Have you ever left your home or gone to bed only to wonder if you closed the garage door? Turning around or getting out of bed isn’t 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 anxiety. Instead of wondering if you remembered to close your garage, you can check from an app or ask a voice assistant, like Google Assistant or Alexa. Combined with a camera, you can even see who’s coming and going, which can be especially useful if you’re a parent. You can even schedule a daily close time at the end of the day, so you don’t have to be concerned if you forgot.
Don’t worry—you won’t always have to pull out your phone to open or close your garage door. These devices come with traditional remotes for your car and keypads for outside your garage, too—the smart features are just a bonus option.
For a smart garage door opener to work well, you need a stable Wi-Fi signal in your garage. And you might have to either replace or add hardware.
The Expensive Option: Replace Your Garage Opener
If you have a particularly old garage door opener, it might be time to replace it. If that’s the case, you can save yourself some effort and choose one that’s either smart out of the box or that you can make intelligent with a bridge.
Chamberlain: Well Known, Well Regarded
Chamberlain is probably the most popular consumer-grade garage door opener manufacturer. The company offers “whisper-quiet” openers with plenty of sensors, battery backup, buttons for your cars, keypads, and so on. It also gives openers smart capabilities, like the B970 or the C870. These units have built-in Wi-Fi capability and communicate with the Chamberlain MyQ app (for Android and iOS). With a quick check, you can see if you left the garage open and then open or close it remotely.
Chamberlain even integrates with IFTT, Google Assistant, and Amazon Key, although those integrations do require a $1 a month subscription. At the time of writing, the company was offering a limited-time promotion where those integrations are temporarily available for free, no credit card required. Google Assistant can only close your garage door, to prevent someone yelling the open command through a window. This is a shame, considering many smart locks enable open voice commands with a pin.
If you have a Chamberlain garage door opener with MyQ and Wi-Fi markings on it, you already have a smart garage door opener. If you just see MyQ markings, 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.
This opener’s modular nature makes it unique. You can purchase add-on modules, like a fan, laser parking guides, an air compressor, a camera, and more. The modules easily connect to the garage door opener, and you can swap them out as needed. If you already own Ryobi high-capacity rechargeable batteries for the company’s tools, you can use it for a battery backup during power failures.
The main downside to the Ryobi garage door opener is its lack of Amazon and Google integration; you have to use the app to check if you left the door open and to open it.
How to Make Your Existing Opener Smart
Your current garage door opener might work perfectly fine and, if so, you probably don’t want to replace it. In that case, you might be able to convert it to a smart garage door opener instead. In some cases, you can get the same features you would if you purchased a new smart one. A few options even offer more capabilities, like smart hub integration.
If You Have a Chamberlain, Get Chamberlain’s Hub
You might already have a Chamberlain (or LiftMaster, which is owned by Chamberlain) garage door opener, but it just isn’t Wi-Fi enabled. In that case, you should consider Chamberlain’s Wi-Fi enabled Garage Hub. At $45, Chamberlain offers one of the least expensive options for adding smarthome capabilities to your garage door opener.
You should check your model number against Chamberlain’s compatibility tool. As long as you purchased it after 1993 and your safety sensors work, you can probably add the Hub. And if your safety sensors don’t work, you should get those fixed right away.
Chamberlain’s Hub effectively turns your existing garage door opener into one of the company’s smart garage door openers. You get all the same features and capabilities and access to Chamberlain’s app.
Even if you don’t have a Chamberlain or LiftMaster garage door opener, the Garage Hub might work with your equipment. You can check the compatibility tool to be certain—choose “other brand” when prompted.
Installing the Garage Hub is simple. You mount a battery-powered door tilt sensor directly to the garage door and pointed toward the garage door opener. Pair the main Wi-Fi bridge with your app, and then mount the bridge to the ceiling near your garage door opener and power source.
You don’t have to connect any cables from the bridge to your existing garage door opener, as it uses the same radio signals as the 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, the $79 Wi-Fi enabled Garadget is a good choice.
Garadget aims a laser at a reflective patch on your garage door to determine if it’s open or not. If the laser hits the patch and bounces back, Garadget knows you closed your door; if the laser doesn’t bounce back, the door must be open.
The device mimics the main door opener button in your garage. You wire Garadget into the same terminals that button uses, and it sends a signal to open and close the door. It also pairs 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 installing it might require extra steps. If your equipment has a yellow learning button, then your Chamberlain communicates using a proprietary signal that Garagdget can’t mimic.
As a workaround, you can solder a spare remote to Garadget so it can “press” the remote’s button. The company knows not everyone is comfortable with soldering, so it also sells pre-soldered remotes.
Out of Stock
We originally planned to recommend the Nexx Garage, Garageio 2, and Gogogate 2 smart garage door openers. All three are well regarded and highly recommended by other publications, like Wirecutter. But currently, all three have something in common: they’re out of stock everywhere.
Unfortunately, smarthome technology is still a growing field, and not everything survives. When a company folds, your smarthome might break, and there’s little you can do about it beyond replacing the pieces. Guardian access acquired the Garageio 2 company early last year and is currently taking pre-orders for the smart controller. The company isn’t promising a ship date yet, so we’re holding off on recommending it.
If you want the safest, least expensive, and easiest to install option, Chamberlain is your best bet. It’s one of the largest garage door manufacturers and—short of discontinuing support for smarthome technology—it’s unlikely the company is going anywhere.