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How to Make Any Garage Door Smart

There comes a time when everything needs an upgrade, including your garage door. If you are ready to take this often overlooked area of your home into the 21st century, there’s no question that you need a smart garage door. These devices allow for enhanced smart functionality and convenience. Never fumble with another garage door controller again by following our short step-by-step guide, but how does one pull this off?

You can make any garage door smart by retrofitting your existing unit with an adapter. This device will allow your opener to communicate with other devices over your Wi-Fi network. They are usually easy to install and easy to set up.

Similar to adding smart features to ceiling fans as we explored in our other guide, adding smart functions to your garage door means more than just the most basic task like opening and closing; it can offer much more. Your garage door is essentially a door to your home so that you can use it in a variety of ways. It’s not just about keeping your car safe, moreover, integration with other smart home systems is possible which will extend the features of your garage door even more. If you’re curious about how to make your garage smart, you need to keep reading.

Options for Retrofitting a Smart Home Connection to Your Garage Door

Automatic garage door opener

If you are in the market to retrofit your existing garage door, you’ve got a few options. While the market for smart garage door openers isn’t huge, plenty of quality devices exist. Keep in mind that some will require a few more installation steps than others. Another consideration is what kind of smart home system you use if you use one at all. Not every adapter is compatible with every system.

If you use Zigbee or Z-Wave, you should be on the lookout for adapters that can support them. Additionally, if you don’t have a smart home system, you can connect to your phone through smart home applications which are usually fairly accessible. Now, let’s explore some options when it comes to smart garage adapters:

  • Chamberlain myQ (on Amazon)—This product comes from a trusted name in garage door openers. The best part is that it has a truly wireless installation, no wiring necessary. 
  • Garadget (on Amazon)—A great alternative to the myQ, the Garadget can work with most garage door opener brands. This solution does require a bit of wiring know-how.

One thing that is crucial to understand about these devices is that they aren’t compatible with all garage door openers. In fact, one reason you might opt for the Garadget instead of the myQ is if it’s not compatible. These manufacturers will have an up-to-date list of all the garage door openers that will work with their products.

Finally, the newer your garage door opener, the more likely it won’t be compatible. This is due to the newer functions that modern garage door openers have. They sometimes use advanced functions that make them incompatible. This brings us to the next question, that being if it’s even worth it to bring your older garage door up to date with more modern practices in smart home technology.

Is it Worth It to Retrofit Your Garage Door with a Smarthome Connection?

While we think adding smart functions is all about opening the garage door, you can do a lot more. Let’s explore some of the awesome things you can do with a smart garage door opener. Benefits of a smart garage door:

  • Security—having a smart sensor on your garage door adds to your home’s overall security. If the door is opened when not authorized, you will get an alert on your phone.
  • Convenience—If you like going on runs, bike rides, or just walks around the neighborhood, you know how annoying it can be carrying your garage door fob. Well, with smart functions, all you need is your phone to get into your home!
  • Scheduled events—If you know someone is coming over when you are away, you can schedule your garage door to be open for them.
  • Never leave your door open—Have you ever had the feeling you left your garage door open? If you have smart functionality, you can check and close your garage door if necessary.
  • Temperature regulation—You can lose a lot of heat or cool air through an open garage door. You can add temperature sensors to ensure your door is always closed when the weather gets extreme.

These are just a few fantastic functions of a smart garage door. Another thing to consider is all the smart device compatibility. If you have an Alexa or Google Home device, you can integrate your garage door into voice commands and other smart functions. This will depend on which device you choose, though. Not all adapters offer this kind of compatibility. Some of this technology needs to be researched a little bit more not only for the sake of compatibility but also the price.

What’s the Cost of Adding Smart Home Compatibility to Your Garage Door?

mobile phone and door garage remote control

Cost is always a significant factor when considering smart home devices. I’m sure you are aware of how expensive it can be to replace all your lights with smart lights. But, garage door openers are a bit different. First, you only need one. Most of the time, these devices come packaged with all you need to get everything set up. Additionally, there are no upkeep costs. Once it is installed, no further maintenance is necessary.

Another thing to consider is the cost of replacing your unit completely. There are plenty of garage door manufacturers out there that have jumped on the smart device trend. They have come up with some clever and functional items. The Chamberlain Group B550 (on Amazon) is a wonderful example of such a device. But check out the price tag, several hundred dollars. In contrast, you can retrofit your existing system for around $70, depending on which adapter you choose. 

Things to Consider Before Making Your Garage Door Smart

Before you go and start purchasing a smart home adapter, there are some things to consider. Taking an assessment of what the adapter will need, compatibility, and location can help things work when installed. 

Wi-Fi Signal

Smart home devices depend on your home Wi-Fi network to communicate. If your garage is in an area with a weak signal, that could cause problems. This can be the case even if you can move through the setup process. Always make sure you have a clean signal. If your signal is too weak, don’t worry, there are some options for you. A Wi-Fi extender, like this Netgear Wi-Fi Extender (on Amazon), is affordable and easy to install. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Where is your router? Often, if a router is too far away, you won’t be able to connect.
  • Look to see what bands your router operates on. If it’s 5 GHz, that may cause some issues.
  • What is the wall connecting the garage and home made of? Certain materials, like concrete, are harder to move through.

Compatibility 

Like we touched on earlier, not all brands and models will work with smart home adapters or other smart home systems like lights. Always check with the manufacturer to make sure things will operate together. Moreover, check all adapter brands. Chances are, if one does not support your opener, another might. There are other solutions to this problem as well.

If you find that there are no compatible adapters, you can always opt to replace your unit. It might be time for a replacement anyway, especially if your opener is not compatible with anything anyway. It may be simply too old, and there is no sense in keeping old technology around unless you’re a fan of vintage. Merely replacing everything is certainly a more expensive route, but it might be your only choice if you want that smart functionality.

What Smart Home System Do You Have?

Not all smart home systems are created equal, and not all devices will work with each other – that much is for certain. This is true for smart garage door openers among many other modern techno-gadgets as well. If you know you use a system like Zigbee or Z-Wave, make sure you find the appropriate solution for your system.

The good news is that this information should be pretty easy to find when shopping around. Additionally, you may not have either and still want smart functionality. If this is the case, you can try and find an adapter that will only work with Wi-Fi. These will rely on connecting through an app on your smartphone or another device.

Can You Install Smart Home Systems Yourself?

You can install smart home systems yourself. Systems like the Chamberlain myQ are straightforward to install and will take no time to set up. This system, in particular, won’t even require you to do any real work on your garage door opener. Basically, you set up the sensors and connect through the myQ app on your smartphone. Although, it’s worth mentioning that if you have to work with another system, the story might be different.

Some devices require that you connect a new sensor to the garage door opener. If this is the case, a little bit of electrical know-how will be necessary. Nothing too advanced, but since safety is paramount, you need to be careful. This means shutting off circuits and performing proper wire splices. While most people can do this, it might be a little out of your wheelhouse. If this is the case, then, by all means, contact an electrician. They will be happy to help and will be able to provide the professional service you need to get your smart garage working.