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Smart Home

The best smart garage door controllers of 2019

When it comes to smart garage door openers, you have lots of options. Here's a look at our favorites.

If you park in your home's garage, then you know the feeling. You leave home, make it halfway down the street and wonder if you remembered to close the garage door. But what if you could just check an app on your smartphone and see if the door was closed? And if not, use your phone as a remote control to close the door?

We've seen plenty of smart cameras, doorbells and locks for our front doors, but what about smart devices for the door many of us use the most? Turns out, there are more than a few good options for your garage. Let's take a look. 

Garage smarts 101

If you already own a motorized garage door opener, even one with a chain drive, you can use one of the add-on accessories below. If you're in the market for a whole new opener mechanism, you can find smart options from makers such as Chamberlain, LiftMaster and Ryobi. 

Smart garage door controllers come in a few variations. In general, a controller attaches to your existing opener with a double-sided adhesive strip. In most cases, you'll need to attach two small wires to the open and close command nodes on your existing garage door opener. Smart garage kits also usually include some type of sensor to attach to your garage door. This sensor detects and transmits the position of your garage door, so the controller accurately knows whether the door is open, closed or somewhere in between.

Read more: These smart plugs are the secret to a seamless smart home

On the smart side, these add-on controllers connect to your Wi-Fi network. You'll need a strong 2.4GHz internet connection that reaches your garage. Typically, a corresponding app will walk you through adding your device to the network, as well as the general installation.

App features and smarts differ from brand to brand. Some offer geofencing, scheduling, remote access and voice control, while others just make your phone a duplicate of your garage opener remote. Deciding which controller is right for you comes down to what features you want most and what smart home platforms you use in your home. No matter your requirements, there's likely a smart garage door opener out there to meet your needs. 

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Chamberlain

Chamberlain's MyQ Smart Garage Hub is a $50 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 it remotely from the MyQ app on your iOS or Android device. Installing Chamberlain's MyQ system is easier than most, 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 and Xfinity Home to control and automate multiple 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. 

Read our full review of the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The $89 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 itself. When the laser hits the reflective tag, Garadget knows your garage door is closed. Like most garage controllers we tested, the Garadget does require some wiring.

The Garadget has its own Amazon Alexa skill, and IFTTT integration means you can create custom commands for Google Assistant. The Garadget app for iOS and Android devices doesn't include scheduling, but if you're just looking for simple voice commands and mobile app remote access, the Garadget will get the job done for a reasonable price.

Read our full review of the Garadget.

Chris Monroe/CNET

By far one of the more eye-catching and interesting garage devices we've tested, the Garager 2 is a two-in-one camera and door controller. This $149 surveillance camera attaches to the bottom of your garage door opener via a magnet and controls your garage door from the Alcidae app for Android and iOS devices. The camera includes 1080p color and night vision video and two-way audio, though clip storage does require a $5-per-month subscription. 

The controller works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, via your wi-fi signal, for voice commands to open and close your garage. An upgrade over the previous model adds a magnetic base to stabilize the camera feed when the garage door is in motion. If you'd really like to be able to add video monitoring and be able to watch and talk to your garage space, this device is for you. You can also get notifications and control it remotely or via voice assistants, Garager works well.

The $119 Gogogate2 is a capable garage controller that supports up to three doors with one device, a feature that sets it apart from other devices. The GogoGate2 also works with third-party cameras, including Nest and Insteon for live images in the Gogogate app for iOS and Android devices. The device wires into your existing garage door opener and uses a tilt sensor adhered to the top of your garage door to detect the door's position.  

Setting up the GogoGate2 app proved to be a bit more tedious than other controllers, but the app does include impressive, customizable multiple user access. You will need IFTTT applets to use any voice assistants or to set up geofencing. Still, the reasonably priced Gogogate2 supports nearly every function you'd want for a smart garage. 

Read our full review of the Gogogate2.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Nexx Garage is a $100 smart garage controller that adds skills to your normal garage door opening and closing with ease. You'll get voice commands, remote access and auto opening through the Nexx Garage app for iOS and Android devices without involving IFTTT applets. Though Nexx Garage isn't as widely integratable as Chamberlain's MyQ system, there aren't any fees for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice compatibility. 

The Nexx Garage's biggest negative is the sensors you'll need to detect the door's status. Two sensors attach to your garage door and the wall above it and must be placed within 1/4-inch of each other for best results. The top sensor in this pair is wired, and adding more wires to any room is something I don't prefer. The Nexx Garage is great for anyone wanting simple, fuss-free smarts and compatibility with the voice-activated assistants Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Read our full review of the Nexx Garage.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Garageio was one of the earliest garage-smartening devices we tested. It mounts to the side of your garage door opener using adhesive strips, and it wires into your opener's open and close command nodes. The system includes a wired sensor and an activator, mounted near each other on the side of your garage door and door frame. As with the Nexx Garage, you'll need to run the wired sensor cable back to the Garageio device to connect everything.

Garageio works with Amazon Alexa and offers IFTTT applets for customizable smarts. The Garageio app for iOS and Android devices provides remote access, multiple users and alerts when doors are left open. Integration with Amazon Echo isn't quite intuitive enough, and the $200 price feels pretty steep. You can get more for your money with Nexx Garage or Chamberlain's MyQ system. Garageio is sold out online and was recently acquired by Guardian Access. Currently the company only lists a pre-order option for Garageio 2 on its website, so stay tuned for updates on Garageio products. 

Read our full review of the Garageio.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Tailwind iQ3 is a reliable way to add Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa smarts to your garage. It also stands out for security, since it requires more than just your phone to enable auto opening or closing. The wired setup makes it reliable, and at $99 for a standard kit and $110 for one with a vehicle sensor, it's a good value. 

You won't get HomeKit compatibility with the Tailwind iQ3, and anyone using an iPhone will have to purchase the vehicle sensor package. Still, you can control up to three doors with one controller, and the Tailwind iQ3 checks all the boxes for basic garage door smarts.

Read our full review of the Tailwind iQ3.

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Originally published last year, this list is regularly updated.