A Wi-Fi garage door opener makes it easy for you to check the door’s status and close it right from your smartphone or tablet. We talked to the experts from the major opener manufacturers to get the scoop on how the openers work, what they cost and how they’re installed. Here’s what we learned.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine
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Wi-Fi Garage Door Openers: More than just Operating the Door
The smart device apps also alert you if the door has been open too long, opened manually (indicating a break-in), or opened by a friend or neighbor from the wireless keypad. Plus, you can program the app to close the door after a set number of minutes or on a set schedule, like bedtime.
The Latest Openers and Controllers
ATOMS No. AT1723B opener plus No. HU100 Skylink hub
Family Handyman This belt drive unit works remotely with the add-on hub. It also has a soft open/close feature that’s easier on your door hinges and track hardware. Add an optional backup battery at any time. $280 including the hub.
CHAMBERLAIN No. WD100WF
Family HandymanThis opener has built- in Wi-Fi and a door sensor and comes with a backup battery. The 1-1/4-hp similar DC motor and belt drive system help it run quieter than a chain drive unit. $270
GENIE SilentMax Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener
Family HandymanThis Genie Wi-Fi garage door opener has 3/4-hp HPc motor unit, built-in Wi-Fi and a door sensor. The belt drive provides quieter operation, and the soft start and stop feature reduces wear. $198
RYOBI Ultra-Quiet No. GD200
Family Handyman This belt drive opener comes with all the usual features plus the option to add on accessories such as laser parking beams, Bluetooth speaker, fan and a backup battery. $248
Figure A How a hub-operated opener works
Figure B How a Wi-Fi opener worksFamily Handyman
Three Ways to Remotely Control Your Garage Door Opener
Make an existing opener work with Wi-Fi
The Chamberlain MyQ Garage and Genie Aladdin Connect controller kits cost about $120. Each kit comes with one door sensor. Additional sensors cost about $35 each. The MyQ Garage controls two openers, and the Aladdin Connect controls up to three openers. Check the company’s website to make sure your opener is compatible with the Wi-Fi kit before you buy.
Family HandymanBuy a hub-operated system
The Atoms/Skylink opener and hub shown on the previous page work as a standalone, remotely controlled garage door opener or as part of a Skylink home security and home automation system. To learn how a hub-operated opener works, see Figure A.
Buy a new opener with built-in Wi-Fi
The Chamberlain, Genie and Ryobi Wi- Fi openers shown earlier in this article have a built-in door sensor, and the units communicate directly with your home’s Wi- Fi.
Improve the Wi-Fi Signal in Your Garage
Wi-Fi openers and controllers need a good Wi-Fi signal to work properly. Check the signal strength in your garage using your smart device. If you don’t get a good signal, try moving your router closer to the garage or buy a Wi-Fi extender or a more powerful router. Or buy a hub-operated opener instead of a Wi-Fi unit.
How does a Wi-Fi range extender work?
A range extender receives the Wi-Fi signal from a wireless router. The extender then amplifies the signal and rebroadcasts it. An extender ($80 to $100) can double your Wi-Fi coverage. Locate it halfway between your garage and your router. Range extenders vary in strength; higher priced models offer the longest range.