Chamberlain WD962KEV Whisper Review
The Chamberlain Whisper Drive (the “WD” models) products are pretty much near the top of the range when it comes to DIY systems. Remember, Chamberlain is the DIY brand from LiftMaster, whereas LiftMaster products are only meant for professional installation.
I always wondered a bit about high-end DIY products. These are products for someone who is willing to pay for features and refinement, but not for the convenience of having it installed professionally. Of course you can always get the WD962KEV installed professionally, that’s up to you. I’m just pointing out Chamberlain’s rationale.
Either way, let’s look at what this product has to offer and if it’s worth shelling out for.
She’s Got the Look
The WD962KEV looks premium, the plastic is a nice black and white design that matches the carbon fiber and polycarbonate aesthetic of a modern Lexus or Mercedes. That’s a real blessing, since Chamberlain has made other openers in the same price range that, to me, have looked hideous – specifically, some of the power drive (model numbers with “PD”) openers that had a off- white plastic reminiscent of melted down prosthetic arms. This is much more attractive.
The feature list of the WD962KEV (I’m tempted to call it “Kevin” for short) is, as you may suspect, quite long. First of all, it features a DC motor that puts out the equivalent of a 3/4 HP AC motor. So you can rest assured that it will lift the majority of single and double doors. 550 pounds is usually the working maximum for a 3/4 HP opener.
Apart from generally being quieter and smoother than AC motors, DC motors have the advantage of allowing direct battery backup. The WD962KEV has a backup battery built right into the main unit, which means you don’t have to worry about a second, bulky mounted device that needs its own outlet.
Unfortunately, since batteries have such limited lifespans, you’ll have to replace it every few years. So having it built-in comes with a trade off. Nonetheless, the battery provides enough juice to open or close the door twenty times in the first 24 hours of a power outage, which is pretty impressive.
Silent but Deadly
The combination of a DC motor and belt drive means we can expect the WD962KEV to be quiet and, like the rest of the whisper drive series, it really is. Users are very positive about its sound profile and you’d have to use something exotic like a jackshaft opener if you want even more silence. In practice, your actual door will be the only thing making noise, as it would when opened by hand. Everyone seems to agree that this quiet aspect makes the WD962KEV perfect for garages that are attached to homes or have a bedroom above them.
Serve and Protect
There are lots of safety features on this opener that make it a solid contender for your money. It has motion-activated lights, although the bulbs have to come out of your own pocket. It has a “time-to-close” feature, which lets you set a time after which the door should close if you forget to close it yourself – a great feature to avoid a slip-up that might compromise your safety.
There’s also a continuous force monitoring system, so that the door always closes with the same force despite things like temperature fluctuations. Not only does this improve the longevity of the system, but it also prevents damage from a lack of calibration.
The WD962KEV comes with two three-button remotes that feature code-hopping. Each time you click the button to open or close the door, it changes the code for the next use. This makes it impossible for criminals to hijack the signal, since any code they grab will be useless. Buying a remote gets them nowhere as well, since it has to be synced manually by the owner at first use.
There’s also a wireless, keyless entry pad included, which is great in an emergency or when someone needs access to your home while you have the remotes with you.
Finally there’s the ubiquitous IR beams to stop kids and pets from being squashed, and a posilock system that mechanically locks the door when it’s closed so that cutting the power won’t grant thieves access. Of course, you can manually disengage this from inside during a power outage.
One of the key features of many Chamberlain products across the range is the MyQ internet functionality. This allows you to use an app on your smartphone to control the door and lights from anywhere in the world. It’s pretty cool and forms part of a greater home automation ecosystem, but in order to use it you have to buy the CIGBU internet gateway, which is close to $50. That’s a significant hidden cost, so if those features are important to you, take note.
In the End, It Really Does Matter
Users like it, saying it’s easy to install and works almost flawlessly. However, there are other slightly cheaper models in the Whisper Drive range that offer all of this except the battery backup and higher horsepower rating. If those two features are not important to you, save a few dollars and buy a lower-end model instead.
Otherwise I’m sure you’ll be thrilled with the big “Kevin”. It has all the bells and whistles one can reasonably expect, and the only way to get a slicker setup is to buy something meant for professional installation.