How Powerful of a Garage Door Opener Do I Need?

If you are shopping for a new garage door opener, you have many choices to make. Do you want a battery back-up system? Are you opting for a quieter belt drive or a more cost-efficient chain drive? Will you choose a smart security system you can control from your smartphone? On top of these features, you need to determine the basic elements, like how powerful of a motor you will need for your opener.

What Amount of HP is Needed?

When you are perusing the different models of garage door openers, one of the basic specifications is the horsepower or HP the motor uses. You will see options from ½ HP to 1 1/2 HP for most residential garage door openers. The higher the HP, the higher weight the motor can handle. To determine if you need higher HP, consider these factors:

  • Size of the door. Most single garage doors are about 12-feet in width. ½ HP motors can easily handle most doors of this size, but double-car doors that are 14-feet or wider may require at least ¾ HP openers. Taller doors for RVs may also require higher HP openers.
  • Door material. Solid wood doors tend to be the heaviest doors and may require more HP for the openers. If you have a wider, solid wood garage door, you may want to opt for ¾ HP or higher.

Weight is important when choosing the HP for your opener. Talk to your local garage door service about the best opener options for the size, material and weight of your garage door. It never hurts to go higher in HP than you need but choosing a motor without enough power can reduce the lifespan of your new opener and cause safety concerns.

Posted on behalf of: 
Habpro Garage Doors
Dacula, GA 30019

What HP Garage Door Opener Should I Buy?

There are three main options in horsepower for garage door openers:  1/3, ½ and ¾ HP. If you are buying a new garage door opener, you will see all three power options available with many other features. To decide which horsepower opener is best for your garage door, consider the size, type and weight of your garage door and the frequency of use. Here are the basics on the three HP levels to help you determine which is best for your needs.

1/3 HP

For light, single garage doors, the 1/3 HP models can be used. This is the lowest horsepower option, which means it is best for light loads. However, the amount of cycles will be less than higher horsepower models, especially for heavier garage doors. The initial cost is less, but you can expect to replace this type of opener more often.

½ HP

The most popular option for horsepower in garage door openers is ½ HP. This is level of power can handle almost any single garage door, even heavier or carriage-types. It can also be used for double garage doors and offers enough cycle frequency that it should last at least 10,000 cycles or more.

¾ HP

For the longest-lasting opener with the most strength, the ¾ HP opener is the best option. This level of power is needed for oversized or double doors, and it is perfect for heavy wood doors. While ¾ HP openers are more expensive, they will last longer than other types.

It is important to get the right horsepower opener for your garage door and frequency. Talk to your local garage door service company to determine the best power level and type of opener for your needs.

Posted on behalf of: 
Habpro Garage Doors
Dacula, GA 30019

Garage Door Opener Power Considerations

Buying a new automatic garage door opener for your home involves deciding on the type of drive system, the options and features, and the amount of power the opener has.  Garage door opener sold for residential use can have motors with as little as 1/3 horsepower (HP) or as much as a full 1 HP.  Generally speaking, bigger is better but not for the reason most homeowners think.

Most people believe that larger and heavier doors need a more powerful garage door opener, but the reality is that even the largest and heaviest garage doors can be opened and closed with the smallest garage door opener on the marked if the garage door is properly adjusted.

Garage doors weigh hundreds of pounds and would be very difficult to open without some help from the lift assistance springs.  Most garage doors use either torsion type springs mounted inside the garage above the opening or extension springs mounted along the tracks to help lift the weight of the door.  When properly adjusted, the door will be easy to open and close by hand no matter what it weighs.

A larger garage door opener motor is desirable for two reasons:  It will operate more quietly and it will last longer.  An automatic garage door opener with a larger motor does not have to work as hard to open and close the door which keeps noise to a minimum.  In addition, a typical garage door opener goes through 500 to 1,000 opening and closing cycles every year.  If the opener does not have to work as hard, the wear from these opening and closing cycles will be less and the opener will last longer before it wears out.


How Much Power Does Your Garage Door Opener Need?

When shopping for a new garage door opener, one choice you will need to make is how many horsepower the opener has.  Garage door openers are available with motors that that have as little as 1/3 hp and as much as a full horsepower.  The natural inclination is to assume that the larger and heavier the garage door, the more horsepower the opener needs.

There is some truth to this idea, but not nearly as much as you might think.  In fact, the weight and size of the garage door has relatively little to do with the power of the opener.  That’s because garage doors have lift assist springs that do most of the heavy lifting.  No matter what size the door is, if the springs have been properly adjusted the door will open easily by hand.

If your existing garage door feels heavy or difficult to open, the springs may be out of adjustment or due for replacement.  Have the garage door serviced and adjusted by a qualified garage door technician before installing a new garage door opener.  Otherwise, the new opener will wear out quickly from the strain of opening the improperly adjusted door.  Never try to adjust or replace the springs yourself.  Garage door springs are under a lot of tension and can cause a severe injury or even death.

Getting back to the horsepower of the garage door opener, any sized opener should be able to open any properly adjusted garage door.  However, higher horsepower motors are quieter and operate more smoothly than low horsepower motors.  Also, an opener with a larger motor will last longer than a smaller one.  A high horsepower motor does not have to work as hard as a smaller motor to open the garage door so it will not wear out as quickly.

Your garage door contractor can help you select and install a garage door opener that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Garage Door Opener Horsepower

If you are in the market for a new garage door opener, you will find that you have many options to choose from.  In addition to choosing between chain drive, belt drive, and screw drive, garage door openers, you will need to decide what horsepower you need.  Garage door openers are available in 1/3 hp, 1/2 hp, 3/4 hp and 1 hp.

Most homeowners are under the impression that a larger door needs an opener with more horsepower.  There is some element of truth to this, but opener horsepower has less to do with the size of the door that with noise level and durability.  It is true that larger garage doors weigh more than smaller doors, but garage door have lift assistance springs that handle most of the weight of the door.

A properly adjusted garage door of any size will be easy to open by hand and can be opened by the smallest garage door opener.  With that said, garage doors tend to fall out of adjustment over time and even change in a large garage door can result in overloading a low horsepower opener.

The main advantages of larger garage door opener motors is that they operate more quietly and they will last longer than a low horsepower opener because they do not work as hard to open the door.  In some cases, a higher horsepower motor will also open the door a little faster.

Most garage door openers have instructions for DIY installation, but for best results you should spend the money to have the opener professionally installed.  Garage doors are heavy moving objects and it is easy to get hurt working with a garage door.  Professional garage door opener installation will also ensure that your new opener is properly installed and adjusted for peak operation.  When you need garage door repairs including installation of a new garage door opener, call a garage door service professional.

Choosing a Garage Door Opener

A garage door opener is not only great for avoiding the cold, rain, and snow, but it also provides enhanced security for you and your family.  You can remain safely inside your vehicle while the opener opens the garage door and turns on an interior light.  It will also close the door before you get out of your vehicle once you are inside the garage. 

There are a few things to consider when choosing a garage door opener.  The first thing to consider is the type of drive system.  The least expensive openers use a chain drive system.  A step up from a chain drive system is a screw drive system.  These openers are only a little more expensive than chain drive units, but they are much quieter to operate and need less maintenance.   Belt drive systems are the quietest and virtually maintenance free, but they are also the most expensive.

Next, you will need to decide how much power your opener needs.  Garage door openers are measured in horsepower (hp).  The smallest are only 1/4 hp and are suitable for opening a lightweight single door.  You will need at least 1/2 hp for a double garage door.  When it comes to power, more is better.  If in doubt, choose the larger size opener.  An underpowered opener will work too hard which will shorten its useful life.

Be sure the opener has a safety sensor mechanism that stops the door from closing if anything gets into its path, and look for an opener with a rolling code to prevent the remote control signal from being intercepted.