Garage Door Openers: Chain Drive Vs Belt Drive

There are three main types of garage door openers: chain drives, screw drives and belt drives. Many times customers will ask our opinion on which one works best. Well, the absolute truth is that they all work fine for different types of lifestyles. It is really up to you to decide which one will be the best fit for you. We’ll tell you all the insides on each type and let you decide.

Chain drives use a metal chain to run the garage door on its track. Chain drives are the most common used drive, and they are typically the least expensive… but they are also the noisiest. If you have a detached garage far from the house (where the noise doesn’t matter), a chain drive is probably the best fit for you. If you like to be able to hear when the garage door is being opened or closed, so for instance you will know what time your kids are getting in throughout the night, then this may be a good choice for you. But if you’d rather no noise, say because there are bedrooms above the garage, the chain-drive might not be for you.

Belt drives are thought to be the best opener available. Belt drive openers run on a rubber belt and are as reliable as chain drives. But they are virtually silent! So if your garage is attached to the house, and you hate the noise involved with garage doors, this is definitely a good choice. However, belt drives cost more then chain drives. So for a little less noise, you’ll be paying a little more money.

Screw drives are the third type of opener. They use a lifting device that runs along a threaded steel rod. Basically there are fewer moving parts in the screw drive then in the other openers, so it’s less maintenance. These openers work well in constant climate, so they’ll be a great choice if you live in an area that has a typically constant temperature all year round. But if you live in an area that has hot summers and cold winters, a screw drive opener will not stand up to drastic temperature change. They are also slower moving and noisy. However, newer screw drives models offer a plastic lined track, which helps to reduce some of the noise and allow the door to open and close faster.

Whether someone chooses a belt drive or chain drive opener generally comes down to noise and money. Chain drive motors make a little more noise and cost a little less.

Update10/28: We have created a video so that you can hear the difference between a chain-drive, belt-drive, and screw-drive opener.

This video, filmed in our Morris County showroom, features 3 popular types of garage door openers.

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