Chamberlain WD832KEV 1/2 HP Belt Whisper Drive Review
Chamberlain (which is actually Liftmaster) is one of the better known brands in garage door openers – a good thing, since buying a garage door opener is something you’ll probably do less frequently than buying an actual car. It’s not like I keep up with who is making the best door openers or subscribe to “Garage Door Openers Weekly”. I’d heard good things about this brand, though, and despite the unnecessarily abstract name (WD832KEV? Seriously?) the feature list on this particular model caught my interest.
The Strong and Silent Type
OK, maybe not that strong. At only half a horsepower this thing was never going to open the marble garage doors on your Beverly Hills mansion, but then you’d have people for that kind of thing and not be reading this, right? In all seriousness though, if your garage door isn’t a lightweight material like aluminum you may want to opt for something with more grunt. A 3/4 HP unit should do it for wood or heavy steel.
Is it quiet? This is obviously one of the main selling points for the product, and all I can say is that it’s certainly a heck of a lot quieter than the old chain-driven model you’re likely to be replacing. But “whisper” might be a bit of an exaggeration, based on what users are saying. Still, the belt drive makes for a smooth and low-noise opening action.
So that’s the two main points out of the way, let’s have a look at what’s in the box and the key features on this unit.
Yes, they really are! The unit needs three lithium ion batteries, and they are included in the box. Irritatingly, something that isn’t included is the “Chamberlain 8808CB 8-Feet Belt Drive Extension Kit”. You’ll need this if your door is more than 7 feet high. So check the height of your door and keep in mind the kit is an extra forty bucks.
You get two 3-button remotes, a wireless keypad, a motion detection control panel, and connections for 200 watts of lighting. It doesn’t come with actual lightbulbs, so that’s an extra expense.
More Than Meets the Eye
The WD832KEV (sigh) has quite a few features that take it beyond simply opening your door. Unfortunately, some of these require that you spend yet more money, as you’ll see.
Apart from being in control of the door opening and closing, the WD-you-know-what also has safety sensors, an automatic and selectable timer to close the door, and something Chamberlain calls the Posilock anti-theft system. They claim that this system makes sure that, once closed, the door stays locked. In other words, the door locks automatically whenever it’s closed, but luckily there is manual release mechanism in case the power goes out.
There is also the Protector System, which comes in the form of a snap-on beam assembly that uses infrared to detect people, animals, or objects in the way of the door.
One neat feature is the fact that the remote code-hops every time you open the door. The base station sends the remote a new code each time, which means that criminals who try to intercept and copy your remote code are out of luck.
The Fine Print
The MyQ technology so prominently mentioned in the product name is actually completely useless unless you also own the Chamberlain CIGBU MYQ Internet Gateway, which is yet another $40 to $50. If you pair the opener with one of these gateways you can control various things using an app on your smartphone. Why Chamberlain couldn’t simply have let its products talk directly via your WiFi router is beyond me, and the gateway seems like an unnecessary extra layer, but if you want the MyQ functions you’ll have to shell out for the CIGBU. The software allows you to monitor your door and everything else that’s MyQ compatible from any place where there is internet access.
I have seen multiple complaints about router compatibility as well as compatibility with the “Homelink” technology some brands of car have. It all seems a bit hit or miss, so I strongly recommend you give Chamberlain a call and confirm that the other systems you want to use over MyQ are on the compatibility list before you spend a cent.
Some Assembly Required
If you are doing this DIY the good news is that it isn’t all that hard, if user reports are anything to go by. However, if you’ve never installed anything yourself before, maybe this is a bit tricky as a first project.
If you are replacing an existing door and not doing a fresh install things are significantly easier, since you can reuse a lot of the equipment already in there – things like hangars and some wiring to the sensor units.
Also, it’s worth noting that the instructions for installing the belt tensioner assembly is on a piece of paper separate from the manual. So make a point of finding it between the rest of the paperwork and don’t accidentally throw it away.
Purely as a garage opener the WD832KEV is a good product that I’d recommend. It does its primary job of being quiet and opening garage doors with no hassle. For less than $250, its basic functions are worth it. I think it’s best not to factor in the MyQ stuff in your primary consideration. It’s a nice extra, but you shouldn’t dwell on it too much because of the many ifs, buts, and extra money.
If you are already bought into the MyQ system and know that your other devices are compatible though, then this is really a no-brainer.