Understanding AC and DC Garage Door Operators


When it comes to garage door operators, we have your best interest in mind with reliable products to choose from. While there are many GDOs to choose from, our line of smart operators are some of the best in the industry and include features that could be beneficial to you. While not all GDOs are the same, there are two common types of motors used in most GDOs and it’s important to understand the difference when you’re looking to purchase a new garage door opener. To learn more, we spoke with Mark Mattson, our product manager, to explain the breakdown of AC and DC-powered operators. Let’s dive in!

It’s All in the Motor 

The difference between AC and DC operators is the type of motor used in them. While an alternating current (AC) goes back and forth between the power source, a direct current (DC) moves in one constant direction.

The design of the DC operators allows for smoother operation in addition being energy efficient, as opposed to AC operators.

Advantages of the Operators 

Like many products on the market, there are advantages in purchasing one model over another whether it be price, simplicity or function. AC motors are very simple to power straight from a wall outlet. This makes AC-powered operators easy and inexpensive to use in an application, according to Mattson.

A DC motor is designed to run off of direct power, which needs to come from a battery to provide constant voltage. While this may be less cost effective, there are a couple main advantages including:

  • It’s easier to run the motor off of batteries
  • It’s simpler to control what the motor is doing
  • Users can easily measure the speed and force the motor is applying to the garage door

These fundamental differences mean it’s much easier for your garage door operator to be battery backup capable, have soft start and stop, have better obstacle detection and quieter operation, said Mattson.

The Overall Conclusion

 Choosing an AC or DC-powered operator is a classic product decision of price versus features. Consumers will achieve comparable speeds and lifting strength with either of the operators.

Mattson suggests, “If cost is the primary concern, go with an AC operator but, if you want the convenience and peace of mind of all the additional features, go with a DC operator.”

Want more information on our GDOs? Read our blog featuring “The 9 Reasons Dealers Install Linear® Operators.” For more news and product updates, sign up for our newsletter, Access Insider!