Think about your home. Think about how big it is. Now think about your garage. Chances are, it’s at least as big as two of the rooms in your house. Still, you don’t heat it like you do the rest of your home. But, what if you could create a super comfortable space in your garage with a pleasant ambient temperature? That would surely give you more home space to use on a daily basis. Perhaps you could even use your garage as the workshop, home office or gym you don’t have room for in your living space. If that sounds appealing to you, you definitely need one of the best garage heaters.
Garage heaters are used to warm up your exterior spaces in order to make them more comfortable. They’ve been used for years by hobbyists who often find themselves in their garages, but these devices are slowly becoming more mainstream as we find ourselves at home more often.
While you can use a simple electrical space heater in your garage, the large area likely demands more power. That’s why it’s important to learn a little bit about these space heaters before purchasing one. Below, we’ll explore the difference between propane and electric garage heaters as well as the different voltages, wattages and BTUs available.
Propane vs Electric Heaters
Garage heaters tend to use one of two different types of energy, namely propane or electric. Decades ago, propane garage heaters were the go-to choice for homeowners around the world. However, with new technology that means electric heaters can more efficiently heat larger spaces, electric heaters are now the more popular choice for the average household. They are safer and easier to run.
In general, you’ll need to choose a propane-fueled garage heater if you have a garage or workshop that’s larger than about 500 square feet. Otherwise, an electric heater will be the better choice for your garage in terms of cost and ease of use. However, for spaces between 250 square feet and 500 square feet, look for an infrared electric heater rather than a forced air electric heater. Here’s a handy breakdown for you:
- Up to 250 Square Feet – Forced Air Electric Heater
- 250-500 Square Feet – Infrared Electric Heater
- 500+ Square Feet – Propane Heater
What are BTUs?
BTU, also known as British Thermal Units, are a unit of heat. By definition, one BTU is “the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.”
The more BTUs a garage heater can produce, the hotter it can make the air in your space. A heater with more BTUs will also heat up more quickly than other models.
You’ll notice that this unit of measurement is used much more often with propane heaters, and the highest-rated model on our list can create up to 60,000 BTUs.
240V vs 120V
Garage heaters generally come in either 240 or 120 volts. Which one you buy will most likely be determined by the electrical supply in your garage as well as the size of your garage.
First, you’ll need to determine the type of electrical circuit your garage contains. You can do so by finding the circuit breaker. A single pole usually denotes a 120V supply, whereas twin poles may provide a 240V supply.
If you were to hook up the wrong voltage heater to your electrical circuit, you wouldn’t get the total amount of power from that heater, causing you to less efficiently heat your space. That’s why it’s always important to check the above before purchasing your heater.
Finally, if your garage can accommodate either 120V or 240V heaters, you’ll need to consider your space size. 120V heaters are better suited for smaller spaces than 240V heaters. In general, if your garage is smaller than about 300 square feet, consider a 120V heater. Otherwise, go for the 240V heater to warm up a larger area.
A Note on Wattage
You’ll notice that many of the electric heaters listed below have a particular wattage. This number tells you how much electricity is needed to power the heater. 1500 watts is the most common rating associated with electric heaters. This means that you’ll need 1.5 kilowatts for each hour you use these devices. That also means that heaters with lower wattage are cheaper to use over extended periods, but such devices may not heat large spaces effectively.
If you’re ready to stop freezing while working in your garage, consider the 11 best garage heaters below. We’ve included both electric and propane models as well as devices with a variety of wattages, so you can find the best choice for your space.
1. Comfort Zone Fan-Forced Ceiling Mount Heater
For years, Comfort Zone has set the gold standard in garage heaters, and recently, consumers have given their Fan-Forced Ceiling Mount Heater rave reviews. This heavy-duty heater can be mounted in any indoor space and boasts a variable mounting angle. This way you can target the heat distribution to where it’s needed most. Furthermore, the heavy steel gauge body works to insulate the motor, allowing it to remain in pristine conditions even under extreme temperatures. Finally, our favorite part of this heater is the included remote control and digital thermostat, allowing users to easily control the temperature in their space.
2. Amazon Basics 1500W Ceramic Personal Heater
Let’s face it. Any moderately sized electric heater will warm up a small garage. You don’t really need a fancy, big garage heater if you just need to use this workshop space once in a while. For occasional users, we recommend the Amazon Basics 1500W Ceramic Personal Heater. This 1500-watt heater has three outputs and a convenient carrying handle for moving it from your home to your garage with ease.
3. CCC Comfort Zone Radiant Quartz Tower Heater
BEST RADIANT HEATER
Although the CCC Comfort Zone Radiant Quartz Tower Heater would be considered a bit big as a space heater in the home, that makes it a great option for the garage. Its slightly larger tower size means it can heat the space efficiently. Furthermore, this heater uses fan-assisted radiant heat instead of forced air heat, meaning it won’t dry out your space quite as much. The two top-mounted controls allow the user to control the temperature output and change from high to low settings. While this isn’t heater probably isn’t powerful enough to constantly heat a detached garage, it would do a nice job in a garage space attached to a heated home.
4. ISILER Space Heater
The ISILER Space Heater is one of the best ceramic heaters around. Even though it’s designed to heat up a room in your house, this beast of a heater can actually keep a one to two-car garage (up to 108 square feet) warm. That’s because it boasts a 1500-watt output. It also has a thermostat, allowing you to set the temperature between 41 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As an added bonus, this nifty device can heat up in as little as two seconds, so you won’t have to wait long before getting to work in your garage.
5. NewAir Portable Ceramic 120v Electric Garage Heater
Unlike sitting and watching TV in the living room, you move around your garage when using it. Whether you’re moving from the cutting saw to your tool bench or simply working your way around your car, having a heater that can follow you is ideal. The NewAir Portable Ceramic 120v Electric Garage Heater does just that thanks to its tilting head. The 5600-watt heating power can cover a space of up to 500 square feet, and the fan forced ceramic heater comes with multiple safety features, including overheating protection and cool touch housing.
6. Stiebel Eltron Wall Mounted Electric Heater
BEST WALL MOUNTED
For garages low on space, you might consider a wall mounted heater. The Stiebel Eltron Wall Mounted Electric Heater sits nearly flush to the wall with a mere 4.81-inch profile. Yet, it uses forced air combined with a downdraft design to heat rooms up to 215 square feet. The heater also boasts an integrated thermostat, a timer and a frost-protection setting, which works to prevent freezing temperatures in any appropriately sized room.
7. Briza Infrared Patio Heater
To raise the ambient temperature of your room using forced air, you need an infrared heater, like the Briza Infrared Patio Heater. This particular model is super useful as it can be both wall mounted or used with the included tripod, which allows you to move the heater to where you need it most. It can also be used indoors or outdoors thanks to its IP 55 waterproof rating. Plus, this infrared heater features a remote control, a timer and an auto-shutoff to keep you safe.
8. Dyna-Glo Overhead Infrared Garage Heater
The Dyna-Glo Overhead Infrared Garage Heater is unique on our list thanks to its overhead design. This propane-fueled heater can be mounted to your garage walls to provide down directional heat at up to 18,000 BTUs. With no electricity required, this heater can warm up a space of up to 405 square feet. In addition, the multi-position bracket as well as the adjustable thermostat will keep you as warm as you desire while you’re working in your garage.
9. Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
BEST CONTROL PANEL
Consistently rated as one of the best garage heaters across the internet, the Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater earns its accolades with a number of handy features. In terms of safety, this device boasts a 12-hour auto shutoff, overheat prevention and tip-over protection. But what really makes it stand out from the crowd is its control panel. This features a digital thermostat, power settings and the ability to switch the heater into standby mode. At 120 volts and 1500 watts, you’ll get plenty of power in this compact, 24-pound heater on wheels.
10. Mr. Heater Portable Propane Forced Air Heater
The Mr. Heater Portable Propane Forced Air Heater creates some of the highest BTUs on our list. This bad boy can heat up to 60,000 BTUs. That’s because it uses forced air propane heating to create a warm environment in spaces up to 1500 square feet. So, if you have a huge garage or workshop, this is definitely the model for you. Through continuous ignition, it burns through a 20 pound propane tank in about 14 hours on the lowest setting, which is something to keep in mind when comparing the cost of running a propane heater versus an electric one.
11. Modine Hot Dawg Natural Gas Garage Ceiling Heater
Although not as powerful as the Mr Heater propane heater, the Modine Hot Dawg Natural Gas Garage Ceiling Heater does still provide 45,000 BTU and has a much smaller footprint. That’s because it can be mounted to the ceiling of your garage, keeping it off the floor and away from your feet. Furthermore, rather than requiring a bracket for ceiling mounting, the surface of this heater can attach directly to the rafters in your garage. Keep in mind, however, that this heater will possibly require professional installation and piping to and from a propane tank.