Garageio review:

Garageio is the smartest garage door opener yet

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Garageio works well and is more customizable than competitors, integrating with IFTTT and Amazon Echo.

The Bad Integration with Amazon Echo isn't intuitive enough, the app is simplistic, and the price feels just a little steep.

The Bottom Line If you want integration, Garageio is one of the best retrofit controllers on the market. It's just a little pricey at this point, and the Echo integration needs sharpening.

7.6 Overall
  • Features 7.0
  • Usability 8.0
  • Design 7.0
  • Performance 9.0

When you hear the phrase "garage door opener," you probably think of the little black-and-gray remote clipped to the sun visor in your car -- that thing that controls your garage door opener. But over the last few years, major developers like Chamberlain, and smaller ones like Garageio in Columbus, Ohio, have begun to market app-connected garage door openers.

Garageio's self-named device is a relatively simple black box that hardwires into your current garage door opener. From there it integrates with platforms like Amazon Echo and IFTTT -- the app that builds triggers between normally unconnected apps and devices. Despite its clever integrations, Garageio still doesn't feel quite slick enough to pull off its $199 base price (not to mention an extra $10 for each additional garage door, up to three).

For anyone ready to get their garage into the smart-home mix, Garageio is a pretty solid buy. But until its app gets a little deeper and its integration smooths out, this product isn't ready for everyone.

How smart can a garage door be?

Installing Garageio is a little more involved than I'd prefer (more on that later), but once the system is up and running, app connection is simple. In fact, it's a little too simple. When you open the app, the interface is an orange garage door that you swipe up to open or swipe down to close. It works, but for $200 I'd like to see an app with more to offer. Luckily Garageio introduces new features elsewhere.

Integrations with Amazon Echo and IFTTT are a breeze to set up, and they're the main distinction Garageio can claim from competitors like the Chamberlain MyQ. With Garageio, you can control your garage doors with a voice command, or trigger them to open via geolocation through the IFTTT app.

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With Amazon Echo, you can send commands and ask questions of Garageio.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Disappointingly, these two integrations aren't equally slick. IFTTT integration is mostly open to your imagination, but Amazon Echo's commands are basic and sometimes frustrating to use. Since Echo's Garageio skill isn't native, you can't just ask Alexa to open your garage. You have to say things like, "Alexa, tell Garageio to open my small garage door," or "Alexa, ask Garageio if my garage doors are open." After a while, it felt like I was having a middle school feud with Garageio, and Echo was just caught in the crossfire.

IFTTT, on the other hand, works wonders. In fact, without IFTTT, I would like Garageio much less than I do. But automating your garage door with geofencing or other triggers might create some safety questions. Chamberlain, Garageio's biggest competitor, actually refuses to work with triggering platforms like IFTTT so users don't accidentally open their garage doors while they're away.

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