The Cadillac of Garage Door Openers

Beyond repair, I needed something new.

Sponsored by Chamberlain

My garage door opener finally gave up the ghost. It survived almost 30 years and three teenage boys…amazing! After a small ceremony and saying a few words, I took a trip to The Home Depot to buy a new one. Since my last Chamberlain opener was so trustworthy, buying another was a no-brainer.

There were many to choose from, but I went with the 1-1/4 HPS Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener (model HD950WF). I’ve always been a “bigger is better” kind of guy, and 1-1/4 hp is definitely bigger. I don’t know for sure if a bigger motor will make the opener last longer, but at the very least I can tease my neighbors about their wimpy ones.

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Chamberlain claimed the unit featured “Ultra-Quiet Operation,” and they weren’t kidding. It really is twice as quiet as my last one. I think one thing that helps keep down the noise is that the motor starts and finishes slowly, which eliminates a lot of rattle. The noise from my last unit did allow me to catch my teenagers trying to sneak out of the house more than once, but now that the boys are on their own, quiet is good.

This unit also has a battery backup feature. At first I didn’t know why a backup would be necessary—in case of a power outage, all I’d need to do is pull the release cord and open the door manually. But then I recalled that I solely rely on getting into my house through the garage door. In fact, since I purchased my last car, I didn’t even transfer my house keys to my car key ring—that was three years ago! I’m not sure I even know where my house keys are. So without a battery backup, if the power goes out when I’m away from home, I’d have to call my wife and admit that I’m an idiot…again. The battery won’t open the door dozens of times, but I would only need it to open once.

What I like most about my new opener is the MyQ feature. MyQ allows the opener to be operated remotely with a smartphone. The unit talks wirelessly to my home network, so I didn’t have to install any extra sensors or run any extra wiring. It took about five minutes to download the app and make the connection with my phone.

I already connected all my boys, so now my wife and I don’t have to be home when they come over to steal our food or borrow my tools. On second thought, that may not have been the smartest plan. On the upside, though, when they do leave my door open by accident, I can close it from work or wherever. The MyQ app can even alert us every time the door is opened and closed, a feature my wife uses just for the peace of mind, or to keep tabs on me, I’m not sure which.

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No fancy tools were required for the installation, and the manual was clear with plenty of pictures (I like pictures). You’ll need two ladders to finish the project: one 6- or 8-ft. stepladder to rest the drive motor on, and another high enough to reach where the rail connects to the wall. I had the opener up and running in about 4-1/2 hours, which included dismantling the old one.

At $268, the HD950WF wasn’t the cheapest model, but if it lasts at least as long as my old one, I’ll end up spending about 2-1/2¢ a day! I’m not sure how Chamberlain stays in business when its openers last so long, but I’m not complaining.

— Mark Petersen, Associate Editor

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