What are the different types of garage door springs?

What are the different types of garage door springs?

Torsion and extension springs are the two main springs used to operate most garages.

Torsion Springs

Source: Flickr.com

Torsion springs are normally right above the garage door. The torsion spring utilizes a twisting force (or otherwise known as “torque”) which transmits to the shaft all the way to the cable drums creating tension on the cables.

The shaft, cable drum, and torsion spring work together to create counterbalance. The torsion spring is what allows you to lift the garage door without any effort.

Different sized garages utilize different sized torsion springs. If you don’t know what type of torsion spring your garage needs, you may need to weigh your garage door to determine what spring to use.

Extension Springs

The extension spring is the one that runs horizontally along the track of your garage door. It also creates a counterbalance system that uses pulleys and cables to lift your garage door.

When you raise the garage door, the extension springs contract lifting the garage door. The more you open the door, the more force is put on them as well.

Safety cables are also utilized if the extension springs snap. If it were to snap under tension, the safety cable will prevent the extension spring from releasing the tension in your direction, prevent injury.

Just like torsion springs, extension springs also take into account the model of your garage door and the weight. If you don’t know what springs your garage door needs to operate, it’s a good idea to call a garage door technician instead of risking your life.

Which is better, torsion or extension springs?

Torsion springs cost more, but they also last longer than extension springs. They last between 15,000 to 20,000 cycles and extension springs are only quotes to last around 10,000 cycles.

Torsion springs also allow for better control of your garage door. You’ll find that extension springs may cause a jerky movement when opening or closing the garage door which can cause an unaligned garage door spring.

Extension springs can also be more dangerous if they break. Even though they have safety cables, there is still a chance that they fly off and injure someone. Torsion springs don’t generally “fly off”, they snap in place.

Torsion springs also require fewer parts which means that there is less room for error.


I think that while torsion springs have their disadvantages, it doesn’t mean that extension springs don’t have value. They’ve been holding garage doors up for decades without an issue, the torsion spring will last over the long run though.

About Roy Cohen

I'm Roy, founder of Hack My Garage. I started out like most not knowing how to hammer a nail, but now I know more than most people about home improvement and DIY. I want to spread my wealth of knowledge with the world and hope to make it a better place.