The 9 Best Smart Garage Door Openers
9. NuTone Z-Wave
- mounting hardware is included
- sensitive motion detection
- requires the use of a z-wave gateway
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. Gogogate 2
- temporary guest access
- shows your garage temperature
- must purchase ip camera separately
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
7. Chamberlain MyQ-G0301
- alerts you of an imminent closure
- sends push or e-mail notifications
- allows for only one user profile
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
6. Garadget GRT1US
- home automation system compatible
- small and unobtrusive
- glare can cause sensor interference
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
5. Digital Ant SG-01B
- intuitive interface
- turns bluetooth on for you
- sometimes has a small delay
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
4. Brocel GarageDoorBuddy
- doesn't need to be near a router
- responds to commands instantly
- never sounds false alarms
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
3. Nexx Garage NXG-100
- opens the door as you approach
- comes with all installation hardware
- notifies you if door left open
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
2. GarageMate GM2540-W
- very easy to set up
- works in extreme temperatures
- the app logs your activity
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Chamberlain B970
- reliable steel-reinforced belt drive
- motion-detecting interior panel
- safety sensors to prevent injury
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
What Makes A Garage Door Opener Smart?
Every passing day, it seems, a new appliance, accessory, or similar everyday item joins the growing ranks of the Internet of Things. When you hear someone throwing around terms like Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth capabilities, digital data encryption, and automated smartphone alerts, you probably assume they’re spouting off about their fancy new car or the latest Apple product. Of course, you could be correct in that assumption, but it’s equally possible that they were listing off the features of their new smart garage door opener.
While the wireless garage door opener is older than the internet, modern technology has made it easy and affordable to monitor and share access to your garage from anywhere in the world with your smartphone. These devices don’t replace your existing garage door opener, nor do they prevent other garage-opening tools like push buttons and keypads from working. They simply integrate with your current garage door opener, giving you control and access to myriad new features from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Most models basically serve as a plug-and-play system, as all you need to do is install the door sensor, plug the device into a power supply, and make sure it’s connected to a reliable Wi-Fi signal. Using a mobile app, users can open and close the garage door, receive reminders if it has been left open, manage who has access to the garage, and control lights and sounds. Many even offer video capabilities, which allow you to check in visually whenever you want.
If you like your garage door to be open at certain times of the day, you can set rules for automatic opening and closing and apply them to different dates and times. Some units include the ability to create scenes, which is nice for users who prefer an exceptionally personalized experienced. For example, you can program a pre-set scene that, when activated, will open the garage door, turn on the lights, and play music.
For those of you who can’t live without your digital companions — Siri, Alexa, or Cortana — we have good news: some smart garage door openers will integrate with these AI assistants. This creates an even higher level of convenience, as it allows you to take advantage of useful features via voice command.
Motivation For Making The Switch
Few will argue against the value of being able to check whether or not you left the garage door open when you’re hundreds of miles away on vacation. Aside from that, however, some of you may question whether a smart garage door opener is worth the trouble. The truth is, there’s very little trouble involved.
As previously mentioned, the majority of these are easy to install, requiring less than an hour and little to no handyman skills in most cases. They’re also affordable, and since you’re already paying for your phone and internet access, there are no additional maintenance costs.
You don’t have to be a home automation guru to appreciate the usefulness of a smart garage door opener — it’s a nice, introductory item that will make your life easier and help you familiarize yourself with connected devices. Plus, imagine how much more secure you'll feel when you know your garage's level of vulnerability and who has access to it at all times.
If your current garage door opener is in the midst of its twilight years, there’s a chance you’re looking for a whole new package. For those of you in this situation, all-in-one smart garage door openers are available, albeit at a higher cost than a simple controller with smart features.
The one area where things may get a little tricky is ensuring that the controller you select is compatible with the system you currently have in place. Unfortunately, not all of these controllers will work with all garage door openers. If you plan to integrate a new smart garage door opener, make sure to check whether it’s compatible with your exact model first. If you're having trouble determining this, try contacting company support for the brand in which you’re interested.
The Garage Door Opener Has Come A Long Way
If you've taken an American history course, you're familiar with the Model T, the revolutionary automobile Ford Motor Company first introduced to the world in 1908. Thanks to advancements in assembly line production, it became the first car that was practical and affordable enough for a common American family to own and maintain.
As motor vehicles gained popularity in America, people realized that they needed a safe place to house them. Enter the overhead garage door, which first appeared in 1921, and the subsequent introduction of the electric garage door opener in 1926. These early versions consisted of two remote-operated switches — one inside the garage and the other attached to a post outside — which was not exactly the most convenient design. American consumers agreed, and these garage door opening mechanisms never went mainstream.
Remote control openers increased in popularity throughout the 1950s and 1960s, though one glaring issue remained: they were easy to hack. Technological advances in the 1970s led to more secure models, though these did not address the issue of physical safety, as people were still getting injured with some degree of regularity. In 1993, officials passed a federal law mandating a minimum level of safety for all garage door openers. Incidents of injury and death have declined significantly since then.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and the age of the internet-connected garage door opener playing a key role in home automation systems has arrived. We live in a digital world, where we use our smartphones to have face-to-face conversations with friends on the other side of the planet, monitor our heart rates and sleeping habits, and consume all types of media at a moment’s notice. Are we really surprised that we can now manage our garage doors from the palms of our hands, as well?