Best smart garage door controllers for 2021: Chamberlain MyQ, Tailwind and more
If you park in your home’s garage, you know the feeling. Get out the door, make it halfway down the street only to wonder if you closed the garage door. What if you could just open an app and see your door and even use that app to close it? What if you could ask the voice assistant on your phone to do it for you?
Smart cameras, smart locks and, for people who like to see who’s coming and going, the smart doorbell. Turns out, there are more than a few good, easy options for your existing garage door opener.
Garage smarts 101
If you already own a motorized garage door opener, even one with a belt drive opener or a chain drive, you can use one of the easy add-on accessories below to open and close the garage door. If you’re in the market for a whole new opener mechanism, you can find smart opener options from makers such as Chamberlain, LiftMaster and Ryobi.
Smart garage door controllers come in a few variations. In general, a control attaches to your existing opener with a double-sided adhesive strip. In most cases, you’ll need to attach two small wires to the open and close command nodes on your existing garage door opener.
Smart garage kits also usually include some type of sensor to attach to your garage door. This sensor detects and transmits your garage door status, so the control accurately knows whether the door is open, closed or somewhere in between, and with the garage door opener app, can send you a push notification if your garage is open when it shouldn’t be. It also typically serves as a safety sensor.
The ability to connect to a Wi-Fi signal is key to ensuring your new smart garage door and remote control work the way you want them to. On the smart side, an add-on controller connects to your Wi-Fi network, which is easy enough. You’ll need a strong 2.4GHz internet connection that reaches your garage. Typically, a corresponding app will walk you through adding your device to the network, as well as the general installation.
Garage door opener app features and smarts differ from brand to brand. One app may offer geofencing, scheduling, remote access and voice control, while another app may just make your smartphone a duplicate of your garage door controller.
Deciding which control is the best smart garage door opener for you comes down to what control features you want most and what smart home platforms you use in your home (such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit). No matter your requirements, there’s likely a smart garage door opener and app out there to meet your needs. We update this list periodically.
Chamberlain’s MyQ Smart Garage Hub is a system to add smarts to a wide variety of garage door openers. With MyQ installed, you can check your garage door’s status and open or close the door remotely from the MyQ app on your iOS or Android smartphone. Chamberlain’s MyQ system is easy to install, with no wires to attach to your existing door opener. It does require bolting a bracket onto your ceiling rather than the more common adhesive tape approach used by other manufacturers.
MyQ works with a variety of smart home products such as Nest, Wink, Vivint and Xfinity Home to control and automate multiple smart home devices from one platform. Chamberlain isn’t compatible with SmartThings or Amazon Alexa, but there is Google Assistant and IFTTT compatibility. Chamberlain offers HomeKit users compatibility no other manufacturer in our testing did, though it does require the MyQ Home Bridge adapter. Chamberlain’s MyQ system comes with the quality of a trusted garage brand and should be on the top of your list for well-made garage smarts.
Read our full review of the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub.
The Tailwind iQ3 is reliable thanks to a wired setup, and auto opening and closing worked well in our testing. The iQ3 can control up to three garage doors and works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for $80. You won’t get HomeKit compatibility, and installing wires can be a bit of a hassle.
Overall, this garage door controller checks all the boxes for basic smarts and convenient automation if you don’t need HomeKit compatibility. Tailwind iQ3 is currently sold out, but the company is taking preorders for early next year.
The $89 Garadget adds voice control and remote access to your existing garage door. The Garadget’s sensor system is made up of a reflective tag placed on the top panel of a garage door and a laser built into the Garadget device itself. When the laser hits the reflective tag, Garadget knows your garage door is closed. Easy, right? Like many a garage controller we tested, the Garadget does require some wiring to make the door controller work.
The Garadget has its own Amazon Alexa skill, and IFTTT integration means you can create custom commands for Google Assistant. The Garadget app for smartphone (iOS and Android) doesn’t include scheduling, but if you’re just looking for simple commands and mobile app garage remote access, the Garadget will get the job done for a reasonable price.
By far one of the more eye-catching and interesting garage devices we’ve tested, the Garager 2 is a two-in-one camera and easy door control. This $150 surveillance camera attaches to the bottom of your garage door opener via a magnet and controls your garage door from the Alcidae app for smartphone (Android and iOS). The camera includes 1080p color and night vision video and two-way audio, though clip storage does require a $5-per-month subscription.
The control works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, via your wi-fi connection, for commands to open and close your garage. An upgrade over the previous model adds a magnetic base to stabilize the camera feed when you open or close the garage. If you’d really like to be able to add video monitoring and be able to watch and talk to your garage space, this device is for you. You can also get notifications and control it remotely or via voice assistants, Garager works well.
The Nexx Garage is a smart garage controller that adds skills to your normal garage door open and close with ease. You’ll get voice commands, remote access and auto opening through the Nexx Garage app for smartphone (iOS and Android) without involving IFTTT applets. Though Nexx Garage isn’t as widely integratable as Chamberlain’s MyQ system, there aren’t any fees for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice compatibility.
The Nexx Garage’s biggest negative is the sensors you’ll need to detect the door’s status. Two sensors attach to your garage door and the wall above it and must be placed within 1/4-inch of each other for best results. The top sensor in this pair is wired, and adding more wires to any room is something I don’t prefer. The Nexx Garage is great for anyone wanting simple, fuss-free smarts and compatibility with the voice-activated assistants Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.