drive chains, especially if those chains are either worn out or in need of readjustment.

Belt Drive

Belt-driven garage door openers are surprisingly similar to their chain-driven counterparts. In fact, the only difference between the two is that the former uses a rubber belt to raise and close the garage door instead of a traditional chain.

Because of this, a belt-driven opener offers quieter overall operation than a similar chain-driven opener, making them ideal for homes with living spaces above the garage area. You'll also notice that your garage door opens with smoother action than with a chain-driven opener, since there's little to no slack in a drive belt when compared to a typical chain. This also allows the garage door to open and close faster than with an ordinary chain-driven opener.

Belt-driven garage door openers are not as economical as comparable chain-driven openers; plus, the drive belts often require more frequent maintenance than a similar chain would due to age and overall wear and tear.

Screw Drive

Screw-driven garage door openers do away with chains and belts altogether in favor of a unique screw drive system. A specially-designed carriage rack sits atop a threaded steel rod. As the garage door opener turns the actual rod, the carriage rack moves along the rod, raising and lowering the garage door depending on the direction the rod is turning.

With fewer moving parts than a typical belt or chain-driven garage door opener, screw-driven openers are often designed as compact units that are ideal for garages where space is at a premium. Their simplified construction also means they require less maintenance over time. However, screw-driven garage door openers tend to be noisier than their belt-driven counterparts.

Jackshaft Drive

All of the garage door openers that have been mentioned so far are mounted above the center of the garage door. Jackshaft-driven garage door openers differ by being mounted on the side wall of your garage. Instead of relying on springs or belts, jackshaft-driven openers instead use a powerful DC motor directly connected to the garage door's torsion spring to raise and lower the door.

There are a couple of advantages that jackshaft drives offer when compared to other types of garage door drives:

  • Jackshaft-driven garage door openers are ideal for use in garages where ceiling clearance could be an issue. This includes garages with exceptionally tall ceilings as well as garages with low ceilings and little to no room for a traditional garage door opener.
  • Jackshaft-driven garage door openers are also relatively quiet when compared to other types of openers.

Keep in mind that jackshaft-driven garage door openers often cost 25 to 30 percent more than openers that use traditional trolleys. However, the advantages that these garage door openers offer for garages with irregular ceiling heights may be worth the added cost.

For more information about your garage door options, contact a company like Overhead Door Of Akron.