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Screw vs Chain vs Belt Drive Openers - The Advantages of Each for Garage Doors

By Blog Admin on 30 Nov 2015 In Belt Drive Garage Door Opener, Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, Screw Drive Garage Door Opener, Garage Door Openers

Automatic openers make it a cinch to open and close heavy garage doors effortlessly. Three types of drives are available, each with its own set of advantages. No one type is the best -- that's why Overhead Door offers all three types. Your choice will probably depend on personal preference, but all three will provide years of excellent service when properly maintained.

Screw Drive


Odyssey 1200 Screw-Drive Garage Door Opener Odyssey 1200 Screw-Drive


A screw drive opener uses a steel threaded rod upon which a trolley rides. The rod is turned by an electric motor that moves the trolley and the attached door. The attraction of this opener type is its simplicity. For the DIY'er, a screw-drive opener is the easiest to maintain and has the fewest moving parts. Screw drives are somewhat temperature sensitive and may require more-frequent maintenance in applications that experience dramatic seasonal temperature changes. Screw drives are noisier than belt-drives and are the most expensive type of opener.

The two Overhead Door screw-drive openers are:

  • Destiny 1500: 1.25 hp direct drive for fast and reliable operation. Works on one-piece doors up to 8 feet high and sectional doors up to 14 feet high. Optional rails are available for doors higher than 7 feet. Opening speed of 12 inches per second.
  • Odyssey 1200: 1 hp direct drive, handles 14-ft sectional doors and 8-ft one-piece doors. Opening speed of 10 ips.

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Chain Drive

The ‘Classic’ garage door opener is the Chain Drive unit. Here a roller chain, much like what is found on a bicycle is used. It is arranged to pull a ‘trolley’ back and forth in a track; the door is connected to the trolley by the draw-bar. This type of operator can be the least expensive, although the chain drive is still found on the most heavy-duty operators due to its strength.  The downside to a chain drive is noise, so these are especially appropriate for detached garages. You might consider a noisy door a plus, since it emits an audible warning when moving. Newer models are much quieter thanks to DC motors and soft start and stop.

The four Overhead Door chain-drive openers are:

  • Destiny 1200 Chain: 1 hp motor
  • Odyssey 1000 Chain: 0.75 hp motor
  • Legacy 850 Chain: 0.50 hp for doors up to 500 lbs.
  • Standard 650 Chain: 0.35 hp for doors up to 350 lbs.

Belt Drive

Belt drive is the luxury choice for those who insist on quiet operation and sleek design. These openers have the same mechanism as that used on chain drives except for the substitution of a quieter belt for the chain. The low-vibration belt is made from polyurethane, steel-reinforced rubber or fiberglass. Belt drives are the quietest openers and cost a little more than chain drives.

The four Overhead Door belt-drive openers are:

  • Destiny 1200 Belt
  • Odyssey 1000 Belt
  • Legacy 850 Belt
  • Standard 650 Belt

Overhead Door Features


Destiny 1200 Belt-Drive Garage Door Opener Destiny 1200 Belt-Drive


Most Overhead Door openers provide advanced features, including:

  • Auto-seek frequency range of either 315 or 390 MHz to help avoid nearby frequency interference.
  • DoorDetect monitoring and diagnostic technology continuously watches over the door's operation for any abnormal conditions and cuts power immediately if a problem is detected. This not only increases safety, but also reduces wear and noise.
  • Code Dodger access-security system selects a new code from among billions of possibilities every time the door is used to prevent code theft.
  • Safe-T-Beam infrared system detects objects passing through the beam and immediately reverses a closing door. Self-diagnostic functions warn of damage or misalignment.
  • Two-bulb lighting with motion detection provides two 100W bulbs that are motion-activated for additional security and convenience
  • Quiet, powerful operation thanks to DC motors
  • Limited lifetime warranties

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There are no bad choices when it comes to an Overhead Door screw-, chain- or belt-drive. Each model is designed to provide decades of worry-free operation. Speak to your local Overhead Door representative to find out more about the entire line of automatic door openers on offer.

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