I'm installing an opener for my garage door, and need to run some new wiring in order to get power to the unit. The unit can be hardwired or plugged into an outlet. I'm leaning toward the outlet option for now since it seems more versatile. Is this simply a matter of personal preference, or are there compelling reasons for choosing one option over the other?

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    Make sure to NOT wire it to a light switch, like someone in the past did to the house we currently own :-/ Commented May 11, 2011 at 4:09

4 Answers 4


Personally, I'd prefer my garage door opener to be outlet powered so that I can unplug the thing when I need to do something with it, instead of going to find a breaker. Other than ease of disabling, I don't think there is any compelling operational reason to do one or the other.

Of course, if your next opener can't be hardwired, that might be a reason to not hardwire this one (the outlet will already be in the right spot next time).

  • I had similar thoughts, though admittedly I didn't consider the next opener. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it! Thanks for the insight.
    – ajk
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 2:04
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    I added an outlet to the ceiling right above the garage door opener; the extra plug for an extension cord has come in handy more than once also. Commented May 11, 2011 at 6:03

In some countries (Sweden for one) it's illegal to hardwire electrics unless you're an authorized electrician.

So, outlets are simpler & safer to work with.

Hardwiring looks better, OTOH, and can't be tampered with as easily. :)

  • Still doesn't help if there is no outlet to begin with :)
    – gregmac
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 1:29
  • Interesting note about Sweden, I learned something new today :). I agree that hardwired might look better, but I think the versatility of an outlet is going to win out for me. Thanks for your input though!
    – ajk
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 2:05
  • @gregmac: True. ;) In that case you'd need an electrician to connect the outlet somewhere. I believe you can do most of the wiring & installation yourself, just not connect it to the mains fuse box.
    – Macke
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 8:02

Check your local code--it may be illegal to have a permanently-installed device plugged into an outlet.

I don't understand the reasoning behind this but it's true of, e.g., installed lighting in some municipalities.

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    The original reason probably has to do with idiots running extension cords behind walls and other foolishness. The house next to the one I grew up in burned down (losing one child) due to previous owners having 'finished' the basement and running extension cords behind the paneling instead of wiring it properly. I'd definitely check the codes, but my guess is that in situations where the outlet is appropriate (as in, right next to the garage door opener), then it's probably allowed. Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 20:47
  • @MichaelKohne - I don't understand... why would running extension cords behind the wall cause any problems that hard wiring wouldn't? Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 18:00
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    @ArtOfWarfare - because extension cords are seldom rated for normal outlet loads (in the US at least, outlets are mostly rated for 15 amps, and electrical cords seldom are up to handling those loads), and generally aren't constructed in such a way that you can leave them in place permanently (among other issues, their flexibility may mean that they move or rub on things behind the wall as the house shifts and things vibrate). Basically, they aren't designed for it, and the failure modes can be tragic. Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 13:54

All garage receptacles are now required to be GFCI protected (NEC 2005 was the last year where there was an exception for outlets not readily accessible). If for any reason the GFCI is kicked then you may not be able to access your garage.

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    It sounds like your recommendation is to hard wire the opener into a junction box. If so, it's worth saying that in your answer to make it clearer.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 15:51
  • @NiallC. - I agree this answer needs to be more clear - I'd never heard the acronym GFCI before. GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protected means that power should be cut if it's detected that more current is leaving than returning through the source (IE, because it's running through a person and into the ground). I don't think they were suggesting that you should hardwire, though... really, this doesn't seem to be an answer at all to me. It's just a tangentially related BTW. Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 17:59

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