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Increasingly people want the smart home to extend to their garage, with a door opener being high on the list.
The Chamberlain MyQ will work with many existing garage door opening products, allowing you to control them from your smartphone without going to huge expense.
Once installed, you can use your app and open the door from anywhere, making it easier to avoid getting wet or cold during inclement weather, or letting the kids put their bikes away from afar.
Since you are less likely to lose your smart phone than you are the little dongles that most door openers come with, it seems a good trade up as smart home tech moves further away from the house.
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Key Features of the MyQ
- Manageable Price Point: The Chamberlain MyQ costs just $129.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), so won’t break the band when expanding the features of your smart home. It is compatible with a large range of existing doors, including those from Chamberlain’s own range of openers, Craftsman, Genie, LiftMaster, Linear, Overhead Door, Raynor, Stanley and Wayne Dalton.
- 2-Part System: The MyQ kit comes with two small black units, one that links to the installed door opener, so will likely attach to the garage ceiling. The main unit requires power, so you’ll need to locate it somewhere near a socket. The other unit runs off a Lithium battery and connects to the garage door, so the system can tell if it is open
- Self-Contained Starter Kit: The kit comes with fixings to help install it correctly. Once the pair of boxes are installed, you sync it to the door opener’s IR code, then your phone and WiFi so you can open the door from anywhere, via the app. The app needs a little setting up, but once that’s done, you’re good to go.
Pros of the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Opener
- Pro – Relatively Easy to Set Up” Chamberlain gives you all the information you need to install the MyQ with just a spot of DIY and some tech set up to do.
- Pro – Strong WiFi Receiver: Given the garage is often pretty distant from a router, or the signal goes through several walls, Chamberlain has done a good job with the WiFI receiver that picks up a signal. If you’re garage is really far away, there’s an optional $60 Internet Gateway to take control of the signal.
- Pro – App and Mobile Compatible: The app runs on iOS and Android, but Windows and BlackBerry users can use the mobile site to access and activate their door. Just create a shortcut on your home screen and it is pretty much the same thing. Beyond making showy entrances and exits, the primary benefit is that you will know if you garage door was left open, via a push notification, and can close it automatically. As with the firmware, the apps are regularly updated and look the part.
- Pro – Helpful Alerts: You can receive alerts when the door is open or closed, or as soon as someone starts to open it. They will appear on your lock screen, so you don’t need to access the app. You can also choose to receive emails if you’re not too fussed about, or there are lots of comings and goings from the garage door.
- Pro – Quality Support and Updates: Support seems to be pretty well handled by the company, with regular firmware updates to ensure everything is running smoothly. If there’s more than one car or bike in the family, then the app can be used on multiple devices.
Cons of the Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Opener
- Cons – Only Works with Sectional Rising Doors: The MyQ only works with sectional type rising garage doors that have obstacle detectors installed, not the swing open single door types. That instantly puts most simpler garages out of the reckoning. However, upgrading to a better and more stylish door could well be on your to do list if you want a really smart home, as well as a smart-looking property.
- Cons – No IFTTT Support (yet): While it does a good job, those looking for custom use cases are probably out of luck. There is support for Wink Hub, but no IFTTT support. So, you can’t link it to all devices outside the Chamberlain home ecosystem, like the Amazon Echo. that’s a shame as it would be cool to tell it to open from your home, but not much of a surprise. Hopefully a future update will add that sort of support. Rival product Garagio does support IFTTT, which may be a consideration depending on your needs.
- Cons – Doesn’t Work with Siri: Apple users will also be disappointed to find out that the MyQ is not compatible with Siri yet, so you can’t ask her to open the door, although we’d imagine that type of feature could be easily implemented in a future app update.
- Con – Needs Multiple Sensors for Multiple Doors: Finally, if you have a three-door garage, then you’ll need a unit and sensor for each door. But they can all be operated at once, or individually from the app, depending on your needs.
- Con – Shared Passwords: As reader Devlin noted in the comments, the MyQ is woefully behind the curve when it comes to password security. All users have to share one password. This becomes a bigger security issue the more potential drivers you have. As he noted, it’s relatively simple to fix and most smart locks (for doors, etc…) have this capability. Hint, Hint…it would be really nice to see a software update for this!
Final Recommendation – Worth Ditching Your Old Opener?
Doing very much what it says on the tin, the Chamberlain MyQ is a well constructed, designed and well thought out product.
From the physical boxes to the installation and the app, everything works as advertised and there are no obvious weak spots of gremlins to get in the way. It is not over-priced like some smart home gear and reports of support are very positive (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
If you are building out a new smarthome then Chamberlain also offers its HomeLink technology, this can work with security gates, lights and others to make your arrival home a hassle free and stylish affair.
As the products continue to be updated and evolve, expect this to stay at the front of the smart home race, unlike some products that seem happy to be a plain solution with little ambition to do much else.
We can also seeing this device being essential when those self driving cars become more common. Already the new Tesla can take itself out of your garage and wait running for you on the drive, so get ready for self-opening garages to be a lot more in demand in the coming years.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!