Picture this: you’re coming home from a stressful day at work, and you enter your driveway. The garage door opens automatically, letting you park your vehicle away from the dust, dirt, grime, and weather. There’s no need to imagine it, since automating a garage door is easy.
Here are a few steps to automate a garage door opener:
- Look at your current setup.
- Choose a smart device to use with your opener.
- Attach a smart garage opener to the existing opener.
- Unpack the sensor and attach it directly to the garage door.
- Connect the smart opener to the Wi-Fi network.
- Download the controller app to your smartphone.
Choosing to automate a garage door opener is straightforward, but if you want a more thorough guide that expands on these points, keep reading. We’ll get you moving in the right direction!
1. Look at Your Current Setup
The best smart tech setups work with the gear you already have, so take a moment to look at your current setup.
Do you have a Google Home setup, or are you more of a Nest person? Are you using Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa? The ecosystem you already have will play a significant role in what intelligent garage door opener you ultimately choose.
Purchasing an intelligent garage package is about convenience, security, safety, and easy installation. After all, if it doesn’t help you get in and out of your garage, you will not use it often. Similarly, if it isn’t secure, you’ll be worried about using smart technology regularly.
Having a long, complicated setup on your hands means you won’t be motivated to take the gear out of the box. So, always look at what’s going to work well for your particular environment.
Smart garage openers include features like geofencing, motion detection, integration with automation tools, and many more options.
Voice activation is a great feature that’s pretty common across devices. Instead of having to pull your smartphone out to gain access to the garage, you can control things with your voice. That can be very convenient when you have your hands full or if your phone falls on the floor of your car, and you can’t grab it quickly.
2. Choose a Smart Device To Use With Your Opener
There are plenty of smart garage openers that extend the functionality of your current opener. Here are the top three products to consider:
This product is so popular because it has long-range, separate smartphone access, battery backup, and fair access sharing. If you’re the type of person that gets a lot of packages, this will help control access to the garage without you having to be on-site.
It also has a battery backup to ensure that you always have the automation, even if the power goes out.
Furthermore, the in-garage delivery feature makes this a winning intelligent garage opener, as it prevents you from becoming a target for porch pirates.
If you have multiple people going in and out of the house all of the time, you should check out this product. It’s designed from the ground up for this type of thing. The system even sends notifications to let you know who accessed the garage.
While some options on the market have a subscription fee, this does not. Once you purchase it, you don’t have to subscribe to anything.
The only drawback here is that the system is designed where one controller handles one garage door. So if you have a two- or three-car garage, you’ll have to get multiple Nexx Garage controllers for this scenario.
Although there are downsides, the advantage of this product is that it’s very seamless. In other words, you can drive up or use the app.
Voice activation is also an option. This voice access means you don’t have to think of how to access the garage, as you make this another part of your ongoing routine.
The most exciting feature here is that it allows you to keep a history of who accessed the garage and the date and time they did so. If somebody forgets to close the garage after they’re finished, the Nexx will send a notification about that as well.
However, while Bluetooth is an option, it does not allow you to control the garage off-site.
This moderately-priced smart opener is designed to give you an easy way to let people into your house when you aren’t there. In particular, it helps you monitor them and close the garage back up.
What if your kids forgot their house keys? It’s a classic issue that usually forces parents to have to leave work. But with this product, you open the garage to let them in and carry on with your day.
You don’t have to try to deal with stapling up cords or hoping that you can find the batteries after they’ve gone dead. This device features a powerful laser sensor and claims to be as zero maintenance as possible.
The software integrations for the Garadget are excellent, including not just Alexa, but Google Home, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, the REST API, and more.
If you want to go even more technical, this is one of the few devices on the market with an entire command-line interface. While it isn’t recommended unless you have experience, it can let you configure more complicated setups.
For example, if you wanted to have the garage door open at a specific time every morning before work, you could set that up with ease. Or if you wished to the garage door to open as it senses you pulling up and then closes automatically once you’re inside the geofence, you could do that as well.
Make sure that you check the specific instructions before moving forward. These manufacturers have their manuals published online, making it easy to check instructions to see which setup would be best.
Are you sharing space with someone that would like to have direct access? If so, you’ll want to make sure that you show them how to use the smart garage opener.
A two- or three-car family will have different needs than just a single person with one vehicle. There still has to be secured access in and out of the garage. But the product guides have diagrams and instructions to help you get up and running, so don’t worry!
3. Attach Smart Garage Opener to Existing Opener
Once you decide on a smart device, it’s time to connect it to the existing garage opener. Most of them have their instructions, but here are some general tips.
Most people attach their smart garage opener in one of two ways. You can install a bracket that lets the smart opener sit underneath the existing opener. You can also use adhesive tape that literally “sticks” the smart device onto the existing opener.
4. Unpack the Sensor and Attach It Directly to the Garage Door
The smart device is all well and good, but you won’t get the full functionality without the sensor. Make sure that you unpack the sensor and attach it to the garage door.
A sensor has to be present to do the job of motion detection and give you a camera view of the garage door. If you leave the garage door partially open, the camera will let you know to close it.
Ensure that the sensor has a clear line of sight, and nothing should be blocking the camera. You can check this quickly later on when you connect the device to the network and then double-check everything with the controller app.
5. Connect the Smart Opener to the Wi-Fi Network
While some use Bluetooth to let you unlock the smart tech, Wi-Fi will still be the best way to get started.
Again, the device you choose will have its instructions, but the general gist is that you have to connect the device to your home network. That way, it can do its thing and also let you see what’s going on around the garage door.
A Note About Wi-Fi
It’s a good idea to check how the Wi-Fi is in your garage. Some people find weak spots in the house where the signal isn’t suitable for their smart garage setup. Check into this before you buy any new gear. If your signal is weak, you’ll have to invest in expanding the signal.
There are a few options to choose from when trying to improve your home network signal. The choice we recommend most would be to get a mesh network.
The simplest way to explain a mesh Wi-Fi network is to think of it as having multiple routers pushing your connection around the house instead of one router. Each mesh device in the home will signal to other devices, clearing those dead spots quickly.
You can check out a great explanation of mesh Wi-Fi networks from Google. It is the more premium option, but it benefits you, giving you the full speed of your home network.
Another option would be to get a Wi-Fi extender, which creates a second Wi-Fi network. This means some devices will connect to the leading network, while other devices will connect to the network created by the Wi-Fi extender. Considering this can also help clear dead spots, like getting a good signal in your garage.
The downside of the Wi-Fi extender against the mesh Wi-Fi network is that the extender doesn’t always give you the full speed of the home network. Maybe this is less of a concern for something like an intelligent tech device. However, if you’re looking to invest in your network expansion throughout the home, the mesh network is the more robust option for that purpose.
Speaking of Wi-Fi networks, this is an excellent time to change your Wi-Fi password. Since your network now has intelligent devices that control your home’s physical aspects, a security breach can have serious consequences. Someone could connect to your network and gain access to sensitive data, especially if you’re sharing files with other computers on the home LAN.
Make sure that your password doesn’t include anything easy to guess, like your pet’s name or a birthday. Your router should already have WPA2 encryption enabled, making it easy to change your password to something more substantial.
Also, remember that when you change the Wi-Fi password, all devices are automatically disconnected from the network. So if the family is busy downloading their favorite games or doing other data-intensive stuff, be sure to let them know. While it’s an inconvenience, safety must still be a priority.
This also has the benefit of removing anybody connected to your network that shouldn’t be there. You may not have any bad operators connecting to your network. However, it never hurts to take a closer look as well as change your Wi-Fi password.
6. Download the Controller App to Your Smartphone
The smart garage setup has multiple parts to it, including a controller app. The app will let you see who is accessing the garage, and it will also give you the power to open the garage without being present.
All of the popular devices on the market have apps for iOS as well as Android. You simply download the app that works with your phone. It’ll walk you through the setup, which will be straightforward if you’ve already connected the smart tech to your Wi-Fi network.
The feeling of not knowing whether the garage door is indeed closed is hard to forget. Get rid of the stress by upgrading your garage door opener with innovative technology. Once you follow the steps in this guide to automate a garage door opener, you’ll never look back.
The three devices in this guide aren’t the only ones out there, but they all bring great features to the table at a reasonable price. Take a look at these three and read the reviews. If none of them match what you’re looking for, check out the other devices on Amazon.