Chamberlain WD832KEV

Chamberlain (which is actually Liftmaster) is one of the better known brands in garage door openers – a good thing, since buying a garage door opener is something you’ll probably do less frequently than buying an actual car. It’s not like I keep up with who is making the best door openers or subscribe to “Garage Door Openers Weekly”. I’d heard good things about this brand, though, and despite the unnecessarily abstract name (WD832KEV? Seriously?) the feature list on this ...

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Sommer Direct Drive

I like things that are different just for their own sake. If everyone is buying Coke, maybe I feel like having a Pepsi. I know this is sort of a hipster attitude, but I liked being different before it was cool, OK?

Anyway, this garage door opener from Sommer works a bit differently than the chain- or belt-driven products that we see more frequently in the wild. Instead of having a stationary motor that pulls a chain or belt attached to ...

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Skylink EQ-1522BK

I’ve never heard of Skylink, but a quick look at their corporate site confirms that this is a Chinese manufacturer. Although, to be fair, it’s hard to find a company that still makes anything on U.S. soil these days, whether the company itself is U.S.-owned or not.

I stumbled across the EQ-1522BK while looking for good deals at the budget-end of the opener market, and this one sits comfortably between the $100 and $200 price points. At that price though, there ...

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LiftMaster 8550

Most low- to mid-range garage openers use a chain drive. It’s a design that makes for an affordable product, but they can be jerky, noisy and a bit unpleasant, even if perfectly functional.

Belt-driven openers are in principle very similar to chain-driven openers, but they are quieter and smoother. Think of it as a refinement of the chain-drive principle. That’s the main selling point of a product like the LiftMaster 8550 Elite Series opener. It’s targeted at a more premium segment ...

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Genie 4042-TKH

Genie has quite a few models of garage door opener on the market, but I haven’t seen too many belt-driven ones. Most have been inexpensive chain-drive units. Belt-drive openers are generally superior, but a little more expensive. They operate more smoothly, put less strain on their motors, and are much quieter, especially when combined with a DC motor.

That’s exactly what Genie has done here with the 4042-TKH SilentMax 1200, which I will mercifully only refer to as the SilentMax from ...

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Genie 1022-C

I really love a bargain. I’m one of those people that sort stuff on Amazon by price from “low to high”. I like those products that actually get the job done without gut-punching my wallet. Something the British refer to as being “cheap and cheerful”, which basically means something that’s cheap, but not junk.

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Budget Genie

The Genie 1022-C seems very promising as a “cheap and cheerful” product. It’s one ...

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Decko 24300

Decko may not be as well known as Chamberlain/Liftmaster, but on paper the Decko 24300 3/4 HP garage opener looks like a great deal. Because it’s a bit more powerful than 1/2 horsepower models, you can use it with heavier doors – up to about 500 pounds. Sitting around the $200 mark means the Decko is priced comparable to the Chamberlain Group PD762EV, another 3/4 HP unit that I quite liked and so unavoidably is a benchmark against which I’ll ...

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Chamberlain WD962KEV

The Chamberlain Whisper Drive (the “WD” models) products are pretty much near the top of the range when it comes to DIY systems. Remember, Chamberlain is the DIY brand from LiftMaster, whereas LiftMaster products are only meant for professional installation.

I always wondered a bit about high-end DIY products. These are products for someone who is willing to pay for features and refinement, but not for the convenience of having it installed professionally. Of course you can always get the WD962KEV ...

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Chamberlain PD762EV

The sub-$200 garage door opener niche is flooded with half-horsepower products, which are fine for the majority of double-car steel doors you’d typically find in a middle-class home. If, however, you have an older style wooden door or something a bit fancier (and heavier) than a plain steel one, your only real options are North of that price point.

This product from Chamberlain’s “premium” range sits right on that dividing line at $200 (depending on what specials are running) and it ...

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Chamberlain PD612EV

As far as residential garage door openers go, the closer you get to the $500 mark, the closer you are to the pinnacle of the price range. Especially so if we’re talking about chain drive openers. Pay over that amount and you’re into commercial territory, and probably have a garage like Jay Leno, you lucky dog.

The PD612EV (The “PD” is short for “Power Drive”, apparently) from Chamberlain certainly isn’t cheap and yet it’s only a half-horsepower unit. So your expensive ...

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Chamberlain PD210D

The PD210D is a product from a simpler time – made using modern technology, but with only the bare minimum of functionality.

That being said, the PD210D is not the cheapest product in the Chamberlain range (the DIY side of LiftMaster).

So is it a worthwhile product? Would you be better off getting something cheaper with the same feature set, or is there enough of a difference in basic build quality or reliability to make it worth a look?

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Genie Excelerator II 1500

There are basically five types of garage door opener drives: direct, chain, belt, screw or jackshaft. The most common types are are chain-driven and belt-driven openers, especially in DIY products. Jackshaft openers are essentially reserved for professional installation. Direct-drive units are a special design from Germany and aren’t really seen outside of Sommer’s product range. Screw-drive openers are an interesting addition to this mix. They work by rotating a threaded rod that moves a carriage back and forth.

Screw-drives don’t have ...

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Chamberlain PD220

This is the age of convergence. My phone is now also where I watch TV, read the newspaper, and write letters to people. Every device is smart, everything connects to the internet, and everything talks to everything else. More features means “better” in the modern world, but sometimes a company is still brave enough to release a product that does just one thing – a product that isn’t “smart” and doesn’t have an “i” in front of its name. Something ...

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SOMMER 1042V002

Originating in Germany, Sommer (German for “summer”) is probably best known for its direct-drive garage door opener design. They’ve been one of the big names in the industry on U.S. soil for quite some time now and have established the brand pretty well.

I’ve read about some of their other models before and have been impressed, but this is the first one I’ve seen from this company with smartphone connectivity. We’ve seen plenty from Chamberlain (aka LiftMaster) though – every opener ...

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Chamberlain Group WD1000WF

“Be prepared” is the official motto of the Boy Scouts. “Would you like to buy some popcorn?” is the unofficial one. Of the two, the former best describes the mindset of whoever had the job of designing the WD1000WF.

It’s stuffed to the gills with features and is priced to match, but I have a hard time thinking of any other garage door opener as feature-rich as this.

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Too Sexy ...

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Liftmaster 8500

Most of the garage door openers we see are ceiling-mounted and use either a belt-drive or chain- drive. Another less common type of opener uses something called a “jackshaft” drive. This is a type of drive that works with doors that have a front-mount torsion spring. The opener is mounted on the wall adjacent to the shaft that rolls up the door and drives it directly.

The LiftMaster 8500 Elite Series opener is just such a product and we’ll have a ...

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