Your home is getting smarter, shouldn’t your garage be just as smart? I think the answer is yes. I’m sure we have all left the home and returned to find that the garage was left wide open all day. It sucks, but it happens.
There has to be a solution. Can you use your phone to open and close your garage door? The answer is yes, smart garage door openers can be built-in or added as an external device that allows you to use your phone to open and close the garage door either through the app or based on your location.
There are more and more smart garage door openers coming to the market with the most known being MyQ by Chamberlain. They offer a hub that turns your old garage door opener (1993 and newer) smart as well as openers with the MyQ technology built-in.
Then you have other models like the NEXX smart garage door opener that will actually use your phone’s location to open and close the garage door. There is just something really cool about pulling into your driveway and your garage door automatically opening.
Let’s dive in a bit deeper on how we can use our phones to control our garage doors.
Using Your Phone to Replace Your Garage Opener
Any smart garage door you purchase will turn your phone into the remote. The companion app to the garage door opener will have an open and close button that will replace those old school clickers.
The installation process will vary from product to product and depend on if you are replacing the entire garage door opener or adding a smart device to an existing opener. If you are adding a smart device like NEXX, the installation will go something like this:
- Test the device to ensure it is compatible. NEXX has a video here showing how this is done.
- Download the companion app and create an account.
- Register your new device and connect it to your wi-fi within the app.
- Connect to the devices wi-fi network.
- Register to the cloud service and name the device.
- Test the sensors and mount the device.
- Connect the device to your garage opener and turn the device on
- Mount the sensors and ensure the notifications are working properly.
It is a little bit of a process and if you are not great with these kind of things make sure to get a pro out to help. I know I would.
Once your new smart garage opener is installed, you will have the ability to open and close your garage door from your phone. On top of that, you will also have the ability to set schedules, receive notifications and check the open and close history.
You will want to look out for how many users can be connected to the smart garage. At the time of writing, MyQ only offered four users but if you have a large family, that might not be enough. NEXX, on the other hand, had unlimited user access.
Geofencing and Location Based Access
You can use your phones location to have your garage door automatically open when pulling into your driveway. With some products, you will need some sort of IFTTT setup but if you are using NEXX it is an included feature.
NEXX calls it Auto Open and when enabled, it will simply open the door when you are arriving home. It is based on the location of your phone and when you are 50-100 feet away from the garage, it will activate.
This feature can be turned off as well as set to work on certain schedules. Let’s say you want the feature to work from 5 PM to 7 PM when you arrive home from work but don’t want to be enabled after 10 PM, that is an option. Don’t want to wake the house up when you arrive home late at night.
The best part of having any smart technology in your home is the ability to automate it. I would say features like NEXX’s Auto Open or any geofencing features is huge! Why fumble for your phone, or even worse, manually push a button when you don’t have to.
What about Voice Assistants?
MyQ requires a small monthly subscription to work with Google Home. $1 a month or $10 a year. It is not compatible with Alexa. With Google Home, you are only able to close the garage. You will not be able to open it for security reasons.
MyQ also works with Homekit but it does require a bridge. If your household is big into Siri, you are covered. It’s unfortunate that it requires another piece of hardware. You can open the garage with Siri.
You can ask your voice assistant if your garage door is open or not which can be helpful.
Other Features of Smart Garage Door Openers
If your fancy new garage door opener does not have geofencing or auto open capabilities, scheduling will be your next best bet.
Schedules work as you would expect, you set times for your garage to open and times for your garage to close.
If you leave for work at 7 AM, set a schedule to have your garage door open just before that and another to close just after. Same for the times you normally get home from work.
Schedules can be set through the app or on the web site. Again, I am a huge fan of automation, so the more automation in any smart device, the better!
Reminders are pretty handy if you have ever left your garage door open accidentally. If your door is left open for a predetermined amount of time, you will receive a notification alerting you.
You can be anywhere in the world, or more likely on the way to work, and have the ability to close that garage door from your phone.
I have left the door opened accidentally more than a few times. It’s always a bit nerve racking thinking of what could have happened or what might have been “borrowed” from the garage.
A huge benefit of smart garage door openers are the notifications. You will be sent alerts for different events, including:
- The door has been opened and who opened it
- The door has been closed and who closed it
- A reminder that the door is open
All of these notifications will be pushed to your phone. If you have kids, it is a good way to know they are home as you will see that they have opened the garage.
The history gives a report of the garage door activity and who has done what. If you want to see who opened the garage and when, make sure that the smart garage door opener has the history feature.
Sharing enables you to grant access to multiple users. At the time of writing, MyQ offered a total of 4 users and NEXX offers unlimited users. If you have a large family who will all need access, make sure whatever device you select can accommodate.
Sharing also comes in handy when you have guests. You can easily add them to your account and remove them once they leave. It really does make things much easier especially since you won’t have to memorize any more pin codes.
MyQ: Key By Alexa
This feature is coming soon to the MyQ platform. Key by Alexa allows you the option to have Amazon packages safely delivered to your garage door. With porch pirates becoming more and more of a problem, having your packages placed safely inside your garage is a huge added benefit. Here is a quick video explaining this new feature:
There are many ways to automate your garage door. We talked about NEXX and MyQ, but they are not the only players in the game. You can find more on some of the other smart garage door openers here.
The ability to open your garage door with your phone is huge! Whether it be automatic, set on a schedule or from the app, you really cannot lose.
This article was meant to be a high-level overview but if you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below!