GarageMate Review: Cheap, but Too-Simple Smart Garage Door Opener

The GarageMate Garage Door Remote Control and App is an ultra-simple and affordable garage door opener that you control from your smartphone, but other openers such as the Chamberlain MyQ and Nexx have many more features.

Our Verdict

Check out the GarageMate if you just want to control your garage door from your smartphone. Though they cost more, the MyQ and Nexx offer much more functionality, such as remote operation and Alexa and Google Assistant integration.

For

  • Simple setup
  • Simple one-button use
  • Can manage multiple openers and users

Against

  • Doesn't provide open or closed status
  • Doesn't work with other smart-home systems
  • Incomplete activity log
  • No geofencing

The GarageMate smart garage door opener ($45) provides a simple convenience: Launch the app from your phone to open and shut your garage door. Setting up GarageMate also is a simple operation. A handy installation guide clearly shows how to connect the small, in-garage receiver to your garage door opener — a 5-minute operation if you go slow.

But if you're looking for additional features such as the ability to work with Alexa or Google Assistant, you'll have to look elsewhere.

What's Hot

Here's why to consider the GarageMate for your smart garage door opener.

Simple installation: Before installing the GarageMate in my garage, I paired the GarageMate receiver with the app on my phone. Then I headed to the garage where I've had the same Genie Exelerator garage door opener  for 17 years. Apparently garage door technology hasn’t changed much over the past 20 years because the GarageMate connected easily to it —  by connecting two wires and plugging the unit into a power outlet. (A well-illustrated installation card helped). In my case, the only tool I needed was a small screwdriver.

Simple setup: Once the wires were connected and the unit plugged in, I opened the app (Android and iOS), and clicked the Settings icon, selected My garages, and then pressed Scan for New GarageMate Receivers. And within a few minutes, I was ready to open and close my garage using the GarageMate app.

Simple to use: Open the GarageMate app and click the garage door icon to open or close your garage door. To simplify things further, you can set up the app to open or close your garage door whenever you launch the app.

Manage multiple garage doors: You can use the app with multiple receivers to control multiple garage doors.

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

Security: Because the GarageMate is not connected to the internet — you connect to it from your phone using Bluetooth 4.0 — any potential hackers would have to be within 100 feet or so to try to break in. The GarageMate app is password-protected, and a vacation mode prevents others from opening the door while you're away.

What's Not

The GarageMate comes up short in a few areas, however.

Limited functionality: An activity log in the app keeps track of opens and closes and you can download the log, a useful feature if you have multiple users and need to track their openings and closings. However, the app can't tell you whether the garage door is open or closed. I have to see it for myself to know.

No smart-home connectivity: Unlike rival products, the GarageMate doesn't connect with any other smart-home devices or systems. That means you can't link the app so that your lights turn on when the door opens, for instance, as you can with the Nexx.

MORE: Best Smart Home Devices - Systems, Products and Gadgets

No remote operation: Because GarageMate works via Bluetooth, you can't control or monitor the garage door if you're out of range. So, if you're across the country, you won't be able to tell if the door is open or closed.

Bottom Line

For $50, the GarageMate is an inexpensive way to control your garage door using your smartphone. It's easy to install, and provides an extra method for opening and closing the door.

If you want additional features, such as connecting it with other smart-home devices or checking its status remotely, you'll want something like the Chamberlain MyQ or the Nexx, which work with Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. However, they cost twice as much as the GarageMate. But if all you're looking for is simple convenience, it doesn't get simpler than the GarageMate.

Credit: Tom's Guide