There’s little doubt that when most homeowner’s today think about garage doors one image comes to mind. And that is of the sectional garage door slowly rising, bending neatly every vertical foot or so before coming to rest above the car. This type of door has become the standard from coast to coast. But it’s not your only choice when it comes time to replace the garage door. Another lesser known but still-in-use garage door style is the single panel door. So which is actually better?

Single Panel Vs Sectional Garage Doors

The Single Panel Garage Door

The single panel garage door actually predates the sectional door by quite a few years and was considered the standard way back in the day. In the years after World War II however the sectional door shoved the single panel door to the side largely because it was marketed as a superior product both from a practical perspective and an aesthetic perspective. But is that actually the case? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of the single panel door.


  • Affordability - Single panel garage doors tend to be the least expensive garage door option. That’s because it’s cheaper to manufacture a single large panel than 20 or 30 smaller panels that have to be connected and hinged.
  • Easy open - The single panel garage door typically opens in one smooth motion and, because they’re usually very well balanced, they can be opened manually with little or no effort. A good thing if the power goes out.
  • Looks - While there are plenty of great looking sectional doors when it comes time for garage door replacement you’d be remiss not to consider the simple good looks of the single panel door. It has a throwback charm many find very appealing.


  • Spatial requirements - The single panel door swings outward to open. As such you need to make sure nothing is in front of the door when it’s in operation. Some homes simply don’t have the space to give to this type of door.
  • Durability - The sectional door is held in place with numerous rollers that lock into tracks on both sides of the door. The single panel by contrast has only one point of attachment and may therefore be more susceptible to damage during extreme weather events.
  • Overall safety - Regardless of how many times you tell people to stay clear of this type of door as it opens and closes you still have to keep an eye out for those unaware that the door swings outward before rising.

The single panel door is attractive, reliable, easy to open by hand if necessary and quite affordable. The downside tends to revolve around the additional space required for it to open and close. Now let’s look at the sectional garage door.

The Sectional Garage Door

The sectional garage door is everywhere these days but what is it about them that makes them so appealing to homeowners? And is there a downside to this type of door? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons:


  • They use very little space - No doubt a big selling point of the sectional garage door is the fact that it quietly and quickly transitions from vertical to horizontal. You don’t have to have a no-go zone around the door to allow for it to swing out, as with a single panel door.
  • Dependability - Sectional garage doors today tend to be extremely dependable. They’re also durable since they’re anchored in more places than a single panel door. They’ll typically last longer which means less frequent garage door replacement and finding parts for them is easy.
  • Automation - It’s a simple matter to add your sectional garage door to the Internet of things. This allows you to operate it remotely from anywhere in the world. While the same can be done with a single panel door the more complex lifting mechanism makes it a riskier proposition.


  • Maintenance - More moving parts means more things that can break down and the sectional garage door has many more moving parts than the single panel door.
  • Commonality - Let’s face it, everyone has this type of door so it’s very difficult today to make your sectional door stand out from the herd. Something to consider if your home has a distinctive design.
  • Expense - Sectional doors are more expensive than single panel doors simply because there are more panels that need to be fabricated and fit together and all that fitting-together hardware costs money too. So do tracks and rollers and everything else.

If you want to provide your home with a distinctive look it’s hard to beat the single panel garage door. If however, you want something very dependable that takes up minimal space the sectional garage door may be a better choice. Talk to the pros at A Better Garage Door about these and other replacement garage doors.