Chain vs Screw Drive Garage Door Opener

When it comes to inexpensive ways to automatically raise your garage door, the chain drive garage door opener is the option that most people choose. The chain drive type of garage door opener is the least expensive on the market today, but that does carry some disadvantages with it too. When compared to the other two styles, the screw drive and the belt drive, it is easy to see where they stack up against each other. For many homeowners, budget constraints bring their decision down to only two choices: the chain drive and the screw drive. Here is how they stack up against each other.

Speed Comparison

The normal speed for a garage door opener remains constant at around the 7 inches per second mark. This is more of a safety precaution than anything else. However, it can seem much longer than that with some types of garage door openers. This is because of the amount of extra travel that happens as the door is raising. With a chain drive garage door opener there is a lot of "bounce" in the door as it rises. This bouncing will cause the opener to take a little longer to reach the top of its travel. The screw drive is a solid ride all the way up because of the way that it travels along the threaded rod instead of a chain. 

Strength Comparison

For the most part, each door is going to be able to lift approximately the same size door without any difficulties. Each of the different motor sizes, the 1/4 HP, 1/2 HP, and the 3/4 HP all have the same ratings, so there is not real advantage for either type of drive in this issue. However, there is a slight advantage in the way that they handle the extra weight of a wooden door, an insulated door, or a customized door that is wider than normal. The screw drive garage door opener provides a smoother traverse than the chain drive.

Noise Comparison

When it comes to noise, both of these types of garage door openers generate quite a bit of noise. Besides this, the chain drive system also has a large amount of vibration that is caused when it is in motion. This noise can be dampened with some aftermarket products, but right out of the box they are both going to present some noise. The screw drive system is a little bit quieter because there is only one moving, as opposed to the several that run the gears of the chain drive. Keeping each drive oiled will keep down most of the squealing noise. 

Price Comparison

As already stated, the chain drive garage door opener is at the bottom of the price index as far as automated openers go. Of course, as you add on different options this price will climb. The screw drive garage door opener will cost you just a little more than the chain drive. No matter what your budget is, you can purchase either one of these systems.