The humble garage door has been the smartest device on the block for decades. Why? Garage-door openers of course. Yes, the boring old motorized garage door is probably the first smart home gadget you ever owned. Ok, well, it’s not all that smart. All it does is open and close a door, but it’s pretty impressive to think that remote control garage doors have been around since I was in high school, while front doors are just now starting to shed their metal keys.
If you have a remote-controlled garage door you’re already ahead of the pack, but your garage could be a lot smarter. How many times have you left your house and forgotten if you closed the garage? How many times have you gone out to the garage in the morning only to discover that you left the door open all night? Admit it, we’ve all done that. Not only is it a real home security problem, but it’s also an invitation to more mundane invaders such as raccoons and skunks—especially if you keep any food in there.
Smart home automation systems can make your garage more secure and offer you more peace of mind when it comes to one of the most pivotal entry points to your home.
There are two things you want from a smart garage door system. First, it should be able to inform you of the current status of your door. Second, you should be able to open or close your garage door from anywhere (via an Internet connection) with an app. Most garage door remotes are only good for about 100 feet. That won’t help you much when you’re halfway across the state. Other features, such as the ability to remotely assign custom entry codes or the ability to recognize who last opened or closed the door, are also nice.
Here are a few smart garage door devices to help ease your mind on your way to work:
Garageio can turn any garage door into a smart garage door. Just add the square Garageio box to your door, connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi network, and download the app for iOS and Android devices. Once the whole device is connected, Garageio allows you to check the status of the door from the driveway, the office, or the beach. If you left it open, Garageio lets you close it. It also allows you to open it if your neighbors need to borrow the lawn mower or get in to feed the cat. The system can alert you to let you know if the door was left open—and who left it open. The app has an activity log and provides access to up to three garage doors from one device. It even works with IFTTT (If This Then That), so you can set the door to open or close based on the weather, your location, and more.
The Garageio DIY home automation garage controller is currently available in a single-door version for $199, with a two-door version priced at $209 and three-door access going for $219.
The GoGogate is another smartphone-based garage door opener, but it also works on gates. Even more impressive is that it can integrate with popular security cameras, making it quite an interesting security solution. The video and video recording is a new thing, which can be easily added for new or existing GoGogate customers. Once installed, GoGogate users can get a visual on the opening and closing of a garage door via smartphones, computers or tablets from anywhere in the world. GoGogate can easily connect to any existing garage door opener. From there, it works in conjunction with a free app for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to open and close the garage door or gate. It can also send out activity-based alerts. Within the app you can access a calendar of events, and retrieve the video triggered by the garage door. The main device costs $99, and you’ll need to add sensors. If you want to use a security camera with it, you’ll need the $29 video module as well.
Chamberlain’s: MyQ Garage can alert you to all garage door activity, and allows you to open or close the garage door from any smartphone or web-enabled tablet. MyQ features an easy, plug-and-play design that works with most existing garage door openers (manufactured after 1993) and your home’s Wi-Fi. Just mount the Wi-Fi Hub near your garage door opener. Then, mount the door sensor. Finally, download the app and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup. Users can also set the app to send push notifications when the garage is in use, as well as when it’s been left open. That way, you won’t have to keep checking.
Chamberlain is sellling MyQ for $129.99. (Available on Amazon)
Quirky, the company behind the Wink smart home system, offers the Ascend smart garage door opener, which, of course, works via the Wink platform and a little DIY home automation, but you don’t need the Wink system to use the Ascend. Quirky says the Ascend works with UL-listed motorized garage door openers made on or after January 1, 1993—but not ones from Chamberlain and not the Liftmaster Security+2.0. Other than a compatible garage door opener though, you just need Wi-Fi and an iOS or Android device. The Ascend allows you to manage and monitor the garage door from near and afar using the free Wink app. When the door is opened or closed, the Ascend sends a notification to your smart device of choice. $100.
Linear says the GD00Z-4 smart garage door opener is compatible with most existing garage door systems with sectional doors. Installation takes a simple pairing with the gateway and a two-wire connection. It works via Z-Wave, making it compatible with many Z-Wave smart home hubs already on the market. As a Z-Wave product, it also acts as a signal repeater and strengthens your Z-Wave mesh network. Users have reported that it works very well with SmartThings. About $99.
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