A quick look at the electric garage door opener market proves one thing. Among the most popular brands, only Genie is still making screw drive openers. You know, the ones with the threaded rod that look nothing like their competitors, the chain and the belt drive openers.
Where did all the screw drive openers go? Yes, LiftMaster and other manufacturers still carry replacement parts to satisfy consumers who have invested in a screw drive garage door opener. Other than that, nothing.
They have made great leaps forward with amazing openers of the latest generation, but not a sound about screw drive openers. Let’s see why.
Let’s witness the rise and fall of screw drive garage door openers to know what’s happening in an industry we are all interested in.
The rise of screw drive garage door openers
Chain drive garage door openers were the norm, the standard driving mechanism until the screw and the belt drive options appeared on the market. Chain drive openers ruled for decades – they still do, actually.
Screw drive garage door openers gained some recognition for a good while due to their good price, their simple mechanism, the easy way to install and also, the fact that they were ideal for heavy garage doors. They also looked good – at least, nothing like the greasy chain of the chain drive openers.
Screw drive garage door motorized openers started selling big around the beginning of 2000. People found an alternative option. Plus, the opener was not as noisy as the chain. After all, there was no chain there and also, the opener moved slower. With the safety features still at their baby stage, this was a good thing. People had the time to move away if the overhead garage door started closing down. If you add to all the above the ability of screw drive openers to move really big, heavy garage doors, you can understand that they became quite popular at one point.
But most likely, not as popular as the advanced chain drive openers. Or the new belt drive garage door openers. And then came their fall.
The fall of screw drive garage door openers
The slow movement of screw drive openers was not a good thing for everyone, especially when the safety features evolved dramatically. The smooth movement was better than that of chain drive openers but not when compared with belt drive openers. Ultimately, it was noticed that the screw drive openers made some sales, but nothing compared to their chain and belt counterparts. Approximately 95% of consumers opted for chain and belt drive openers. The fall came naturally. If you don’t sell much, you don’t produce much – or perhaps, not at all.
Why consumers preferred chain & belt drive garage door openers?
Screw drive openers had several benefits, but also downsides. For example, they were not good in locations with extreme temperatures. And then, the need for screw garage door opener repair emerged rather often due to the several plastic components, the coupler included. They were supposed to be nearly maintenance-free but couldn’t work well without some annual lubrication.
All the while the disadvantages of screw drive openers were noticed, the development of even stronger, more advanced belt and chain drive openers continued. The manufacturers started putting more emphasis on the new technology, creating openers with DC motors that could support a backup battery and integrated many new features.
It wasn’t long before the openers became really smart and the dilemma of creating or not screw drive openers vanished into thin air. Genie continued to make such openers, embedding new technology too. But other than that, the market is empty. Just the memory of a product that had its 15-minutes and the existence of some models which they can still function well for a few years with some proper garage door opener maintenance.