What You Need to Know to Choose a Smart Garage Door Opener

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated January 7, 2022
Kid playing outside garage door.
Photo: Cavan Images / Getty Images


  • A smart garage door opener allows you to control your garage from an app on your smartphone.

  • The main types of smart garage door opening systems are chain, belt, screw, and direct drive.

  • It’s possible to hack into smart garage door openers, so choose one that uses a rolling code.

  • They cost between $25 and $400 or more.

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What homeowner hasn't left their house and, 20 miles down the road, realized they left the garage door up? That's not a great feeling, particularly if you have valuable items in your garage or an unlocked entrance to your house.

That's where a smart garage door opener can offer peace of mind. No matter where you are, you can control your garage door via an app on your smartphone. Plus, this system has benefits beyond theft protection. This guide breaks down everything you need to know about smart garage door systems.

What Is a Smart Garage Door Opener?

A smart garage door opener is a device that enables you to remotely control your garage door using a wireless internet connection and sensors. That way, even if you're not home, you can open or close the garage door, which is ideal if you forget to close your garage door or you need to let someone into the garage from afar. It also helps make your garage door safe by giving you the ability to monitor and control it.

Smart garage door opener systems generally include:

  • A garage door motor

  • A belt rail installed in the garage

  • A transmitter

  • An app

Hub vs. Smart Garage System

Keep in mind that there are two options for smart garage control: You can buy a full smart garage system or a hub.

Your choice will greatly affect the price tag of your purchase. That's because a full smart garage system involves installing all of the other parts of a garage door opening system, such as the motor and the rails, which could cost upwards of $400. If you're building a new garage, you'll have to install the full system.

On the other hand, a hub provides a remote control to an existing garage door opening system, and the prices for this attachment start at $25. You can control this hub remotely, which controls the motor that runs the garage door.

How Can a Smart Garage Door Opener Help Me Save Money?

While the main benefits of a smart garage door opener are convenience and peace of mind, it can also save you money in three main ways: better insulation, lower electricity usage, and protection from theft.

Better Insulation

If you forget to close your garage door, you’ll accidentally let in hot air during the summer and cold air during the winter. Without a closed garage door to insulate your home from the elements, the outdoor air comes in closer contact with your house and raises or lowers the temperature inside, forcing your heating and cooling units to work harder.

Lower Electricity Usage

Older models of garage door openers stay on to detect a signal that a car is approaching. However, this method constantly uses energy, adding to your monthly energy bill. A remote garage door system only powers on when you instruct it to do so.

Protection From Theft

Nothing makes a thief’s job easier than an open garage door. By using a smart garage door opener, you can ensure that your home entrance remains closed, protecting your items and making your house difficult to access. Plus, most smart garage door opener apps will alert you if the system detects suspicious activity.

4 Types of Garage Door Openers

White garage door opening.
Photo: ziss / Getty Images

There are four main types of garage door openers: chain, belt, screw, and direct. If you choose to install a new smart garage door system, you’ll also need to decide on a type of drive mechanism.

Chain Drive

Chain drive garage door openers use a single monitor on the ceiling and a chain to open and close the garage door. This system is the most common type of smart garage door opener, and usually costs between $150 and $250. However, they typically require more maintenance than other, more expensive types of systems, and they have a shorter life span.

Belt Drive

A belt drive works similarly to a chain drive, but it uses a rubber belt rather than a chain. They’re quiet, so it’s a great way to fix a noisy garage door. One drawback of this type of smart garage door opener is that it has a limited load capacity, meaning it struggles to control a heavier garage door.

Screw Drive

Screw drive garage door opener systems are meant for heavier doors, using threaded metal rods that spin to move the door. Screw-drive options typically cost between $200 to $500, and are considered one of the fastest opening options. Be aware that they are not usually quiet and they require regular maintenance to stay functional.

Direct Drive

The motor moves along a track with a direct drive system and opens the door rather than dragging the door using a chain, belt, or rod. These modern systems are considered low maintenance and very quiet, but they are a more expensive option, costing $280 to $500.

How Do I Install a Smart Garage Opener?

For this project, you will need the smart garage door opener system, a smartphone, and a solid Wi-Fi connection.

1. Install the App

Your smart garage door opener system should come with an app that you will pair with the motor. Install that app on your smartphone, so it’s ready to connect with the motor.

2. Install the Garage Door Opener

Install the smart garage door opener according to manufacturer instructions. If you need help, contact a garage door company near you.

3. Press the Button on the Garage Door Opener

Press the button on the back of the garage door opener to initiate the connection. This step will vary depending on the model; for example, there is a yellow button on the back you press three times on one model.

4. Connect It to the App

Open the app on your smartphone, find the garage door opener to connect with, and complete the setup process.

Are Smart Garage Door Openers Secure?

Unfortunately, it’s possible to hack into a smart garage door opener system, allowing anyone to gain entrance. However, the newer and more sophisticated your system, the harder it is to hack. 

Older garage door opening systems use fixed codes that are easy to hack, but newer systems use a "rolling code." As a result, the best way to protect yourself from being hacked is to make sure your system uses a rolling code rather than a fixed code.

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