Genie has quite a few models of garage door opener on the market, but I haven’t seen too many belt-driven ones. Most have been inexpensive chain-drive units. Belt-drive openers are generally superior, but a little more expensive. They operate more smoothly, put less strain on their motors, and are much quieter, especially when combined with a DC motor.
That’s exactly what Genie has done here with the 4042-TKH SilentMax 1200, which I will mercifully only refer to as the SilentMax from now on. The price is pretty reasonable, putting it head-to-head with some chain-driven models from brands like Chamberlain. That’s pretty enticing, but were there any important costs cut? Let’s look at the features and user opinion of this product.
Genie openers have this look that makes me think of boat equipment, like the top of an outboard motor. It’s especially pronounced when they choose colors like bright blue. In the case of the SilentMax they’ve gone for a brushed metallic looking frame with a white plastic cover. It’s functional, not actively ugly, and I have no strong positive or negative feelings about it. So then, good for a piece of garage equipment.
The metallic look carries over to the accessories as well, which look quite nice. The exception here is the keypad, which looks like an air conditioner remote from the 90s, which is unfortunate since it’s the one thing that goes on the outside of the building. Overall though, I’m pretty happy with how it all looks.
Speaking of accessories, the SilentMax comes with two three-button remotes, a wall console, the above-mentioned wireless keypad, a motion detector, and safety beams. Despite looking less than attractive, the keypad is a nice bonus at this price, as often you have to buy it separately.
Saften Up and Be Safe…In A Safe Way
Safety features are as you’d expect, as there’s not really anything special here. Genie’s “Safe-T-Beam” system stops the door from squashing things that are important (like your children) as well as things that aren’t (like your mother-in-law). There’s an auto reversing system that knows when there’s an obstruction too, and Genie says the safety systems meet all state and federal regulations, so who am I to argue?
Security-wise the SilentMax uses code-hopping, which Genie refers to as “IntelliCode”. All but the cheapest products have this feature now. Basically it changes the radio code every time you use the remote to open or close the door, making it hard to impossible for unscrupulous characters to hijack your garage door and empty the house while you’re out.
Lift With Your Legs
The DC motor in the SilentMax is rated at the equivalent of 3/4 HP; that gives you enough power to lift a 550 pound door, and this is my personal bottom end in terms of power. But if a 1/2 HP unit works for you, by all means get one.
Dumb De Dumb, Dumb, Dumb
The SilentMax is dumb. Not in a bad way – it just doesn’t have any smartphone or internet-connected functions. Companies like Chamberlain are including smart features in their openers now, but Genie hasn’t put anything like that in the SilentMax. So if that’s important to you, move along; there’s nothing to see here.
Insert Tab A into Tab B
Users report that installation is straightforward – this is really is the norm these days so the SilentMax doesn’t get bonus points for simply being competent in this area. The general consensus is that it’s also very quiet, which is the main reason to buy a belt-drive opener.
Worryingly though, there are several complaints about build quality, especially in terms of circuit board failure. There’s a lifetime warranty on the motor itself, but other parts only carry a five-year warranty. That’s a real worry, since electronics have no excuse to fail like this in this day and age.
It’s especially egregious since the company prominently promotes its “GenieSense Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology”, which is apparently in this unit. This system supposedly “minimizes noise, wear, and tear on the door”. In other words, it should make the product last longer than the competition, not the other way around.
It seems that recent Genie products are eroding the brand reputation Genie has built over the years in the U.S., and that’s a real shame. Whether there really is a wider problem is something only Genie knows, but the user reviews are clear.
Danger, Will Robinson!
Honestly, I want to like the SilentMax. I like things that are both cheap and good. Unfortunately, the SilentMax is not all that cheap and not all that good. Users have reported several serious issues with this opener. Despite most problems cropping up within the warranty period, the anxiety and hassle I’d knowingly experience in buying this product would make it one to avoid.
There are better products on the market for a similar price and I’d rather go for something like a Chamberlain Whisper Drive opener. The SilentMax may be cheap for a belt-drive unit, but $200 is not a small amount of money in most people’s book, and I’m not keen to throw away that money and time to save a hundred bucks.