What You Need to Know About Jackshaft Garage Door Openers

A jackshaft garage door opener – also known as a wall mount or side mount garage door opener – could be a great solution for your residential garage door. Read on to learn what jackshaft openers are, the best uses for jackshaft openers, and the elements to consider before purchasing. North Shore Commercial Door has been in the garage door industry for decades, so we know a thing or two about jackshafts and how they can elevate your garage to new heights!

What is a Jackshaft Garage Door Opener?

A jackshaft opener is designed to open and close garage doors. Unlike traditional overhead trolley-style openers that are mounted on the ceiling and use a rail system to pull the door up and down, a jackshaft opener is installed on the wall beside the garage door and connects to the door's torsion bar or shaft. This setup allows the opener to control the movement of the garage door by directly turning the torsion bar, which in turn winds or unwinds the torsion springs responsible for counterbalancing the door's weight.

Such a placement practically eliminates the noise and vibrations that a garage door opener with more moving parts would cause. Prior to jackshaft openers, overhead garage door openers were typically installed. This type of opener was generally mounted to the ceiling in the middle of a garage. An overhead door requires a track or belt system that runs to the top of the door then along a metal track. Jackshaft operators don't require such hardware and are often more visually appealing due to their minimalistic footprint. A jackshaft unlike an overhead opener doesn't eat into a garage’s valuable vertical storage space. With homeowners personalizing their garages into man-caves, she-sheds, or party spaces, a jackshaft can make your opener more subtle and leave room for further customization.

Why use a Jackshaft Opener Vs. an Overhead Garage Door Opener?

There are many benefits of a jackshaft that are worth considering. Consider a jackshaft operator if any of these apply to your situation:

  • Quiet Garage Door Opener Operation. Jackshafts have fewer moving parts than overhead openers, which makes them quieter. Many jackshaft openers use a DC motor that operates with much less noise, making them an excellent choice for attached garages or situations where noise is a concern.
  • Self-Installation. Jackshaft installations are easier to DIY than an overhead operator. Since they require less parts than an overhead garage door opener, it makes the install process quicker.
  • Lack of Headroom. Jackshafts work well if you lack headroom or do not have a lot of space in your garage. Some garages have obstacles like lights, pipes, stored personal items or ducts on the ceiling that can interfere with the installation of a traditional garage door opener. A jackshaft opener eliminates this concern.
  • Ceiling Height. If you have an unusually high ceiling in your garage, a jackshaft operator wouldn't require the hardware and reach like an overhead door opener would. Since jackshaft opener mounts to your wall it can seamlessly adapt to your garage.
  • Small footprint. If you have approximately 16 inches of space beyond the frame of your garage door to the right or the left (your choice) a jackshaft opener will fit perfectly. 
  • Backup Power Options. Some jackshaft openers come with battery backup systems, allowing you to operate the garage door during power outages. This can be especially useful in emergencies where the garage door needs to be opened. 
  • Smart Features. Many jackshaft openers offer smart technology integration, allowing you to open and close your garage door remotely through a smartphone app. You can check your garage door's status from anywhere with a few taps on your phone. This is great for homeowners who want peace of mind wherever they are. Especially great for families or keeping an eye on short term rental properties.

  • Security. Since jackshaft openers are installed on the wall, they can enhance security by eliminating the risk of burglars tampering with the ceiling-mounted opener. They are also less vulnerable to forced entry attempts.

When To Not  Choose a Jackshaft Operator 

While jackshaft openers offer several advantages, there are certain situations where they might not be the best choice. Here are the scenarios when you might want to consider alternatives to a jackshaft opener:

  • Non-Torsion Spring Doors. Jackshaft openers are most compatible with doors that have torsion spring systems. If your garage door uses extension springs, a different type of opener might be more suitable. 
  • Budget Constraints. Jackshaft openers tend to be more expensive upfront compared to some traditional overhead openers. If cost is a significant consideration, you might want to explore more budget-friendly options. Since there are less moving parts, jackshaft openers tend to require less maintenance over their lifetime.
  • Customization. Some garage door openers might offer more customization options, such as additional accessories, speed adjustments, or advanced security features. If these options are important to you, you'll want to ensure the jackshaft opener you're considering meets your needs.
  • Space. Some garages are just not the correct fit for a jackshaft opener. Be sure to inspect the area in your garage where it would go to make sure you have the capacity. 

What's the Best Residential Jackshaft Opener? 

As jackshafts gain popularity, there are more options on the market. North Shore is happy to supply top quality LifetMaster jackshafts and Genie jackshafts, including some of the industry's best shown below: 

  1. LiftMaster 8500W elite series jackshaft garage door opener. This is LiftMaster's newest model. It boasts an emergency battery backup to keep your door powered during a power outage, a LED light, security+ 2.0, and built-in Wi-Fi to connect your door to MyQ technology, LiftMaster's remote open app. 
  2. LiftMaster 8500 jackshaft garage door opener. What's the difference between the 8500 and the 8500W? The 8500 has capabilities for a battery backup, which means you have to buy the backup separately. Also, you'll need to purchase the LiftMaster Internet Gatewayif you'd like to use the MyQ app. 
  3. Genie 6170H-B Residential Wall Mount Opener.Similar to the LiftMaster 8500W, this Genie opener has a battery backup, LED light, and integrated Wi-Fi for Genie's Aladdin Connect app.
  4. Guardian 928 Residential Jackshaft Operator. This compact design has a built-in LED light with motion detection, so your garage is brightly illuminated. It also automatically deadbolts the door when it closes. Battery backup option is available.

How to Install a Jackshaft Opener

While different opener brands from Guardian to LiftMaster and Genie have different installation processes, most jackshaft openers more-or-less the same.

  1. To mount the jackshaft opener, slide it onto the torsion bar and move it close to the garage door track. Then, bolt the mounting bracket to the side of the opener. This will then be bolted to the garage door track bracket. Ensure the bracket is secured with a socket wrench. Tighten the opener onto the torsion bar.
  2. Mount the opener’s release cable and manual release lever. Mount the release cable to the door track with track bolts. Make sure the bolts are tight, then attach the manual release lever below the wire with track bolts. Note that a monkey wrench or pliers may be required to help tighten the top bolt. Next, hook the cable onto the release lever and flip it downward.
  3. To wire the control box, you must access the circuit board. Unscrew the four screws on the lid with a flathead screwdriver. Once open, wire the power cable. Push the exposed wires through the holes in the bottom of the box. Take the ground wire and put it into the plug that is labeled “ground.” Be sure to tighten the wire down and make sure no wire is exposed.
  4. Next, locate the black and white wires. These will go into the main power plug. The black wire goes with the live opening on the main supply and the white wire goes on the opening labeled “n.” Tighten both down and plug the wire back in. Take the operator motor cable and plug it into the plug labeled “dc motor.” The blue wire will go into the opening labeled “m1” and the yellow wire will go into the one labeled “m2.” Once tightened, plug back in and you're good to go.
  5. Mount the powerbox beside the garage door and under the opener. Be sure to mount to a stud or solid surface for a secure fit. Once it's properly secured, the power is plugged into the motor while the control box is plugged into a power outlet.
  6. A master reset will cause the control box to calibrate your garage door. Using the instructions on the inside of the box, press the reset button and then the red program button. After a moment, release the reset button and press the program button until a second green light appears and flashes. Hit the up-arrow button.
  7. Finally, to set up the opener, allow the garage door to open completely and wait for the motor to stop. Press the down arrow button and allow the door to completely close. It's normal for the first attempt to be slow. Repeat the open and close process once more and the control box will be set up. The control box and operator are now fully installed.

Need More Information about Jackshaft Openers? 

Please ask! Our in-house experts are happy to help with all of your jackshaft opener questions. Get in touch with our support crew:

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Call: 800-783-6112 

Email:  support@northshorecommercialdoor.com