Garage Door Opener Horsepower

What is the Recommended Garage Door Opener Horsepower?

There are many types of residential garage door openers on the market. There are many different options to consider when buying a new garage door opener. Such things as the brand of opener, the drive type you want or need, and the accessories that come with the opener.

There are many things to consider, and choosing garage door opener horsepower that will work for your garage door is important. There is no point in buying an opener with lots of bells and whistles or one that is on sale if it doesn’t work for your particular situation. And your door is not the same as everyone else’s.

The Most Important Thing To Know- Manually Test Your Garage Door 

Your garage door needs to be properly balanced and working smoothly. This is by far more important than the horsepower of the motor. If your door is not balanced, the opener will not run smoothly, will wear out parts faster, and not last nearly as long as it should.

To manually test your door:

  1. Pull the opener manual disconnect if you already have an opener
  2. Lift the door by hand till it is halfway open. If it stays open halfway it is generally considered to be balanced
  3. Test to see if it is very hard to pull the door of the ground or to push it down when it is open. This will be important as this will indicate how hard the opener will have to “work.”

Does a garage door opener lift the garage door? 

Well, not really.

 One common misconception is that the opener lifts the door weight. It is true that the opener pulls or pushes the door into motion, but it is not designed to lift the weight. The spring system is designed to lift the weight of the door. The opener is only designed to start the door into motion and guide it to its open and closed limits. 

There should be very little pulling or pushing required of the opener. The less the offset weight, while either pulling or pushing, the smoother, quieter, and longer lasting the garage door opener will be.

Why Garage Door Horsepower Is Important

Although the opener is not designed to lift the garage door, it is designed to start the door into motion. This is usually when the horsepower is most important. A larger door with lots of windows for example, although properly balanced, can require more HP on startup. 

This is largely due to the fact that there is more weight to get into motion. Once the door is in motion, the opener should have little to no effort at all, moving the door up or down.

So a double wide insulated garage door with windows is going to take more HP than a single door non-insulated door with no windows.

General Guidelines

⅓ horsepower Door Opener

A one third hp opener is good for smaller doors that are made of light material. An example of a door for this horsepower would be an 8X7 non-insulated door. This type of door has little to no offset weight at all.

½ horsepower Door Opener

 This HP will run about 90% of garage doors out there. It has enough power to run single or double-wide garage doors. It also will handle a little more offset weight without burning out quickly. But again, never use higher HP to compensate for a poorly running door.

¾ Horsepower Door Opener

¾ HP openers are a good option if you use the door a lot and have a larger, heavier door. Doors like this include double wide carriage style doors with lots of heavy windows. Even when these doors are properly installed and balanced, they require more amps on startup.


The amount of horsepower required depends largely on how much offset weight your garage door has. The less amount of force to open and close the door the better. A half HP opener will run most garage doors and last a long time if the door runs smoothly.

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