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LiftMaster WLED Belt Drive Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener

Shortly after moving into our first non-apartment home, my husband’s bicycle was swiped from our garage. Besides realizing that not all of suburbia is like Mayberry, we learned that keeping the garage door closed when we’re not in it is key. Many a night, snug in my bed, I’ve wondered if we remembered to shut the door, which is two long flights down. Living in a moderately smart home, I’ve also wondered why we haven’t installed a Wi-Fi-enabled garage door opener so I could check the status of the door remotely, from my phone.

LiftMaster’s new WLED DC Battery Backup Belt Drive Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener is a well-equipped belt-drive model. It’s pin-drop quiet compared with the chain-driven garage door openers of yore, includes DC battery backup so you can access your garage (and your car) in a power outage, and bright LEDs that bring light to every nook and cranny of the space. Most important, integrated Wi-Fi and the MyQ app let you view the state of the door (closed or open and for how long), and control it from your phone so you’ll never have to trudge outside in your PJs.

Part of the Chamberlain Group, LiftMaster only sells its garage door openers through dealers paired with professional installation. The Chamberlain brand of openers are typically less expensive, available direct to consumers, and can be self-installed. The list price for the WLED itself is $ 448.99, and the installation price varies by dealer; you should expect to pay an additional $ 100 to $ 150. If you’re looking for whisper-quiet operation, better lighting in the garage, and don’t want to install a garage door opener yourself or find an installer, the WLED is worth a look. Just know that the feature-equivalent Chamberlain-branded model will cost you less—even with third-party installation—and that Chamberlain offers add-on Wi-Fi connectivity solutions for most garage door openers manufactured in the past 25 years.

Design and Components

The oblong main unit is ceiling mounted, weighs 24 pounds, and measures 11.19 by 11.94 by 19.81 (HWD). It’s constructed of black plastic with a red stripe down the middle that bears the LiftMaster and MyQ logos. The bottom portion slots transparent plastic on either side of the stripe for the LED board array that’s inside. Hence its name, the WLED’s claim to fame is that it’s very bright, to bring more light to the garageeven if, like me, your garage’s appearance isn’t something you want to highlight. The LEDs are rated to last approximately 30,000 hours, which means you’ll likely never need to replace them, even if they are automatically switched on every time the garage door is ajar.

LiftMaster WLED Belt Drive Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener

The main unit houses the DC-powered motor, which provides a lifting force equivalent to 1-1/4 horsepower, along with a backup battery that will power the opener for one to two days of normal use during an outage. (After electricity has been restored, the battery will recharge itself in 24 hours.) There’s also an integrated Wi-Fi radio that operates on the 2.4GHz frequency and supports 802.11b/g/n.

Two safety sensors are included to install on the door track to stop the garage door from closing when there is an obstruction in its path. A Smart Control Panel (pictured) that’s installed inside the garage lets you turn the light on or off, and open or close the door. It also displays the current time and temperature along with level status for the unit’s backup battery. A numeric PIN pad with backlit buttons is included to mount outside of the garage for keyless entry, and you get two remote controls to place in the car, the house, or anywhere else you want to be able to wirelessly control the door.

LiftMaster WLED Belt Drive Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener

One of the benefits of opting for the LiftMaster brand of garage door opener, over less-expensive sister brand Chamberlain, is that you purchase directly from a dealer who arranges and handles the installation. You can find a dealer on LiftMaster’s site searching by zip code. I was able to find more than 30 dealers within a 25-mile radius of my metro New York-area test location. To give another example, I found a single dealer within a 25-mile radius of downtown Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The install was quick and simple. A technician from a local garage door company showed up with the unit, removed the ancient chain-driven garage door opener it was replacing, installed the WLED, and walked me through its features in less than 90 minutes. I doubt I could complete this project myself—never mind in less than two hours. All that was required was a phone call to set everything up. You’re paying for major convenience here.

To compare, the Chamberlain B1381 offers the same power equivalence and features, including the corner-to-corner LED lighting (the only difference is that the motor is AC-powered and is housed in a blue casing with Chamberlain branding). That model lists for $ 338 and at the time of writing, Amazon is offering professional installation for $ 114. If you’re handy and patient, you can save the extra cost and install it yourself.

I completed the remainder of the setup process by connecting the WLED to my Wi-Fi network. First I downloaded the MyQ Smart Garage Control app on my iPhone (it’s free and available for Android and iOS) and stepped through the very simple pairing. My attached garage is close to the basement, where a Netgear Nighthawk wireless router is located, so the signal to the WLED is strong. If the Wi-Fi signal in your garage is too weak, you’ll need to move the router or get a wireless range extender to bridge the gap. The WLED operates on the 2.4GHz band and supports 802.11b/g/n.

Performance

The belt-driven WLED replaced a decades-old Challenger chain-driven unit and the difference in operation is night and day. While the old opener did manage to open and close the garage door, it was jerky, slow, and obnoxiously loud. In testing, the WLED ran smoothly and quietly whether initiated by interaction with the Smart Control Panel inside the garage, the keypad outside the garage, the remote controls, or the MyQ app. The safety sensors on the door track were always accurate; stopping the door from moving when something (or someone) was in the path of the track.

Compared with the recent-model Chamberlain belt-drive opener installed on the adjacent garage door, the WLED is much quieter and smoother in operation, and throws considerably more light. And that light is much brighter. I’m not sure if this will be a major selling point for most people, but it’s nice to have bright light in the garage, even if it does make the piles of junk and ever-present coat of dust easier to see.

The MyQ App and Smart Home Integration

LiftMaster WLED Belt Drive Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener

Chamberlain’s app, MyQ, is simple to use, and supports multiple garage door openers. Both my Chamberlain and LiftMaster units are easily accessible in the app. Besides allowing remote door control, you can view door status along with how long the door has been open or closed, and you can create schedules to automatically open or close doors at a given time. For example, my doors are set to close every day automatically at 10 p.m., and I receive a push notification every time (I could also opt for email notifications if I’d rather).

LiftMaster and Chamberlain MyQ-enabled garage door openers integrate with a number of smart home and car protocols including Nest and IFTTT; a handful of home security systems like Alarm.com, Honeywell, Wink, and Xfinity Home; as well as Alpine and Tesla for in-dash garage door control. Voice control is a weak spot. There’s no support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant requires a $ 10 yearly subscription fee. Being able to ask Google if your garage door is open is arguably a very handy feature, but it shouldn’t require an additional fee.

I connected my Nest thermostat, and I was able to set my status to Home or Away from within the MyQ app. I suppose that’s useful, though I can access that feature in most of my smart home apps. If you have a Nest Cam you can see camera status and there’s a link to your live feed within the MyQ app. An IFTTT applet I created automatically closes the garage door when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. That’s admittedly not terribly useful, and like Google Assistant, IFTTT support costs $ 10 a year. It should be included.

Conclusions

The LiftMaster WLED is a capable, feature-filled smart garage door that’s easy to use and performs admirably. Installation, which is probably the biggest hassle that comes with adding or replacing a garage door, requires zero effort other than calling a local dealer to schedule an appointment. There’s not a lot to dislike here.

The only issue is the price and the fact that parent company, Chamberlain, offers a practically identical version of the same product at a list price that’s more than $ 100 lower. Granted, you’ll need to install it yourself, or find your own installer, but the latter should cost about the same as what the LiftMaster dealer will work into your final cost to cover the installation. It’s also a bummer that Google Assistant and IFTTT support cost extra, but otherwise, the app provides all you need to keep an eye on your garage from afar—even if that’s only two flights up.

Also worth considering: Chamberlain also offers a MyQ Smart Garage Hub for $ 80, which adds Wi-Fi connectivity and access to the MyQ app to most garage doors manufactured after 1993. You can view a compatibility list on Chamberlain’s site. It’s what I did to smarten up my second garage door; it works quite well, and was easy to install myself.

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