Earlier, it was mentioned that door openers typically work in the same way. While this is true, there are five types of door openers. The difference lies in how the trolley is moved by the motor.
• Chain drive – This is the earliest form of door opener technology. This system operates in a similar manner to how a bicycle chain helps in the turning of its wheels. The metal chain connects the motor to the trolley and allows raising and lowering of the door. The simple design makes this the cheapest, initially, however, the metallic chain design generates more noise than other methods, and the number of moving parts means regular maintenance is required.
• Belt drive – These openers function like chain drive systems with the motor connected to the trolley. The difference here is that these systems use a rubber belt as opposed to a chain. Not only does this allow for quieter operation than the chain drive, but the system also requires less maintenance as it is made up of fewer moving parts. If a quiet operation is essential to you because of your neighborhood or the proximity of the garage to other rooms, then this may be the option for you.
• Screw drive – These openers derive their name from the long screw within the track that the trolley connects to. As the screw (or rod) rotates, the trolley is driven to raise or lower the door. The advantages are the same as the belt drive opener as this type is also quieter than the chain alternative and requires less maintenance.
• Direct drive – This is a smooth, quiet, single moving part mechanism as it is the only one in which the motor is directly involved in the lifting and lowering process as opposed to simply driving it. Here, the motor moves along the track (and is the only moving part) and so there is a low maintenance requirement.
• Jackshaft – Instead of being installed above the door, the jackshaft openers are installed along the sides of the door. This opener requires a torsion spring system and is generally more suited to garages with high, sloped or cathedral ceilings.