Chain vs Belt Drive Garage Door Openers. Which Is Right For You?

Posted by Peter Elsenbach on Oct 29, 2019 8:30:00 AM

 Raynor Ultra II Garage Door Opener

Among all the factors to consider when shopping for garage door openers, the type of drive mechanism is probably not something you hear about very often. Yet, when using the opener, you may hear a difference in the sound of belt drive units because they are generally quieter than chain drive, though that isn't the only operating feature to consider.

We should point out that there are many offsetting advantages of chain drive openers, so please don't count them out. Still, if you have an attached garage and especially if you have bedrooms located above the garage, sound rating of the garage door opener may indeed be at or near the top of your selection criteria.

Belt Drive Openers

Today's high-strength drive belts will handle the weight loads of most single or double residential garage doors. This type of drive system runs along the rail and wraps around a sprocket located on the top of the opener. The belt ends are joined at the drive trolley with a threaded clip that can be adjusted to keep the belt tight. Your Raynor dealer may recommend this type of opener for all except the heaviest doors such as composite overlay or all-wood doors.

Belt Drive Opener

Chain Drive Openers

The chains used on residential garage door openers typically have higher tensile strength and greater lifting capacity than belts. They also may last longer in certain applications. Other installation features are similar to that of belts -- the chain is joined with an adjustable clip and driven by a sprocket on top of the motor.

Chain Drive Opener

Other Considerations

Belt-drive­­ openers can be a bit higher end in pricing and range of features. In the Raynor lineup for example, battery backup and corner-to-corner LED lighting are offered with belt-drive models. Battery backup is also available with Raynor Prodigy II™ models which have jack shafts, a third type of drive system which is also quiet in operation. Opener capacities in Raynor belt-drive models range from 1/2 hp to 3/4 hp.

In comparison, chain drive openers can bring more muscle to the job for less money and are often specified for heavier doors and arid climates. With proper maintenance, a chain will outlast a belt, though frequency of use obviously makes a big difference. Like belt drive openers, Raynor chain drive models are offered with 1/2 hp to 3/4 hp motors, providing sufficient power for all of our residential doors.


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Topics: Garage Safety, Garage Door Repair

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