How many things in your daily life can you open or unlock with just a touch? You might think of your phone, your coffee machine, or even your refrigerator, but what about your garage door opener? Remotes and clickers have been garage door technology for many years, but it’s one of the most convenient pieces of equipment we own. This was all made possible over the past few decades as the automation of garage doors switched from manual to automatic. Three different garage door opener types were created to improve efficiency and expand alongside the variation of different garages. What are they? Read on for the ultimate list of garage door opener types. 

The Main Three Garage Door Opener Types

The most common and popular garage door opener types are chain-driven, belt-driven, and direct-driven openers. 



Like the chains found on motorcycles, chain-driven garage door openers rotate over a pulley and use a heavy-duty mechanism to control the opening and closing of your door. Chain-driven are perhaps the most popular garage door opener type. Most contractors install chain-driven openers when building a new home because they are reliable and inexpensive. They are known to be noisier than other garage door opener types, but they are a durable option.


Belt-driven garage door openers are similar to chain-driven ones in that they use a pulley system, but instead of a chain, they use rubber belts. These belts are reinforced with steel and provide a smoother garage door operation. Another huge benefit is the opening and closing are seamless and quiet, making them ideal for garages next to bedrooms



Even quieter than belt-driven garage door openers is the direct-driven opener. With a J-arm and motor, these doors have no belts or chains. The motor directly pulls the door up or down. These garage door openers are even quieter compared to others and cost less than belt-driven garage door openers. They are a better fit for most modern homes, allowing less noise. Many homes today have this garage door opener.

Other Garage Door Opener Types

Aside from the three most common garage door opener types, there are two other garage door opener types worth mentioning. These include screw-drive and jackshaft openers.


The screw-drive garage door opener is known for being smaller and, thus, better for garages with lower ceilings. Like other garage door opener types, screw-drive openers are quiet but have a powerful motor, allowing them to sustain wider, heavier garage doors. They are known for requiring regular maintenance, but the maintenance is typically minor. 

The anatomy of a screw-drive opener uses a trolley and rides on a threaded-steel rod as the motor rotates. The rod is attached to a track that runs from the motor to the door. The motor rotates the rod to lift the arm that opens or closes the garage door. 


Also called wall mount openers, jackshaft openers differ from regular garage door opener types because they don’t mount to the ceiling but instead the wall beside the garage door. Unlike screw-drive openers, jackshaft openers are beneficial for garages with larger ceilings, such as those that are 10ft or more. Because the jackshaft motor is mounted to the wall, it frees up a lot of overhead space, making it the ideal garage door opener for those who are car collectors. 

The jackshaft motor drives the pulleys and cables that rotate the torsion bar to raise the garage door. When closing the garage door, the cable tension is released and closes the garage door. Like most other garage door opener types, the jackshaft system is quiet. 

Install a New Garage Door Opener With Thunder Garage Door

Thunder Garage Door & Locksmith Services are garage door repair and maintenance leaders. Contact us if you are looking for a better garage door opener or if it’s time for a replacement. We are your leading experts in the Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA areas.