A garage parking aid is a tool that can find a home in any home garage. After all, we park our cars in the garage to protect them from the outside world with weather, thieves and other drivers all presenting credible threats to our vehicles. Storing the car inside a garage provides a lot of protection, but who protects the car from the garage?
These days, as cars get bigger whilst garages stay the same (or even shrink!) parking aids are really starting to come into their own as increasingly useful tools. They come in a wide variety of flavours too, from the high tech through to the ingeniously practical. In this guide we’re going to take a look at 10 of the most popular models on the market, and help you to find the best garage parking aid for you.
The Best Garage Parking Aid
We’re kicking off our list with this high tech garage parking aid from Maxsa. As we go through the list, we’ll see that there are a variety of designs when it comes to parking aids – and this is one is very much from the high tech end! That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to get your hands on this bad boy however. With a price tag of around 40 bucks, it is one of the more expensive items on the list – but you are getting a very high quality item for your money here.
This is a very easy to install device. You simply screw the base plate into the roof of the garage, and then… well that’s it actually. Unlike many laser based parking aids this one runs on batteries. That does mean you have to replace them every now and then (though the power use is very low, so you won’t be doing it too often). That battery power makes it much easier to install though and you can also move it to a different location if you prefer.
In operation, the device is motion activated, so no awkward buttons to press. It also has an effective range of around 15 feet so unless you are parking in the Batcave, it should activate as soon as you pull into the garage and well before the car is even close to your stopping points, always a handy feature with these devices. Once activated, the device shines a bright red laser beam down which you use as a reference point to pull the vehicle into its correct space. Simple but effective.
- Dual Laser
- Automatic Switch Off
- Motion Activated
- Easy Installation
- Brand Maxsa
- Model 37312
- Weight 11.2 Ounces
Say hello to the cutest parking guide to make it’s way into our list! Imagine coming home to his little grinning face every day, how nice would that be? This product is a professional standard upgrade on the classic tennis ball and string garage parking aid method that has been employed for decades.
The upgrade comes in a couple of forms here. First of all that little face is not just cute, it’s also highly practical. The ball background is bright yellow, which helps to make this ball stop guide that bit easier to see even in a gloomier garage (though a well lit garage will be much easier to park in anyway, no matter how bright your ball is).
It’s also nice and easy to install. The clip is screwed into the garage rafters or attached to the roof in some way. The balls hang at the end of an 8-foot string, which should be long enough for installation in most garage designs and can also be trimmed to length. That’s about it really. If there is one big advantage to designs like this – apart from the low price – it is that it is all incredibly simple in both installation and use. Oh, and you also get two balls in this kit, so it’s perfect for either a two car garage, or to pop one ball into a drawer as a spare.
- Includes 2 Balls
- Simple but Effective
- Bright Color for Easy Visibility
- Rope Length: Aprox. 8 Feet
- Brand Radtek LLC
- Weight 3.2 Ounces
Our third product into the list and we get to see a third way of assisting with parking. This is a garage car stop, a much more physical marker than the ball and laser methods that have come before. This parking aid is of an all rubber construction (apart from the reflective tape) and measures in at 6 feet in length, which is about 72 inches. It weighs 34 pounds, and it is that heft that is the main selling point here.
What you have here is an excellent middle ground between lighter parking stops, which have to be bolted to the ground, and heavier ones, which are a nightmare to pick up and carry. This one can be easily moved into position, and it has the weight behind it to provide enough resistance to car tires without having to be bolted to the floor. That means it can be easily placed in the garage as an everyday parking aid, and then just as easily moved to one side if it’s in the way.
It has a lovely tough construction too, which is resistant to fading and damage from, amongst other things, UV light, oil spillages and exposure to temperature extremes. It is going to set you back about 70 bucks, so it is the most expensive item on the list. It is however a very well designed and well made example of a curb stop, certainly one the best of its type on the market today.
- Very Flexible
- Easy To Install & Move
- 72 Inches Length, 34 Pounds Weight
- Brand Park-It Parking Curb
- Model TLC16101blkylw
- Weight 34 Pounds
Our next product comes from Maxsa, and this little garage parking aid is absolutely bursting with useful features. If you’ve never seen a product like this before, it works in a very similar way to the product we looked at above, i.e. by providing a physical interaction to the vehicle wheels that you feel inside the vehicle, giving you the signal the car is in the perfect place.
This model differs slightly by being a mat with one small bump at the front, one larger toward the rear. The first bump gives you the notice you are in position; the second, much larger bump prevents you from rolling out of the perfect parking spot. The mat itself is made of tough plastic, and it can be secured to the garage floor either with the double sided, non-slip tape that comes in the package, or it can be screwed or bolted into place for a more permanent fixture.
One other nice little feature that makes it stand above some rival models is the fact the mat has raised edges between the two humps. That means it works as a drip tray, collecting water that comes off the tires if it has been raining to the tires are snowy. That is a great little design feature, especially if you have a nice garage floor already that you want to keep looking nice. The mat is priced at around 20 bucks, but you only get one for that price. We’d recommend getting a pair for the best parking assistance, and a set of 4 if you want to protect your garage floor from excess moisture.
- Anti-Skid Tape for Safe Installation
- Drip Tray Collects Moisture from Tires
- One Size Fits All (Passenger Vehicles)
- Brand Maxsa
- Model 37358
- Weight 1.5 Pounds
After some pretty low tech options, the next parking aid to make the list is this high tech beast from Measurements Ltd. Rather than a laser parking assist however, this model uses ultrasonic sound waves to help you park your car – see, we told you it was high tech!
The two units are mounted to the wall with screws. The sensor is mounted roughly level with the front of the car, the second mounted somewhere you can easily see it. Once you’ve set it up, the next time you come to park it will activate instantly, whilst the sensor throws out ultrasonic sound waves to detect the car, the other unit first flashes a green light to indicate the device is working. The green light turns to amber (orange) when the car is within 8 feet of its perfect parking spot, then turns to red to tell you the car is in position – so don’t go any further!
Installation and set up are both very simple, and the device runs on simple AA batteries too, which makes it all even easier. It is small and discreet, easy to set up and even easier to operate. With a price tag of around 20 bucks it is easy to see why this is one of the more popular parking sensors on the market today.
- Easy Installation
- Visual, Traffic Light Style Indication System
- Battery Operated
- Auto On/Off
- Brand Measurements Limited
- Model PZ-1600
- Weight 9.6 Ounces
Another high tech option, this parking aid from Striker once again uses ultra-sonic pulses rather than lasers. It differs from the product above mainly by being even easier to install (yes, easier than four little screws!) and also by having a much larger, easier to see display. For some people, that could easily be a negative, as this is certainly not as discrete a design as the one we saw above from Measurements Ltd. On the other hand, if you want an easy to see visual display look no further.
In operation, this model is also very similar to the one above. So it flashes green as the car or truck approaches, yellow as it nears the ideal parking position and finally red to indicate you should come to a stop. Very simple to use then. Installation is easy too, with the bottom section attached to the wall at bumper height, the top indicator section attached where you can see it easily from inside the vehicle.
There are no screws required here either, just some sticky tape and Velcro. The sticky tape that comes with the product is crap though, so invest in something extra strong from 3M instead and the product will easily cling to the wall of the garage. All in all then a pretty well designed little parking aid.
- Very Easy to Install
- Very Easy to Set Up
- Large & Bright Display
- Brand Striker
- Model 00246
- Weight 4 Ounces
This is the parking aid equivalent of the wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man from Family Guy. Essentially, you set the product up exactly where you want the car to stop for the perfect parking position. Once in place, if you tap the pole of the sign – even very, very gently – the whole sign lights up like a Christmas tree, telling you to stop.
On the one hand then, this design does make this product seem like a pretty simple garage parking assist product, and in many ways that is correct. But as we’ve said time and time again here at CarBibles, simplicity is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, the installation is very simple here. No screws or double-sided sticky tape required here. Simply insert the battery (cell size) into the device, turn it on and place it exactly where you want the car to stop. Simple. As. That.
For a very simple design though this parking aid is not exactly cheap. About 25 bucks will get you a set of two, but that is quite an outlay for a product that certainly does not really boasts the bells and whistles it’s mid range price point should really come with that. That said, it is both very effective and very simple, two things which do prove the overall worth of the design.
- Set of 2
- Sign Flashes with Contact
- Height Adjustable
- Easy to Store, Easy to Use
- Brand Neo Products
- Model E84761 P2
- Weight 4.05 Pounds
Our next product is a professional grade garage car stop from BUNKERWALL (why they feel the need to shout their company name, we don’t know). This is of course the second of this type of parking aid to make our list, and this second version differs from previous model by coming as two pieces instead of one long bumper.
From a practical point of view, the previous model boasted of its ease of placement and mobility. The mobility factor is doubled here, as we now have two pieces with a length of 21 inches and a weight of 9 Pounds per piece. That of course makes these that bit more portable. On the other hand, they don’t quite have the same weight – and thus stopping power – of the bigger parking stop. It is possible to bolt these to the floor for a more permanent option however.
Aside from that small consideration the construction is great. A heavy-duty rubber is used for the body, giving the product the strength to stand up to vehicle tires with no problems. It’s also good to see the reflective strips are mounted on all sides, which serves a dual purpose. One, they make the product easy to see when you pull into the garage. Two they also make the product easy to see when you are walking in the garage, helping the product avoid being a trip hazard.
- Set of Two
- Heavy Duty Rubber Construction
- 21.5-Inch Length (Each Piece)
- 9 Pounds Weight Per Piece
- Brand BUNKERWALL
- Model BW3312
- Weight 19.75 Pounds
Our penultimate item comes with a warning, which is that if you are not operating a garage door with Chamberlain door opening sensors, and then skip this product out. If you do have Chamberlain sensors however, then read on for a garage parking laser custom made for you.
Are you still here? Well if you are, then we can only assume it is because you have Chamberlain door sensors. If so, this device is designed to be mounted to the roof of the garage. Further, it is also designed to plug directly into the wiring for the door sensors. This in itself serves two purposes. First, it is how the device draws power. That’s right, no batteries here – direct power feed from the mains electricity, baby!
Secondly it is how the device is controlled. So when you activate your garage door, you also activate the device. Just as with the previous laser products, it then shines a laser beam down to a point you have already set up to correspond with the perfect parking position. Follow the light and you will reach parking Nirvana.
As we already pointed out – and wish to highlight again – this only works with Chamberlain garage door equipment! If this brand supplies your garage door sensors though then what you have here is a very well designed, bespoke garage parking laser.
- Works Exclusively with Chamberlain Garage Door Openers
- Mains Powered – No Batteries
- Bright Red, Easy To See Laser Beam
- Brand Chamberlain
- Model CLLP1-P
- Weight 0.32 Ounces
We finish up our list with his product from Ekarro. It is another from the school of contact equals flashing lights style of parking aids. Just as with the previous product of a similar design then, it is very easy to set up and install. Again, no screws or tape required, simply pop in the batteries and place it where you want the car to stop.
The base is weighted so it shouldn’t tip over with a gentle tap. The pole in the middle of the device is actually built of four interlocking sections, which allows you to customize the height. The height can, by the way, be up to 53 inches so you should be able to see the sign clearly even in a pick up.
Construction is nice and solid, and it’s great to see the manufactures have gone with LED lights here. Not only are they very bright – making the sign easier to see – they are also less power hungry than traditional bulbs. That in turn should help prolong the battery life of the product, as will the fact it uses a pair of LR44s rather than a single battery. Oh, you also only get one parking aid in the pack. That means this is less suitable for two car garages, but it does keep the price down. You can in fact expect a bit of change from a twenty for this well designed tool.
- LED Lights For Brightness
- Weighted Base
- Flashes with Contact
- Brand Ekarro
- Model EK-2777-002
- Weight 2 Pounds
That is our list of the 10 products that are all vying to be the best garage parking aid on the market – but which one is right for you? As you’ve just seen, there can be a huge variety in the designs of parking aids, with high tech laser guided products rubbing shoulders with… well, with big yellow balloons.
All the different designs have different pros and cons of course, so in the next section we’re going to take a good look at the feature to look out for in the best designs. We’ll have a quick run down of how to use you new tool effectively, as well as having a try at answering some of the most frequently asked questions about these incredibly useful little devices.
What to Consider When Buying a Garage Parking Aid
- High or Low Tech? Probably the biggest consideration of them all, and one that we talk about a little more in the section below.
- Budget. What you want to spend on the parking aid will also have a big impact, just as it will when you are buying any other product. This also kind of connects to the factor above – if you want a high tech parking sensor then expect to shell out a few extra bucks.
- Two Cars on Every Drive. Do you have a two car garage? Are you in fact a rapper with a velvet Lamborghini and a zebra print Hummer? You can get good value by choosing a parking aid that comes as a multipack. On the other hand, if you only need one aid, buy products that come singularly to save a little bit of money. Or buy the multipack anyway, and have a spare. We’ve listed plenty of options for both in the list above (aren’t we great?)
- Are you Visual or Tactile? One final thing to consider is how you want to receive feedback from the parking aids. If you’re a visual cat, then a laser system could be the one for you. You can literally track the progress of the laser up the vehicle until you are parked up in the correct spot. Prefer physical feedback? Consider a bump or mat version of parking aid. They will literally stop the car with a physical jolt when it is in the right position.
Benefits of Using Garage Parking Aids
To our mind there are three distinct advantages to using a garage parking aid.
- Overcoming Small Garage Syndrome
Let’s face it, none of us have the ideal size of a garage. When the garage is just a little snug for the car, a parking aid can really help you to get the most out of every available inch that you have available to you. It could literally be – and we know people who this has been true for – the matter of being able to accurately park the car a couple of inches closer to the wall that allows the doors to actually close, and means you can store the car inside the garage.
- Vehicle Protection
Car insurance is not cheap and has in fact risen by some 20% since the year 2011. Would you like to know a secret? It’s unlikely to be getting any cheaper in the near future. There are a few things you can do to help lower the fees as much as possible, and parking the car in the garage is one of them. Keeping the car off the road is essentially keeping it out of danger, making it harder to steal and less likely to be sideswiped by another driver. These things make insurance providers happy.
If you struggle to get your vehicle into the garage, then a parking aid could help and can also help to protect the vehicle itself from accidental damage by you or a family member by making it that little bit easier to park in the garage. After all, what’s the point of parking inside the thing, if you end up smashing the front of the car into the garage wall? A parking aid stops that and helps to make the garage an asset instead of a hazard.
- Garage Protection
As well as the car, the garage itself needs protecting from your Demolition Derby inspired parking. It costs about $26,000 to build a garage. Even if you’ve already got one, that at least gives you an idea of how much it is worth, and how much it would cost to replace.
Aside from the bricks and mortar value, there is also the contents. Many people use their garage as a workshop, and it is full of their tools. Many others also use it as utility storage, with a freezer or a washing machine tucked away in there. Let’s face it, you don’t want to hit any of that stuff with your car, do you? A parking aid ensures your car finds it’s spot every time.
Garage Parking Aid Types
There are lots of designs of garage parking aid, as we’ve just seen in the list above. Broadly speaking though, you can break them down into one of two types:
- Hi-Tech – These are your laser and ultrasonic parking sensors. They benefit from being more discrete, being very accurate and, let’s face it, a lot cooler. Yes, a sensor that works with ultrasonic waves is cooler than a ball on a bit of string, who would have thought it?
- Low-Tech – At the opposite end of the options you have low tech styles of parking aid. Don’t write them off just because they don’t shoot laser beams everywhere like a shark. The big advantage to low-tech devices? They are simple. They are easy to set up and they are very easy to use. Many also don’t require any power sources, so there are no batteries to change or wires to connect up.
Best Garage Parking Aid FAQ:
In this next section, we’re going to try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about these very useful little devices. If you’ve ever had a question about them yourself, then read on for, hopefully, the answer. Don’t worry about how daft the question might be either. This is the Internet, after all, there’s no judgment here.
Q: How do garage parking sensors work?
A: Whilst to a certain extent it does really depend on which model you’ve gone for, ultimately all parking sensors have the same aim, no matter how it is that they actually work. The aim is to provide a reference point to allow you to park the car in the exact spot inside a garage over and over again.
How they provide that reference point though can differ greatly from product to product. So the laser parking aids, for example, work by projecting a laser that you drive the vehicle through. Ultra Sonic devices work by projecting sound at the car, which the device receives back in the form of “bounce back.” It uses these sound waves to calculate the car position, relaying that information to you through a light display mounted to the wall.
That covers the high tech products! At the other end of the scale, you have the low tech versions. These work by contact – whether you are contacting a rubber stopper on the ground, an illuminated sign on a pressure sensitive stick or even a ball (with a smiley face!) suspended from the garage ceiling on a piece of rope.
Q: How do I mount garage parking sensors?
A: Again, it is really going to depend on the design you have decided to go for. If there are sensors, for example, then they need to be mounted to the wall, usually at bumper height as this is, of course, the part of the vehicle that sticks out the furthest. It’s the part of the car that will contact the garage wall first, so it must be the part of the car the sensor can pick up easiest!
Laser parking assist devices also need to be installed. They always shine down, so they need to be installed high, either on the ceiling or at the very least high up on the wall.
Things change once again when it comes to the low contact options. As we mentioned above, they work via direct contact with the vehicle, so will be mounted on the garage floor, close to the ideal parking spot. Contact sensitive signs are the easiest to install, simply place them exactly where you want the car to stop. Ball style parking aids must be suspended from the ceiling on their ropes, again taking care to ensure they are positioned close to the ideal parking spot.
Finally, floor mounted products such as bumps and mats have to be installed – and prepare yourselves for a shocking revelation – on the floor. We hope you were sitting down for that. One consideration with these products is how they are to be mounted. They usually have the weight, or in the case of the mat design the anti-slip, stick back plastic tape – to be held in place on their own. If you find them slipping when the car touches them though you could consider bolting or screwing them to the floor for a far stronger anchor point.
Q: What is the range of the parking sensor?
A: The sensors that use ultrasonic sound waves will typically have a range of around 15 feet. At that range, they will pick up the approach of the vehicle and turn green. They will turn yellow when the vehicle is about 8 foot from the stopping point and red when the vehicle is perfectly placed.
Parking aids that rely on contact will, of course, have a far shorter range. Since they work by contact with the vehicle, their range is in fact technically 0 inches. On the other hand, even physical, low tech parking aids are still designed to provide a visual reference point to help with parking. Their range is therefore limited only by your eyesight!
Q: Are garage parking sensors adjustable?
A: Absolutely. In fact, they are designed to adjustable because you are going to have to do a bit of adjusting. This is especially true with the laser parking aids as well as the ultrasonic ones. Essentially, you will need to get your car into the perfect parking position before setting that data into the parking aid itself. These style of devices need that reference point in order to help steer the vehicle back to that sweet, sweet perfect parking spot.
Even the low tech devices will require a little adjustment, although usually not as much as the higher-tech models we discussed above. Adjustments can usually be made multiple times, but devices that are secured with screws should be positioned correctly before you secure them with permanent fixtures. It could be a good idea to invest in something like 3M Command Strips. Use them to position the parking sensors, and only once they are in place to perfectly guide the car should you secure them with permanent fixtures like screws.
Q: How accurate are garage parking sensors?
A: Parking sensors can, in fact, be extremely accurate, in part because of the way that they measure distance. A laser, for example, is a very accurate method of measuring distance, as it is a completely straight line.
Strangely, it’s actually the low-tech models that have the distinction of being the most accurate. Because they work by touching the car, they will always have complete accuracy – provided of course that they actually, well, you know, touch the car.
How the parking aids are set up is also extremely important when it comes to accuracy. Or at least they may still be accurate, but if they are set up wrong they will be giving you false readings. Spend a little time in the set up therefore to get the car parked into the perfect position and you will be rewarded with accurate results time after time.
Our Top Pick
There is real variety on this list, perhaps more than we have seen with any other product type we’ve looked at so far. You have high tech products rubbing shoulders with very simple, low tech designs – and they all do a good job! That makes picking a winner even harder than usual, but here at Car Bibles we are suckers for the top-end technology, so we are going with the Maxsa Park Right Garage Laser Park.
For us, it just did everything we were looking for in a high-performance parking aid. It is clearly designed for ease of use, it is nice and easy to install and, above all, it’s highly effective. It’s small ceiling mounted design, coupled with no wires of control pads, means that it does its job without getting in the way – a very useful feature in a home garage setting where space can really be at the premium.
Small, well designed, a breeze to install and easy to use are the main reasons we can pronounce it the best garage parking aid on the market today.
- Self-parking Technology – HowStuffWorks