So you go to your local Sears store and there is a whole wall of garage door openers. The sales associate is helpful and shows you ALL the items. But you just leave confused. I’ll make it easy here and give you the simplest way to figure out which Craftsman garage door opener is best for you.
There are five basic steps to help you get the right door opener and installed in you location.
Step One, Measure the height of you door:
Step Two, Select the HP (horsepower):
Step Three, Select the type of garage door opener:
Step Four, Select the type of remotes you need:
Step Five, Professional Installation or Install it yourself:
Step One, Measure the height of you door:
Measure the height of the opening, not the door itself. Most garages door openings are around 7 feet high. If your opening is 8 feet, 9 feet or 10 feet you will have to buy an extension in addition to the garage door opener itself. If it is around 8 feet buy the 8 foot extension. If it is 9 or 10 feet buy the 10 foot extension.
Step Two, Select the HP:
There are two horsepower ratings for most garage door openers. 1/2 HP and 3/4 HP.
If you have an aluminum, aluminum insulated, or fiberglass door a 1/2 HP is plenty strong to open both a single car (7 to 9 feet wide) or a double car (16 feet wide) door.
If you have a wood door, a door with windows installed in it, a steel door or one of the new doors that look like they are off an old carriage house I recommend you go with the 3/4 HP door. (If a magnet sticks to your door it is steel.)
A new single car carriage style door can use a 1/2 HP opener. If you have an extra tall door (9 or 10 feet) or a door that is wider than 16 feet I also recommend you go with the 3/4 HP door. If you have a one-piece door (usually and old door made out of wood) I recommend a 3/4 HP door.
Step Three, Select the type:
There are three basic types of garage door openers. Chain drive, belt drive, and screw drive.
Chain drive garage door openers are what you are used to. They are reliable, noisy and usually last a long, long time. They come in many different sizes. For example, Sears has an economy version, homeowner versions and heavy duty versions. These chain drive garage door openers are usually the best value and can be easily sized for you garage door. You can buy extensions for the opener for 8 foot and 10 foot doors.
A Belt drive garage door opener is relatively new on the market. It uses a metal reinforced belt instead of a chain to make the drive much quieter than a chain drive. It’s usually a little faster than a chain drive opener. If your garage is under the living space of your house and it sounds like a herd of elephants in your bedroom when someone uses the garage door the quiet belt drive may be the best choice for you. You can buy an 8 foot extension kit but not a 10 ft.
Screw drive units feature the fewest number of moving parts. They are powerful and quieter than chain drives. I believe Stanley was the first to introduce the screw drive garage door opener 15 years or so ago. Stanley is not making garage door openers anymore but Sears and Genie still have these available. I expect the screw drives to be replaced with “torsion spring” technology in a few years. You can buy an 8 foot extension for this type but not a 10 foot.
Step Four, Select the remotes: There are different types of remotes. Single button – one button, one door. Mini – small remote to hook right on your key chain. Three function – more buttons to control more doors and even the light in your home. Wireless keypads – attach this to the outside of your garage to open the door securely and safely. Finger Print Wireless Keypad – accepts only the fingerprints you have programmed into it. Great for families with children. Door Monitor – You can use this inside your home to check if the garage door is open or not.
Sears offers different “packages” with the garage door openers to give you the best value.
Step Five, Professional Installation or Install It Yourself
I put this choice as a separate step because there is a good amount of work to install a garage door opener. Yes, your father-in-law can probably do it, but do you really want to pay for a case of beer and at least two trips to the hardware store? If you have not installed one yourself before plan on 4 to 6 hours for a new installation and 2 to 4 hours to replace an existing opener. Sears offer professional installation at a very reasonable price (in my area $109 and the installers have put in hundreds of openers) so it is worth a discussion whether it is a good choice for you to install it yourself.
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By Paul Sikkema
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