If you’re picking out a new garage door, the most common type of opening system is to have an overhead door with rollers to make it easy to lift and close. You might not know that there are different types of rollers that you can use, and depending on what you want for the rest of your garage door’s design some types might be better than others. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right type of rollers for your garage door.
With plastic rollers, the wheels attached to the roller stem are solid and do not use ball bearings. They are best used for smaller and lighter garage doors. Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of plastic rollers:
- Pros — they are the most affordable and more quiet than steel rollers
- Cons — plastic rollers have the shortest lifespan of any type of garage door roller
Plastic wheels in garage doors that use a steel track tend to wear down very quickly, to the point that the wheel is small enough to pop out of the track. The heavier the garage door, the faster the plastic wheels get worn down. We would only recommend plastic rollers if you are on a budget or if you don’t plan on actually opening and closing your garage door very often. Using them means you’ll need to replace or repair your garage door more often.
Steel Rollers Without Ball Bearings
There are two kinds of steel rollers, the first use wheels like plastic rollers do not use any ball bearings. They can be used for heavier garage doors than plastic rollers. Here are the benefits and drawbacks for these types of rollers:
- Pros: more durable than plastic and still more affordable than the other two kinds of rollers
- Cons: they are still not the most durable type of roller and steel is much louder than plastic or nylon
Where plastic rollers get worn down to small nubs, steel rollers without ball have the steel wheels break on the roller stem – either breaking completely off or being bent at an angle. This type of roller are for people with a heavier garage door, or a garage door they think will get more frequent use, but are on a bit of a budget.
Steel Rollers With Ball Bearings
Steel rollers with ball bearings are made the same way as steel rollers without them, but within the wheel itself are ball bearings that need lubrication. For quality purposes, the general rule for garage door rollers that have ball bearings is that more ball bearings is better. Here’s are the pros and cons of steel rollers with ball bearings:
- Pros — very durable, much better quality, can take on a heavier load
- Cons — more expensive, probably the loudest type of garage door rollers
If you don’t have as much of a concern about budget, steel rollers with ball bearings are probably the second best type you can choose. They can work for a long time even with heavier garage doors, with the biggest drawback being how loud they can get especially if your door also uses steel tracks.
All nylon rollers come with ball bearings, and they are arguably the best all-round type of garage door rollers to use. Just like with steel rollers that use ball bearings, nylon rollers that come with more ball bearings tend to be better than those with fewer. Here’s the quick rundown of their benefits vs their drawbacks:
- Pros — very durable, keeps out dirt and other debris from the ball bearings, not the most expensive, and more quiet than steel rollers
- Cons — maybe not as durable as steel and need more regular maintenance than rollers without ball bearings
As you can see, there are no major weaknesses and that’s why they’re usually considered the best. Nylon rollers tend to be the best selling type of garage door rollers to use precisely because they have the best balance of quality and cost. They’re used for residential and commercial garage doors, for smaller and lighter or bigger and heavier.