When replacing your garage door opener, you must choose between many models and makes on the market.
Whichever model or brand you choose, it will either be a wall-mount or ceiling-mount opener. But how do you decide between these two primary garage door opener types?
This write-up introduces you to wall mount garage door opener Vs ceiling mount openers to help you understand how they compare. This side-by-side comparison should help you see why a wall mount or overhead opener suits you better.
What is a wall-mount garage door opener?
Wall-mounted garage door openers, as the term suggests, are units installed on the side of the garage door—often the space on the left side of the entrance.
The motor unit of this kind of opener sits on the wall beside the garage door, where it directly lifts and lowers the garage door during opening and closing.
Since they sit directly on the wall, these openers require no overhead rail track. Instead, they operate the garage door by connecting it to its torsion bar.
A wall-mounted garage opener can operate any garage door type, including standard, vertical, and high lift types.
These openers are traditionally used for commercial applications but have also become popular in residential garages.
Because they do not take up the ceiling space in your garage, a wall-mount opener is ideal for garages with limited overhead space.
Pros and cons of wall-mount openers
- These openers have a space-saving design. Since they sit on the wall by the side of the garage door, jackshaft openers take up only a fraction of the space that an equivalent ceiling-mount opener would take.
- Wall-mounted openers are quieter. They operate more quietly, thanks to fewer moving parts than their overhead cousins.
- They offer better security since they do not have an emergency release cord that burglars can trigger from the outside, allowing them to access your home.
- These openers are ideal for high-lift garage door types that help open up more room for tall cabinets and other garage wall storage solutions.
- They are also suitable for garages with low headroom.
The cons of wall-mount openers
- These openers may cost more than an equivalent ceiling mount opener.
- Jackshaft openers are also more challenging to install and require a professional.
What is a ceiling-mount garage door opener?
Ceiling-mount garage door openers are units installed on the ceiling. They are the traditional options and the most common garage door opener types for residential applications.
Installing a ceiling-mount opener involves installing brackets attached to the ceiling and mounting the motorized on these brackets.
The opener’s motor unit uses an overhead rail to move the garage door up and down while opening and closing.
If you opt for this type of garage door opener, you can choose your preferred mechanism from three available options: belt, chain, and screw-drive models.
Chain drive mechanism
These openers utilize metallic chains to lift and lower the door along its tracks. Chain-drive models are the most common ceiling-mount opener types. They are incredibly strong and durable and are the most inexpensive of the three options.
However, most homeowners are switching to belt drive openers due to the excessive noise and vibration associated with the chain mechanism.
Other than being much louder than alternative overhead openers, chain drive models also tend to require more maintenance throughout their service life.
Belt drive mechanism
These openers resemble chain drive models in all aspects, except they replace the chain with a reinforced belt in their mechanism.
Belts can run much more quietly compared to chains, making these models increasingly popular among homeowners today.
The reinforced belts are also reliable in their operation, thanks to fewer moving parts along the length of each belt.
The belt in this opener mechanism can be fashioned from steel-enforced polyurethane, fiberglass, or rubber.
These are much different from both belt and chain-drive models. They utilize a threaded metal rod that lifts and lowers the garage door by gliding the door along its track.
These openers run quietly, are reliable, and are incredibly powerful. They, however, must be lubricated regularly to last.
Pros and cons of ceiling-mount openers
- Overhead openers are cost-effective. They cost less to buy, and you can install the unit and save on the installation fee.
- They are easier to install. Each unit has straightforward installation instructions that you can follow to set up your new opener without expert assistance.
- Overhead openers tend to be reliable, lifting even the heaviest garage doors year long.
- The units also come with the latest improvements today. Such improvements include battery backup, rolling codes, and smartphone integration that help improve security and streamline performance.
- Some overhead openers are louder and produce a lot of vibration while operating. This makes them unsuitable for garages located near residential areas.
Wall-mount vs. Ceiling-mount opener side by side
Wall-mount garage door openers sit on the side of the door, eliminating the need for an overhead rail. On the other hand, overhead openers are mounted on brackets attached to the ceiling. Their mechanism requires an overhead rail allowing the garage door to move up and down.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two opener types.
Overhead vs. wall-mount openers: installation
Both wall-mount and overhead garage door openers use garage door springs to operate the door. However, once the springs are in place, you can install an overhead opener yourself.
Ceiling-mount openers come with straightforward installation instructions that you can follow to get the unit up and running without the help of a professional.
In contrast, a jackshaft opener requires a garage door serviceman to install it. The system only works when the door’s torsion springs are seamlessly in tune, which you can only achieve with special tools, knowledge, and equipment.
Verdict: Overhead openers are easier to install. They win the round.
Cost of jackshaft vs. ceiling-mount openers
Wall-mount garage door opener models generally cost more money upfront than their ceiling-mount cousins.
A wall-mounted product will set you back about 25 to 50 percent more than an equivalent ceiling-mount model.
Additionally, the wall-mounted units are more challenging to install than overhead units. Since you cannot install them yourself, you will have to hire a professional garage door technician to install them for you at an added cost.
This installation fee added to the already pricier model makes wall-mount options more expensive than an equivalent overhead unit, which you can install on your own.
Verdict: overhead garage door openers are more cost-effective and less expensive overall.
Wall-mount openers are installed at the side of the garage door, typically the space on the left side of the entrance.
These openers commonly work with garage doors 7 to 8 feet wide, with about a 24-inch clearance above the door.
On the other hand, trolley-type openers are mounted on brackets attached to the ceiling. They take up the ceiling space, with rail tracks above the garage door. This is why the units are also referred to as overhead openers.
While overhead installation is the most common type, it can limit your ceiling storage options as the trolley takes up a significant amount of overhead space in the garage.
Additionally, it may not be a viable option for homeowners with low headroom over their garage doors. In such cases, your options may be limited to a jackshaft installation that utilizes the space to the side of the door.
Verdict: Both types of openers are suitable for specific scenarios; no clear winner.
Ceiling-mount garage door openers tend to wield more lifting power than their wall-mount equivalents.
An overhead unit can raise and lower even the heaviest garage door without problems. Jackshaft openers, on the other hand, typically have a weight limit. Therefore when installing a wall-mount unit, you must observe the weight limit and ensure the door does not exceed it.
Jackshaft-style garage door openers are also limited in the door dimensions they can operate. Ideally, the door should not have a height exceeding 14 feet and a width of more than 18 feet.
Overhead garage door openers can handle any garage door size. They are not limited to specific heights or widths.
Verdict: Ceiling mount openers have no weight or size limitations; they win.
One of the biggest plusses of side-mount garage door openers is their space-saving design. The units are designed to take up only a fraction of the space an equivalent overhead unit takes.
Ceiling-mount garage door openers take up a significant amount of overhead space due to the many components they require, including a long overhead rail track and brackets for attaching them to the ceiling.
Ideally, your garage requires about a 48-inch clearance to accommodate an overhead installation. If the headroom is smaller than this, you may have to consider a wall-mount opener instead.
A jackshaft opener requires only a small space for installation next to the garage door. This way, it allows you to utilize all the available overhead space for storage purposes. If you have a particularly high ceiling, you can keep large items like bicycles up there.
Wall-mount vs. overhead opener: security
Modern garage door openers come with better security features, including smartphone integration, rolling codes, and smart lights.
Both wall-mounted and ceiling-mount models now come with handy security features that help make your garage more burglar-proof.
Depending on the brand, your opener may have myQ technology that allows you to control and monitor your garage door and smart home lighting from anywhere over Wi-Fi. This technology is available with both ceiling and wall-mount models.
However, away from these technologies, jackshaft openers are built to be more burglar-proof than their overhead competitors that have emergency release cords.
Since pulling the rope disengages the opener, an intruder can take advantage of it and use that loophole to access your home. The design makes it possible to trigger release from the outside, allowing a potential intruder into your home.
Wall-mounted openers have no such cords, so potential burglars cannot manipulate them to their advantage.
Verdict: Jackshaft openers win the round.
Overhead vs. jackshaft openers: safety
Like trolley garage door openers, jackshaft models feature an effective safety reversal system that detects the presence of an object in the door’s path.
Regardless of whether the opener is mounted in the ceiling or on the side of the garage door opening, the photo eye sensor will not allow the door to close on an object in the doorway. This technology helps prevent accidents and damage to property.
Many overhead and jackshaft models also feature a light to illuminate the space and improve the safety of the user.
Verdict: Both wall-mount and ceiling-mount openers are safe.
While some overhead openers, specifically belt-drive and screw-drive models, are significantly quieter, chain-drive options tend to be much louder.
They also produce a lot of noisy vibration as they run, making them unideal for garages located near bedrooms or other living spaces.
On the other hand, wall-mount openers are generally quieter in their operation. They connect directly to the garage door’s torsion bar, moving it quietly to lift or lower the door. This design makes their operation much quieter and without noisy vibrations.
The side mount openers are also quieter because of how they run—starting slowly and catching momentum before slowing down again. This way, they do not have any jerky movements likely to produce noise.
They also have fewer moving parts. They do not have extended chains or rails tracks that could otherwise contribute some noise while coordinating motion.
All of these built-in features help make wall-mount openers quieter than overhead models.
Verdict: wall mounted openers produce less noise and vibration
Application on extra high or cathedral ceilings
If your garage has a high lift door or cathedral ceilings, a standard trolley-style opener may not cut it. Overhead openers must be mounted on brackets attached to the ceiling. This is often easier achieved with traditional ceilings.
Installing a trolley-style opener with such high ceilings requires the introduction of a triangular-shaped bracket, which may be dangerous.
When the ceiling is too high, it calls for rethinking the design—and transferring the opener to the side of the garage door is typically the best alternative. This is where a wall-mount opener comes in handy.
Verdict: Jackshaft openers are the ideal option for cathedral ceilings.
A backup battery is one of the most valuable features in most modern garage door openers. Most manufacturers now include a backup battery to provide an alternative energy source during power outages.
This feature is available with both wall-mounted and ceiling-mount opener models. Popular models with backup batteries include the LiftMaster 8500W wall mount opener and the Genie Quiet Lift Connect overhead opener.
Each backup battery should give you about 20 uses before it runs out. This should be enough in most cases.
Verdict: Both overhead and wall mount models come with battery backup.
The following vide provides an illustration on some of the benefits of wall mount garage door openers.
Wall Mount Garage Door Opener Vs Ceiling Mount- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Are wall-mounted garage door openers quieter?
Yes, wall-mount garage door openers are generally quieter than overhead openers. This is because they have fewer moving parts than screw-drive, belt-drive, and chain-drive opener models.
Belt drive openers also operate relatively quietly compared to chain drive models. However, they still have an overhead rail track and more moving parts than wall-mount options, making them louder than the latter.
Q2. Are side-mount garage door openers more expensive?
Yes, side-mount garage door openers generally cost more than their equivalent ceiling-mount openers. Additionally, they are more challenging to install, so you must hire a professional to install them for you. The installation fee can significantly drive up the overall cost.
In contrast, ceiling-mount models cost less to purchase and are easier to install. This means you can save money on them by installing a new one yourself.
Q3. Can a garage door opener be mounted on a wall?
Yes, jackshaft-type garage door openers are installed on the side wall next to the garage door. This is why they are referred to as wall-mounted openers. These opener models do not require an overhead rail track to operate the garage door. Instead, they connect to the torsion bar of the garage door, eliminating the need for additional components such as a rail.
Wall Mount Garage Door Opener Vs Ceiling Mount—which should you choose?
When shopping for a new garage door opener, you must choose between a wall-mount or ceiling-mount model.
Unless you know the comparative advantages of one model over the other, you can be spoilt for choice. Luckily, you have this article to guide you in the process.
So, use a wall-mount opener if you have a high lift garage door design or cathedral ceilings. You can also use this type of opener if your garage has low headroom, leaving little space for an overhead installation.
On the other hand, consider a standard overhead garage door opener if your garage has a standard ceiling with enough headroom to accommodate the motor unit with its overhead assembly.
You may also go for a ceiling mount opener if you have an overweight or oversize garage door that a jackshaft opener would struggle to operate.