A garage door opener is a huge investment that requires careful planning when buying one. You don’t want to buy an opener with more power than you need, as it will waste your money on unnecessary horsepower.
In contrast, going too low on horsepower can mean additional wear and tear on the opener’s motor, premature aging, and the added cost of repairs and replacement. This is just as wasteful.
So, getting the right garage door opener size is essential. Start by asking the right questions; for instance, What Size Garage Door Opener Do I Need For a 16 Foot Door?
Read along to find out more.
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What size garage door opener do I need for a 16-foot door?
A 16-foot garage door works best with a ¾ horsepower garage door opener. This opener operates with more efficiency and minimal stress on the motor than a ½ horsepower garage door opener. Even though a ½ horsepower opener can lift and lower a standard 16-foot door, it is smaller and works with some strain on the motor.
With more horsepower, the garage door opener operates a two-car door with less effort and more efficiency. As a result, its motor experiences less wear and tear. This can save you money in the long run.
In the case of a standard 16-foot door, you want to steer clear of the ½ horsepower garage door models. They are best for single doors measuring approximately nine by 7 feet. However, they can also work for a lightweight sectional dual-car garage door 16 feet wide and 7 feet tall.
How to choose the right size garage door opener for a 16-foot door
The garage door opener market is teeming with different makes and models with comparing features. Therefore, knowing what to look for when selecting a garage door opener can simplify your work significantly.
This section looks at the specific features to consider when deciding on a garage door opener for your home or business.
Consider the size and weight of the garage door
When dealing with a two-car garage door, the size is a primary consideration, but you want to pay attention to the weight simultaneously. This will give you a clearer picture of the opener to go for.
For instance, we have mentioned that ½ horsepower opener models can operate lightweight sectional garage doors, but not standard weight dual-car garage doors. In this case, notice that both doors have the same dimensions – measuring 16 by 7 feet – but differ in weight.
So, once you have the size dimensions, consider the weight to determine whether a ½ horsepower model will operate the door. If it is a standard weight 16-foot door, you are better off with a ¾ horsepower garage door opener instead.
The idea is to match the garage door weight with the horsepower. The more the weight, the higher the lifting power you need for the opener.
What standard one-car garage door sizes are there?
Standard sizes for one-car garage doors vary. In most residential localities, the standard one-car garage door size is 8 to 9 feet by 7 to 8 feet. This means the door can be 8 feet wide and 7 feet tall, or 9 feet wide and 8 feet tall, depending on where you live.
Nonetheless, the larger 9- to 10-foot doors are becoming more popular for one-car garages in many homes.
What are the available two-car garage door sizes?
Most homes have dual-car garage doors measuring 16 by 7 feet. This means the doors have a 16-foot width and 7-foot height, able to accommodate two cars simultaneously.
In most cases, the standard two-car garage door will also feature a pair of garage door bays measuring 8 feet in their design. The 8-foot bays then typically have a central column separating them.
Even though this design is not mandatory, it is relatively common as many homeowners prefer it for their two-car garages.
Limitations of a two-car garage door with a central column
Having a central column separating the two 8-foot bays for your garage door means installing two single doors instead of one double door. This option may not increase the installation cost, but you will have to install two separate garage door openers for every single door.
This is how a pair of 8-foot garage door bays can be less cost-effective than a double garage door. However, the latter requires only one opener, which should be cheaper.
Consider the garage door material
The material used to make a garage door will typically influence its weight. And a weightier garage door typically requires a larger, higher-power opener model. This could mean a heavier material will cost more to operate since you have to go for more horsepower.
The common materials for garage doors include aluminum, steel, vinyl, and wood. Standard aluminum and steel doors are generally lightweight. Wooden garage doors tend to be the heaviest.
Vinyl is typically used to make the garage door itself. Instead, it is used as an insulation material on metallic, steel doors. Since vinyl carries its own weight, it can significantly increase the overall weight of the steel door.
This explains why insulated doors are generally heavy. So, if your garage door is insulated, you may have to pay a little more and invest in a larger garage door opener.
A garage door can also have a glass window or two. Regardless of the door material, the glass will typically drive up the weight, making such doors pretty heavy due to the added weight of the glass and window panels.
Ideally, windows or insulation are not requirements on a garage door. You can only include them as a personal choice. And while making that decision, keep in mind the cost they add to the original garage door price and the opener.
Since they increase the garage door weight, they necessitate more horsepower on the opener, which comes at a cost.
Consider the garage door thickness
Standard garage door thicknesses vary from one material to another—aluminum and steel are typically thinner than insulated or wooden options. You want to pay attention to the thicknesses of the residential garage door since it determines the door’s weight.
Consequently, a thicker garage door will require a bigger opener with more horsepower than a thinner alternative. The additional weight requires some more lifting power to operate.
Standard metallic garage door panels can measure as little as 1/8 inches thick. They are the most cost-effective, require minimum lifting power, and cause little wear and tear on the garage door opener.
Steel garage doors with foam insulation added on the inside can measure anywhere from ¼ to ½ inches thick.
If the garage door has the insulation material sandwiched between two metallic panels, it can measure anywhere from 1 to 1 ½ inch thick. These types of insulated garage doors are also the heaviest and may require a lot more lifting power on the opener.
You can always move away from these standard garage door measurements and have your own custom garage door designed to your specifications. You can customize the height, width, or even the material.
Often, many homeowners will customize the garage door height to about 10 feet or taller. Such extra heights are often meant to accommodate taller vehicles. If you have a larger vehicle, you can also customize the garage door to accommodate that extra width by having a wider than a standard door.
Homeowners with high-roof trucks and recreational vehicles typically go for custom garage doors instead of standard ones. As a crucial measure, always consider more horsepower when you have a custom garage door at home.
Types of Garage Door Openers
The garage door openers use a chain that connects the trolley and the motor. They are less expensive and are perfect when operating heavy garage doors. Besides, chain drive openers are easy to maintain, only requiring regular oiling of the chains.
However, the opener types are characterized by noise which forms one of their leading drawbacks. You would want to avoid them, especially when your garage is next to your bedroom.
The opener types use rubber belts to connect the trolley and the motor. The belts run along the rail and wrap around the gear systems at the top of the opener. The belt drives use the trolley to move rubber belts up and down whenever you open or close the garage door. Unlike the chain drives, the belt drives move smoothly with less noise. However, they are a bit pricey relative to chain drives.
Check out our Review on Chain vs. Belt Drive Garage Door Openers
This is yet another essential type of garage door opener you will fancy having in your garage. In this system, a threaded steel bar moves the door in place of the belt or chain. You will appreciate the efficiency and convenience of using this system, especially when your door is made in one piece. For the paneled doors, consider either belt or chain systems.
Check out our Review of the best screw Drive garage Door Openers
The system involves the motor gliding along a stationary chain, permitting the doors to open. The operation is smooth and quiet; hence, you will not have any issue having your garage near your bedroom.
Keypad Garage door Openers
The opener type requires you to enter a personal code by dialing the keypads outside your garage. The opener will open your garage door once you have entered the correct set code on the keypad. However, the garage door remains closed if you miss the code, hence a useful security feature. The keypads are mounted next to the door outside the garage.
Check out our Review on the best keypad garage door openers to buy for your garage
A video showing how to choose the right size for garage door opener for different garage door sizes
Measuring garage door sizes—step by step
Determining garage door sizes require measuring more than just the door’s dimensions. The measurement should capture the room for your opener, and the door is fully open and closed positions.
Here is a detailed guide on measuring the garage door size.
Step 1: Measure and note down the rough opening.
Start by measuring the height and width of the garage door opening using a tape measure. Note down these measurements somewhere in inches. This gives you the approximated size of the garage door you should install, also called the rough opening.
Step 2: Measure and note down the side room.
The side room is the space that remains on the right and left of the garage door opening. Usually, the space on each side of the garage door can be anything between 3 ¾ inches and 5 ½ inches.
This is the space where you install torsion springs and a few other system hardware. Some garage door openers are also typically installed in this space.
Step 3: Measure and note down the headroom.
As the name implies, the headroom is the overhead pace or the distance between the top of the garage door opening (garage door head jamb) and the garage ceiling. This space is required to be approximately 10 to 12 inches long.
Step 4: Measure and note down the backroom.
The backroom is the distance between the garage door opening and the rear wall. Engineering standards require a backroom depth equivalent to 18 inches plus the garage door height.
Most garage door openers feature an overhead installation that utilizes the backroom space. With this installation, you may usually need additional backroom space, so you may want to include some additional four feet and two inches for the backroom.
Residential garage door opener sizes
Standard residential garage door openers range from ½ horsepower models to 1 ½ horsepower models.
One-car garages made of traditional steel or aluminum materials can also use a 1/3 horsepower opener model, the smallest available size for residential garage doors. It is the least powerful garage door opener unsuitable for most modern garage doors with heavier materials or embellishments.
These basic opener models also tend to have a shorter service life, making them less cost-effective than their more powerful cousins. This explains why it is not the most preferred or common option for many homes.
½ horsepower opener
The ½ horsepower opener is the popular choice for one-car garage doors. Some homeowners also use it for the lighter aluminum or steel two-car garage doors. However, it offers a shorter service life for dual-car garage doors than single-car doors.
Aside from standard one-car garage doors, this opener model works well with most sectional two-car doors made of steel or aluminum. Usually, these sectional doors are 16-foot wide and 7 feet tall. They are typically lightweight enough to use the low lifting power of a ½ horsepower model without issues.
The ½ horsepower opener will be relatively durable whether you use it for a standard one-car garage door or lightweight sectional two-car door.
However, the lifespan will be much reduced if you use the ½ horsepower opener on a standard two-car garage door. The added wear and tear will mean premature aging and the need for replacement.
¾ horsepower garage door opener
The ¾ horsepower garage door opener is ideal for a heavy one-car garage door typically made of wood or a standard two-car garage door. They are popular for homes with sectional dual-car garage door units with substantial weights.
If you have an insulated or wooden 16-foot (two-car) garage door, it will likely be too heavy for a ½ horsepower opener. So you want to consider a ¾ horsepower model that packs a bit more power for such heavy lifting. The latter is equipped with a better motor to operate these doors with less effort and prolonged service life.
The ¾ horsepower garage door opener also tends to operate faster than the ½ horsepower model. It is a high-efficiency opener with more bells and whistles that translate to better operation and less strain on the motor.
Because of their efficiency, the ¾ horsepower opener will also be the ideal choice for a 16-foot garage door that is frequently in use. They can handle the frequent usage without wearing away much.
Check out our Reviews on the best 3/4 HP Garage door Openers
1-1 ½ horsepower openers
These are openers with lots of lifting power suited for commercial-grade garage doors. Still, homeowners with oversized garage doors can always use them for residential applications.
Like the ¾ horsepower models, the 1-1 ½ horsepower openers often pack numerous high-tech features that go a long way in enhancing their efficiency. The added high-end features also mean the openers are relatively more expensive upfront.
If you have an insulated or wooden 16-foot garage door, you could consider one of these high-power openers for your garage door. Of course, the ¾ horsepower opener should be just sufficient for the heavy or oversized garage door openers, so going up to 1-1 ½ horsepower is a personal choice.
You are likely to get a better bang for your buck with a ¾ horsepower motor since it is cheaper yet often powerful enough for any residential garage door. Buying a 1 or 1 ½ horsepower model may be akin to spending more money on additional horsepower you do not need.
What size garage door opener do I need for a 16-foot door? –FAQs
How do I tell if the garage door is properly balanced?
The torsion spring on a garage door needs to be set properly for the door to be considered balanced. The torsion spring counterbalances the weight of your garage door.
To determine if it is set correctly, start by closing the garage door and disconnecting the electronic opener if you have one installed. Then, open the door manually until it is halfway, approximately 3.5 to 4 feet from the ground.
Next, observe how the door behaves once you let go of it. The garage door is properly balanced if it remains in that same position. However, if it is unbalanced, it will fall to the ground or shoot up to the open position—time to get it fixed.
How much does a 16-foot garage door weigh?
A standard 16-foot garage door made of aluminum or steel weighs about 200 pounds. If the 16-foot garage door is one-sided with no windows or insulation, it could weigh as little as 150 pounds.
Insulation or windows can drive up this weight significantly. The door will be equally heavy if it is made of wood. Such a door can weigh as much as 350 pounds or more.
How much horsepower do I need for a 16-foot garage door?
A standard 16-foot garage door requires a ¾ horsepower opener (700-newton motor). As you choose the opener, you want to factor in the motor’s projected life. For example, the motor on a ¾ horsepower opener can last as long as 15 years.
How much horsepower do I need for a 2-car garage door?
A 2 car garage door requires at least a 3/4 HP garage door opener. A 3/4 HP opener will guarantee not much pressure exerted on the motor, working with less strain and more efficiency. Besides, if you are operating garages with carriage doors, consider garage door openers of 1HP or higher to realize work efficiency and convenience.
How much can a 1/2 hp garage door opener lift?
If your garage door opener is rated 1/2HP, be sure it can lift 300 pounds. This represents the average weight of a 2-car steel door. If you are considering over 400 pounds, then the most appropriate HP for your garage door opener would be 1. Choosing the right HP for your garage will save you money for motor replacements as the strain caused by too much weight can damage the motor. Besides, when you have less weight relative to the motor, it will be underutilized despite the high energy consumption, which is also a drawback to the garage owner in terms of spending.
Can a garage door opener be too powerful?
You risk setting a high force with a powerful garage door opener that could subject your garage door to an object and get damaged. A too powerful garage door opener can cause more harm than good to your garage door. Even though a faster motor is ideal for garage door openers, especially since it does not wear down faster, you risk damaging the garage door if it is not of the right horsepower relative to your motor. It is paramount that you consider the HP of your garage door opener with the garage door’s weight for efficient and smooth functioning.
How much weight can a 3/4 HP motor lift?
A 3/4 HP motor can lift over 370 pounds. On the other hand, if you are using a 1/2HP motor, ensure you operate about 185 pounds in your garage. This way, you are sure to protect your garage door opener motors from unprecedented damages.
How heavy should my garage door be?
The appropriate weight for a balanced garage door should range between 10 and 15 pounds. This is a weight you can effectively lift with one hand without strain. If your garage door is within these weights and is not moving normally, underlaying factors could prevent the door from lifting easily
If you want to service a standard two-car garage door with a suitable opener, one question you cannot avoid asking is, what size garage door opener do I need for a 16-foot doo?
We hope this article helped answer your question regarding the suitable garage door opener for your 16-foot garage door. Please leave a comment in the comments section below if you have any addition or observations.