What's Better? Belt Drive Garage Door Openers or Chain Drive

Belt Drive Garage Door Openers Vs. Chain Drive: Which is Better?

When it comes to garage door openers there are two types that make up more than 95% of all sales: belt drive and chain drive. They both have their advantages and disadvantages and both have their champions; people who swear one type is better than the other. But is one type of garage door opener really better than the other, or is it just a matter of personal preference? Here we’ll examine the pros and cons of each type of drive mechanism and try to determine if belt or chain drive really makes one opener better than the other.

Belt vs. Chain

Determining the Best Garage Door Opener For Your Broomfield Home

Our non-scientific comparison will try and figure out if one type of opener is clearly better than the other through a listing of their advantages and disadvantages. Belt drive first.

Belt Drive Pros

  • Noise – One of the things that makes the process of raising and lowering your garage doors a noisy experience is the chain drive mechanism. A belt drive however nearly eliminates noise from the process which is one of the main advantages it has over the chain drive. In this regard there isn’t much of a contest. Belt drive garage doors are much quieter to operate.
  • Strength – Belt drives will do a fine job of lifting practically any type of garage door. Drive belt construction has made great strides in recent decades, to the point that they’re now used on many large motorcycles; which should tell you something about their durability as well.
  • Speed – Belt drive garage doors will lift an average weight door slightly quicker than their chain counterpart. So if getting into your home a few seconds faster is important to you, you’ll want to go with a belt drive system.
  • Ease of Installation – Any drive mechanism whether chain or belt, is going to eventually need replacing. When that time comes replacing a worn or broken belt can be a significantly easier process than replacing a broken chain drive.
  • Availability – Belt drive garage door openers are available nearly everywhere you buy home improvement products. You can also purchase them through garage door installation and service companies if you like.
  • Ease of Maintenance – Belt drives do not need to be lubricated the way chain drives do.

Belt Drive Cons

  • Strength – How can the same issue be both a strength and a weakness? Because while belt drive garage door openers will typically lift the average 1 car garage door with quiet ease, they may struggle a bit when it comes to lifting heavier, 2 car garage doors, or for that matter heavy wooden doors.
  • Performance – While belt drives will operate just fine under most conditions they may slip when operating in extreme heat or during times of very high humidity.
  • Lifespan – Typically a belt will not last as long as a chain will so you’ll have to replace them more often. On the upside they usually come with a better warranty than chain drive systems.
  • Price – Belt drive garage door openers will typically set you back more than chain drive openers, but, as mentioned above, they also usually come with a better warranty.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of chain drive garage door openers.

Chain Drive Pros

  • Strength – Whereas a belt drive may struggle to lift 2 car garage doors, a chain drive will have no such problems. There’s also no danger that they’ll slip in the process which means they’re slightly safer as well.
  • Dependability/Durability – Chain drives, if properly maintained, will outlast belt drives by a fair degree. They’re also good to go no matter the temperature or humidity.
  • Availability – Like belt drive systems, chain driven garage door openers are available just about anywhere. At the big box, at any home improvement center, at many hardware stores or through your local garage door installation company.
  • Price – Chain drives are by far the least expensive type of garage door opener on the market which is what makes them so widely popular.

Chain Drive Cons

  • Noise – No doubt about it, a chain drive garage door opener will make more noise than a belt drive. If your garage door is attached to the house near any of the major social areas or under a second floor bedroom this could be a problem. If the garage is detached it may not be.
  • Smoothness of Operation – Chain drive doors will sometimes lift in a slightly shaky manner due to the nature of the chain mechanism. They will also lift your door a bit slower than a belt drive opener might, though the difference of a few seconds overall isn’t much of an issue to most homeowners.
  • Maintenance – That “properly maintained” part mentioned above is important because if you don’t have your chain drive lubricated at regular intervals it can begin to rust, work unevenly and eventually fail.

Ultimately, both chain and belt drive openers have their upside so, as with a lot of things in life, it really comes down to your personal preferences. If rock solid reliability in any weather with any size door is most important to you, you’ll probably want a chain drive system. If you need or want your door to be quiet and run as smooth and fast as possible, you’ll probably want to go with belt drive garage doors. If, however, upfront cost is your only consideration then it’s chain drive all the way.

At A Better Garage Door we’ve installed innumerable chain and belt drive openers for scores of homeowners in Thornton and Broomfield. We make sure our customers are always fully informed about the pros and cons of each type of garage door opener because our goal is to make sure they get the garage door they want, not the one that provides us with the largest profit margin. If you are still unsure which type of opener would be best for your home and family, give us a call on (303) 920-2267 and talk to one of our garage door experts.

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