You’re probably quite familiar with how garage door openers work. But do you happen to know about the different types of garage door openers? We will discuss a trolley bar system and a jackshaft garage door opener.

A ceiling-mounted electronic opener uses a system of chains or belts and an overhead track to raise and lower the door. Called a trolley bar system, these are common to most residential homes.

However, the trolley bar system is one of many options for homeowners. A jackshaft garage door opener, once only standard on commercial doors, is being used more and more often in residential applications. Some homeowners have unique situations that require a jackshaft opener. A wood beam may cover the area where a conventional opener is. Others prefer a jackshaft opener as an excellent luxury item to own.

So, why might you install a jackshaft opener? Ultimately, it comes down to your home’s architecture, your desire for security and automation, and your need for storage space.

What Is a Jackshaft Garage Door Opener?

The most significant difference in this system is where the motorized component is located. Instead of hanging from the ceiling, a jackshaft opener is mounted on the wall next to the garage door. It turns the torsion bar, using the springs to raise and lower the door along the tracks.

Advantages of a Jackshaft Garage Door Opener

Homestyle changes are the most significant reason jackshaft openers have recently gained popularity. It’s difficult, if possible, to install a ceiling-mounted opener in a garage with cathedral or sloped ceilings. In these cases, a wall-mounted garage door opener comes in very handy. Since the opener doesn’t occupy the ceiling, you can regain the space above the garage door for storage. In smaller homes, this is often a critical consideration. While most jackshaft systems provide similar horsepower to a trolley-style system, some can open garage doors up to 14 feet in height or with a total area of 180 square feet.

Homeowners also like jackshaft openers because they’re quieter and offer more security features. Some systems, like the Liftmaster 8500, utilize a deadbolt lock to secure your garage door after it closes. Plus, the release cord doesn’t hang from the ceiling, making it more difficult for thieves to access your home. Like a trolley system, a jackshaft system also utilizes auto reverse sensors to prevent the door from closing when vehicles (or people!) are in its path.

jackshaft garage door opener

The jackshaft garage door opener is also easy to pair with technology. Many have programming and automation capabilities that far exceed standard openers. For example, you can program the Liftmaster 8500 to close at a set time each day from the touchpad, or you can connect it to a device via an app that provides even more control over the door, including open and close alerts.

Disadvantages of a Jackshaft System

These systems have merits, but there are downsides. First, they’re more expensive than a traditional system. The product costs 25 to 50 percent more, and you need help installing it yourself. Jackshaft systems only work when the torsion springs are ideally in tune. That means you’ll need a garage door company to handle your unit’s installation and ongoing maintenance.

The system also has practical requirements. To install it, you must have an electric outlet within six feet of the opener, along with at least 7 inches of clearance on the side of the door and 3 inches above the torsion rod. Given how it operates, a jackshaft garage door opener can’t be used with single-panel garage doors. It only works¬†with sectional (or roll-up) styles.

There are cases when a jackshaft garage door opener is the right option, but they’re certainly only practical for some homes. Please get in touch with us today; we’ll be glad to help you determine if this type of system is right for your home.