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Craftsman 1/2-hp Belt Drive Garage Door Opener 53914

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Review Summary About the Author

Craftsman Belt Drive Garage Door Opener - Quieter is better

May 14 '05 (Updated May 14 '05)

Author's Product Rating


Quiet belt drive, good safety and security features



The Bottom Line

A good door opener. Pricey, but worth it if you don't want an opener that will wake the dead.

Full Review

Our previous Genie garage door opener was a chain drive type that made a god-awful racket when opening the metal door. There's something about metal grinding on metal that makes my teeth itch. So when we moved into our new house my wife persuaded me (i.e. told me) to get a belt drive because they were supposedly quieter. Once again, the wife was right (as if I'd ever say differently) and the Craftsman belt drive garage door opener so far has been a great purchase.


Installation was a breeze. I simply handed my credit card to the Sears salesperson and told them to do it. Couldn't have been any easier. I didn't even break a sweat.

I learned from installing our microwave that I'm not very good at installing important electronic/mechanical devices. And I'm ok with that. Really.... I don't want to talk about it.


The important part of the garage door opener is the type of drive. There are 3 basic types:

1) Chain drive: basically an extended bicycle chain opens your door resulting in a sound only slightly louder than a chainsaw

2) Screw drive: A giant screw basically unscrews your door up. No matter how much lube they put on the screw, it's still metal on metal which gives my earballs blisters.

3) Belt drive: Same idea as the chain drive without the annoying chain. Instead it is replaced by a rubber belt. This is the type of drive in this garage door opener

The results of having a rubber belt instead of a chain are a major reduction in decibels. It is not silent, however, seeing as how it's a half horsepower motor hauling up a giant metal door. Once it was installed my wife sent me upstairs to measure the volume of opening and closing. It was much quieter and I could only hear the slight hum of the motor and a little grinding of the garage door wheels moving up the track. We're pretty sure our 2-year old won't be jolted awake from her naps with this drive. Instead she can be gently awakened by her older brother beaning her in her forehead with his rescue heroes. But I digress...

Out of the package, the kit includes the opener (duh), a control panel for the garage wall, 2 remotes for cars, and an outside keypad. The opener claims to have a revolving code so that it can never be hacked. But I don't believe it. I watch Alias, I know there are ways for spies to get in. But for the average burglar, it should suffice.

The outside keypad was easy to program. You simply stand on a stepstool, press a button on the opener, run to the keypad within 30 seconds and type in the desired code. Pretty simple.

The remote buttons are small and unobtrusive. They have 3 different sized buttons, the largest being the open/close one. The other two are programmable in case you have another garage door opener somewhere else. The 3rd button can be used to turn on and off the light. The range on these babies is pretty good especially with a fresh battery. But exactly how far away do you need to open the door?

With all garage door openers, there's an infrared beam that crosses the garage that when broken while the door is moving makes it stop. A nice feature of this opener is that when my children run across the beam while the door is moving, not only does it reverse, the light blinks several times as an alert and reminder that perhaps I should leash my children.

On the topic of light, the opener supports two light bulbs. This is actually quite nice since our garage has one puny light socket. The extra bulb is a nice safety feature.

On that note (See how this review just flows along?), if the garage door is left open, the light goes out after a few minutes. Basic feature, they all do this. However, if after the light is off, someone breaks the infrared beam, the lights go back on. Very handy for the times I stupidly leave the garage door open at night. This should deter any would-be burglars from stealing my lawnmower or the stuff we keep meaning to give to Goodwill but just can't find the time to do.

The master panel in the garage is a basic panel. It has a little green light that I suppose is there to tell me that it has power. Or to see it in the dark. The big button is the opener and there's a smaller one that turns the light on and off. The third button is the lock for those times you go on vacation and don't want anyone to be able to open the door either through the outside pad or the car remotes. Pretty minimal pad, but I see no need for Mission Control in my garage.

In Summary:

The Good

* Nice quiet belt drive

* 1/2 HP is ample power to open our super-cheap aluminum garage door

* Good safety/security features

* Easy install - if you have someone else do it.

The Bad

* Pricey: For whatever reason, belt drive openers are the most expensive ones available. Apparently rubber belts are more expensive than chain belts...? I think its like blackmail - making me pay extra for its silence (har har).


The Craftsman 1/2 HP belt drive opener is a good piece of equipment. It does the job and seems quite sturdy and durable. If you need a garage door opener for a garage that is directly below a bedroom, I highly recommend this unit.



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I thought this provided some good information for all those in the market for new openers. As you all know any opener will come with the safetly sensors at the bottom of the door. He is wrong in saying that the vacation lock disables the key pad but, what are the chances of someone punching in your four digit code to get in? A lot of the product reviews will make an opener sound better than it does by imlying " It comes with the added safety features or the photo eye system or will reverse once it hit something yada yada yada." All openers do this no matter what brand. The ease of programming as well as dependability as well as the quiet operation is what makes Liftmaster or Craftsman the best choice on the market. Excluding even their screw drive openers of course. For those of you who want to bash Liftmaster and Craftsman, as Don would say, FIX YOUR REAL PROBLEM FIRST.

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We need to buy two new openers for our wood doors. One door is large- for a two car area & the smaller door would house one car. We hardly use the second door, it's just for storage, anyway. In our remodel both have broken. The large one was on it's last legs anyway so our contractor sent a guy out to check it out. His idea was that both doors need new springs (no big deal) new brackets and hinges and door buttons. I asked for weatherstripping on the bottom of the doors as well.
The contractor's guy spec'd two Genie units (no model numbers) but I believe are both belt drives as quietness was discussed. The bid was $2500+!!!
I called in a guy who my neighbor had used about 4 years ago. He put a Stealth in her same large garage door for $500 at the time. He came today and recomended a Liftmaster belt drive instead of the Genie recomended realignment and hinges etc and all told his price was $1800. You can guess what I'm going to tell our contractor. I don't have the quote yet (he's faxing it today or tomorrow)but is a Liftmaster better than the Genie Stealth? Not sure of the horsepower either is spec'ing.
Input please!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 3:54PM
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I don't know who this guy is but, I can put you two brand new doors and two Liftmaster openers in on the side for $1800 bucks. Yes Liftmaster belt drives are better than Genies. Find a new contractor this guy is ripping you a new one. A fair price for a Liftmaster belt drive installed is between $300-$400 bucks each. Maybe a bit higher depending on how many remotes and keypads etc.

Are your springs broke? If not why replace them. Are your hinges broke? If not why replace them?? Does this guy work for Precision Door by chance?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 7:50PM
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The doors are out of alignment, there is signs of rubbing against the sides, you can see it. A couple of springs are sprung too. We've been through 11 months of construction and lots of it had to do with reinforcing the garage with shearwall for earthquake standards before we added a room above.
According to the guy this morning (whose company's name escapes me at the moment -Joe-) it appears that the small door still has the original hinges of 34 years ago. I'm ok with changing that and the springs. So the price should be cheaper? Okay then, that gives me more ammo to load. We are in the Los Angeles area in a pricey neighborhood. Not Bel Air or Beverly Hills, but upscale. I certainly don't want to be taken advantage of. I can call others for price quotes.

I'm confused by one thing. If the Liftmaster is the best, and they make it for Sears aka Craftsman, why are there so many questions here about broken Craftsman door openers? Is is because Sears' specs are less rigorous?

Thanks for your input- I've been on GW since 2003 when I remodeled my kitchen and I've learned to trust you "experts"!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 9:23PM
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Why are there so many questions, because Craftsman, Sears, Liftmaster etc are the most popular openers in the world. I don't know what the exact percent is but I would be willing to bet you the make up the majority of the openers installed. The problems you are seeing asked about here are minor and very common. You have to take into consideration that an opener simply takes your place in lifting the door. If your door is not properly balanced, it is going to be hard for you to lift or push down, same for the opener only it puts extra wear and tear on it, thus causing some of the problems you are reading about in here.

I work on doors and openers all day long, trust me money spent on a Craftsman or Liftmaster is money well spent. I would not install anything else in my house and I am not getting paid for saying any of this.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 11:08PM
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Good! Thanks for the input and putting my mind at ease. I've had one heck of a time finding RELIABLE and Honest intallers. Guy number 4 was out today and made me feel the most comfortable. He wasnt to put in Model 3850 with the battery backup. I'm not sure why we need that in our area of the country - we don't lose power very much- but he sounded more reponsible and knowledgeable than most others that have crossed our path. His prices were not much higher either. He just made me feel comfortable.
Any feedback on the 3850?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 6:09AM
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The 3850 Model replaced the 2500 model opener. Difference is the the 2500 had a battery that sat on top of the opener, the 3850 has a battery that slides inside the opener. I have no run into any problems with battery failure as of yet. It is a belt driven operator with a DC motor and is probably the quietest opener on the market. It is even quieter than a normal belt drive with an AC motor. It is a very good opener. The battery back up is of course optional and if I am not mistaken Liftmaster has a promo on these operators and the battery comes free. If not around 50-75 dollars is a fair price for the battery where I live. I am glad you found someone who appears to be honest. Good Luck

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 7:48PM
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