Imagine this: you’re rushing around in the morning, trying to get ready for work, when you remember that you need to check the mail. While you’re gone, you spouse sees that the door is open and idly decided to close it. Or maybe it happens differently – you leave through your front door, which locks behind you, and walk around the neighborhood. When you get back, you realize that you forgot your keys, and the garage door is closed. Maybe you’ve been working in the yard all morning and didn’t want to leave the garage door open, but while you were working your housemate locked the screen door.

It is surprisingly easy to get shut out of your own home! Even if you don’t think that accidents like this could happen to you, there may be times when your garage door is closed and you want someone to be able to open it from the outside. If you have friends coming over or adult children visiting, the garage door can be an easy way for them to come inside your home, without you having to give them an actual key. The secret to solving all of these problems lies in a simple device – the garage door keypad.

A garage door keypad is a keyless entry system that you can mount (or have mounted) on the outside of your home, usually near the garage door, so that anyone with a certain code can type in the numbers and open your garage door. People who already have keypads probably can’t imagine living without them, but if any of you don’t have this convenience, you don’t know what you’re missing out on! Today, we’re going to fill you in on some of the features you can look for when choosing a garage door keypad.

Firstly, and most importantly, you should make sure that the keypad you’re choosing is actually compatible with your garage door opener. If you look at your garage door opener, there should be a company name written on it somewhere, like Liftmaster, Chamberlain, or Linear. A keypad from that company would be likeliest to work with that opener. There are also, however, universal keypads that are designed to work with any opener. Double check the specifications of the keypad you have in mind to make sure that it will work.

You should also keep in mind who is going to be installing the keypad. Any professional garage door technician can install the keypad when they do other servicing on your door (such an annual tuneup), but if you have someone in the house with a little more of a DIY inclination, then you’ll want to choose a keypad that isn’t too difficult to install.

Next, you’ll want to consider where you’re going to be mounting it. Keypads should be mounted out of the reach of children, and you’ll want think about what elements it will be exposed to. If your area is prone to heavy rain, snow, or other extreme conditions, you’re going to want a cover for the keypad. Many different garage door keypads come with adjustable covers that you can use to protect the pad.

Now, think about the codes that you want to access your garage. For some people, one single secure code is the best choice. For others, they want several different customizable codes, including special options like one-time access codes or decaying codes. Think about how you want your keypad to be used, and choose one that has those abilities.

In terms of the safety, the length of your code doesn’t really matter – if someone is manually trying to enter passwords, even just a four-number password has an impossible 10,000 options. So long as you don’t use an easily guessed password (like 1234, or 7777) you should be fine. There are, however, some keypads that are more susceptible to intelligent cyberattacks. You want a keypad with “rolling code” technology – although no system is completely immune to attacks, a rolling code is sufficient to protect you from the most common “replay attacks”.

There are also several usability concerns when choosing a keypad. Most keypads are battery-powered, so pick one that has a lifetime that matches your expectations. Similarly, some keypads have backlit keys, which make them much easier to use at night. If you’re worried about the keypad, you might want to look for an option that comes under warranty – sometimes, this will be a manufacturer’s warranty, but you could also have a company install a keypad under warranty.

Once you’ve weighed all of these factors, you’re ready to purchase and install your residential garage door keypad! Most keypads can be installed and connected by a homeowner, but if you haven’t had a technician look at your door in a while, or if you might be interested in getting an upgrade soon, maybe you could bundle the new keypad into a service call and save yourself some cash.

Do you have a garage door keypad, and has it ever saved you from being locked outside? Let us know your story in the comments below!

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