Everything is smart these days. Your phone. Your your refrigerator. Even light bulbs. But does your garage door opener need to be smart too? And if you have Amazon Alexa, is there an advantage to connecting your garage door to it?
Let’s answer these questions. Beginning with….
Why Would I Want a Smart Garage Door Opener?
If you’re like many people, you’ve programmed your car to open the garage door. The ease, comfort and convenience of pushing a button, rolling into your garage and banishing the cold to the other side of the door is a gift from heaven.
This being so, of all the devices that you could make smart, the garage door is probably the last one on your list. After all, there are electronic devices throughout your home that could benefit from getting a little smarter.
But are there valid reasons to make your garage door smart? We think so. Here’s why:
This is our number one reason for recommending a smart garage door opener. Have you ever left the house, gotten onto the interstate and asked yourself, “Did I close the garage door?” If you have, you know the dilemma: Do I turn around and verify the garage door is down? If I do and the garage door is closed, I just wasted time, gas and might even be late for work.
Assuming you don’t turn around and you DID leave the garage door open, will the TV still be on the wall when you return? Neither option is a good one.
With a smart garage door opener, your stress levels will go down tremendously. No more trips back to the house just to learn you’ve been overly concerned. And no surprises if you did leave the garage door open.
Imagine the situation: There’s a package you’ve been dying to receive. You get an update that there’s been a delay in the shipping. Now the package will arrive when you’re on vacation clear across the country. You don’t want it left outside for fear of it being stolen.
With a smart garage door opener (coupled with a security camera), you can open the garage door, have the package left in the garage and secure your package all while sipping your tropical drink of choice on the beach.
If you have children and the school decides to let them out earlier than usual, there’s no need to rush home from wherever you are. Simply open the garage door, let them in and secure the garage door behind them.
Another use case is having guests arrive from out of town. Instead of them sitting at the curb waiting for your arrival, they can go right into the garage and get comfortable until you get home.
Can I Use My Existing Garage Door Hardware With a Smart Garage Door Opener?
The answer to this question is, probably. If you have a newer garage door opener, it’s very likely that your motor is ready to function with a smart garage door opener. The best thing way to confirm is to check your serial number with the manufacturer to be sure.
Beyond that, there really isn’t any special hardware required to use a smart garage door opener. So it probably won’t be necessary to purchase new hardware.
One thing you will want to be sure of is if your motor will work with wifi, bluetooth or both. This is important. We discuss this in more detail below.
Can I Use a Smart Garage Door Opener With Android and Apple iOS?
The short answer is Yes. Being able to use your smartphone is actually the key to making the garage door opener smart.
You might think being able to use your smart garage door opener with your smartphone is good enough. And that might be just fine for your needs. But there’s more to most apps controlling your garage door than opening and closing.
For example, the Nexx smart garage door opener has features including notifications that the garage door is open, authorize specific people to use the opener and a log of door activity (a.k.a. who opened the door and when). And my favorite feature: automatically opening the garage door when you’re in proximity. No more pushing that button in the ceiling of your car!
The Chamberlain MyQ is Nexx’s closest competition. You get all the same things as Nexx plus you can schedule it to close your garage door at a specific time (Nexx also does this). MyQ goes a step further and allows you to control the garage door with a smartwatch.
Which Smart Garage Door Opener Is Better: Wifi or Bluetooth?
You might think that there’s no real difference between a wifi smart garage door opener and a bluetooth smart garage door opener. After all, they’re both wireless, right? And to some extent that is true. But there are major differences.
Fact: both work wirelessly. But bluetooth has a limited range. With each iteration of bluetooth, however, the range gets wider. But at some point, if you leave the house, you are guaranteed to be out of range.
Wifi, on the other hand, works over the internet. That means as long as your phone has access to the internet – either through wifi or cellular data – you’ll be good. Therefore, no matter where you are on the planet, you can control your garage door.
What’s the correct answer? Is wifi better than bluetooth? If you are frequently outside the house, wifi is probably the better option. If you are home most of the day, then perhaps the bluetooth option may be a good choice. Just remember, if you choose bluetooth, you won’t be able to control your garage door while on vacation or at the store.
What Advantages Come From Using Alexa with a Smart Garage Door Opener?
If you have an Alexa device, you know how convenient it can be. Assuming you have an Amazon FireTV Stick or Echo Show, you can simply ask Alexa to show you the front door. Then – POOF! – it’s on the screen. Even if you have an Echo device without a display, you can turn on and off lights and just about anything else if you have a smart plug.
That being true, is there an advantage of using an Alexa device with a smart garage door opener?
As we showed in the previous section, you can use your smartphone to control your garage door from anywhere on earth. The catch? You have to pick up your phone to do it.
Consider the scenario: You’re in bed. A family member forgot their key. Assuming you have an Alexa device, all you need to say is: “Alexa, open garage door.” It’s that simple. No phone. And virtually no effort at all. And if you’re like most people who have Alexa enabled devices, you own a few. So no matter where you are in your home, you can open your garage door.
Why Use Alexa To Open Your Garage Door When You Already Have Your Phone?
Some reading this might say: “How would you know that you need to open the garage in the first place? You’d probably get a call or text asking for the person to be let in. You could just use the phone since it’s already in your hand.”
And you’d be correct. You could absolutely just use the phone. But that’s the beauty of it. You have choices. Remember when the iPad was first announced? Critics said it was a solution in search of a problem. No one says that anymore.
The same is true of using a home AI. Even now, you can make and receive calls from your Alexa enabled devices. As the technology improves, these devices could completely replace your home phone (if you haven’t already dropped it in favor of your smartphone). Hence in the very near future, you may do all your non-physical communication by means of a smart device.
Do I Need a Professional To Install a Smart Garage Door Opener?
As we stated earlier in the article, if you have a garage door opener that is compatible, installation is fairly easy. Which is easiest? We recommend checking these smart garage door openers out. Make sure to read the Amazon reviews to see which device is right for you.
Installation isn’t very difficult. Do you need a professional? We think not. But if instructions aren’t your thing, it might be better to let someone else install it. However, if you’re getting a replacement motor, the installer can do it while he adds your new motor. Talk to him nicely, and he might not even add anything to the price.
Smart garage door openers are super convenient. You can control them from anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the internet and a smartphone. If you have an Alexa enabled device, a smart garage door opener starts becoming even more appealing.
Which controller is right for you? Review our list, read the reviews on the product in the review section, then take the plunge. And never wonder if you left that garage door open again.
Leave a comment down below and let us know what you think about smart garage door openers, especially those equipped with Alexa support.