The proliferation of smart phones in the market place has opened up a whole new world of ways to make your day-to-day life easier. Manufacturers of locks, garage door openers, lighting controls and thermostats have taken notice. There are door locks that unlock when you walk up to the door, garage door openers that you can operate remotely, light switches that you can dim with a touch of a button and thermostats that adjust the temperature in your home according to your schedule. Some of these devices operate using features already built into your smart phone.

Does this sound like science fiction? It’s not. All of the above not only exist as stand-alone devices, but are readily available in the market place. You may even have some in your home right now. If you don’t have any now and want to add smart devices, not only are they cool, they can save you considerable time and money. But aren’t all of those automatic devices expensive? The affordability of the devices just might surprise you.

What started out as an exploration of ways to dim the lights when watching a movie has grown into a four-part series of articles that continues here, with Keyless Garage Door Opener’s.

In fact, the garage door opener may be the most common home automation device in the marketplace.

Keyless Garage Door Openers

Some people rarely, if ever use their front door. For them, the garage door is the primary way in and out of their home. It makes sense. The convenience of a button push as they drive up, the ability to avoid inclement weather and the security of closing the door behind them while they unload the car, all make using the garage door an attractive way to come home. In fact, the garage door opener may be the most common home automation device in the marketplace. As with the keyless door locks in the previous installment, most of the garage door openers below can be purchased at prices considerably below MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price). It only takes a little judicious shopping online to find better deals.

Chamberlain

Chamberlain has been in the garage door and gate opener business for decades. Chamberlain is the line for the do it yourself installer. Chamberlain offers both chain drive and belt drive openers that have the capability of being connected to your smart phone. Connectivity comes at a price however. In addition to the garage door opener, you will need to purchase an Internet gateway, model CIGBU ($56.93), or a connectivity kit, model CIGCWC ($119.99) to link the door to your smart phone. The kit includes a wall control unit as well as the gateway. The wall control expands the functionality of the door opener with different timer options and a LCD screen. There is no fee for the app, nor is there a monthly fee for its use.

The openers themselves start with the PD612EV ($179.00), 1/2HP chain drive and top out with the WD962MLEV ($359.00), 3/4HP belt drive opener. For the extra money you get a quiet belt drive, a keychain remote, wireless keypad, laser parking aid, and a surge protector, standard push button remotes and wall controls.

LiftMaster

LiftMaster is the line of openers for professional installers. LiftMaster has chain operated, screw operated and belt operated traditional garage door openers. In addition they also have a wall mounted door opener (sectional doors only) that frees up ceiling space. LiftMaster garage door openers are only available through garage door installation contractors. Pricing is up to the contractor, but the gateway and other accessories are extra, just like the Chamberlain products.

Sears

Sears offers its Craftsman branded AssureLink garage door openers. These are private label openers made for Sears by Chamberlain. Sears has the same offerings as Chamberlain and also packages everything together for you in its top end offering. These openers use the same smart phone app as the Chamberlain above, only under the AssureLink name. The Sears AssureLink 3043 3/4HP belt drive opener comes with a wireless keypad, 2 remotes, wall control pad and battery backup $329.99 MSRP; $249.99 online.

Genie

Genie is another garage door opener company that has been around for what seems like forever. They have a 60 year anniversary graphic right on their home page. It is interesting to note that, for a company this established, they don’t have a connected system available for retail customers. The best they can do is offer a wireless keypad as an (optional) accessory.

Genie’s offerings start with a chain drive opener the Chainmax 1000, 3/4HP that retails for $179.OO. This price does not include the wireless keypad, which needs to be purchased separately for $34.97.

Genie also offers screw drive openers. The models range from the Powermax 1200 3/4HP ($158.00); to the Excelerator II 1HP ($228.00). Both screw drive openers come with wireless keypads in addition to the traditional push buttons for the car.

Finally Genie offers belt drive openers. The belt drive openers start with the Silentmax 1000, 3/4HP ($208.00); to the Silentmax 1200, 3/4HP ($228.00). Both belt drive openers come with wireless keypads in addition to the traditional push buttons for the car.

Conclusion

In a world where connectivity and security are rapidly becoming necessities for daily living, it seems like garage door opener manufacturers are a little late to the party. In all fairness, Chamberlain has positioned itself as the 900 pound Gorilla of this industry. What they do, the industry follows. This is an enviable position for any company to achieve. We can only hope Chamberlain is looking to come further into the Internet age along with the rest of the home automation marketplace.


You've just read part two of a four part series.

Part One – Keyless Entry

Part Two – Garage Door Openers

Part Three – Smart Lighting

Part Four – Thermostats


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About Brian Hill
Brian Hill is a home theater enthusiast who has an extensive background in sales. His interests include music & movies, F1 & NASCAR auto racing, hot rods (he has a '56 Nomad) and hockey — Go Sharks!
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