Tom's Guide Verdict
The Tailwind iQ3 adds plenty of smart features to your garage door, including a clever auto open/close function.
Alexa and Google Home integration
Can sense when you arrive or leave
Some openers require additional adapter
iPhone users need a car sensor
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT
Few smart home devices are more useful than a smart garage door opener. With an Internet-connected garage door, you never have to worry about whether you left the garage door open when you’re laying in bed or when you travel; just check the app and fix it. While most smart garage door openers offer a few basic features, the Tailwind iQ3 Smart Automatic Garage Door Controller is smarter than most — most notably automatic opening and closing, as well as Alexa and Google Assistant integration and the ability to customize how it works. But like several of the other best smart garage door openers, set up is not intuitive. Read the rest of our Tailwind iQ3 review to see if this is the smart garage door opener for you.
Tailwind iQ3: Price and availability
Tailwind sells three versions of the iQ3 smart garage door opener. A model that lets you control a single garage door is $59.99; a model that controls two doors is $77.99, and a three-door controller costs $93.99.
Tailwind iQ3: Design
The Tailwind iQ3 system is comprised of a sensor that you put on your garage door and a module that attaches to your garage door opener. The package comes with all the hardware you need to get up and running, including a wire that connects the sensor to the control module and clips and tape to secure the module and wire. You can control up to three garage doors with the module, though each door needs a sensor installed.
Android users who have a car with Bluetooth can use the auto open/close feature without any additional hardware, but iPhone users will need a separate sensor — a small white disc — to put in the car to make that feature work.
Tailwind iQ3: Installation
You should definitely read the manual and watch the videos on the Tailwind site before you start installing the iQ3. While it’s not difficult, it’s not intuitive and the instructions are essential to doing it right. The entire process took about 35 minutes.
You start by putting the two-part sensor on the garage door. The switch clips to the track, while the magnet goes on the door itself. It’s important to align the two parts properly so the module knows when the door is opening or closing.
Next, you run a wire from the sensor to the module, which should be located on the side of the garage door opener. Using the included clips helped keep the wire tight along the track and kept the wire out of the way. The wire then connects to the module. If you have a garage door opener with a “learn” button (as I do), you’ll need to connect an adapter to the module. Press the learn button on the opener and hold down the appropriate door button on the adapter to teach it the code.
Tailwind iQ3: App and set up
The Tailwind app, free for iOS and Android, handles set up of its smart features and allows you to control the garage door. The process includes creating an account, logging on to your Wi-Fi network and finding your address. The app walks you through each part.
The app is less slick looking than Chamberlain’s MyQ, but appearances aren’t everything. The Tailwind app is intuitive and makes it easy to do the main task: open or close the garage. You can also easily get to the customizable features.
You can use the app to see whether the door is opened or closed, and can open or close the door by tapping the garage door icon (the image of the door shows its current state).
You can enable notifications that let you know when the door opens or closes, and you can even have it tell you if you’ve left the door open. You also can give other people access to the garage door as well (they will need to create an account and download the app).
The app has several ways to customize the controller, such as changing the number of pulses that happen when you open or close the door. If you’re using the vehicle sensor for auto open/close, you can set how far away you want to be before that feature works.
Tailwind iQ3: Performance
Once you’ve got it set up, the iQ3 does its job well. Opening and closing the door through the app is as fast as when you use the remote for the garage door. The sensors quickly noted when the door was opening or closing, and I received alerts on my phone faster from the iQ3 than with my Chamberlain garage door opener’s MyQ app.
The vehicle sensor opened the garage door when I approached, though getting the device to consistently sense my location took a few tries. The convenience of automatic opening was worth a little extra effort. However, I turned off auto close because the minimum distance — 250 feet — was too far from my house for my comfort.
Tailwind iQ3: Smart assistant features
The iQ3 works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. I tested the Alexa integration. You can use either a custom skill or a Smart Home skill. If you use the custom skill, you say things like "Alexa, ask Tailwind to open garage door” or "Alexa, ask Tailwind to check garage door.” With the Smart Home skill, you don’t have to say “ ask Tailwind” each time, but you have to use the phrase, “Alexa, lock the garage door” to get it to work.
Once you have the lingo down, voice commands are a convenient way to take advantage of having a smart garage door — eliminating the need to take out your phone.
Tailwind iQ3 review: Verdict
The Tailwind iQ3 is a useful device for adding smart features to your garage door opener. Not only can you use it to control your garage door, but it works with both Alexa and Google Assistant, and lets you know if you’ve left your door open. And it makes automatic opening and closing possible — something that most other smart openers don’t. I just wish I could adjust the distance at which it activates.
We still give the Chamberlain MyQ the edge as the best smart garage door opener, as it works with a wider range of smart home systems—though not Alexa—and it costs half as much as the Tailwind iQ3. But, the iQ3 is still a smarter-than-average garage door.
Michael Gowan is a freelance technology journalist covering soundbars, TVs, and wireless speakers of all kinds of shapes and sizes for Tom’s Guide. He has written hundreds of product reviews, focusing on sound quality and value to help shoppers make informed buying decisions. Micheal has written about music and consumer technology for more than 25 years. His work has appeared in publications including CNN, Wired, Men’s Journal, PC World and Macworld. When Michael’s not reviewing speakers, he’s probably listening to one anyway.