My smart garage door opener is a revelation. Using my phone I can open and close my garage door from anywhere, and at any time. Maybe I wouldn’t be as impressed if my former garage system didn’t falter every other time I tried to use it the last two years, but it’s still one of the best smart home devices I never knew I needed.
Although I’ve introduced a collection of clever smart devices into my DIY smart home, including an Alexa-enabled faucet and genius home control center, none have made more of an obvious everyday upgrade than the new garage. And it wasn’t even a part of my original plan to turn my parents’ 1980s condo into an abode the Jetsons would envy.
You see, the condo is maintained by an HOA, or designated organizers who ensure all the homes in our community show aesthetic unity. While I’m free to install a smart lock or a video doorbell for package detection, any major street-facing adjustments must be made on all homes at once. My specific HOA usually opts for one project per year — last spring they plastered a fresh coat of paint on every condo, this year they replaced the garage doors.
When I heard we’d be getting a new garage door system, I finally considered one of the best smart garage door openers. The Chamberlain myQ, also one of the best cheap smart home devices, promised good value, compatibility with most motorized garage systems and simple installation. Still, I decided to wait until the HOA set up the new system before buying, and I’m glad I did.
Let’s just say my HOA proved it cares about the increasing popularity of smart home devices. The system they selected, the Genie Integrated Garage Door Opener, comes with Wi-Fi connectivity built-in. You can pair it to an app, most smart home platforms and, yes, even a smart home controller like my wall-mounted Brilliant panel.
Smart garage door openers: What to know before buying
While using a retrofit smart garage door opener — or one that works as an add-on to a normal garage door — is more affordable in the moment, and more “DIY,” you might want to consider a complete smart garage door system instead. I’m not saying go out and replace your perfectly working garage door, but you have options, especially if you want a smart garage door installed by professionals. The Chamberlain myQ is $19 at Amazon, while the complete Genie Connect system is $220 at Amazon (though that won’t include the cost of installation.)
An add-on smart garage door opener and a smart garage door system are two different paths to a connected garage door. The first anyone can do themselves (I almost did), whereas the second is a consolidated solution that requires little more on your end than downloading a companion app.
From the app, I can see the current status of my garage door, opened or closed. It also sends me notifications when it’s being opened or closed, which gives me some peace of mind while I’m away. Also knowing how to use Alexa, I’ve paired my voice assistant to my garage, so I can ask Alexa to shut the garage when my hands are filled with groceries.
When it comes to convenience, security and connectivity, a smart garage door opener stands for everything a smart home should be. Though I wish mine was smart enough to show me how to get rid of all the junk inside mine. Huh, maybe it’s time for a garage sale?
This article originally ran on tomsguide.com.