I own a Chamberlain garage door opener, and sometimes that’s a pain. It’s not smart unless I add a Chamberlain Wi-Fi bridge. And the company requires extra subscriptions for basic features like Google Assistant control, which I don’t like. The door opener also uses proprietary communication signals preventing other smart products from working. Now there’s a workaround for that problem—the Nexx NXG-200 Smart Garage Controller.
Most smart garage door controllers don’t replace your existing garage door opener. Instead, you connect the controller to the garage door opener, which then adds another method of control. Instead of pushing a button on a wireless remote to send a signal to your garage door opener, you push a button on an app or talk to a voice assistant.
This is Nexx’s second entry into the smart garage field, and this time it promises an easy install, improved Wi-Fi connection, and Bluetooth connectivity for when the internet is down. Before accepting a review unit, I used the site’s compatibility checker to determine if it would work with my Chamberlain garage door opener. I thought it said yes, but it turns out I was wrong. . . and right—more on that in a bit.
A Simple Install That Didn’t Work
The Nexx NXG-200 Smart Garage Controller (from here on, we’ll just call it the Nexx Controller to save time) consists of two main components: a large box that resembles a wireless router, and a small rectangular box. To install, you wire the “wireless router” device directly to your existing garage door opener. If your garage uses an interior button opener, you’ll remove the two wires for that unit, twist them onto the two wires from the Nexx unit, then put them all back in place.
That should allow Nexx Controller to send signals in the same way your garage door button does.
Next, you attach the rectangular box to the garage door with an included adhesive. That box functions as a tilt sensor: When it’s vertical, the Nexx Controller knows the door is closed, and when the sensor is horizontal, the Nexx controller knows the door is open. That’s necessary since the Nexx Controller might not always be the method used to open the garage.
Overall, wiring the controller to the garage door opener and placing the sensor took about ten minutes. After another five, I had the Next Home app (for iOS and Android) paired. But it wouldn’t open the garage door.
The Workaround Resembles a Garage Door Remote
After contacting Nexx support, I found out that the Nexx Controller doesn’t work directly with my garage door after all. I was apprehensive because every workaround solution I’ve seen from other smart garage door openers involved soldering wires to a spare Chamberlain garage door opener to fake a button push.
I’m happy to say Nexx’s solution, while similar, doesn’t call for any soldering. The company sent me a smart garage adapter that resembles the garage door remote you stick in your car, but with two extra holes.
First, I held the left button down on it while also holding the open button on one of my existing garage door remotes. That lets it record the signal and reuse it. Then I used the learning function of my Chamberlain garage door opener to pair the Nexx adapter. Finally, I took the wires from the Nexx wireless unit off my garage door opener and inserted them into the adapter.
Now, instead of sending an open or close signal directly to my Chamberlain opener, the wireless unit sends the signal to the Nexx garage adapter. It then broadcasts the open/close signal to the Chamberlain opener—as if I had pressed the button on one of my Chamberlain remotes in the car.
It was simple and easy to install, and best of all, it worked.
Nexx told me they are sending the smart garage adapter free of charge to anyone with an incompatible door opener—for now. The company also implied it would eventually charge $25 for the units, even if your door is unsupported.
I understand why Nexx plans to start charging for the adapter down the road (it’s extra hardware after all), but I wish it wouldn’t. I think the company should build the adapter’s functionality directly into the Wi-Fi controller instead. Hardwiring the controller to your garage door opener means you have to either mount it to the ceiling or precariously balance it on the door opener. Then find a place to plug it in.
Using this wireless garage door opener setup means you can put the Nexx system anywhere in your garage that has a plug. And it’s easier to wire up, too. I’m hard-pressed to find any advantage to hardwiring. So the best-case scenario would be to provide the choice of which route to use in one unit.
A Well-Built App That’s Clear and Easy to Use
I really like the Nexx Home app; it’s simple to use and easy to understand. When someone opens or closes the garage door, I get a notification letting me know. And if anyone forgets to close the garage door, the app notifies me about that, too. Since it connects by Wi-Fi, I can close it from anywhere.
The app has all sorts of useful features, too: You can set up a schedule to automatically close the door, a similar timer function (close the door in one hour, etc.), and temperature alerts. You can also set up geofencing to open the door as your car approaches your home. But I don’t recommend turning that on.
That’s because it never worked right for me. It would open the garage door as I was leaving (not coming home), forcing me to pull out the app and to close the door again. And frustratingly, it failed to open the door when I arrived more often than it worked. Geofencing on phones just isn’t reliable enough to trust to an essential task like securing a large entryway to your home.
Voice Controls Are a Mixed Bag
You can control the Nexx unit with Alexa or Google, for both open and close commands. But it’s not equal experience by far.
When I started testing, using Alexa meant speaking unwieldy commands like, “Ask Nexx to open the home garage.” I never remembered what to say. Thankfully, during testing, Nexx updated the skill, and now it’s just, “Open the garage.” For security, Alexa requires a PIN to open the door by voice, which is good.
Google Assistant, on the other hand, is another story. Instead of adding the garage door as a device to your smart home, you send a Nexx skill to an individual device like a Google Home speaker or an Android phone. I can’t remember the last time I added a smart home device with that method.
And I’m not sure if the problem is on Nexx’s or Google’s end, but voice commands didn’t work well for me. I’d ask to close the door, and my Google Home would tell me it couldn’t do that command, or the door wasn’t responding. I eventually gave up trying.
If you’re on iOS, you’ll be pleased to hear you can control Nexx with Siri shortcuts, and the voice controls there are natural.
A Good Smart Garage Door Controller
Overall, I like the Nexx Controller. It’s convenient to know when the door is open or closed, and if someone forgets to close it. I’d like to have some camera integration, so I can see things from one app as well, but for now, I’m using a Wyze Cam. And while I was testing, the internet in my home had an outage. A lot of my Wi-Fi-powered smart home devices didn’t work right without the internet, but the Nexx controller did. Because it uses Bluetooth as a fallback. That’s a fantastic win for Nexx.
I could use Chamberlain’s less expensive smart bridge, but I’d have to pay extra for features like IFTTT and Google Assistant (short of temporary deals), which I can’t bring myself to do. Chamberlain also won’t allow you to open the door by voice. All you can do is close the door and ask if it’s opened or closed.
So the Nexx solution lets you do more, and it’s compatible with more systems like Alexa, Siri, and even SmartThings. And it’s the first non-Chamberlain solution I’ve seen that didn’t involve soldering. Giving me the control I like in a convenient manner is well worth the $100 asking price.
Here’s What We Like
- App is simple and easy to use
- Notifications are fast and helpful
- Control your door from anywhere
- Alexa voice control is great
And What We Don't
- Chamberlain doors require an extra adapter
- Google Assistant Voice control is bad
- Don't use geofencing for control