For many homeowners, the front door is for receiving packages and politely declining pitches from solicitors. The real point of action, where the majority of coming and going takes place, is the garage door.
So why are smart locks and doorbell cameras for our front doors so popular while smart garage door technology often goes overlooked? Smart upgrades to your garage are just as useful as anywhere else in the home and may even be more practical, considering how often the garage door is our primary entryway. Smart garage door openers come with many of the same features as other smart home devices, like remote locking and unlocking (or opening and closing) and monitoring via an app.
For those who are already familiar with smart locks, smart doorbells and smart cameras, it should come as little surprise that there are more than a few good, easy options on the market now for transforming your existing garage door opener into a garage door opener with a smart controller. Here are three of the best CNET has found in its tests.
Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub
CNET TAKE: 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.
CNET TAKE: 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. 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.
CNET TAKE: The 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. 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.
The following CNET staff contributed to this story: former CNET staff editor Molly Price and Copy Editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.