LiftMaster 85503 myQ review: A feature-packed smart garage door opener

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Techaeris Rated 9.1/10

There was a time when a garage door opener was a luxury and not just a normal tool most homeowners had. I still remember opening, closing, and locking the garage door with the outside handle. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a door handle on the outside of most garage doors. The LiftMaster 85503 myQ is a feature-packed smart garage door opener that’s super quiet and could be a great choice for many.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

The LiftMaster 85503 myQ is a belt-drive garage door opener and that right there is one of its advantages. If you don’t know much about garage door openers this one thing is simple. Belt drives are much quieter than chain drives but they are a bit more costly. No one likes a noisy garage door opener and the belt drive really is worth the price. If the LiftMaster 85503 myQ’s smart features aren’t of interest to you, then you should consider one of their other belt drive openers.

But if you’ve read this far, you probably are interested in the LiftMaster 85503 myQ for not only its belt drive but also the smart features and camera. Let’s dive into this review and see what this garage door opener is all about.

Editor’s Note: LiftMaster did provide this unit along with professional installation for review. We did not, nor were we asked to provide a positive review or provide the review in advance. LiftMaster had no input in this review and did not provide anything other than what we mentioned. This is our honest assessment of the LiftMaster 85503.

Specifications

The LiftMaster 85503 myQ garage door opener has the following features and specifications:

  • Drive Type: Belt
  • Battery Backup: Yes
  • Security/Lock: No
  • Soft Start/Stop: Yes
  • AC/DC: DC/DC Motor
  • Lights Turn On When Entering Garage: Yes
  • Smartphone Control/App: Yes
  • Timer To Close: Yes
  • Video: Integrated 1080p Camera
  • Safety Sensors: Protect people and vehicles with safety sensors that stop the door from closing on obstructions.
  • Electronically Protect: Electronically protects against forced openings of the garage door.
  • Secure Code: Confidently know that every click sends a secure code to the garage door opener.
  • Optional Amazon Integration: Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery
  • Belt Warranty: Lifetime
  • Motor Warranty: LifeTime
  • Parts Warranty: 5 Years
  • Model Number: LiftMaster 85503-267

What’s In The Box

  • LiftMaster 85503 myQ garage door opener
  • 880LMW smart LCD wall control panel
  • 2x 893MAX remote control
  • Door sensors
    • Sending sensor
    • Receiving sensor
    • 2x Safety sensor brackets
  • 877LM keyless entry panel
  • 485LM backup battery
  • Owner’s manual
  • Hardware
LiftMaster
Front view and camera

Design

The LiftMaster 85503 isn’t that much different than any other garage door opener in terms of looks and design. It’s still basically a housing with a motor and electronics in it. Only this one has a really nice camera mounted to the bottom of it.

The sides are flanked with lights, which is typical of any garage door opener. You do have to put your own light bulbs in. I do wish the company had made the light area with built-in LEDs. I’m not sure how doable that would be on their end, but I think it makes more sense to have LEDs already built-in.

The rest of the chassis is finished in a lovely reddish or maroon color which I really like; it’s better than the blue or grey I’m used to. The camera can be left down or pushed up into place, and it will deploy when needed. I have just left it open since I got the unit.

The LiftMaster 85503 unit itself is built solid, as is the rest of the hardware. One area they’ve improved, comparing this to some of my old openers, are the light covers. The light covers can sometimes become worn or break and end up hanging down, or you have to tape them up. I feel these should hold up to the years and will hopefully remain strong.

The wall units and the remotes are all fairly basic; the inside wall unit has an LED display that is handy and allows you to interface with the unit. I like that it gives you the time and temperature; that’s a nice touch. The car units are pretty standard three-button designs, and the outside wall unit is also standard design.

Overall, the design of the LiftMaster 85503 is fairly standard only that this has the camera, WiFi, and smart features others do not.

LiftMaster
Rear view

Installation

So I have installed garage door openers in the past, but LiftMaster was kind enough to arrange a professional to install the LiftMaster 85503 myQ for me. I’m convinced they did this to eliminate any chance of errors on my part that could have caused a low score in this category. Because of this, I did not score this section. But I do want to touch on it briefly.

The last belt drive garage door opener I installed in my old house was a fairly difficult job and took two of us to handle. This professional installer did it by himself, and it took him just about an hour. I suspect if you’ve never installed one of these, it will take a fair amount of time, and I’d recommend at least two people.

The professional installer had all the correct tools, ladders, and wiring needed to complete the job. It also helped that my old garage door opener was a LiftMaster and that it was also professionally installed by the previous owner. This saved the installer from running the wiring through the ceiling and wall as it was already done. So consider that part if you’re installing this yourself. Can you use the existing wiring?

I don’t think installing this will be extremely difficult, but watching the professional installer do it, I realized many areas I missed when I installed previous openers. I would say to take your time reading the materials before installing and ensuring you cover all your bases.

Honestly, this is the first time I’ve had a professional install done, and I think everyone should invest in it. I guess it also depends on your level of skill and patience. I know how I am, and I know the job would not have been as clean had I done this myself.

LiftMaster
Side view

Ease of Use

Operating the LiftMaster 85503 is straightforward and easy. Especially if you only plan on using this as just a garage door opener and decide not to use the camera and smart features. Though I’d recommend one of LiftMaster’s other units instead, and you will save money. But as a garage door opener only, it works just as easily as any other.

I won’t go over the app here as that’s in the next section, but the app is super simple to use and fairly minimal, and not complicated. Using the entry panel and wall panel are both very simple and work just like any other garage door opener panels. The remotes are also easy to pair by pressing the LEARN button on the LiftMaster 85503 and then pressing the button on the remote and waiting for the lights to flash on the unit.

It’s also worth noting that the LiftMaster 85503 works with HomeLink but not all vehicles are supported. LiftMaster says you may need an adapter for HomeLink to work. If you’d like to check your vehicle’s HomeLink compatibility, you can do that on the HomeLink website here.

Setting up WiFi is also very easy, and that’s something we’ll go over a bit more in the next section. Overall, this system is straightforward to use and set up.

LiftMaster keypads
The outside keypad and the inside keypad

Software/App

You don’t have to use the app to operate the LiftMaster 85503, but you probably are looking at it for this function if you’re buying this. You’ll need to download the myQ app from the Apple AppStore or Google PlayStore. Before you jump into the app, you’ll need to connect your device to the opener, and you must have a WiFi network whose main network is on 2.4GHz.

Connecting to your network is fairly easy; the LiftMaster 85503 will have its own network signal; you’ll need to connect to it first, which will allow the opener to connect to your network via your smartphone. Once you’re connected, you can set the opener up through the MyQ app. You’ll have to create an account if you don’t have one, there is no charge for using the app, but you’ll need to pay if you want to use cloud storage. Pricing is listed below, also listed is what you’ll get without a subscription.

LiftMaster 85503 myQ pricing
$30 a year is actually not a bad price for a service like this. But it would be nice to be able to use your own cloud storage or local storage.

The myQ app also works with various other services, none of which we use, so we did not test them. So you can use Alexa and Google Assistant to open and close your door without opening the app. Here’s what works with the app:

  • Key by Amazon
  • Vivint Security
  • Ring Security
  • Alarm.com
  • Google Assistant
  • IFTTT
  • Xfinity Home
  • Clare Controls
  • Tend
  • Alpine Audio Connect
  • Eve for Tesla
  • Resideo Total Connect

The app is very simple and straightforward, you’ll have your device or devices listed with a preview image, and you can tap it to Livestream. You can also add users to the app so you can give control to your wife, kids, or even friends if you like. There’s also a history tab that shows all of the instances the door opened or closed. You can also set up schedules if you happen to be the sort that leaves the door open most of the day and like to set it to auto-close. You’ll also get notifications on your smartphone and on iOS you’ll get them on your iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch.

LiftMaster 85503 iOS and watchOS notifications
Notifications on iOS and watchOS

Overall, the app is simple to set up and use. The free tier gives you plenty of functionality but no recording, so if you do have a break-in, you won’t get a photo or video of the perp. Depending on where you live, it may be worth the extra monthly fee to at least get the 7-day plan. We do wish we had the option to use local storage or our own cloud storage.

Performance

As for performance, the LiftMaster 85503 is outstanding when it comes to its quietness. Belt drives are all pretty much super quiet; you can certainly hear it operating, but not like a chain drive. With a chain drive, you could hear the door open while having a conversation inside the house. We don’t hear a thing inside the house with the belt drive and can only hear it open when in the room next to the garage and only if we’re not talking.

The camera produces excellent quality HD video and the app is responsive and getting to live video is fast and easy. Opening the door remotely works perfect and being able to use the camera and remote open/shut brings a huge amount of relief. Knowing I can check on my garage and shut my garage door from another location really takes a load off the mind.

Overall, performance is really great. I didn’t expect anything less from a belt drive opener and I highly recommend belt drives even if it’s not this one.

LiftMaster remote
Remote

Price/Value

Garage door openers aren’t cheap, and quality belt-driven openers are even pricer. The LiftMaster 85503 unit is priced at US$539, and that’s without the rail, belt, and mounting hardware. The rail, belt, and associated hardware will vary in pricing but should be around US$150 extra. If you get this professionally installed, the installer probably has the kit, and you may get better pricing through them.

I don’t think the LiftMaster 85503 is priced poorly; I think there is plenty of value here. With the quiet belt drive, the quality HD camera, and the ability to control the garage door from anywhere, it’s worth the price. Currently, you can find it on sale on Amazon and other outlets. The price of the LiftMaster 85503 is competitive, but it is pricey, and some may not feel they need the extra features.

Wrap Up

Belt-driven garage door openers are so much nicer than chain-driven openers. They are very quiet and especially nice if your garage is under your home’s sleeping area. The addition of the camera and the ability to open the garage from anywhere, not to mention monitor it, is super nice. The battery backup system is great if there is a power outage; this allows for entering and exiting without power. I’ve purchased several belt-driven openers in the past, which have all been great, and the LiftMaster 85503 is right up there at the top providing great performance with excellent features.

*We use revenue-generating affiliate links and may earn a commission for purchases made using them. Read more on our disclaimer page.

Last Updated on May 4, 2021.

Liftmaster 85503 myQ

US$539

Design

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Software/App

9.0/10

Performance

9.5/10

Price/Value

8.5/10

Nailed it

  • Nice design, nice color, the unit looks nice in the garage
  • Easy to use and setup
  • The app makes it easy to remotely open and close the door
  • The camera is great to have and gives peace of mind when away
  • The belt drive is super quiet and miles better than the old chain drive we had
  • Works with HomeLink on select cars
  • Includes keypad for outside the garage
  • Set alerts and schedules on MyQ app
  • 2 Remotes are included

Needs work

  • Fairly pricey
  • Our unit did not include the mounting rail kit
  • IoT devices still require a 2.4GHz network, it would be nice to see 5GHz compatibility
  • I wish the camera was mechanically rotatable via the app.
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