3rd Generation Family Business

24 Hour Emergency Service

Motor Type and Drive Type Options

If you are in the market to purchase a new electric garage door opener, you need to pick the type that will work best with your needs. Fortunately, you have many options, even if you weren’t aware of them before now.

Below, you can read about the most important of these options: motor type and drive type. Learn more about these garage door openers and their advantages and disadvantages, and reach out to a garage door specialist if you have further questions.

Motor Type

One option you will encounter when searching for a replacement garage door opener will be motor type. Below is more information on the two common types of garage door opener motors.

Alternating Current (AC) Motor

Currently the most common type of garage door opener motor, alternating current (AC) motors offer a good combination of affordability, reliability, and power. They don’t require complex electronics to operate, as they are powered directly from the home’s AC power supply.

The downside to an AC motor is its size and lack of operating refinement. AC motors generally just are able to stop and start, which means they operate in abrupt movements. In addition, their large size means AC motors take up a considerable amount of room inside opener cabinets, leaving little space for other desirable components.

Direct Current (DC) Motor

The other type of electric motor found in garage door openers is the direct current (DC) motor. These motors are becoming more and more common in garage door openers due to their superior combination of sound-suppression characteristics and operating options.

For example, DC motors can be controlled via sophisticated electronics, and this allows for quieter, smoother starts and stops. Not only that, but since DC power also operates at much lower voltages than AC, batteries can be fitted to garage door openers; this allows them to be used in outage situations.

Garage Door Drive Type

Another major option to consider when purchasing a new garage door opener is drive type. The drive is the mechanism that moves the door up and down; it is analogous to the transmission of a car in that the motor provides the muscle but the drive provides the means to transfer movement to the door.

There are three major options available to consumers looking to buy garage door openers, though the first two below are the most common.

Chain Drive

The most common garage door opener drive type is the chain drive. A chain-drive opener uses a long chain, similar in design and appearance to a bicycle chain, to move a trolley up and down a rail. The trolley, in turn, is attached to the garage door; as the trolley is pulled toward the opener by the chain, the door is raised, and vice versa.

Chain drives are reliable and are the least expensive of all opener types. However, chain-drive openers generate a lot of vibration and noise during operation, and they are also fairly slow moving.

Belt Drive

A common garage door opener drive type is the belt drive. Belt-drive openers operate in an identical fashion to chain drives, except they use a rubber belt for the chain.

As such, belt drives can open and close a door at about the same speed as chain-drive openers. However, belt drives excel at quiet operation and are able to move garage doors with less noise than any other type. They do cost more than chain drives, though, so the quiet does come with a higher price tag.

Jackshaft Drive

A less common type of garage door opener drive is the jackshaft drive. The jackshaft drive is quite different than the first three types in that it mounts by the door instead of on the ceiling. In addition, jackshaft-drive openers are directly attached to the torsion bar of the door instead of to a trolley; this contributes to their quiet, efficient operation.

Jackshaft-drive openers also take up less room than the other types of openers, which can be advantageous to individuals who need ceiling space in their garages for storage or other purposes.


No matter which type of garage door opener you choose, you can look for a model with high-tech features. Many new operator systems are Wi-Fi-enabled, which means that you can use your smartphone to open, close, and monitor your garage door at all times. That way, you’ll never be locked out and you can know if anyone tries to get into your garage without your permission.

If you have questions about garage door openers, including those that relate to motors, drive types, and high-tech features, be sure to contact Raynor Door Company for assistance. Our team of professionals is ready to help and can give you guidance on what might be best for you. Reach out to us today to learn more and to get started on replacing your garage door opener.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Helping Make Your Vision A Reality

Modifying a home can be a daunting task. It can be difficult to know which components to use, how to install them, or whether you need them in the first place! Our team will simplify the process, allowing you to make the changes and pick the garage that accentuates your home the most without any of the stress.