You’re probably quite familiar with how garage door openers work. But, do you 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 raise and lower the door. Called a trolley bar system, these are common to most residential homes.

But the trolley bar system isn’t the only option for homeowners. A jackshaft garage door opener, once only common on commercial doors, is being used more and more often in residential applications. Some homeowners have unique situations that require a jackshaft opener. Perhaps a wood beam covers the area where a conventional opener would be. Others prefer a jackshaft opener as a cool luxury item to own.

So, what are the reasons you might install a jackshaft opener? Ultimately, it comes down to the architecture of your home, your desire for security and automation, and your need for storage space.

What Is a Jackshaft Garage Door Opener?

With this system, the biggest difference you’ll notice 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 works by turning the torsion bar, thus using the springs to raise and lower the door along the tracks.

Advantages of a Jackshaft Garage Door Opener

Changes in home styles is perhaps the biggest reason jackshaft openers have gained popularity recently. It’s difficult, if not impossible, 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 isn’t taking up space on the ceiling, you can regain the space above the garage door for storage. In smaller homes, this is often an extremely important consideration. And while most jackshaft systems provide similar horsepower to a trolley style system, some are able to 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 touch pad, 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. Not only does the actual product 25 to 50 percent more, but you probably can’t install it yourself. Jackshaft systems only work when the torsion springs are perfectly in tune. That means you’ll need a garage door company to handle the installation and ongoing maintenance of your unit.

The system also has practical requirements. 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 so the unit can be installed. And given the way it operates, a jackshaft garage door opener can’t be used with single panel garage doors. They only work with sectional (or roll up) styles.

There are clearly cases when a jackshaft garage door opener is the right option. But they’re certainly not practical for every home. Contact us today, and we be glad to help you determine if this type of system is the right garage door opener for your home.