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Buying Guide: Electric Garage Doors vs Manual Garage Doors

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Feb 02, 2023
7 minutes read
  • Benefits and drawbacks of electric and manual garage doors
  • Maintenance involved

Whether you’re in the market for a brand new one or wish to replace your existing entrance, garage doors are important components of the home. Not only do they secure vehicles and valuables, but they can come in all sorts of designs for your needs. Any garage door can be automated, but this depends if you necessarily need or want it.

Both electric garage doors and manuals ones have benefits and drawbacks, so it’s handy to consider these when making a decision over which is right for you. This article will look at whether to choose one over the other as well as what maintenance you can expect with both an electric and manual garage door.

Car waiting for an automatic garage door to open

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Manual Garage Doors

Just your average everyday door, a manual garage door is usually opened with a handle and requires physical effort to operate. They are a more affordable choice of garage door as no power has to be supplied and no extra parts need to be installed for them to work.

Manual Doors Advantages

Mechanic With Tools
  • Cheaper

  • Easier installation

  • Reliable

  • Less maintenance

  • Customisable

The most obvious reason why a manual garage door is bought is because it’s not as expensive as an electric garage door. They don’t require an electrical supply to be installed and for the operating mechanism to be fitted, which drives up costs. As such, they’re much easier to install as it’s simply the door that needs to be fitted.

As there are fewer parts to manual garage doors, they are more reliable. You won’t have to worry about power cuts or any damage to the automatic mechanism. This also makes them easier to maintain; without these extra parts, they won’t require much upkeep.

All garage doors are customisable, and manual doors are no different. A roller garage door, for example, is a popular choice as it folds away neatly and doesn’t limit driveway space. They are made of aluminium or steel, which can come in multiple colours to suit your home.

Disadvantages of Manual Doors

  • Requires some level of effort

  • Not as secure

  • Inconvenience

The obvious setback with manual doors is that you do have to physically operate them. While it sounds like a moan, some people are less able or mobile, with limited strength. Garage doors that aren’t automated require this effort to operate. Because of this, they’re also not as secure as electric versions. Manual doors can be forced open a lot easier than electric garage doors, which isn’t ideal.

The inconvenience of manual doors comes down to adverse weather conditions. If you need to get into your garage quickly when the rain is coming down, it is inconvenient to get out of your vehicle to open it by hand. Hot and cold weather can also impact how easy it is to operate garage doors.

Electric Garage Doors

An automatic or electric garage door looks and acts the same as its manual counterpart but features the convenience of automation. Featuring a motor to drive the system, the garage door is opened seamlessly with the press of a button or a proximity alert.

Electric Garage Door on a Villa

Electric Door Advantages

  • Convenient

  • Secure

The most renowned benefit for electric garage doors is how they operate with ease, providing you with the convenience of doors that open at your behest. Either via remote or through proximity, they can open as and when you need them to. Their construction also makes them much more secure than manual doors as the mechanism doesn’t unlock if manual force is applied, unless you disengage it using the emergency lever from inside.

Disadvantages of Electric Doors

  • More expensive

  • Require power

  • More maintenance

Despite being the same composition as manual doors, the only extra cost comes from the automation. Infrastructure needs to be installed to guide the door open when the electric motor is in operation. This comes with its own costs. You also can’t have electric garage doors without an electricity supply. If your garage currently doesn’t have this, it will need to be fitted. In power cuts, for example, this can be problematic, as you won’t be able to operate it without disconnecting the mechanism.

The other downside is that they are more complicated systems to operate, which means they need more maintenance than manual garage doors. For both installation and repair, they will require professional help, which comes at a price. It’s also more time consuming to ensure they are working properly.

Need more detail? Read about the pros and cons of electric garage doors here.

Differences in Garage Door Maintenance

Even though the advantages and disadvantages are fairly clear cut, both types of garage door will require maintenance. Before you commit to one or the other, you’ll need to understand what you’ll be getting yourself into.

Maintenance for Electric Garage Doors

Car in Garage
  1. Routine cleaning

  2. Lubrication

  3. Sensors

  4. Backup

  5. Inspection

The routine cleaning and maintenance is fairly standard for all garage doors and types. They’ll need cleaning to prolong their life, as well as lubrication of the tracks to make sure the operation remains consistent. Any grime that builds up can cause problems, so make sure the dirt in the operating mechanism is cleared on a regular basis. For electric garage doors, this could involve the use of a professional.

The safety sensors on an electric garage door tell it to stop operating if an obstruction is detected. Every now and again, they will also need to be cleaned to ensure complete safety. This can be conducted during any period of inspection. You should also look out for loose chains and any damage to the mechanical parts as this will cause damage to the system.

You can get around the issue of power cuts with a backup battery. This will still ensure power is supplied to your electric garage door so it can still operate. Naturally, replacements will have to be taken into account when you’re inspecting the system. A professional inspection is recommended for electric garage doors to mitigate any serious issues that might arise.

Manual Garage Door Maintenance

  1. Routine cleaning

  2. Lubrication

  3. Operational check

Perhaps much easier than electric garage doors, manual ones will still require the basic level of maintenance, but not nearly as much. For example, the regular cleaning and lubrication will still need to be conducted, but fewer parts are at risk of becoming damaged. The only real difference is that you can inspect the balance of your manual door to check that no undue strain is being given to one side, which will damage it over time.

Not sure if maintenance is up to scratch? Read our article on signs you need to replace your garage door.

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