Upgrading to a new garage door opener model can make your home safer and your life easier in numerous ways. While at it, one of the first things you need to do is determine the opener size. For instance, what size of garage door opener do I need for a 16-foot door?
Let us dive right in to find out.
What size of garage door opener do I need for a 16-foot door?
A ¾ HP or 700 N motor garage door opener is sufficient for a 16-foot garage door. The ¾ horsepower garage door opener has more power and efficiency and does not strain the motor compared to a ½ horsepower garage door opener. A ½ horsepower opener can operate the 16-foot door albeit with some strain on the motor.
½ horsepower models are commonly used for single doors measuring about 9 feet by 7 feet. However, this motor is also sufficient for a lightweight sectional double-car garage door measuring at least 16 feet by 7 feet.
Notice that a higher-power garage door opener operates a double-car garage door with less effort. This reduced effort on the opener also means minimal wear and tear on the motor.
A smaller garage door opener has a lower-power motor suited to operate a smaller, lighter door. Correspondingly, a larger garage door size requires a bigger sized opener. Larger openers have motors with greater lifting power and efficiency.
What size garage door openers are there?
Residential garage door opener models typically range from ½ horsepower to 1 ½ horsepower.
There is also a 1/3 horsepower opener model, which is the smallest available size. This is the least powerful horsepower opener designed for single-car garages with traditional aluminum or steel doors. The little weight of such doors allows them to operate with minimal lifting power.
However, since this opener tends to have a shorter lifespan than its higher-power cousins, it is not usually the most cost-effective option. So, many homeowners prefer to use a ½ horsepower model for their one-car garage doors instead.
The greater lifting power results in less strain on the opener’s motor, leading to reduced deterioration and increased lifespan.
Read along to learn about the different options available for a 16-foot door.
The ½ horsepower size opener is a popular choice for many residential applications. It works well with any standard single-car garage door and most sectional two-car doors made of aluminum or steel.
This means it should work well for a 16-foot garage door as long as it is lightweight. Often, aluminum or steel doors are light enough to operate with minimal lifting power.
The Top 5 Best 1/2 Horsepower Garage Door Openers
- Genie 1/2 HPC 3053-TV QuietLift Connect smart garage door opener, Wi-Fi, Works with Alexa
- Genie 39725r Garage Door Opener With Chain, 1/2 Hpc
- Craftsman 1/2 Horsepower Garage Door Opener
- Genie 2055 1/2 Horsepower Garage Door Opener
- Chamberlain B1381T 1/2 Horsepower Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
- LiftMaster 8164 W 1/2 Horsepower Chain Drive Garage Door Opener
Also, ½ horsepower openers are relatively long-lasting, mainly when used on single-car garage doors. When used on dual-car garage door units, you can also prolong their service life by ensuring the door is properly balanced.
How to know when the door is properly balanced
Your garage door is balanced when the torsion spring is correctly set to counter its weight.
To determine if the torsion spring system has achieved this setting, disconnect your electric door opener if you have one in place. Ensure the door is closed when disconnecting it.
Next, open the garage door manually until it is halfway. This should be about 3.5 or 4 feet from the ground, depending on the height of your garage door.
Observe how the door behaves upon letting it go. A balanced door should remain in that neutral position when you let go of it.
The door is unbalanced if it falls shut or shoots up to the open position upon letting it go in the halfway position. In such a case, you may want to contact a professional to adjust the torsion spring for you.
Depending on how the unbalanced door behaves, leaving it without fixing the issue can be potentially dangerous.
¾ horsepower garage door opener size
If you have a wooden or insulated 16-foot garage door, the chances are that it will be too heavy for a ½ horsepower opener. Such a door will require more lifting power, preferably a ¾ horsepower opener size.
These high-efficiency openers also tend to operate much faster. For example, they can open a 16-foot garage door quicker, helping you avoid unnecessary delays.
You may also want to consider this ¾ horsepower opener if your garage door is frequently in use.
The Top 5 Best 3/4 HP garage door openers
The ¾ horsepower garage door openers are a popular choice for homes with heavier sectional dual-car garage door units. Unlike the ½ horsepower openers, the ¾ horsepower motor can operate with less effort, leading to extended service life.
Additionally, these opener models often pack numerous high-tech features that are an added advantage for residential applications.
Because of these added bells and whistles, the ¾ horsepower opener may cost slightly higher upfront. However, it helps you save money in the long run with its durability and longer service life.
1-1 ½ horsepower openers
These opener sizes tend to pack lots of lifting power suitable for commercial-grade garage doors. But homeowners sometimes use them on oversized garage doors that are also often pretty heavy. You can also review our list of the best garage door openers for heavy doors for which garage openers packing 1.5HP are most suitable for.
Like ¾ horsepower openers, these high horsepower models are also ideal for weighty one-piece doors.
If your 16-foot garage door is insulated or made of wood, you may move up to a 1 or 1 ½ horsepower opener size.
Usually, you will find the ¾ horsepower option sufficient for any oversized or heavy residential garage door.
The popular argument is that the more horsepower, the less effort the opener will exert to operate the door. Also, it makes logical sense that you would get more service life out of a larger motor.
However, the ¾ horsepower motor is usually just large enough to take on any residential garage door. So, where a 1 or 1 ½ horsepower opener costs more than a corresponding ¾ horsepower unit, you may want to avoid paying more for the extra horsepower you won’t need.
Even though these models are usually expensive, they offer the best efficiency, speed of operation, and lifting power.
Overall, smaller garage doors are generally lighter, while larger or oversized garage doors are heavier. As already mentioned, a smaller garage door opener with a less powerful motor will work better for a smaller, lighter door—and vice versa.
Factors to consider when selecting the right size of garage door opener
With multiple garage door opener sizes compatible with a 16-foot door at your disposal, you can be spoilt for choice. Knowing some specific features to look for can help point you in the right direction.
Here are a few pointers to simplify your choices.
Size and weight of the garage door
The size and weight of your garage door should tell you whether a ½ horsepower model will be sufficient or if you could use some additional lifting power.
Specifically, consider matching a large garage door with a large, high-power opener. The larger the door, the heavier it is likely to be.
Standard one-car garage door sizes
Standard garage door sizes vary from one community to the other. Often, a standard single-car garage door for most residential areas is 8 to 9 feet wide and 7 to 8 feet tall.
Currently, more and more homes are going for the maximum measurement, with 9- to 10-foot garage doors being constantly more popular.
Standard dual-car garage door sizes
Dual-car garage doors are designed to accommodate two cars at ago. For most homes, these doors measure 16 feet wide and 7 to 8 feet tall.
Many of the standard-size two-car garage doors (16 feet wide by 7 feet tall) feature a pair of 8-foot garage door bays in their design.
A central column or post usually separates these single 8-foot bays. While this is not a structural requirement, some homeowners prefer the style nonetheless.
Note: Installing two single doors instead of a double door may not increase the cost, but it will mean you must install two openers for every single door. On the other hand, a double garage door will require only one opener—making it a cost-effective option.
Standard garage door thickness
Standard steel or aluminum garage doors are generally thinner than wooden or insulated options. The thickness of a residential garage door will determine its weight and the size of the opener you can use to operate the door.
Notice that garage doors do not necessarily require insulation or windows. But you can include both features at an additional cost based on how you plan to use the garage.
Standard steel garage door panels can be as little as 1/8 inches thick. Such basic door units are also the most cost-effective.
Adding foam insulation on the inside of the steel garage door panels can increase the thickness to ¼ or ½ inches.
The other form of insulation involves having two panels with insulation material sandwiched in the middle. Such insulated garage doors can be 1 to 1 ½ inches thick.
How to measure garage door sizes
Garage door sizes are one of the key factors influencing the weight of the door. Accordingly, the weight will determine the size of the opener you need since the motor and lifting power of an opener increases with size.
To determine the door size, you need to do more than just find out the door’s dimensions. This is the time to ensure the garage can accommodate an opener in addition to the door itself in both open and closed positions.
Here is a quick look at how you can measure your garage door size.
Step 1: Measure the rough opening.
First, measure the width and height of the garage door opening with a tape measure and note down the numbers in inches. This should give you the dimensions of what is called the rough opening.
These measurements should give you the approximate size of the garage door to install.
Step 2: Measure the headroom.
The headroom is the distance between the garage door head jamb (top of the door opening) and the garage ceiling. Garage door engineering standards require this space to be approximately 10 to 12 inches.
Step 3: Measure the side room.
As the name suggests, the side room is the space remaining on either side of the garage door. It is the space to the left and right of the opening.
This space can be anywhere between 3 ¾ inches to 5 ½ inches on each side of the garage door opening. This allowance is necessary for accommodating torsion springs and other essential system hardware.
Step 4: Measure the backroom.
The last measurement is the distance from the garage door opening to the rear wall of the garage.
Most standard garage door openers will utilize this space for overhead installation. So, your garage may need at least the equivalent of the sum of the door height and additional 18 inches for the backroom.
This is just the minimum amount of backroom; it can be more depending on the kind of automatic garage door opener installation you want to put in place.
Custom garage doors
Away from the standard measurements, you can have your garage door designed to your specifications. This is where custom garage doors come in.
Such doors can offer door heights of up to 10 feet or taller to accommodate larger and taller vehicles. For instance, you can have a custom garage door if you have a recreational vehicle or high-roof trucks to park in the garage.
The material used to build the garage door
Your garage door can be made of steel, aluminum, vinyl, or wood. Standard steel and aluminum doors are generally lightweight. On the other hand, wood tends to be pretty heavy when used to construct a garage door.
Vinyl is usually used as an insulation material on steel doors. The vinyl layer drives up the weight when this happens, making insulated doors some of the heaviest. If you have an insulated garage door, it may be necessary to buy a larger opener.
Some garage doors also have glass windows. Due to the added weight of glass and the window panels, such doors are typically heavier than standard steel doors.
When shopping for a garage door opener, you will want to keep these factors in mind to find the right size garage door opener for your home.
How much does a 16-foot garage door weigh?
On average, a one-car steel or aluminum garage door measuring 8 feet wide and 7 feet tall weigh approximately 125 pounds.
A double-car garage door measuring approximately 16 feet wide and 7 to 8 feet tall weighs about 200 pounds.
If your 16-foot garage door is the traditional one-sided steel type, it could weigh as little as 150 pounds if it is non-insulated and without windows.
The weight of either of these garage door units can go up significantly if the door is insulated or made of wood. Usually, a wooden garage door with these dimensions can weigh as much as 350 or more pounds.
Some garage doors feature insulation material sandwiched between layers of steel to the front-facing and back-facing sides. Such doors can weigh twice as heavy as the standard steel door.
How much horsepower do I need for a 16-foot garage door?
For a double garage door measuring 16 feet wide, a ¾ horsepower or 700N is recommended. When choosing the opener for your garage door opener, consider factoring in the projected life of the motor. While smaller ones will often last seven years, most larger openers can last as long as 15 years.
What size garage door opener do I need for an 18-foot garage door?
For an 18-foot garage door, you need a minimum of 3/4 HP or 700N motor. In some cases depending on the material of the garage door, especially wood garage doors, you may need up to 1HP. 18-foot garage door openers are definitely heavy garage doors.
How much horsepower do I need for a two-car garage door?
Two-car garage doors or one-car garages with insulated or wooden doors require a 3/4 horsepower garage door opener. If your garage has a carriage door, consider going as high as 1 or 1 ½ with your opener horsepower choice.
So, what size of garage door opener do I need for a 16-foot door?
With a 16-foot garage door, you are likely better off with a 3/4 horsepower garage door opener. Whatever type or size of garage door opener you choose, we hope that this guide helps you make the right choice of opener for your home.