Why the GarageMate?
- It works on iPhone and Android
- It’s inexpensive
- Installation is super simple
- It’s secure
- It’s easy for my wife and children to use
I recently started shopping for a way to open my garage door with my smartphone. I discovered that there are many solutions to achieve this end, but I was looking for something dead simple. Something that did not involve a ton of extra hardware, and absolutely a solution that did not involve replacing my existing 20 year-old garage door opener.
The solution I found that worked best for my particular situation was the GarageMate Bluetooth Garage Door Opener.
Here are the reasons I chose this particular opener:
It Works on iPhone and Android
The GarageMate Garage Door Opener app is available for both iPhone and Android. This makes things very easy as my wife and daughter are iPhone people, while I love my Samsung-branded Android devices.
The app is easy to set up, and allows you to control multiple devices and label each one so that you can open two doors individually, or have devices installed at a vacation home, rental property, or Grandma’s house.
I was willing to invest quite a bit of money in a garage door opening solution that fit my needs. My old garage door opener was so old that I could not find an on-brand replacement for it. I was facing down the possibility of replacing the entire door opening system which would have cost hundreds of dollars in equipment and labor, as I would not have done the installation myself.
As of the publish date of this article, the GarageMate was selling for under $60.
That was a price point I could not refuse, especially seeing how the product fit my other criteria.
Installation Is Super Simple
The GarageMate Bluetooth Garage Door Opener is super simple to install.
To be clear, it is a garage door remote that works with your existing garage door opener.
It only has two connections to make. One wire that provides power from a nearby power outlet, and one pair of wires that go into the screw posts that it shares with the existing wired button on my garage wall.
The installation takes about 15 minutes if you’re already familiar with your opener system. Otherwise, you may have to hunt around for the wire leads, but they should be easy to find if you follow the current wire from your wall mounted button.
Once it is physically installed, it’s a simple matter to download the app and pair the device to your smartphone’s Bluetooth.
The GarageMate lacks the more sophisticated features of other devices.
- It does not have Wi-Fi
- It does not have an online feature that allows me to open my garage from work
- It does not interface with Alexa
But it is exactly this lack of features that make it more secure than other, higher priced options.
Each one of the above features adds another attack surface to anyone who might want to access your garage or possibly your home if your garage has an access door.
Though I don’t have the type of home that would attract a high tech criminal, I did not want to make it easy for someone with a little hacking knowledge to be able to open my garage door as I often leave the door from my garage leading into my home unlocked.
A Wi-Fi feature would allow a hacker to sit out side of my home and open my garage door at will.
Garage door openers with online cloud service pose a similar threat as they can be hacked from anywhere in the world. The pool of potential hackers is infinite once you’re in the cloud as can be seen in many videos where home security systems are hacked and criminals gain access to security cameras and microphones.
I believe there is a way that you can operate the GarageMate through Alexa, but I have not made any attempt to activate this feature, as I am concerned that my children might leave Alexa near a window where a potential criminal could yell, “Alexa, open garage door!”
The GarageMate alleviates all of these fears with its simplicity, and its use of Bluetooth.
Anyone who wants to enter the garage must be physically located in my driveway, and they must have a smartphone that was paired with the device by physically pushing the bluetooth pairing button.
There is no way to remotely pair a new device from outside of my garage.
It’s Easy for My Wife and Children to Operate
One of my main motivations for this project was to find a solution that would allow my growing children to access the house using their smartphones.
This way, I give my kids the autonomy to come and go as they please without having to trust them to carry a bulky garage door remote, or even a house key. I remember as a latch key kid in the 1980’s the stress that came over me when I lost my house key. Which, honestly, is a very easy thing to do when you’re in 5th grade.
GarageMate has a free app that works on both iPhone and Android. The app is easy to pair and set up, and you can either configure it as a two-step process (open the app, click the button for your garage) or as a single button-press through the app widget.
Though the GarageMate was the best choice for me, I know some of you may be looking for solutions with more features and options.
Here are a few other devices that I considered before making the purchase:
Full System: Genie B6172 Wall Mount Smart Garage Door Opener
This is a full garage door opener system by one of the best companies in the business: Genie. I was not ready to make this level of investment, but when I do replace my old opener, this is my first contender.
Works With Alexa: Remootio 2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart Garage Opener
This is another simple set up device with great reviews. People are using this one to open driveway gates as well as garage doors.