Have you ever left the house or gone to bed, only to wonder if you closed the garage door? Turning around or getting out of bed is not fun. If you make your garage door smart, you can close it from anywhere! Here’s how.
What a smart garage door can do for you
Smart garage openers can save you a lot of worry. Instead of wondering if you forgot to close your garage, you can check from within the app or ask for a voice assistant like Google Assistant or Alexa. Combined with the camera, you can even see who comes and goes, which can be especially helpful if you’re a parent. You can even schedule a daily closing time at the end of the day so you don’t have to worry if you forget.
Don’t worry — you won’t always have to take out your phone to open or close your garage door. These devices come with traditional remotes for your car and keyboards outside of your garage—the smart features are just a bonus.
For a smart garage door opener to work well, you need a strong Wi-Fi signal in your garage. And you may have to either replace or add hardware.
Expensive Option: Replace Your Garage Knife
If you have a particularly old garage door opener, it might be time to replace it. If so, you can save yourself some effort and choose one that is either smart out of the box or you can make smart with a bridge.
Chamberlain: well known, well regarded
Chamberlain is perhaps the most popular manufacturer of consumer grade garage door openers. The company offers «silent» coulters with a lot of sensors, a backup battery, buttons for your cars, keypads and so on. It also gives beginners smart options like the B970 or C870. These devices have built-in Wi-Fi functionality and interact with the Chamberlain MyQ app (for Android and iOS). With a quick check, you can see if you left your garage open and then opened or closed it remotely.
Chamberlain even integrates with IFTT, Google Assistant, and Amazon Key, though such integration requires a $1/month subscription. At the time of this writing, the company is offering the promotion for a limited time, when these integrations are temporarily available for free, no credit card required. Google Assistant can only close your garage door so that no one shouts open through the window. This is a shame considering many smart locks allow you to open voice commands with a pin.
If you have a MyQ-branded Wi-Fi Chamberlain garage door opener, you already have a smart garage door opener. If you just see the MyQ label, you need a hub.
Ryobi’s Modular Opener
Another option is the Ryobi Smart garage door opener. It includes a built-in Wi-Fi radio and an app so you can check the status of the door.
The modular nature of this knife makes it unique. You can purchase additional modules such as a fan, laser parking guides, an air compressor, a camera and more. The modules easily connect to the garage door opener and you can replace them as needed. If you already have Ryobi high capacity batteries for the company’s tools, you can use them for backup power in case of a power failure.
The main drawback of the Ryobi garage door opener is the lack of integration with Amazon and Google; You must use the app to check if you have left the door open and open it.
How to make your existing knife smart
Your current garage door opener may work great, and if so, you probably won’t want to replace it. In that case, you can turn it into a smart garage door opener instead. In some cases, you may get the same features as when you buy a new smart card. Several options even offer more options, such as smart hub integration.
If you got a chamberlain, get a chamberlain center
You may already have Chamberlain’s (or Chamberlain’s LiftMaster) garage door opener, but Wi-Fi is not enabled. In this case, you should consider Wi-Fi enabled Wi-Fi by Chamberlain. For $45, Chamberlain offers one of the least expensive options for adding smarthome capabilities to your garage door opener.
You should check your model number for Chamberlain compatibility. If you purchased it after 1993 and your security sensors are working, you can probably add a hub. And if your security sensors are not working, you should fix them immediately.
The Chamberlain Center effectively transforms your existing garage door opener into one of the smart garage door openers. You get all the same features and functionality and access to the Chamberlain app.
Even if you don’t have a Chamberlain or LiftMaster garage door opener, the garage center can work with your equipment. You can check the compatibility tool to be sure — select «other brand» when prompted.
Installing Garage Hub is easy. You mount a battery operated door tilt sensor directly to the garage door and point to the garage door opener. Connect the main Wi-Fi bridge to your app and then mount the bridge to the ceiling near the garage door opener and power supply.
You don’t need to connect any cables from the bridge to your existing garage door opener as it uses the same radio signals as your existing buttons.
For other models use Garadget
If you don’t have a Chamberlain garage door opener and want more functionality than the Garage Hub provides, then the $79 Wi-Fi-enabled Garadget is a good choice.
Garajet aims a laser at a reflective area on the garage door to determine if it is open or not. If the laser hits the lot and bounces back, Garajet knows you closed the door; if the laser does not return to normal, the door must be opened.
The device mimics the button to open the main door in your garage. You connect Garadget to the same terminals that the button uses and it sends out a signal to open and close the door. It also works with many smarthome services and hubs including SmartThings, Vera, Home Seer, OpenHab and Alexa.
If you have a Chamberlain garage door opener, you can still use Garadget, but it may require additional steps to install. If your equipment has a yellow learning button, then your Chamberlain is communicating with a proprietary signal that the Garagjet cannot imitate.
As a workaround, you can solder a spare remote to Garadget so it can «press» the remote’s button. The company knows that not everyone likes soldering, which is why they also sell pre-soldered remotes.
We originally planned to recommend Nexx Garage, Garageio 2 and Gogogate 2 smart garage door openers. All three are well rated and recommended by other publications such as Wirecutter. But at present, all three have something in common: they are not available everywhere.
Unfortunately, SmartHome technology is still a growing area and not everyone is surviving. When a company winds down, your smart home can break down, and there’s little you can do about it other than replacing parts. Guardian access acquired Garageio 2 early last year and is currently accepting pre-orders for the smart controller. The company does not yet promise a shipping date, so we do not recommend recommending it.
If you want the safest, least expensive, and easiest to install option, Chamberlain is your best bet. It’s one of the biggest garage door manufacturers, and despite the end of support for SmartHome technology, the company isn’t likely to go anywhere.