Different Types of Garage Door Rollers

The best garage door rollers for most applications are the DURA-LIFT Ultra-Life Nylon Garage Door Rollers. These super quiet nylon rollers are rated at 155,000 cycles which is 15x longer than the standard roller. The sealed ball bearing design will make your garage door operate smoother and quieter while reducing stress on your automatic opener. No lubrication or maintenance is required due to the sealed design. You couldn’t ask for more in a garage door roller.

Many homes in North America today have garage doors that struggle to go up and down due to lack of maintenance. This usually leads to something bad happening at the worst possible time. Let’s take a look at the different types of garage door rollers and how they play a very important role in the garage door ecosystem.

Below are the most popular garage door rollers found on residential doors. There are a few types of rollers we threw into the mix that are used in commercial environments. We will go through each type and explain the role they play.

Plastic Roller: No Ball Bearings

Plastic garage door roller with no ball bearings

This is the garage door roller that comes standard with any new garage door. The roller is made of plastic and the stem has no ball bearings. You can expect about 2-3 years of good life out of these rollers before they need to be replaced.

The reason these rollers exist is to provide a low cost solution for home builders. Builders have dictated the quality of entry level garage doors being installed in America today. This trend continues as competition rises in competitive markets. A great replacement would be the DURA-LIFT Ultra-Life Nylon Garage Door Rollers.

Steel Roller: 7 Ball Bearings

7 ball bearing steel roller

This roller is a good upgrade from the standard plastic roller. It has 7 ball bearings that can be lubricated and should last you over 5 years. They won’t be as quiet or smooth as rollers mentioned later in this article, but 7 ball bearings are better than no bearings at all. On average, they are rated at 35 lbs. per roller and good for 5,000 – 7,000 cycles. If you are wanting to purchase steel rollers, we suggest the 10 ball bearing steel rollers featured next.

Steel Roller: 10 Ball Bearings

This is an upgrade to the 7 ball bearing steel roller. Adding three bearings provides a much smoother and quieter roll with less friction. Exposed ball bearings provide a lubrication point for the life of the roller. On average, they are rated at 75 lbs per roller and good for 10,000 – 15,000 cycles. The downside to steel rollers is they are louder than rollers with a nylon tire. A steel roller in a steel garage door track tends to make more noise than nylon against steel.

Nylon Roller: 10 Ball Bearings

10 ball bearing nylon roller

The 10 ball bearing nylon roller is made of heavy duty nylon to prevent wear and provide a quiet experience as it goes down the steel track. It features exposed bearings to provide a lubrication point. On average, they are rated for 75 lbs per roller and designed to last 10,000 – 15,000 cycles, which is equivalent to the average life of a torsion spring. If you are looking to purchase premium nylon rollers, purchase the DURA-LIFT Ultra-Life Nylon Garage Door Rollers featured next. They feature a heavy duty sealed design that is superior in every way and requires no maintenance for the life of the roller.

Nylon Roller: Lifetime Sealed Ball Bearing

This is the best garage door roller for most people.  It is designed to last 155,000 cycles due to the sealed heavy duty ball bearing design. The design keeps out dirt, moisture, and other harmful elements that could damage the ball bearings. The sealed bearing design will increase cycle life and provide smoother operation while reducing stress on your automatic opener. Sealed ball bearings in a garage door roller spreads out the weight load increasing cycle-life and performance. Highly recommended!

3” Nylon Roller: Double Sealed Ball Bearings

Magnum rollers are the top of the line garage door roller made today, but they use a 3” wheel which is designed for larger commercial tracks. They excel in harsh environments where other rollers fail. On average, they are rated at 200 lbs per roller for heavy doors and designed to last 100,000 cycles. Downside, they are expensive. They are mainly used in commercial environments.

Double-sealed precision ball bearings are factory pre-lubed with high moisture lubricant for wet areas. Shielded tires deflect moisture and damaging elements from the bearing and the snap-lock design gets rid of problematic snap rings. This roller features an extra long 9″ stainless steel stem which helps resist corrosion and the extra stem length will keep your door from coming out of the tracks if you have a cable off on one side.

Excellent for…

• High moisture areas such as car washes, marine environments, poultry farms, food processing plants, chemical plants, and cold storage facilities • High Cycle Areas such as service centers, fire and rescue stations, transportation centers, and material handling areas • Dirty areas such as concrete mixing areas, sandblasting areas, mining, grainaries, and paint shops • Quiet areas such as hospitals, apartment complexes, and retail stores

When Is It Time to Replace Garage Door Rollers?

Worn garage door roller with failed bearings that needs replacement

A good rule of thumb is to have your garage door rollers replaced when you have your springs replaced

Garage door rollers will get louder over time as they wear. If they are not properly lubricated through their cycle life, the ball bearings will start to generate pits in the metal which causes the noise level to increase. The rollers will start to feel “crunchy” when you run the door up and down manually.

If you start to hear your rollers make a clicking sound similar to a train on railroad tracks, then you are getting close to needing new rollers. Poorly running garage door rollers can cause problems ranging from a door off track to prematurely wearing out drive gears, sprockets, and belts on your garage door opener. Most garage door and opener issues are cause and effect. One problem generally leads to another due to lack of annual maintenance.

A good rule of thumb is to have your garage door rollers replaced when you have your springs replaced. Any reputable garage door company will replace your rollers for a reduced rate while they are changing your springs. If your rollers have been replaced recently, then you should be fine.

How Many Rollers Do I Need for My Garage Door?

Most likely 10… which is how many comes in a standard package when you purchase garage door rollers. Most residential garage doors are 7 ft high and they require 10 rollers to operate. If you have an 8ft tall garage door, you will most likely need 12 rollers total. Some older 7ft tall wood garage doors have five sections instead of four and they require 12 rollers for a 7ft tall wood door. Best bet is to walk out in the garage and count how many rollers your garage door has. 

Upgrading Rollers on a New Garage Door Purchase

If you are purchasing a new garage door from your local independent dealer, make sure they are installing sealed ball bearing nylon rollers. The cost difference is very minimal during the ordering process, but it will have a big impact on the overall performance of the lifetime of your garage door and opener.

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