Whether you want to keep your garage warm to work in or just avoid the winter chill, owning a garage heater has many benefits. Not only will they produce enough heat to leave your garage toasty, but it can still be highly cost-effective to do. Still, before you buy just any heater, there are a few factors to consider. From the size of your garage, the type of heater, and the fuel source, the right choice will make your investment a longer-lasting choice.
With this handy guide, you’ll learn all you need about the best garage heaters to ensure you get the right pick for your garage.
Main types of garage heaters
Before looking at models or anything else, start with the type of garage heater. In general, there are three main categories of heaters that each provide heat in their own way: forced-air, radiant, and natural gas heaters.
Forced-air garage heaters
One of the easiest to install and also the most popular heater is the forced-air. Like a forced-air furnace, this heater blows out warm air via a fan that draws in cold air from outside the garage. It typically runs on electricity to convert the cold air into warm and quickly and evenly heats the space. Other forced-air heaters will use natural gas or propane, so there is no restriction on choosing this style. They are also much more flexible to install and can be placed either on the garage wall or installed on the ceiling. Among forced-air units, the size, fuel, and price will all vary depending on the type, brand, and installation method.
Radiant garage heaters
Radiant heaters work by heating the area near the heater, without forcing air. It’s a much gentler heating method, but the heater will have to be nearby to work efficiently. However, they are also much better suited for garage workshops or people who suffer from allergens. Unlike forced-air heaters, radiant doesn’t stir up dust or debris. It can also easily be installed as a mounted unit or bought as a portable heater. As a result, many DIY homeowners with workshop garages may prefer a radiant heater. Excess heat or stirred up dust can dry out a woodworking project or ruin a new paint coat. Similar to forced-air heaters, a radiant heater can be fueled with electricity, natural gas, or propane.
Natural gas and propane garage heaters
Instead of using electricity to provide heat, these heaters rely on different fuel types to power them. The benefit of this is they can both quickly heat a garage and are typically a more cost-effective fuel source. Wall-mounted units can be tied into your home’s current gas line, making them less expensive to run. Portable units will have a small, detachable tank that can be refilled or replaced as needed. However, extra care should be taken with these, especially when used in an enclosed space. Proper ventilation is necessary to avoid any carbon dioxide build-up risks. As with anything that involves gas-powered units, you might be required to hire a licensed professional to handle the installation.
Other factors to consider
In addition to fuel types, there are few other factors to consider for what type of heater is best for a garage.
In general, garage heaters are rated in BTUs or watts. BTU is used for propane and natural gas heaters and calculates the thermal output of a heater. Watts is used for electrical heaters and calculates the amount of power needed to run. With that, the higher the watts, the more power the heater provides, and the more space it can effectively heat. If you own a smaller garage, then a large, more powerful heater isn’t necessary. The size of the garage should also play a role in the type of fuel you choose. For example, smaller garages may benefit from radiant heaters since everything is closer to the heater. Larger garages, alternatively, have more space and so need more size and power, such as electrical or gas.
Portable or not
It is also worth considering whether you want a fixed or portable garage heater. There is no right or wrong choice, but it is a matter of personal preference. If you want to move the heater around the garage or even to new locations, then a portable and natural gas fueled one may be the best choice. Otherwise, a fixed heater with the right power and location will be the right choice. If you have an electric heater, make sure the power cord length is long enough to suit your needs and garage size. More powerful electrical heaters will require need 240-watts to run instead of the usual 110-watt power input. For that reason, hiring an electrician to do the wiring is important for safety and proper installation.
Safety is an important factor that should always be considered, but especially with the best garage heaters. Most heaters come with a safety feature of some kind, but knowing what to look for specifically will always help. With natural gas or propane heaters, a tip-over safety feature will turn off the unit if it gets knocked over. Overheat protection, on any unit, will automatically shut off the power before the unit overheats. That is especially important in an enclosed garage, where hot surfaces may risk fires or can cause bodily harm if touched. As for electrical heaters, an auto-shutoff feature will protect the unit against any dangerous power surges.
Now that you know what to look for and consider concerning what type of heater is best for a garage, it’s time to look at some options. These heaters range in safety features, fuel type, portability, and cost so that you can find the perfect heater for your needs.
1. Fahrenheat FUH54 240-volt Garage Heater
Electric heaters are ideal because you always benefit from all the heat provided, without any heat loss from open windows. The Fahrenheat FUH54 is also easy to install as a wall-mounted unit and rotates on its mount for heating in any direction. The wall mount itself is also adjustable so that it can be mounted anywhere in your garage. It comes with a customizable output range to further control how much, or little heat is produced. The metal frame and alternating heating and fan mode used to cycle the hot air ensure that the heater has a long lifespan.
The downside is that the heater must be hardwired and so needs a professional to handle the installation. Once mounted, it also can’t be moved, so take care to choose the right location the first time.
Fuel type: electricity / forced air
Portable: no – wall mounted
Garage size: upwards of 500 square feet
Safety features: Has an auto-shutoff in case of tripping or electrical power surges.
2. Mr. Heater F232000 Portable Radiant Garage Heater
As far as portable heaters go, this model is one of the most popular best garage heater Canada choices. It has a folding handle that makes it convenient to pick up and move as needed and store otherwise. The heater itself also weighs only 9 pounds, so it isn’t too heavy to lift. The adjustable settings give more range of control for the output, whether you need more heat for a large space or less for a smaller. While a downside may be that the unit runs on propane, it offers two safety features that help protect against carbon monoxide risks.
Fuel type: propane
Garage size: upwards of 225 square feet
Safety features: Low-oxygen feature will shut-off the unit if the heater detects too little oxygen in the room to prevent any build-up carbon monoxide build-up. A second safety feature is the tip-over auto-shut-off, which turns the unit off if the heater is knocked over.
3. Modine HD45ASO111 Natural Gas Hot Dawg Garage Heater
Natural gas has long since been a top choice as a fuel source and a great money-saving option. As a garage heater, it is just as effective and cost-saving to run. The Modine garage heater, in particular, can run on either natural gas or propane. It is also incredibly powerful, making it ideal for both residential and even commercial use. It runs at 80% efficiency and offers 45,000 BTUs per hour yet is completely quiet when turned on. The heater comes with built-in ventilation, making it a safe and ideal choice for wall or roof mounting.
A downside is that it does not come with an adjustable thermostat, so heating is limited to on or off. It is also more expensive upfront and needs a professional to properly and safely install.
Fuel type: natural gas or propane
Portable: no – wall or roof-mounted
Garage size: upwards of 1000 square feet
Safety features: Automatically shuts off it a set heat threshold is passed or if the unit produces a flame. It will also turn off if any issues with the ventilation come up that may lead to carbon monoxide build-up.
4. King KBP2406 Electric Garage Heater
This heater is a perfect choice for both midsized garages and ones where you need to customize the electrical output. It runs upwards of 13,000 BTUs and comes in either 950 or 5700 watts so you can safely pair it with your circuit panel. Similar to the Fahrenheat FUH54, the King model comes with various heat settings to completely control its heat output. While the unit can be wall-mounted, it has a tip-over safety feature if installed on the ground. The heater does not, however, have a remote control, so avoid installing it too high and out of reach to adjust the temperature.
Fuel type: electricity
Portable: no – wall-mounted or lower
Garage size: upwards of 240 to 600 square feet
Safety features: Tip-over feature will turn off the unit in case it is knocked over. The heater also automatically turns off in case of power failure, system malfunctions, or overheating.
5. Lasko 675919 Stanley Pro-Ceramic Utility Heater
This heater combines potent heating with convenient portability for a well-rounded best garage heater. It provides upwards of 1500 watts of energy and can pivot to provide heat in any direction necessary. The Lasko heater also comes with a ranged thermostat to further tailor how much heat it provides. With a strong steel base, the heater is guaranteed to have a long lifespan without worrying about wear and premature repair. There is also no installation or assembly required, meaning that you can use it right away.
Fuel type: electricity
Garage size: upwards of 200 square feet
Safety features: The thermal cut off setting will turn the heater off before it overheats.
6. Newair G56 5600 Watt Garage Heater
As far as a full range of features and convenience goes, the Newair G56 is another perfect heater choice. It’s portable, has a handle to carry easily, and a long 6-foot power cord so you can plug it in anywhere. The 5600 watts of power means that any garage will be heated quickly and efficiently in little time. It also has built-in manual controls to adjust the temperature as needed. The fan itself is set behind a steel safety grille, making the heater both longer lasting and safer to run.
Fuel type: electricity
Garage size: upwards of 560 square feet
Safety features: Overheat protection will shut off the heater before it overheats and becomes a fire risk. It also has tip-over protection for floor unit installation to automatically turn it off if the heater is knocked over.
7. Patton PUH680-N-U Milk-House Utility Heater
One of the best garage heaters as far as cost goes, the Patton heater uses a forced-air system to blow heat into smaller spaces. The hot air is passed through the heater wire grid, which provides a nice even spread of heat. The heater does come with additional controls of its own, so you can further customize how much heat and airflow is produced. The Patton is better suited to heating smaller spaces, so it may not be ideal for larger garages.
Fuel type: electricity / forced air
Garage size: upwards of 250 square feet
Safety features: Tip-over will turn the unit off if it is knocked over for any reason. At the same time, the overheat protection automatically shuts it off to prevent fire risks.
Why invest in a garage heater?
Garage heaters aren’t just limited to people who use their garages as a workshop or living space. A heater can benefit any homeowner and garage, especially during those colder winter months. If your garage gets really cold, then a heater can protect things like your car battery, stored appliances, or tools. It can also help keep your home warmer overall, by preventing cold air from seeping into the main house. The heaters are also compact, convenient, and have safety features that make them a well worthwhile investment. When it comes to finding what is the best heater for a garage and buying one, it is never an added cost to your home. Instead, it is added value with long-term benefits and returns.
If you’re installing a gas heating the garage, find RenovationFind certified plumbers below!