May 26, 2020
The best smart garage door controllers for 2020

The best smart garage door controllers for 2020


If you park in your home’s garage, then you know the feeling. You leave home, make it halfway down the street and wonder if you remembered to close the garage door. But what if you could just check an app on your smartphone and see if the door is open or closed? And if not, use your smartphone (and app) as a garage door controller?

We’ve seen plenty of smart cameras, locks and doorbells for our front doors, but what about smart devices for the door many of us use the most? Turns out, there are more than a few good, easy options for your garage. Let’s take a look at the best smart garage door opener to fit your needs. 

Garage smarts 101

If you already own a motorized garage door opener, even one with a belt drive opener or a chain drive, you can use one of the easy add-on accessories below to open and close the garage door. If you’re in the market for a whole new opener mechanism, you can find smart options from makers such as Chamberlain, LiftMaster and Ryobi. 

Smart garage door controllers come in a few variations. In general, a control attaches to your existing opener with a double-sided adhesive strip. In most cases, you’ll need to attach two small wires to the open and close command nodes on your existing garage door opener. Smart garage kits also usually include some type of sensor to attach to your garage door. This sensor detects and transmits the position of your garage door, so the control accurately knows whether the door is open, closed or somewhere in between. And, of course, the ability to connect to a Wi Fi network is key to ensuring your new smart garage door and remote control work the way you want them to.

Read more: These smart plugs are the secret to a seamless smart home 

On the smart side, an add-on controller connects to your Wi Fi network, which is easy enough. You’ll need a strong 2.4GHz internet connection that reaches your garage. Typically, a corresponding app will walk you through adding your device to the network, as well as the general installation.

App features and smarts differ from brand to brand. One app may offer geofencing, scheduling, remote access and voice control, while another app may just make your smartphone a duplicate of your garage door controller. Deciding which control is the best smart garage door opener for you comes down to what control features you want most and what smart home platforms you use in your home (such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit). No matter your requirements, there’s likely a smart garage door opener and app out there to meet your needs. 

Chamberlain

Chamberlain’s MyQ Smart Garage Hub is a $20 system to add smarts to a wide variety of garage door openers. With MyQ installed, you can check your garage door’s status and open or close the door remotely from the MyQ app on your iOS or Android smartphone. Chamberlain’s MyQ system is easy to install, with no wires to attach to your existing door opener. It does require bolting a bracket onto your ceiling rather than the more common adhesive tape approach used by other manufacturers. 

MyQ works with a variety of smart home products such as Nest, Wink and Xfinity Home to control and automate multiple smart home devices from one platform. Chamberlain isn’t compatible with SmartThings or Amazon Alexa, but there is Google Assistant and IFTTT compatibility. Chamberlain offers HomeKit users compatibility no other manufacturer in our testing did, though it does require the MyQ Home Bridge adapter. Chamberlain’s MyQ system comes with the quality of a trusted garage brand and should be on the top of your list for well-made garage smarts. 

Read our full review of the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub.

Read more: Liftmaster garage door opener locks things down 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The $89 Garadget adds voice control and remote access to your existing garage door. The Garadget’s sensor system is made up of a reflective tag placed on the top panel of a garage door and a laser built into the Garadget device itself. When the laser hits the reflective tag, Garadget knows your garage door is closed. Easy, right? Like many a garage controller we tested, the Garadget does require some wiring to make the door controller work.

The Garadget has its own Amazon Alexa skill, and IFTTT integration means you can create custom commands for Google Assistant. The Garadget app for smartphone (iOS and Android) doesn’t include scheduling, but if you’re just looking for simple commands and mobile app garage remote access, the Garadget will get the job done for a reasonable price.

Read our full review of the Garadget.

Read more: The best smart home gifts of 2020: Amazon Echo Dot, Google Nest Hub and more 

Chris Monroe/CNET

By far one of the more eye-catching and interesting garage devices we’ve tested, the Garager 2 is a two-in-one camera and easy door control. This $150 surveillance camera attaches to the bottom of your garage door opener via a magnet and controls your garage door from the Alcidae app for smartphone (Android and iOS). The camera includes 1080p color and night vision video and two-way audio, though clip storage does require a $5-per-month subscription. 

The control works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, via your wi-fi connection, for commands to open and close your garage. An upgrade over the previous model adds a magnetic base to stabilize the camera feed when you open or close the garage. If you’d really like to be able to add video monitoring and be able to watch and talk to your garage space, this device is for you. You can also get notifications and control it remotely or via voice assistants, Garager works well.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Nexx Garage is a $60 smart garage controller that adds skills to your normal garage door open and close with ease. You’ll get voice commands, remote access and auto opening through the Nexx Garage app for smartphone (iOS and Android) without involving IFTTT applets. Though Nexx Garage isn’t as widely integratable as Chamberlain’s MyQ system, there aren’t any fees for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice compatibility. 

The Nexx Garage’s biggest negative is the sensors you’ll need to detect the door’s status. Two sensors attach to your garage door and the wall above it and must be placed within 1/4-inch of each other for best results. The top sensor in this pair is wired, and adding more wires to any room is something I don’t prefer. The Nexx Garage is great for anyone wanting simple, fuss-free smarts and compatibility with the voice-activated assistants Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Read our full review of the Nexx Garage.

Read more: The best dashcams in 2020 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Garageio was one of the earliest garage-smartening devices we tested. It mounts to the side of your garage door opener using adhesive strips, and it wires into your opener’s open and close command nodes. The system includes a wired sensor and an activator, mounted near each other on the side of your garage door and door frame. As with the Nexx Garage, you’ll need to run the wired sensor cable back to the Garageio device to connect everything.

Garageio works with Amazon Alexa and offers IFTTT applets for customizable smarts. The Garageio app for smartphone (iOS and Android) provides remote access, multiple users and alerts when doors are left open. Integration with Amazon Echo isn’t quite intuitive enough, and the $129 price feels pretty steep. You can get more for your money with Nexx Garage or Chamberlain’s MyQ system. 

Read our full review of the Garageio.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Tailwind iQ3 is a reliable way to add Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice control smarts to your garage. It also stands out for security, since it requires more than just your smartphone to enable auto opening or closing. The wired setup makes it reliable, and at $50 for a standard kit and $60 for one with a vehicle sensor, it’s a good value. 

You won’t get HomeKit compatibility with the Tailwind iQ3, and anyone using an iPhone will have to purchase the vehicle sensor package. Still, you can control up to three doors with one controller, and the Tailwind iQ3 checks all the boxes for basic garage door smarts.

Read our full review of the Tailwind iQ3.

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Originally published 2018 and updated reguarly.



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