Are garage door openers easy to install?

When the time comes to replace your overhead door opener, many homeowners wonder,- “are garage door openers easy to install”? And the answer is – it depends. It depends on how handy you are with basic tools and whether you have any previous experience performing similar tasks. For some, garage door opener installation can be a “walk in a park,” and the job will be done within an hour, while for someone else, it can be a day-long struggle that will end in calling a local garage door company to come and do it instead.


Let’s start with the fact that not all garage door openers are made equal. For example, some openers are made with the end-user in mind, considering most homeowners don’t have rich technical skills. In contrast, other professional-grade openers don’t even have an installation manual in the box, assuming the person installing it knows his job.

The most used and trusted professional grade opener brand is Liftmaster, while the most common consumer end opener is Chamberlain. Funny enough, both are made by the same company and share most internal components. Both garage door openers are well made, tested and represent most of the market share for new garage door opener purchases.


While Chamberlain openers are readily available at almost any home improvement store, many homeowners aren’t sure about their technical skills and opt to hire someone who installs garage door openers professionally. This is the right decision if money is not an issue and all you want is peace of mind, knowing the opener won’t come down crashing on you or your vehicle. However, hiring a professional garage door company to replace your opener can be pricey, so if you’re all about savings, buy yourself a good Chamberlain garage door opener and follow the instructions. Below is a quick overview of garage door opener installation steps.

Preparation is the key.

Do your research first before you go to the nearest Homedepot and buy a garage door opener. While we strongly suggest purchasing a Chamberlain unit, see what else you have available in the nearby store. Linear or Sommer can be decent options, but remember, cheaper doesn’t mean better. The last thing you want is wasting a day on a new opener installation just to realize it’s dead out of the box when you finally plug it in. Another important aspect of choosing the suitable garage door opener for you is the features that it has. While all modern garage door openers share most safety features like sensors and auto-reverse, some have extra bells and whistles. Wi-Fi connectivity makes Chamberlain and Liftmaster openers stand out, while the magnetic lock and built-in security camera make them shine brighter than the competition. See which features you need and can be useful for you in order to choose a suitable model.

Once decided on the opener model, measure the height of your garage door. Retail stores only carry standard 7ft openers, while many homes have 8ft high garage doors or higher. If you chose a Chamberlain opener, but you have an 8ft tall garage door, there is a special extension you can purchase to convert a standard 7ft to an 8ft opener. It will cost you an additional $50-60, but that way, you won’t limit your garage door’s total travel to 7 feet. 

If your garage door is even taller, you should consider replacing your original garage door opener with a jackshaft unit. Liftmaster 8500W is an excellent option for any residential garage door up to 14 ft high. Instead of hanging it to the ceiling, you connect this opener directly to a torsion shaft. This type of opener offers multiple advantages. 

  • No opener under the ceiling means you can use that space to install extra shelves for storage.
  • You can convert your garage door to a high lift, allowing the door to open up all the way towards the ceiling.
  • Whisper-quiet operation. Jackshaft openers are known to be the best option if you have a bedroom under your garage and noise is an issue.
Wall mount opener jackshaft

Installing a new garage door opener tips.

Before removing your garage door opener, check if your new opener is compatible with some of the old parts, this can save you on installation time while leaving some extra parts for future repairs if needed. For example, if you had a Liftmaster or Chamberlain chain or belt drive opener and purchased one of the two that are also chain or belt drive, you can keep the old boom (rail) and only replace the “head” of the opener.
Reconnect the sensor wires and two wires of the wall button. The sensors are compatible, while the wall button might not work properly depending on the model, so you’ll need to replace that too. Once done, set up the limits on your new unit, and you’re all done. Now you have an extra set of garage door sensors and a new rail you can use if the original one breaks.


If your old opener was different, for example, Gennie or Overhead, the parts aren’t compatible, and you will need to reinstall all the components. However, keep the existing wires in place. Simply cut off the old sensors and hook up the new ones, same with the wall button. This will save you time on running a new set of wires for the opener. Once your old garage door opener is taken down, measure the width of the punched angle bracket that holds an opener and adjust it to the width of a new one. Assemble the rail on the floor and attach it to the head of the opener.
Put a ladder under the punched angle brackets that will hold the opener and lay the assembled opener, so the edge of the boom leans on the spring while the head of the opener sits on the ladder. Secure the opener with two bolts to the punched angle brackets and move on to attach the rail towards the wall. 

You can reuse a “hockey stick” looking bracket that connects the door to the rail from pretty much any garage door opener.
Once done, verify the sensors and the wall button are installed correctly, and the wires are hooked up. Plugin the opener and see if LED indicators on the sensors and wall station a lid. If all looks good, proceed to set up opener limits. From there, you can set up your Wi-Fi connectivity and other options by following the user’s manual provided with your new garage door opener. Enjoy your new unit, and remember, if you’re not sure whether you can handle the opener installation on your own, it is always good to find a reputable garage door company in your area to do it for you!

Here you'll find the links to the newest opener installation manuals for Liftmaster and Chamberlain Openers