Chamberlain PD612EV 1/2 HP Garage Door Opener Review
As far as residential garage door openers go, the closer you get to the $500 mark, the closer you are to the pinnacle of the price range. Especially so if we’re talking about chain drive openers. Pay over that amount and you’re into commercial territory, and probably have a garage like Jay Leno, you lucky dog.
The PD612EV (The “PD” is short for “Power Drive”, apparently) from Chamberlain certainly isn’t cheap and yet it’s only a half-horsepower unit. So your expensive garage door opener is limited to opening a decidedly inexpensive door, unless the door’s made from carbon fiber or some other exotic material. Half-horsepower door openers are limited to about 300 pounds of lifting power. Which is about the weight of a two-car door made from steel.
So why is this rather standard, chain-driven opener so expensive? Let’s see if we can figure out where the money went.
But is it Art?
Well, one place it didn’t go was into the design. Whether you think the PD612EV is attractive or not is up to you, but to my eye it’s reminiscent of hospital equipment. Like a Stannah Stairlift or a cheap prosthetic arm. That off-white centerpiece of the shell is especially ugly. Chamberlain would have been better off simply making the whole thing white. As it stands, the design just seems a bit outmoded.
The device is very solidly constructed however, with both the chassis and rail consisting of high-grade steel, something which promises long-term durability of the main structural components.
The PD612EV has essentially the same feature list as other MyQ openers from Chamberlain. You should know right off the bat that to make use of the smart internet features you need to spend another $40 on the CIGBU internet gateway that ties the MyQ system together. You’d think that a nearly $400 opener would be bundled with everything you need, but I guess not.
The tick-boxes here are duly filled. Two three-button rolling-code remotes? Check. Homelink compatibility? Sort of – you may need a special bridge device, depending on your car model. You should probably phone Chamberlain and confirm this first. IR safety beams are also there, as expected, and the door will stop if obstructed, so your kids and pets should be safe. The PD612EV also includes a keyless entry system using a pin, in case you get locked out.
You also get a wireless, wall-mounted keypad and support for 200W of lighting. Be warned, however, that despite the Amazon listing stating that LED lighting is supported, the actual user manual advises against it, as the range of your the remote may be affected by it.
In terms of height, the PD612EV can handle doors of up to 7 ft., which covers most average residential garage doors. But again, at this end of the product’s price range are you likely to buy it for an “average” door?
I must say, though, that one feature that does stand out is the 10-year warranty on the motor. I suspect that it must be a very high quality unit if Chamberlain is willing to put that much time on the warranty. Possibly, the long warranty indicates that the PD612EV is meant for high-traffic or long-term use.
Despite my misgivings about how this unit looks, user reviews for this garage door opener are very positive. I assume that most of these reviewers aren’t actually blind, so, unlike me, they put more stock in function over form.
As with most Chamberlain products I’ve seen, the clarity of the manual, ease of installation, and quality of the customer service line are mentioned consistently.
Users think the PD612EV is quiet and user-friendly. Some people have, however, noted a difficulty in programming the closing set point; needing multiple tries before getting it right.
I’m disappointed that for this price the PD612EV is not a 3/4 horsepower door opener. As I’ve mentioned, I also find it offensively ugly and, on that point alone, would avoid it at any price. But your mileage may vary in that regard. It also boggles my mind that even high-end products from Chamberlain don’t come bundled with the CIGBU internet gateway you need to make use of the smart MyQ functionality. It’s not like a $400 garage door opener is likely to be your second or third one, which would make a bundle quite sensible, so that’s a minus in my book. Of course, what’s even more mind-boggling is why Chamberlain needs this proprietary hardware in any case, since surely it could not have been too difficult for the various MyQ systems to talk to each other through my WiFi router, since it depends on that anyway. This is a problem I have with the MyQ range in general though, not this product in particular. It’s also not great that it doesn’t include a backup battery, which is a feature often seen on products in this price category.
That being said, the PD612EV has a lot of satisfied customers, it continues doing all the things people like about Chamberlain openers, and it seems like a very competent garage door opener. But to me it seems that one of the cheaper Chamberlain MyQ half-horsepower openers would be just as good in practice. I have, however, seen this opener dip down to as little as $150. In that case, given the quality of the unit and long-term warranty, I would actually recommend it, if you don’t mind its appearance.