It really wasn’t all that long ago when all garage doors had to be opened by…gasp! Human power. It was a simple twist on the handle to disengage the lock, and then muscles took over. Of course, there was that counter-balanced spring in place to help with the lifting. And none of us ever wanted to know what might happen if that spring cut loose.

We’ve got more options today, and they all give us the power – literally – to open and close garage doors with the tap of a button. That button is usually on a remote we keep in our vehicles, but more often it’s also something we can do with our mobile devices. Here are the main types of garage door opening systems on the market today

The Main Components in Most Systems

Standard garage door opening systems have much in common. A motor drives a trolley or carriage along a rail. That trolley is connected to the garage door. As the trolley moves, it pulls or pushes the door open or closed. The biggest difference in the types of systems on the market today is how the motor moves the trolley.

Chain Drive – the Old Standby

You probably have this kind of garage door now. The motor uses a metal chain drive to raise or lower the garage door. Chain drive systems are economical, but they’re also noisy because of the vibrations caused by the long length of chain involved.

If you have a detached garage, or if you don’t much care about the noise, you probably won’t care. If your garage is built into your home and you have a room above it, you’ll want to consider one of the newer and quieter options listed below.

Belt Drive

The only difference between the chain drive system that’s been around for a few decades and this upgrade is that the noisy chain has been replaced by a belt to move the trolley. The belt provides a much smoother operation. It’s also considerably quieter.

Many homeowners upgrade to this system when their old garage door opener finally gives up. One of the benefits of this newer version is that is has fewer moving parts. That means fewer maintenance needs.

Screw Drive

This type of garage door opening system uses a threaded steel rod to move the lifting mechanism. As the rod rotates, it drives the trolley along the door’s tracks to raise or lower it. These systems still require the motor to be centrally located above the door itself.

Direct Drive

We’re seeing a growing number of these systems coming on the market. They’re extremely quiet and have fewer parts to install and maintain than other garage door opening systems. The motor itself functions as the trolley. It travels along the track to open and close the door. The entire system has just one moving part: the motor.

Are you considering putting up a DIY steel garage? Now is the time to start thinking about the type of garage door and its opening system. Check out our photo gallery of photos from customers who’ve chosen a Miracle Truss® design for their new garage.

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