Disadvantages of Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

Disadvantages of Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

Belt Drive vs Chain Drive

What is a Belt Drive Opener?

Before we talk about the disadvantages of belt drive garage door openers, let’s discuss a little about what they are. 

Basically, a belt drive garage door opener moves the carriage using a rubber belt instead of a chain, as you do with a chain drive garage door opener. The belt is usually manufactured from steel-reinforced rubber or a polyurethane alternative. Literally, the only difference between a chain and a belt is the material. They both open your door the same way. 

The advantage to using a belt drive is the belt itself. Anyone who has ever used a chain garage door opener knows how loud it is. You get that metal screeching sound as the chain lifts the garage door. With the belt drive, you don’t have that annoying sound. The door lifts easily and quietly. 

Plus, when you use a chain garage door opener, it needs to be lubricated. But a belt drive doesn’t need any lubrication. A belt drive garage door opener will also push and pull the door much faster than a chain will. 

Now let’s talk a little about the disadvantages. The biggest issue with using a belt drive is that it’s way more expensive than your typical chain drive. Another problem is that the belt can stretch out over time and it will need to be adjusted. If the belt stretches and it loses the proper tension, you’re going to have some issues with the door opening. 

Also, this type of door opener is not designed to lift the same weight as a chain drive. For this reason, people who have an oversized garage door or a very heavy garage door should not use a belt drive. It’s way easier to use a chain drive because you don’t have to worry about the rubber snapping. 

In full honestly, I think the best reason for a belt drive garage door opener is the quiet. If you’re tired of the squealing and the squeaking that your chain makes, you probably want to switch it out for a belt. Sure, the cost is a little higher, but you can’t really put a price on convenience and comfort. It’s so much nicer to go home to pure silence rather than to the screaming of a chain. 

How Long Do Belt Drive Garage Door Openers Last?

It’s hard to say exactly how long a belt drive garage door opener is going to last. A generalization is that any garage door opener will last between 10 and 15 years, and it’s no exception for a belt. In fact, belts typically last longer than chain. This is because the friction of the chain wears it down over time. 

If you take really good care of your garage door opener, doing regular maintenance and making sure the tension is correct, the belt could last upwards of 20 years. Of course, a lot of this depends on the weight of your door is, the quality of material, and how often you’re opening and closing your door.

Another thing is that belt drive garage door openers usually have a better warranty. So even if it does break prematurely, you can always get it fixed on the cheap.

Are Belt Drive Garage Door Openers Reliable?

Belt drive garage door openers are just as reliable as chain openers. In fact, they are almost more reliable. They tend to last longer because there is no friction, they can move the door up and down faster, and they have solid warranties. 

The only difference in reliability is weight. A belt-driven opener is not reliable if you have a very heavy garage door. If the door is too cumbersome and the belt can’t handle it, you may encounter problems. If you’re worried about your garage door being too heavy, you might want to go with a chain-driven opener.

Which is Better Belt or Chain Garage Door Opener?

There is no definitive answer to this question. You need to understand how both of these devices operate. While the two styles both function the same, there are some differences in capabilities.

For example, chains are much stronger than belts. There’s no getting around it. A chain can lift heavier doors. If you have a steel carriage, you need a chain garage door opener. However, it is a little overkill with lighter door models. Another thing is that chains have the strength to lift two or three doors at the same time without any trouble. A belt would not be able to handle this.

The other factors are price and noise. Chains are cheaper than belts. Belts are more expensive because the quality of the material is better. Belts also have a longer shelf life because the trolley moves the rubber belt up and down, whereas the chain will wear out because of the friction of metal on metal. 

As for the noise, chains are the worst. Chains are super noisy and belts are super quiet. With a belt, you will never know if your garage door is being opened or not unless you’re looking right at it. With a chain, you can hear your garage door opening from across the neighbourhood. 

To conclude, we highly recommend a chain garage door opener for anyone who has a heavy door or multiple doors. However, if you have a small house with a small garage door, a chain is too much power. In that case, definitely go with a belt garage door opener. 

How Do You Maintain a Belt Drive Garage Door Opener?

Belt drive garage door openers are arguably easier to maintain than other types. Sometimes a belt will stretch or reach its limit, and at that point it needs to be replaced. If you ever hear loud grinding or squeaking noises while the garage is opening, you need to check the belt for damage. To avoid this ever happening, simply practice consistent maintenance.

First you need to lubricate the internal parts. Belt driven or not, the internal gears need to be lubricated to stop them from grinding and breaking down. But you need to use a special non-silicone lubricant because other products that contain silicone will have a violent reaction with the rubber in the belt. You also want your lubricant to be rust preventing so that you can use it on the rails. 

Other than that, you only need to test the belt every now and again to make sure the balance is correct, the tension is exactly what it’s supposed to be, and everything is still safe and sound. To make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, be sure that you have a professional install the belt drive in the first place. Learn how to adjust the belt tension, and make sure the tension is always perfect. That is the number one thing.