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Are Garage Doors Sensors Universal?

Are Garage Doors Sensors Universal?

Manual garage doors are almost entirely a thing of the past, and electric garage doors are here to stay. With just one click of a button on a remote, the garage door will easily open.

Directly next to the door, electric garage doors have sensors to protect objects from getting crushed by the force of the door.

Garage doors sensors are not universal, and there is not one type of sensor. Every garage door company program sensor needs to work in tandem with the motorhead and circuit programming, meaning many sensors will not work with other company’s products.

When two garage door sensors are installed, their primary purpose is to monitor the area directly next to the garage door. Without these sensors, anything underneath the garage door could be crushed when it closes.

Also, the object in the way could damage the garage doors’ ability to close, resulting in hundreds of dollars in repairs.

Why Aren’t Garage Door Sensors Universal?

Garage door sensors are not universal, and there is not one universal sensor that can be attached to all garage doors.

There are 2 main types of garage door sensors:

  • Beam safety sensors – these are two sensors on opposite sides of one another. The first sensor will send a beam of light to the other sensor and the other sensor will receive the light. When there’s an object in the way, the light will not be able to reach the sensor on the other side, signaling that the door should not open or close.
  • Reflective safety sensors – the beam and the receiver are in the same sensor, so there is only one sensor.
    The center sends out a beam of light on the other side and sends the beam back. If there is an object in the way, the beam will change angles and not hit the sensor.

Note: Some garage door companies give the owner the option of purchasing a CO2 sensor. They will install this sensor when they build the garage door and system. The CO2 sensor will sound an alarm when there is a buildup of CO2 in the garage.

CO2 is an odorless and smokeless gas that can impair a human’s ability to think and remain alert and awake.

When the sensor senses a buildup of CO2 in the garage, it will automatically open the garage door to release the chemical and air out the garage. It may also play a warning signal.

garage door sensors

Can You Replace Garage Door Sensors with Any Brand?

Garage door sensors cannot be replaced with any other sensor brand. There are several main sensor companies and they do not program their sensors in a compatible or universal way.

If one sensor in a pair of sensors needs to be replaced, you will have to buy the same brand and product.

If both sensors need replacing, you have to buy a brand that is compatible with the garage door.

How To Find the Correct Sensor for Your Garage Door

If your garage’s sensor needs to be replaced, contact the company that installed the garage door or the business that designed the model.

They will be able to tell you what type and brand of sensors work with your garage door.  

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Garage Door Sensors?

When your garage door sensor starts to malfunction, they thankfully aren’t too expensive to repair. It is even cheaper than some vehicle repair jobs.

Depending on how handy you are, you can remove and install the garage sensors yourself as well, further reducing the cost.

But if you need to pay for the labor and the sensors, it will still be an inexpensive job.

  • Estimated price of garage sensor: $75 to $150
  • Estimated price of garage sensor and labor: $150 to $250

Before you buy a new pair of sensors, check the garage door’s warranty. The cost of new sensors may be covered by the warranty if it’s still active. Most garage door warranties last 3 to 5 years.

Does It Matter Which Side Garage Door Sensors Are On?

Yes, it does matter what side the sensors are on. If the sensors are made with infrared light technology, then each sensor has to be on one side of the door, and they have to be aligned. They cannot be on the same side of the door.

Sensors that have reflective technology can be on either side of the door. All that matters is that the reflective surface is directly opposite from it so that the beam can hit the reflective surface and travel back to the sensor.

Note: Not only does it matter which side of the garage the sensors are on, but it also matters how high the sensors are from the floor.

Safety sensors have to be 6-8 inches above the ground, but not higher. If the sensors are too high, they will not prevent the door from smashing small objects or animals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

My sensors will not allow the garage door to open or close, but there is nothing in the way. Are they broken?

In this case, there may be dust, grime, or a sticky film on one or both of the sensors. If the sensor has a substance on it, the light or beam it emits will change its angle or not connect with the other sensor. Wipe the sensor lenses with a damp cloth and try again.

Conclusion to Garage Door Sensors

Garage door sensors are not universal, as garage door companies can install sensors made with different technologies. Sensors operate in pairs; one sensor emits a light beam and the other detects the light and bounces it back.

When an object is in the way, the light to the receiving sensor is broken or off-center. To replace a pair of garage sensors, it will cost about $75 to $100 for the sensors themselves.

The cost of hiring someone to replace the sensors will be $150 to $250.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.