There’s no doubt about it: a Wi-Fi garage door opener is one of the most convenient additions to an automated home.
But a smart garage door opener also has drawbacks.
This article on Wi-Fi garage door openers examines the pros and cons of installing a smart garage door.
- Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener Pros and Cons
- Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener Pros
- Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener Cons
Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener Pros and Cons
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to installing smart garage doors.
Here are the Wi-Fi garage door opener pros and cons.
Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener Pros
#1. Open and close your garage door remotely
One of the most significant advantages of a Wi-Fi garage door opener is the ability to open and close your garage door remotely.
Picture this: you’re at work, and you get a call from your teenage daughter to say she’s lost her house key and can’t get in.
With an old-style garage door, you’d have to go home and let her in.
But with a Wi-Fi garage door opener, you simply take out your smartphone, open the app, and press a button. The garage door opens, and your child is safe and sound. And you can get back to work.
Or imagine you’ve gone away for the weekend, and you get a call from your neighbor saying you left the garage door open. With a ‘dumb’ garage door, you’d have to drive all the way home and close the garage door.
But with a Wi-Fi garage door opener, you whip out your smartphone (wherever you are) and press a button: problem solved!
#2. Never lose your remote again
If you’re like me, you’ve probably lost your garage remote at least once.
With a Wi-Fi garage door opener, that will never happen again because your phone is your garage door remote. And you always have your phone with you, right?
But it’s not just losing your remote.
Garage door remotes can suddenly stop working. I know because I’ve replaced our garage door remotes twice already.
But when your phone is your remote, this will never happen again.
And we haven’t even talked about batteries!
If you have an old-style garage door, and the batteries in your remote go flat, it can leave you in an awkward situation.
With a Wi-Fi garage door opener, you’ll never have to replace batteries again because your phone is your garage door remote.
#3. Greater home security
People sometimes worry that a Wi-Fi garage door opener isn’t as secure as a traditional garage door. But the opposite is true.
Here are some of the ways that smart garage doors make your house more secure:
- receive alerts on your phone when your garage door has been open for more than a certain period of time
- get notifications, wherever you are, every time your garage door opens or closes
- check whether your garage door is open or closed (imagine you’re at work and you can’t remember if you closed the garage door)
#4. Keep deliveries secure
A leading security company reports that last year 49 million Americans had at least one package stolen by ‘porch pirates’.
Wi-Fi garage door openers can keep your deliveries secure. You can use services, such as Amazon Key to prevent package theft.
The ‘Key by Amazon’ app allows delivery drivers to place your packages inside your garage safely. And if you’re not comfortable with a delivery driver accessing your garage, you could go a step further and link your smart garage door opener to a security camera.
#5. Track garage door opens and closes
Most smart garage door openers give you an activity log that shows the recent history on your garage door. For example, the MyQ smart garage door opener shows you the last 100 opens and closes.
This is an added security measure you don’t get with a standard garage door. If you have a large family or if you have given temporary access to guests, it can be helpful to keep track of exactly when your garage door has been opened and closed.
And then there’s just the convenience of having a Wi-Fi garage door.
Picture this: you’re lying in bed late at night, and it suddenly occurs to you that you may have left the garage door open. With an old-style garage, you would have to get out of bed and go and check. But with a smart garage door opener, you simply reach for your smartphone, open the app, and check on the status of the garage door: the app will tell you if it is open or closed.
And while we’re on convenience, let’s not forget automatic door opening.
This is a feature that uses geofencing to automatically open your garage door when your vehicle is within a certain distance of your house. And it will close your garage door automatically as well once your car is a certain distance from the house. Smart garage door openers that offer automatic opening and closing include Tailwind iQ3, Nexx Smart Wi-Fi Controller NXG-300, and iSmartGatePro.
Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener Cons
#1. More complex installation
Wi-Fi garage door openers have more peripheral gadgets (such as door sensors and Wi-Fi controller) than a standard garage door so the installation takes longer and can be more expensive.
#2. Can be more expensive
Because smart garage door openers have more add-ons than old-style garage doors, they tend to be a few hundred dollars more expensive.
However, if you are adding a retro-fitted smart garage door opener to an existing garage door, the extra expense is minimal. For example, the myQ Chamberlain Smart Garage Control (Wireless Garage Hub and Sensor with Wi-Fi & Bluetooth) costs just $23.50 on Amazon.
#3. Can (potentially) be hacked
Any garage door opener can potentially be hacked. This applies to smart and ‘non-smart’ garage door openers.
A person with a ‘code grabber’ could get the code from any electronic garage door and then use that code to open the garage door.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds for two reasons:
- The person using the code grabber would have to be physically close by.
- Most new garage door openers use encryption, which adds a layer of security and makes it more difficult for someone to grab your code.
Also, the latest Wi-Fi garage door openers use ‘rolling codes’ rather than fixed codes. With rolling codes, the code changes every time the garage door opens or closes. That means that someone using a code grabber may get a code, but that code will no longer work.
But what about the Wi-Fi connection?
It’s true: a Wi-Fi garage door opener is connected to your Wi-Fi network and that means that someone who hacks your Wi-Fi could potentially open your garage door.
But this is unlikely to happen, especially if you have a strong password for your home Wi-Fi. You can make your home Wi-Fi even more secure by using two-factor authentication. This is another layer of security: in addition to the password, you also need to enter a code that you receive as an SMS on your smartphone.
Let’s quickly summarize the pros and cons of Wi-Fi garage door openers. It’s clear that the pros of smart garage door openers outweigh the cons.
The main advantages of Wi-Fi garage door openers are added convenience and increased security as well as the ability to open and close your garage door even when you are away from home.
The disadvantages of Wi-Fi garage door openers are very few.
There’s the extra expense compared to a standard garage door opener (but this is minimal if you use a retro-fitted smart garage door opener kit such as the one from MyQ).
And there’s the potential risk that comes from having your garage door connected to your Wi-Fi network.
But taken together, the advantages of Wi-Fi garage door openers far outweigh the disadvantages.