Pros and Cons of a Belt-Driven Garage Door Opener vs. Chain-Driven

By Aladdin Garage Doors March 7, 2024

Belt vs Chain Garage Door Opener

The automatic garage door opener has changed the way we come and go. It provides convenience, safety, and security for many homeowners. The lifespan of a typical garage door opener ranges from 10 to 15 years, depending on usage. The newest models, known as chain or belt drive “smart” openers by our preferred brand, LiftMaster®, connect to your garage door and link to your Wi-Fi connection so you can monitor your door anywhere at any time. There are two basic types of openers, the belt-driven garage door opener, and the chain opener. One uses a chain drive, like on a bicycle, and the other uses a rubber belt to move the door, known as a belt drive system. Today we will discuss how to select the right opener for your garage, belt vs. chain, and the advantages of each.

A garage door opener consists of the motor, rails, inside wall unit, safety sensors to sense if something is in the way to close the door and a remote control. Premium openers from LiftMaster® feature a one-piece solid rail for longer wear. The motor is mounted on the ceiling of the garage and controls how far the door opens or closes. There are two types of garage door openers: a chain drive and a belt drive. The primary difference is the way they raise and lower the garage door.

What is a Chain Drive Opener?

A chain drive opener uses a steel chain to operate the door. The chain runs along a rail that is fitted around the sprocket in the opener. It’s connected to an idle sprocket at the other end of the rail, allowing the trolley to move back and forth to operate the garage door.

What is a Belt Drive Opener?

A belt-driven garage door opener uses a rubber belt to open and close the garage door. Its primary job is to move a trolley on the rail that connects the door to the opener. A piece of rope, usually red, typically hangs from the trolley so if the opener fails, you can disengage and reengage it.

Although belt-drive and chain-drive garage door openers will get the job done, there are pros and cons to each. Let’s review the belt drive first.

Belt Drive Pros

  • If you’re looking for a quiet, smooth-running garage door opener, the belt drive system is for you. It’s ideal when your attached garage is located next to or below your living area.
  • It’s faster than a chain drive, a definite convenience when you’re in a hurry.
  • Belt drives do not need to be lubricated as chain drives do, but periodic checks and cleaning are still recommended for best performance.
  • The newest belt drive system features wall-to-wall LED lighting inside your garage.
  • If your power goes out, an optional emergency battery is available, unlike the chain opener.
  • A camera is also available.
  • Belt drive systems have fewer moving parts making them a safer, more efficient choice.
  • It’s the most economical garage door opener on the market today.

Belt Drive Cons

  • If your door is heavy, wooden, and/or insulated, the belt drive is not a good choice because it doesn’t have the same lifting capacity as a chain drive.
  • The rubber belt may eventually stretch out. You may need to have it adjusted over time, so that correct tension is constantly applied.
  • In the event of extreme heat or high humidity, a belt system may slip.
  • A belt drive may not last as long as a chain drive system so you may have to replace it sooner.
  • Belt drives are more expensive than chain drives.

Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of the belt drive garage door opener, let’s talk about the chain drive system. Even though chain openers are more common, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better. Here’s the breakdown.

Chain Drive Pros

  • Chain drive openers have been around for a long time. They are known for their value and reliable performance and are often called the workhorse opener.
  • They are suitable for many types of garage doors, including both residential and commercial doors.
  • Chain drive systems have the strength to lift a two or three-car garage door without any trouble.
  • They are typically the most cost-effective option on the market when compared to the belt drive system.
  • They perform well no matter what the temperature or humidity.

Chain Drive Cons

  • Chain openers can make a loud, rattling noise that can often be heard throughout the house when the door opens or closes. If you don’t like noise, this is not the opener for you.
  • Because they are not as quiet as the belt drive system, they’re best suited for a detached garage when noise is not a factor. They are not recommended for an attached garage.
  • Garage doors using a chain drive system may bounce slightly as they move up the rail.
  • Chain openers require regular maintenance and need to be lubricated often so they won’t rust or wear unevenly.

Replace Your Garage Door Opener

When it’s time to replace your old garage door opener, what kind do you buy? The decision between a chain or belt drive garage door opener is often based on priorities and budget. At Aladdin Doors, our openers from the professional series of LiftMaster® feature high performance, reliability, and durability.

While both styles operate well in any weather condition, the belt drive may slip in high humidity or extreme heat. Its sleek appearance features wall-to-wall LED lighting and is the quietest opener on the market. Because the belt may wear out over time, it may not be as long-lasting as a chain drive, however. Additionally, its price is higher because of its many features and smooth operation. When comparing the chain or belt drive, the chain is known as the workhorse opener and is the most cost-effective choice. It’s strong and is suited for any kind of garage door, even heavy wooden doors. Remember, if you have living space next to or above the garage door, it will produce more noise than a belt opener. Whatever type you choose, we have stock and can install it within a day or two. Give us a call for specific prices and scheduling.

Contact Aladdin Doors For A New Garage Door Opener

For 20 years, Aladdin Doors has led the market in quality garage door and garage door opener sales, service, maintenance, and repairs. As a family-owned and operated company, we care about our customers, and with thousands of online five-star reviews, it shows. Our replacement opener service includes the removal of your old opener, professional installation of your new one, and a quick maintenance check on your entire garage door system. If you need extra remotes or want an optional outside keypad, we carry stock in our vehicles for your convenience. We appreciate your interest in Aladdin Doors and hope we have answered your questions and concerns when deciding between a belt-drive garage door opener and a chain drive.