When we purchase a new home, we take inventory of what we see. Do we like how it looks, will the layout work for us, is the kitchen big enough, etc. One thing we usually don’t pay attention to is what type of garage door opener is installed, as long as it works it’s fine. Deciding between different types of garage door openers usually isn’t a concern until it finally breaks down and it’s time to replace it. Then you’re asked, do you want a belt drive, a screw drive, or a chain drive? Knowing the differences between garage door openers can help make the choice easier. We’ll compare two of the most common types in this post, Belt Drive vs Screw Drive Garage Door Openers.
Belt Drive vs Screw Drive Garage Door Openers
Garage door opening systems consist of several parts. The motor powers the mechanism that ultimately lifts and lowers the door. We typically distinguish the type of motor by the mechanism that it uses, there are five types: chain drives, belt drives, screw drives, direct drives, and Jackson shaft openers.
5 Types of Garage Door Openers
- Chain drive openers
- Belt drive openers
- Screw drive openers
- Direct drive openers
- Jackson shaft openers (no trolley)
Belt drive openers are one of the most popular options available. The screw drive opener, however, is highly underrated and offers many benefits. These two options are also more expensive than their popular chain drive competitor. Keep reading to learn the benefits and drawbacks of each.
What are Belt Drive Garage Door Openers?
The belt drive system uses a belt and pulley system to lift the door. It’s very similar to a chain drive system except the belt is made from rubber, polyurethane, or fiberglass.
What are the Pros of Belt Drives?
Quiet – Belt drives are great for homes with an attached garage. Especially, if bedrooms or a living room share a wall with the garage. When a garage door is opened there are many moving parts generating noise: pulleys, springs, metal, power unit engaging, door rising, and closing shut. Fortunately, belt drives are extremely quiet and won’t add to the noise produced by other parts of the system.
Easy installation – While we always recommend letting a pro complete your door installation, belt drives are an easier option for DIY installations.
Availability – If you are looking for a belt drive opener you won’t have a hard time finding one at garage door retailers or home improvement stores.
Low maintenance – Belt drives don’t require much maintenance. Because the belt isn’t made of metal it typically doesn’t require lubrication like chain and screw drive openers.
What are the Cons of Belt Drives?
Strength – While belt drives can easily lift the weight of a single car garage door, larger and heavier doors are more of a challenge.
Performance – Belt drives operate fine under most conditions but they may slip under extreme heat or humidity.
Price – Belt drives are typically more expensive than screw drive openers but they usually have great warranties.
What are Screw Drive Garage Door Openers?
A screw drive opener operates a threaded rod that rotates moving the trolley that is connected to the door. This movement lifts and lowers the door. Its design is very different from the belt, chain, and direct drives.
What are the Pros of Screw Drives?
Strength – Screw drive openers can produce more lifting power making them a great choice for garages with oversized doors as well as wooden or glass panel doors. The threaded rod can rotate at a steady pace without slipping while belt drives struggling to keep up with the weight may slip.
Low maintenance – Since screw drive openers have fewer moving parts, they also require less maintenance and are less likely to have parts slip or come apart. Some screw drive openers require regular lubrication.
Fast – Most door openers lift 6 to 8 inches of the door per second, screw drive openers can open a door at 10 to 12 inches per second. For safety most, garage door openers are set to operate slower than that.
Size – Screw drive openers are compact and have a more efficient transfer of power between the motor and the door. Despite its small size, it can lift more weight than a belt drive opener of the same size.
What are the Cons of Screw Drives?
Temperature-affected performance – While screw drive openers have many benefits, they are sensitive to extreme temperature swings. This isn’t much of a concern for those of us in areas with a moderate climate.
Difficult installation – Compared to belt and chain drive openers, screw drive openers are the most difficult to install.
Volume – With more power and fewer moving parts, the screw drive opener has fewer jerks and stutters making them quieter than chain drives but not usually as quiet as belt drive openers.
Is a Belt Drive Better than a Screw Drive?
Belt drive openers are a better option if you want the quietest opener system you can get. Unfortunately, they’re not very powerful. If you have heavier doors or are interested in glass or wooden door panels, you’ll want to consider the screw drive opener instead.
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 opener replacement project. We’re happy to help you find the right product for your garage.
Heritage Garage Door operates in Southern California.