Garage doors have changed over the years. In some way, they’re very much the same and in others they’re different. One thing that has changed is how many choices are available in garage door openers. Back in the day, everyone had chain drive openers, today you can choose from several types of openers. In this post, we’re comparing belt drive vs chain drive garage door openers. Read on to learn more about old faithful and her competition.
Belt Drive vs Chain Drive Garage Door Openers
Garage door openers are motorized devices designed to open and close your garage door. The device contains a motor, track, trolley, and a mechanism to push and pull the trolley along the track. The trolley is attached to an arm that is connected to the door. The opener moves the trolley which lifts or lowers the door.
There are five types of garage door openers
- Chain drive openers
- Belt drive openers
- Screw drive openers
- Direct drive openers
- Jackson shaft openers (no trolley)
The two most common door opener styles are belt drive and chain drive openers. Each has advantages and disadvantages, we’ll tell you more about each opener before we discuss which is a better option.
Belt Drive Opener
The mechanism that pushes the trolley on a belt drive opener is a rubber belt. Each end of the belt is attached to the trolley. As the motor rotates the belt, the trolley moves forward or backward along the track. Because the belt is made from flexible and durable rubber. Belts are usually made from rubber, polyurethane, or fiberglass.
Belt Drive Pros
Quiet – Compared to chain drives, belt drives are much quieter. In fact, it nearly eliminates all the noise that would otherwise come from the door opener.
Speed – Belt drives move more smoothly than chain drives and can lift doors more quickly.
Ease of Installation – Chains and belts wear down and eventually break but belts are much easier to replace than chains.
Availability – Belt systems are incredibly popular and they’re easy to find in big box stores and garage door parts shops.
Low-maintenance – Belt drives require less maintenance than chain drives. Rust is not a concern on belts.
Belt Drive Cons
Strength – Belt drives are strong enough to lift the average one-car garage door but larger doors are more challenging to raise. Consider this if you have heavy wooden doors.
Performance – This drive is quieter and smoother than chain drives but they may slip during extreme heat or humidity.
Lifespan – Belts don’t typically last as long as chains so they’ll need to be replaced more often. On the plus side, they’re easy to replace and belt drive openers have better warranties than chain drive openers.
Price – Compared to chain drives, belt drive openers are more expensive.
Chain Drive Opener
The chain drive opener functions just like the belt drive, the biggest difference here is that the chain drive is made of metal. The chain is connected to the trolley and as the chain moves, the trolley moves, and as the trolley moves the door moves.
Chain Drive Pros
Time Tested – Chain drives are time tested. Back in the day chain drives were the only option available but it was and is a good option.
Affordable – This opener style is by far the least expensive opener on the market. Price is one of the reasons chain drives have remained popular.
Strength – Chain drives are strong and can lift the weight of a two-car garage door with no problem. There’s also no need to worry about the chains slipping in the process.
Dependability – With the proper maintenance, chain drives are incredibly durable. They also work well in cold or humid temperatures.
Availability – Chain drive openers are the most popular type of drive mechanism which means it’s available everywhere.
Chain Drive Cons
If you’re a light sleeper, chain drives might not be the best option. The movement of the metal material makes them noisier than rubber belt drives.
You might notice a bit of shakiness in the operation of your door opener, that’s just the nature of chains. What’s usually less noticeable is that the chain drives are usually a little slower than belt openers.
Needs Regular Maintenance
Most things aren’t 100% maintenance-free, that’s definitely the case for chain drives. Chains need to be lubricated at regular intervals to avoid rust and failure.
Is a Belt Drive Better than a Chain Drive?
Is a belt drive better than a chain drive? Not necessarily. Belt and chain drives are very similar. If you have a larger garage door go with the chain drive, it’s less expensive, extremely durable, and strong. If you prefer a quieter opener system choose the belt drive unless of course, you have large or heavy doors.
Call Heritage for New Garage Door Openers
Our team is made up of expert garage door technicians. We offer a wide variety of garage door brands with customization options. Contact us to discuss your garage door replacement project. We’re happy to help you find the right product for your garage.
Heritage Garage Door operates in Southern California.