Garadget Review: This Smart Garage Door Opener Uses Frickin' Lasers

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The Garadget is a simple and secure smart garage-door opener. With this device, you can not only control your garage door from anywhere but also check whether it is open or closed or if it opens or closes while you're away. For the money, Garadget provides a lot of useful features, but when it comes to the best smart garage door openers, it's missing a few features.

While it isn't the most complex smart garage door opener, Garadget it isn't the simplest, either. Once the app and the gear are working together nicely, you get more information and control than you would from a GarageMate. But you also get fewer features than with more-high-end systems, such as the Chamberlain myQ. Garadget is the system to choose for a few key features: controlling and checking your garage door status at any time, from anywhere, with secure encryption and a system that integrates with a variety of home-control protocols.

What's Hot

Here's why you should consider Garadget.

Simple app setup: Getting the Garadget app (Android, iOS) set up on your mobile device is the easy part. The intuitive interface instantly tells you, via a graphic and text, whether your garage door is open or closed and how long it has been in either state. A run through the few menus in the app reveals seemingly endless settings, but you'll probably set up these items once and then leave them in place.

Open/closed status: Using a laser and reflector, Garadget keeps track of the status of your garage door, reporting it in real time on the app or in the secure web interface.

Customizable alerts: The Garadget app will send alerts to your mobile device or via email if the system is rebooted, your garage is accessed from a website, the garage door is open or closed, the door didn't follow the command you sent it, or the Garadget system goes offline. Garadget also offers a timeout alert to tell you if you leave your garage door open longer than a specific amount of time. When enabled, night alerts will warn you if your garage opens during a particular time frame (which you can set), for instance, in the middle of the night.

Secure: In the Garadget online community, the company pointed out the product's main security features, including that Garadget "doesn't have default passwords, doesn't listen to incoming connections, doesn't run complex operating systems (Linux, Android, etc.), doesn't handle high-level application protocols (FTP, SSH, etc.) and connects to a local network behind a firewall." Also, Garadget says, the "open-source nature of the project makes it available to public scrutiny and security audit."

Web access and control: I've never lost a mobile device, and I consider myself fairly careful about keeping my electronics safe and secure. Still, in the unlikely event that I lose my mobile phone and someone is able to get past both the phone's and Garadget's security, I'd have the option of logging in to my Garadget account over the web and controlling my garage door (and Garadget account) from there. Plus, it's just a good idea to have a backup system in case my mobile phone runs out of battery.

MORE: 9 Google Home Gadgets to Start Your Smart Home

Smart home integration: Garagdet works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and SmartThings.

What's Not

Despite those benefits, Garadget also has some flaws that might make you turn to a rival product.

Complex physical installation: While the Garadget app is easy to set up, installing the physical controller and wires was a bit more complex. The hardware involved includes a controller, a USB power adapter, a micro-USB cable, reflective tags, adhesive pads, a 2-foot-long control wire and a small screwdriver.

Credit: Garadget

(Image credit: Garadget)

The Garadget controller, which attaches to the garage door opener, has a small laser, which sends out a beam to a reflective tag that you mount on the garage door itself and which lets the system know if the door is open or closed. While the setup instructions were clear, aligning the controller laser and the reflective tape was very tricky, as you have to figure out just how much your garage door opener vibrates during operation, since that affects the direction of the laser beam and can make the controller incorrectly think the garage is open.

Credit: Garadget

(Image credit: Garadget)

App quirks: When I first started testing the Garadget, it sent me scores of back-to-back alerts telling me (incorrectly) the status of my garage door. However, this issue went away, and the system worked fine for the rest of my time with it.

MORE: Best Smart Garage Door Openers - Alexa, Homekit & Wi-Fi Units

The only other cause for concern was that I occasionally had to wait a few extra seconds for the system to register a command.

Bottom Line

For less than $90, Garadget offers a simple and secure means of controlling and checking the status of your garage door from anywhere. A few bugs worked themselves out following installation, and now I enjoy regular updates from the app when my garage door opens, when it closes, when it stays open too long, when it opens inside of a certain time frame and more. Garadget also offers an online community for users to ask questions and make suggestions, an invaluable resource for using a system like this to its fullest potential.  

Even with all these positives, the myQ gets the nod over Garadget for its very simple physical setup, simple user interface and the ability to manage other myQ devices. We also like the Nexx controller for the fact that you can use it with Google Assistant and Alexa, and its somewhat easier installation process. If you're not concerned about setup, though, Garadget is a worthy alternative.

Credit: Tom's Guide