Chain Drive Vs Belt Drive Openers

If you are looking to install an automatic garage door opener or need to have your existing one replaced, you may be wondering what options are available, and which type of opener is superior. This is a common question we get from homeowners looking for a new opener. Here we will discuss the main types of garage door openers so you can learn a bit about them to aid in your decision. There are 2 main types of openers, chain drive and belt drive. Both types of openers can be excellent options depending on your needs.

So, what are the main differences between the two? To start, as the names suggest, a chain drive opener uses a chain that runs along a rail and is fitted around a sprocket which allows the trolley to move to raise and lower the garage door. Belt drive openers work in the same way except they use a rubber belt.

Maintenance and Durability

Chain drive openers do require more regular maintenance than belt drives. Since they operate using a chain, there is more metal on metal movement and the chain should be lubricated at least a couple of times per year. Over time the chain may also need to be occasionally adjusted as it can eventually develop some slack. When this happens, the door may not be able to fully raise. Belt drive openers do not require lubrication, they are basically maintenance free. Both types of openers have a lengthy lifespan. With proper care and depending on usage they can last approximately up to 20 years.


If you currently have a chain drive opener, you know that they can be quite noisy.  Belt drive openers are nearly silent which can be a deciding factor if you are particularly concerned about noise. Belt drive openers are the best option for the least noise disturbance, especially if your garage shares a wall or ceiling with a bedroom or home office and you need to minimize disruption to your family. If you are not especially concerned about noise disturbances or have a detached garage, a chain drive opener can be a perfectly acceptable choice.


Chain drive openers traditionally were used more frequently as they had more lifting power than belt drive openers, however, belt drives have become just as powerful. Unless you have an extremely heavy door, a belt drive opener should be as capable as a chain drive for just about any type of residential garage door.


If cost is your main priority, a chain drive opener is for you. They are less expensive, but many homeowners are now choosing belt drives since the added upfront expense is worth it to many for the reduced maintenance and noise reduction.

Whichever type of opener you decide to choose, you can be assured that both are good options. The decision mainly depends on your personal preference and priorities. If you require further information or need a recommendation, ONC Doors is here to provide. We are a company strongly based on honesty and transparency and are always available to chat about your garage door opener options and requirements.