If you’re currently shopping for a new garage door opener, you’ve probably realized there are a lot of options out there. Automatic garage door openers have evolved quite a bit in recent, integrating some very handy features through smart technology. Of course, you can still get an old fashioned opener that simply opens and closes with the touch of a button.

Beyond choosing what features you want your opener to have, you’ll also need to decide on a type of garage door opener. For residential garages, the most common garage door openers are belt drive and chain driver openers. In recent years, however, wall-mounted openers have become increasingly common for home garages as well.

Each of these offer different advantages.

Belt drive openers are quiet and less prone to breaking down.

Chain drive openers come with a lower upfront cost, and they’re often a little stronger.

Wall mounted openers provide a more compact and attractive solution. They’re also very quiet and reduce vibrations.

Regardless of the features, appearance, and noise levels of your opener, there is one requirement of a garage door opener that takes precedence over all others: it needs to be able to lift your garage door over and over again.

This is where horsepower comes into play.

Horsepower for Garage Doors

When people think of horsepower, they typically think of a car, truck, or other types of vehicles. But horsepower can be used to measure any type of motor, including those found in garage doors. After all, horses were once used to lift heavy objects via pulleys and ropes similar to how modern openers lift garage doors.

Now, when it comes to a typical residential garage, you don’t need much. Often, 1/3 horsepower (HP) is enough to lift most doors. However, these openers generally won’t last as long, especially when lifting larger/heavier doors. If you’re looking to lift a single steel door, and you’re concerned about price, 1/3 HP can be enough, but…

A more common power level is ½ HP. For many homeowners, ½ HP is enough to handle both single and double sectional garage doors. It provides a great amount of power for its price. Still, some situations call for a higher power opener.

For those with oversized doors, as well as heavier doors such as ones made of wood, you’ll want more than ½ HP. In these situations, ¾ HP is recommended. This will provide a smoother opening experience, and it will ensure your garage door opener lasts longer.

While you can find garage door openers with even more power than that, it’s likely not needed. When selecting a garage door opener, it’s best to speak to a professional to ensure you explore the full options available to you and end up with a garage door that meets your needs.