Belt vs. Chain Garage Door Opener

Alongside style, size, and material, you should also consider how you want your door to be opened: by chain or belt. These two garage door opening mechanisms provide their unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to your garage door, so let’s determine which option is best for you.


What’s the Difference?

First, we need to establish the difference between a belt and a chain garage door opener. A chain garage door opener is exactly what you’d think. It’s a mechanically driven chain that transfers power from one location to the other. The metal chain can lift the garage door up and down with the help of the tension springs.

A belt garage door uses a rubber belt and pulley system to open a garage door. The pulley system consists of two pulleys. One pulley powers the belt, then the belt powers the other pulley. Due to the difference in materials, they provide different levels of strength, noise, maintenance, and cost.


Your garage door is the largest opening to your home, so you want to ensure it’s secured with a strong, durable door. If you’ve got a heavy door, you need something strong enough to lift your door open and close safely. The chain garage door is recommended for this situation. A chain garage door is going to be more likely to open a heavier, two-car garage door than a belt opener. We’re really talking about metal vs. rubber in this section, and which one has the strength to handle the weight of the door safely. Unless you have some seriously heavy-duty rubber, metal will win out every time.


Just because metal chains are stronger, that doesn’t mean it is the best option in every situation. If you’re looking for the convenience of remote access or even just smooth operation, you’re looking for a belt garage door. Wi-Fi capabilities are also more widely available on belt opener systems rather than rugged chain opening systems.

In addition, a belt garage door can open and close with ease since it has a smoother operation compared to a chain system. There is a slight bounce in a chain garage door opener that many homeowners barely notice, yet that small bounce leaves room for belt garage door openers to “open faster”.

The only hiccup here with a belt garage door system is sometimes they are temperamental. Sometimes when there is bad weather, a belt garage door may malfunction, leaving your garage door stuck open or close.


With a metal chain comes more maintenance. Since the chain is made of steel, it will need to be away from excess moisture and dirt. It will also need to be lubricated regularly. Exposing the chain to the elements can result in it becoming rusty and inoperable. Since a belt garage door opener is made of rubber you don’t need to worry about regular lubrication or rust prevention. Maintenance is quite simple when it comes to a belt garage door.


While you’ll have more consistent performance and more durability from a chain garage door opener, you will also get more noise. It’s not a thundering sound. But it’s something to keep in mind if you have an attached garage or if you have an early commute compared to the rest of your family. Due to its rubber material, a belt garage door is much quieter, so it wins out in this category.


Probably the biggest factor in your decision. While a belt garage door opener may sound great up to this point when it comes to convenience, maintenance, and noise… it all comes at a price. That’s right, despite being made of rubber, a belt garage door opener is going to cost more upfront than a chain garage door. A chain garage door opener will most likely be cheaper and will be easier to find replacement parts at a low cost.

Find What's Best for You

Both drives can offer a lot for your garage door. At the end of the day, it depends on what you’re going to value most. If you need help deciding or need more information, call the local garage door experts at Precision Door. Take a look as well at the garage door openers that we offer, both chain and belt options are available.