The best direct drive garage door opener should have such a smooth and quiet operation that it beats even belt drives, hands down. ‘Direct drive’ simply means that the garage door opener will use a chain belt against which the door slides as it opens or closes. However, unlike the usual chain drives, the direct drive’s chain is stationary, with the only moving part being the motor.
In this article, we look at the top 7 direct drive garage door openers to look out for if you are looking to replace your old one or thinking of building your own garage. But first, here’s a summary.
Heads Up: 7 Best Direct Drive Garage Door Openers Summary List
- Chamberlain RJO20- Best Overall
- Sommer Model 104V001- Built for Heavy Doors (1HP)
- Direct-Drive 550 3/4 HP with Rolling Code- Suitable For 7 To 8-Inch Doors
- Sommer Direct Drive Synoris Swing- 3/4 Horsepower, Adjustable Swing Door Fitting
- Sommer Synoris 800- Built for Heavy Doors
- Direct-Drive 800- Rolling Code Technology, Rails added
- Sommer 2080 EVO+1HP S10251- Wall Mounted with Rail Extensions
- 3 Best LiftMaster Garage Door Openers ( Buyer Guide Included)
- 5 Best Wall Mount Garage Door Opener [ New List 2021]
- 5 Best Screw Drive Garage Door Opener [New Updated List 2021]
- 5 Best Linear Garage Door Openers [ Updated 2021 List]
- Top 10 Best Chain Drive Garage Door Openers
- 5 Alexa-Enabled Garage Door Openers [A Starters’ Buying Guide 2021]
- 10 Best Belt Drive Garage Door Openers
Features of a Direct Drive Garage Door Opener
Although the features may vary from model to model, the basic ones must have accessories that enable them to function correctly. These include remotes, wall control panel, motor, chain, J-arm, infrared light sensors, etc. The infrared sensors provide safety and automatic reversing whenever the garage door opener senses an object in the door’s path.
As already mentioned, the above accessories are basic and may vary based on model and packaging. Additional accessories may be purchased separately, such as a smart garage door controller to connect with your phone for remote operability.
As with every garage door opener, direct drive garage door openers have both strong and weak points. Below is a summary of the pros and cons of a direct drive garage door opener. But first, let’s explore how direct drive garage door openers work.
How does a direct drive garage door opener work?
In the old days, there were only two distinct classifications- chain or belt drive system. Anything that didn’t use either of these two was generally considered a direct drive- even a screw drive garage door opener. Today, however, this has changed. Direct drive garage door openers have been uniquely identified by their mode of operation. Given, a direct drive garage door opener can use either a belt or chain.
Unlike traditional chain-driven openers that use a stationary motor in moving the chain, a direct drive garage door opener uses a stationary chain or belt along which the motor (attached to the door via a J-arm) moves to close or open the garage door. As only one part is mobile (motor), direct drive garage door openers are very quiet (almost better than belt drive garage door openers) and are loved by many.
Direct drive garage door openers have the highest reliability because of the single moving part (motor).
Should You Buy a Direct drive Garage Door Opener?
It’s all down to preference. Direct drive garage door openers hardly produce any noise and are very reliable. Because of it having only a single moving part, the operation is relatively smooth and efficient. Much of the other factors that influence decision-making are dependent on the type of your garage door, its weight, and where the garage is located.
Pros of direct drive garage door openers
Direct drive garage door openers are really a joy to have. Here are some of the advantages that you should think of against the other types.
Quiet, Reliable, Safe, and Easy to install
The main advantage of using a direct drive garage door opener system is because these door openers are extremely quiet. This is critical in places where the garage is attached to the main house, or there’s a need to access the garage early in the morning or late in the night when the rest of the people are asleep.
The reliability of the direct drive garage door is enhanced with the fact that there’s only a single movable part (the motor). This is very important when considering the cost of maintenance where a part must be replaced. Lubrication is another area where a direct drive system saves you money as there’s no need to lubricate the moving motor.
The safety features integrated into the direct drive system make it one of the safest garage door opener systems. Although these can be found or integrated into any other drive system, their addition on the direct drive adds a great value. Such features include sensors to detect objects in the garage door’s path and reverses the motion of the door to prevent damage.
As there’s usually just one moving part, the installation process is quite simple and straightforward. If you are a reasonably hands-on person, you simply follow a DIY installation guide like in the video below. For those with little time on their hands, get a professional to save the day.
Cons of a direct drive garage door opener
More of what most people refer to as the disadvantages of direct drive garage door opener is more of preference than an actual disadvantage.
More Expensive and Limited Availability
However, one would safely assume the best direct drive garage door opener to be expensive compared to the compatriots in the market. This is specifically true for those who need this system but are on a low budget.
Additionally, there are a few options available for the American market, although direct drive garage door openers are very popular in Europe.
Installation and Maintenance of a Direct Drive Garage Door Opener
Given that even the best direct drive garage door opener is likely to have just one (or a handful) moving parts, the installation process is relatively straightforward and simple. The process starts by putting up the rail and chain and then attaching the motor to the garage door through a J-arm. The motor must also be connected to the chain and rail system. Professional installers wouldn’t take much time fixing the garage door opener should you decide to call one.
Buyer Guide: 7 Best Direct Drive Garage Door Opers Reviewed
The below products have been arrived at through thorough research and critical factors considered including safety, security, technology, durability, ease of installation, amount of horsepower, availability of garage lights, etc. Let’s start.
The Chamberlain RJO20 Direct Drive Garage Door Opener
What makes the Chamberlain RJO20 remarkable is that it is both a direct drive and a wall mount. This means that you get to reap the benefits of the two types with one device.
The fact that it is a direct drive means that its operation is quiet. On the other hand, it frees up some space in your garage as it does not need the overhead gear.
- Remote Light
- Automatic door lock
- Dependable opener
- Installation instructions
- Multifunctional wall control
- Uses Lithium batteries
- Inbuilt Wi-Fi
- It is an ultra-quiet making it suitable for use in apartments
- It uses the myQApp Control that sends alerts when the garage door opens or closes.
- It is secure – the full encryption security technology prevents the hacking of codes to access personalized information.
- Easy to install and use since it has manual instructions and guidelines.
- It syncs with different smart devices, and it can schedule your garage door to turn the lights on and off.
- The RJO20 has a problem with the range that it covers. You really need to be near your garage door to open or close it. This means that you cannot close your garage door and drive off. You have to wait and ensure that it is closed before you leave.
Sommer Model 104V001 Direct Drive Hp Garage Door Opener
The Sommer is an affordable and noiseless garage door opener that is mainly designed for homes. It has 1.0 horsepower that can lift even large and heavy doors. It uses a motor that is located below the rail. A gear attached to the motor is the only moving part, which makes this garage door opener amazingly quiet.
- Remote controls
- Standard rail suitable
- Automatic locking
- 2-year warranty
- Safety sensor beams
- It comes with installation and owner’s manuals
- Uses DC motor
- 0 HP
- It is extremely quiet, making it suitable for attached garages.
- Easy installation and setup, especially if you are replacing old garage door openers. You can still reuse the frames and wiring.
- The manuals are easy to follow as they have clear instructions.
- Suitable for heavy garage doors, thanks to the 1.0 horsepower
- You can lock your garage door opener electronically, which comes in handy if you are not home for a couple of days.
- It makes your garage safer – the safety sensor beams causes the door to go back up if it senses an obstruction.
- It is slower than chain drives.
- You need to ensure that you use the manual that is specific to your car
The Direct-Drive 550 3/4 HP Garage Door Opener with Rolling Code
This direct drive is suitable for 7 to 8-inch doors. It is extremely quiet, therefore suitable for attached garages. Unlike many of the garage door openers on this list, this one has many parts wired. This, however, does not mean that it compromises functionality. It has impressive features like the photo-eye system that can identify obstructions on the garage door’s way, ensuring that people and things do not get crushed under the garage door.
- It has an automatic lock that closes and opens the door when necessary
- It comes with two remotes and a wall switch
- It can be connected to a Z-wave controller
- ¾ HP
- Wired photo-eye system
- Two remotes opener units
- Available wireless keypad unit as an extra accessory
- Hard wired control panel
- Immensely quiet
- Easy to install with clear instructions, with additional videos on YouTube
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- Less moving parts means less wear and tear
- It makes your garage safer – the photo-eye technologies help identify obstructions in the door’s way to avoid crushing people and things.
- It does not work with Alladin connect, Apple Homekit, Iris, and MyQ
- It does not work with Bluetooth
- It does not have built-in Wi-Fi
- It was built for 7 to 8-inch doors. You would need to get a 3-inch extension for larger doors.
- Setting up ‘Homelink’ can be difficult.
The Sommer Direct Drive Synoris Swing Garage Door Opener
This Sommer direct drive is suitable for opening garages with swing doors. The beauty of this garage door opener is that it opens both doors simultaneously. It is suitable for garages with at least 9 inches in width. The rail and attachments need 1 to 1.5 inches of ceiling space. It has useful safety features like sensor obstacle detection, which will reverse the direction of the garage door if it detects an obstruction in its way.
- ¾ HP
- Adjustable swing door fitting
- It comes with two remotes
- DC motor
- Sensor obstacle detection technology
- Easy to install, and manual instructions are self-explanatory
- Safe – reverses the door’s direction on detecting an obstacle
- One year limited warranty
- Homelink compatible
- You need to have a minimum of 9 inches width space.
The Sommer Synoris 800 Direct Drive HP Garage Door Opener
The Sommer Synoris’ popularity is derived from it being a very strong garage door opener. It is built for homeowners with heavy garage doors. It is made up of galvanized steel which is reinforced by a connecting sleeve. The safety sensors help provide security by reversing the door on sensing an obstacle. There are quiet, making them suitable for attached garages. It is a low-profile opener, and you only need 5 inches of clearance.
- Photosensor technology to help protect the garage door from closing if the beam is interrupted by people or obstacles.
- Remote control
- 800 N motor
- Rolling code technology
- remote control transmitter
- Self-locking motor
- Wall console
- Lifetime warranty
- Less moving parts means less wear and tear, thus cost-effective in the end
- They are quiet
- Homelink compatible
- The strong motor can handle at least 70 door operations each hour.
- It is compatible with doors that are 8 inches high. If you have a larger garage door, you would need to purchase a different garage door opener.
The Direct-Drive 800 HP Garage Door Opener
The only moving part of this garage door opener is the motor which has a gear that runs on a metal chain. This means that there is less wear and tear and fewer parts to replace over time. The sizable rail length makes it adjustable to your needs. If you are a DIY person, you can cut the rail to the size that best suits you.
- Rolling code technology
- Includes rails
- Remote control
- Home link capability
- Extremely quiet
- Like a chain drive, it is strong and durable
- If you have a lot of space in your garage, you can mount it vertically or to the side.
- Easy installation, as the instructions are very clear.
- This direct drive is not built for large and heavy doors
- Not smartphone-enabled.
- It has no built-in Wi-Fi.
- The light has a 3-minute timer (which turns it off after 3 minutes), meaning that you need to have alternative sources to light up your garage.
- It has a problem with range, and you need to be extremely close to the garage door to open it.
The Sommer 2080 EVO+1HP Garage Door Opener S10251
If you are looking for a garage door opener in a class of its own, the Sommer 2080 is one of the best direct drive garage door openers. The safety sensors help provide security by reversing the door immediately after sensing an obstacle. The photosensors help protect the garage door from closing if the beam is interrupted by people or obstacles. It is ideal for 8-inch garage doors.
- Safety sensors
- Remote control.
- The motor sprocket glides along the fixed rail, which helps to provide support; hence this smoothens performance.
- Automated lock
- Rail extensions
- Optional battery backup
- Home link compatible
- Optional locking magnet locks
- It is a perfect fit for homes with living spaces above or near the garage.
- Since it is a direct drive, there is less wear and tear on the belt and motors.
- It is a one-wall-mounted station that is easy to install, and no lubrication is required.
- It is not built for large and heavy doors.
Verdict on the Best Direct Drive Garage Door Opener
We have looked at the best direct drives that you can find on the market. We hope this guide makes it easier for you to settle on the best direct drive that suits your needs.
The Chamberlain RJO20 Direct Drive Garage Door Opener is our editor’s pick.
When compared with all the others on this list, it seems to marry the strengths of the chain drive with the belt drive and bring forth a near-perfect amalgamation.
Not only is it quiet, but it also uses the latest technologies that you can integrate with your smartphone to give you better control over your garage.
Frequently Asked Questions About Direct Drive Garage Door Openers
If we haven’t answered all of your questions regarding direct drive garage door openers, here are some FAQs which can hopefully help you out:
Are Direct Drive Garage Door Openers Better?
At the beginning of the article, we talked about direct drives being the best of both worlds – they are strong, just like chain drives, but quiet, just like belt drives.
Is a Chain Drive Garage Door Opener Better Than a Belt Drive?
Chain drives are the epitome of strength and durability when it comes to garage door openers. They have, however, been known to be extremely noisy. On the other hand, belt drives are quiet. So, it is safe to say that it depends on the context in which you are using each of these garage door openers.
The world of garage door openers can get quite confusing. It is always advisable to work with someone who has the technical know-how to advise you. Our best direct drive garage door openers guide should make it easier for you to start the conversation.