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man in car opening garage door with universal garage door opener remote

Are Garage Door Openers Universal?  

If you have a garage, then you know how convenient it is to have a garage door opener. It makes opening and closing your garage effortless! But are all garage door openers created equal? The answer is no. There are several different types and brands of garage door openers, and most use a unique type of code that requires a special remote. But did you know that there are universal garage door openers?

That’s right. If you get the right one, a single universal remote can work on almost any of the garage door opener brands. Keep reading to find out how universal garage door openers work and why they are so convenient. We will also provide information on how much they cost and where you can purchase universal garage door remotes for yourself.

How Garage Door Openers and Remotes Work

Each type of garage door opener uses a special type of unique code or radio signal to communicate with your remote. The type of code used is signified via a color-coded “learn” button on your garage door opener. These learn buttons can be found by following the small wire antenna hanging out of one side of the opener. Directly above the wire, and typically under the light cover, you’ll see the learn button. The color of this button will tell you what kind of opener system (or what frequency the code is transmitted on) you have.

Unfortunately, as simple as it may sound, just figuring out the learn button color is only half the battle. Next, you need to find a garage door opener remote that’s compatible. More often than not, they’re expensive and difficult to find an exact match replacement remote control for.

The One Garage Door Opener Remote That Does It All

As we mentioned above, most garage door opener remotes are not universal, but rather follow one of the color-coded “learn” button systems available. The only issue is that it can be confusing. Buttons come in many colors including: yellow, purple, white, orange, red, green, and more! Not to mention the vast number of garage door opener brands; Chamberlain, Craftsman, LiftMaster, and Genie just to name a few.

purple garage door opener learn button

purple learn button

yellow garage door opener learn button

yellow learn button

red garage door opener learn button

red learn button

orange garage door opener learn button

orange learn button

This can be overwhelming if you just had a remote go bad. The last thing you want to do is become an expert in a particular brand or their remotes. If you’re like me, you just want to get a quick and easy replacement and move one.

We have great news! There are universal replacements for your remote, and they work similarly to what you had before. The only real difference is that they can be programmed to work with most of the colors and major brands of garage door openers with the push of a button.

How Does a Universal Garage Door Opener Work?

There are a few different types of universal garage door remotes on the market, but they all essentially do the same thing. By pressing the learn button on your garage door opener, you are telling it to transmit a code that will work with almost any brand and type of universal remote. This code is then stored in the remote’s memory, and when you are ready to open or close your garage door, just press one of the buttons and it works!

woman pressing a button on a remote to show how universal garage door openers work

This may sound complicated when written out in words, but it’s super simple. By following the instructions that come with the remote, you can program a generic garage door remote in seconds with just a few easy steps.

Once the universal garage door remote has been programmed, it’s ready for use as a replacement to any other type of universal garage door. This means that if you have multiple garages to control, such as one at home and another at the office, you can program both with the same universal remote.

Where Can I Buy a Universal Garage Door Opener?

Universal remote for most garage door openers are readily available at most major retailers. Like most things, Amazon is a great place to source one. They have several different styles to choose from, including our favorite, the universal 3-button garage door remote. Many are in stock and readily available at all times.  They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from small key-fobs to universal remotes with three buttons that clip to your car’s visor.

5 different universal garage door openers - one button remote, 2 button garage door opener, 3 button universal garage door opener, 2-button key fob remote, and a 4-button universal key fob

Having these extra buttons can turn out to be very convenient in the future. They can be programmed for all sorts of different functions from lights to locks to additional garage doors. This is great if you have two garage doors at your home, or a vacation home, gate entry systems at the office, or any commercial door operators.

While universal remotes cater to a wide range of garage door openers, certain brands like Craftsman may benefit from remotes specifically designed for their systems. Craftsman garage door openers have their own set of compatible remotes based on model and manufacturing year. To assist you in finding the perfect match, we’ve created a comprehensive Craftsman Garage Door Opener Remote Compatibility Chart. This guide not only ensures seamless operation but also explains which learn buttons go with which openers and are compatible with specific universal remotes.

The Best Universal Garage Door Opener

In our opinion, the best universal garage door opener is the Chamberlain G953EV-P2 (see at Amazon). The Chamberlain Group LLC is a global leader in access solutions and universal remotes. We love that this remote works with so many different garage door opener brands, including most Chamberlain, LiftMaster, or Craftsman. It also has security features with the highest level of encryption, using security+2.0.

This Chamberlain universal garage door opener remote can also be programmed to control lighting with the new MyQ light control technology, or this single remote can control up to 3 different doors at once.

It’s compatible with green, red/orange, purple, or yellow learn buttons and is super-easy to program. It can be done in mere seconds. Just don’t forget to buy enough for each of your cars while you’re at it!

How Much Are Garage Opener Remotes?

As we mentioned above, some of the particular brand remote controls can not only be hard to find, but they’re also expensive. Good universal remotes typically cost somewhere between $25-$40. A brand-specific remote control won’t work for all garage doors and can cost upwards of twice the price! You really can’t beat a universal controller.

man using universal remote to open black garage door


So, are garage door openers universal? The answer is yes! You can buy a universal replacement for almost any remote. They’re easy to program, readily available, and inexpensive to buy. If you have multiple garages to control from a single car, you would certainly benefit greatly from a universal garage door remote. It’s one of those things you go years without being aware of and then can’t believe you lived without it all this time. Getting a universal remote is a great way to be prepared for any garage door emergency.