When shopping for a garage door opener, quality and durability are at the top of the list of features. While these do not really feature, you want a product that is well designed and will last a long time. There are several other things to consider, but durability and price are almost always the deciding factors. A Liftmaster 8550w is definitely on the list to consider.
Many homeowners are looking for better options and more security. A garage door opener that can monitor your garage and provide alerts via a smartphone app adds security to any home. It also makes it easy to get in the garage and can make sure the door is closed when you forget.
It has a sleek design that works with most popular garage door systems. Also, it can be installed as a side-mounted garage door opener. It has a 1/2 horsepower DC motor that can lift door up to 550 pounds. There are two 100-watt light bulbs on each side of the Liftmaster 8550w. The lights are automatic, so they’ll go off a few minutes after the garage door was last used.
The Liftmaster 8550w is not designed to be installed by do-it-yourselfers. You can install it yourself, but they recommend using a professional. If you have a garage door opener that is chain-driven, using a professional is probably a better option because the chain-drive has to be replaced with a belt-drive. We’re putting the Liftmaster 8550w in the DIY category—don’t do it yourself.
The Liftmaster 8550w’s DC motor is probably the best feature this garage door opener offers. Both DC and AC motors have their respective advantages, but DC motors are a little better where garage door openers are concerned. DC motors are quieter than AC motors and more reliable.
Since the Liftmaster 8550w uses a DC motor, it also comes with a battery backup. That may not seem like a key feature, but if the power goes out, you’ll wish your garage door opener still worked. This is especially true if your garage door can only be opened by the garage door opener or if it’s difficult to open manually.
The battery backup is charged while the power is available. If the power goes out, you can expect to be able to open your garage door about 40 times on a single charge. There are no batteries to replace because the battery pack recharges when power is available. If you live in an area that is prone to bad weather and prolonged power outages, the Liftmaster 8550w garage door opener is a great choice for you.
One of our favorite features is the automatic door timer. We’ve all been late for work or in a hurry to get indoors for one reason or another. If you forget to close the garage door, the Liftmaster 8550w will do it for you.
You can set the timer to automatically close the garage door in five, ten or 99 minutes. This is a great feature for anyone that gets to work and can’t remember if they closed the garage door. It happens more often than you think.
The belt-drive is another one of our favorite features. Belt-drives are much quieter than chain-drives. It’s much easier to replace a belt than a chain if the belt fails. You may need a professional to install the Liftmaster 8550w, but chances are you can maintain it yourself.
The condensed version of the specs include:
The wall control panel has a digital readout that displays the temperature in the garage. It can also alert you to any issues with the Liftmaster 8550w. This is also where you can adjust timers for the auto-close feature. The wall control panel also tells you if a sensor is blocked. The door won’t close if the sensors think something may be under the door.
The motion detecting lights come on if someone enters the garage. They may not light up your entire garage, but they add a lot of light you would normally have to walk across a dark garage to turn on. The lights can be set to go off after a delay using the wall control panel.
The Liftmaster 8550w is part of the MyQ home automation technology. There’s an app for your smartphone to control your garage door. We would consider this a strong feature, but the app is only available if you use the MyQ system. If you want to use the MyQ system, it has many advantages including a live video feed and notifications if anything is wrong.
You can order the Liftmaster 8550w on Amazon for about $230 at the time of this writing. If you have a chain-driven garage door opener, you’ll need to get a quote from a professional to replace the chain-drive with the Liftmaster belt-drive system.
There are several accessories to make the garage door opener more valuable and make things a little easier in some cases. You can get it with a wireless, keyless entry system for an extra $45.99. There is a control panel which adds many options including system troubleshooting.
If you want to use the smartphone app, you’ll need to buy the internet gateway for the Liftmaster 8550w. That adds $59.99 to the price, but it gives you the peace of mind to know you can monitor your garage from anywhere in the world via your phone. You can make sure the kids remembered to close the garage door, see a live video feed, and get alerts if something is wrong.
The accessories are added features and not included by default.
Most of the customer reviews we found were positive. Many cited how quiet the Liftmaster 8550w was compared to their previous garage door opener, or how well it replaced their old garage door opener. According to reviews on the Liftmaster website:
“I have had two of these openers installed for about 2.5 years so far. I have so far experienced no issues! The belt drive is extremely quiet. I love the motion sensing lights too, as well as the ability to control the openers via wifi with the MyQ app. Where these really shine, is their ability to connect to Apple's HomeKit platform to allow for complete automation. All in all, I'd say this is a great purchase! Another point worth mentioning: I recently had to contact LiftMaster's customer support and they are on top of things!”
“Paid for professional installation. Took over 90 minutes. Replaced a Craftsman model that didn't work when temps dropped below 20 degrees in the winter. New model works great, setting up WIFI was a little painful and they app is no frills, but a nice feature to use my smartphone to determine if the door is open/closed remotely, be able to open the door anytime, battery back-up, quiet. Only had it installed a day, but so far impressed. I suggest LiftMaster improve MWQ WIFI setup and mobile app interface.”
“This Liftmaster 8550 replaces a Liftmaster Formula 1 garage door opener. The main reason I wanted the 8550 was for the battery backup feature. Quite often leave the house via the garage to walk the dogs and forget the house keys!! The installer from Automatic Doorz was excellent. Install of the MyQ App took all off a few minutes and was raring to go! Set up the Homelink on our 2-2016 Subarus with ease (watched a youtube video) So far very happy”
There were a few negative reviews, but after investigating it looks like it was just a matter of not following instructions. Almost all the problems mentioned in these reviews could be cleared up by either contacting customer support or simply visiting their website for troubleshooting help. Their troubleshooting section has a lot of helpful information and several videos to help you figure out what might be wrong and correct the problem.
One thing that is concerning, and we mention it a few times, is the Amazon product page. It lists the Liftmaster 8550w at $229.82 as of this writing. That’s fairly inexpensive compared to similar garage door openers. The problem is that to get all the features you’ll need to spend $325.27 plus pay a professional to install it all. Our assumption is the Amazon product page is for a replacement and not a new install.
Based on customer reviews, it holds up for durability. Compared to the Chamberlain WD832KEV Garage Door Opener, which offers most of the same features and is also belt-driven, the Liftmaster 8550w is the cheaper option. Both garage door openers really need professional installation and aren’t great for the DIY homeowner.
If you want a DIY option, you’re better off either replacing your current garage door opener or buying a chain-driven garage door opener. The problem with DIY garage door openers is there are usually no bonus features like the smartphone app and motion sensors you can get with the Liftmaster 8550w.
Chain-drive garage door openers are easier to install and cheaper, but chain-drives have a lot of undesirable qualities. Chain-drives are louder and require more maintenance. As they age and even some brand-new models, vibrations, and shudders begin to develop and only get worse. If the chain is in a dusty environment, it will need cleaning and oiling often.
If you are looking for a DIY garage door opener, the Liftmaster 8550w might not be the best choice. Ordering the Liftmaster 8550w from Amazon may seem inexpensive, but you only get the Liftmaster 8550w. If you want to use the wall control panel or the smartphone app, expect to pay about $100 plus extra.
Many older garage door opener systems use a chain-drive. The Liftmaster 8550w uses a belt-drive which is much quiet but requires replacing your old system. This could be an additional expense if you cannot replace the chain-drive system yourself. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, you still have to buy a belt-drive to replace the chain-drive.
Based on the extra expense of hiring a professional and having to purchase extra products to take advantage of all the features, the Liftmaster 8550w gets a B- for its final grade. It’s a great garage door opener, and it is well-design, but the extra expenses can add up quick.
Before you decide, ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly. Do you want to install your new garage door opener yourself? Or, do I want to control my garage door via my smartphone or will an old-school clicker work for my purposes? Do I care if the garage door opener is loud?
If you want to install it yourself, shopping for a chain-drive garage door opener is a better option. Also, if you want the added security of a smartphone app, the Liftmaster 8550w has a well-developed, intuitive smartphone app. If a louder garage door opener isn’t an issue, a chain-driven garage door opener is cheaper, and you can install it yourself.
The belt-driven Liftmaster 8550w is worth the money it costs even with the added features. Being able to monitor your garage in real-time is probably the more notable addon. If you aren't mechanically inclined or don’t want to install a garage door opener yourself, head over to Liftmaster.com and get started on a quote. The process is easy and the response times are fast.