Smart garage door controllers make getting out the door to work or coming home at the end of the day safer and more seamless. With features like automatic opening and closing, scheduling, user management and voice commands, your garage can be as automated as the rest of your smart home.
The Tailwind iQ3 delivers reliable and well-integrated smarts that work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. HomeKit users are left out and you'll have to be willing to add wires to your garage walls, but the Tailwind iQ3 is a good value at $110 and an excellent choice for secure garage smarts.
Installation and setup
Setting up the Tailwind iQ3 isn't difficult, but you will need a half hour or so and a few tools. Door switch and magnet brackets clamp onto your garage door frame. Once the brackets are aligned, the controller will be able to tell if the door is open or shut.
The Tailwind iQ3 is a wired system, and while stringing wires along your garage ceiling isn't pretty, I've found it to be the most reliable method for smart garage door controllers. Wires run from the door switch up to the Tailwind iQ3 controller mounted on your garage door opener via adhesive strips. Tailwind makes the wiring process simple with helpful adhesive hooks to harness any extra slack in the wire.
The Tailwind iQ3 ships with one garage door wiring kit, but you can purchase additional kits for $35 and automate up to three garage doors with the same controller. Once you've connected all the wires, the Tailwind app for iOS or Android will walk you through connecting the iQ3 to your home's wireless network. Tailwind also learns the exact GPS coordinates of your garage during setup, in which you'll walk up to and around the garage to pinpoint the exact location.
The version of the Tailwind iQ3 I tested used a Wi-Fi access point to connect to your home's 2.4GHz network, but the team at Tailwind say a new firmware version is coming soon that simplifies this step by using Bluetooth to find the controller faster. If that works as well as the Wi-Fi access point method did in my testing, you'll be up and running in just a few minutes.
One of the more luxurious features of smart garage door controllers is the option to enable automatic opening and closing. This type of proximity sensing is commonly accomplished with geofencing, using your phone's GPS location and boundaries set during installation to decide when to open or close the door. Tailwind takes a difference approach and for good reason.
Let's say someone steals your mobile phone. Technically, that person could approach your garage and it would automatically open if you've enabled the auto open feature. The Tailwind iQ3 requires more than just your phone to open your garage door.
The iQ3 needs to sense a Bluetooth connection in order to open the door. That prevents someone from opening your garage with just your phone. However, it also means you might need to purchase Tailwind's Vehicle Sensor, a Bluetooth fob that creates that connection. That depends on your mobile phone and your vehicle.