Keep your garage toasty when the outside temperature gets frigid with the best garage heater. Whether you are fixing up your car or tinkering away on a project, putting on extra layers of clothing, hats, and gloves makes you comfortable during the cold months. But they can be a safety hazard and will restrict your movement.
You need a garage heater to make your working space warm enough without wearing bulky layers of clothing or getting your fingers numb.
Read on for our top garage heater recommendations to add to your space. There are also tips on choosing the best heating solution for your garage and how to install them.
Top 6 Best Garage Heater
1. Best Multi Car Garage Heater: Modine Hot Dawg Garage Heater
- 45,000 BTUs
- Natural gas/electric heater
- Quiet operation
- 80% efficiency
Do you need an efficient and versatile heating solution for a multi-car garage?
The Modine Hot Dawg Garage Heater might not be a bargain choice, but it’s a crowd favorite for a reason. It offers both convenience and versatility when it comes to heating large garage areas. You can power this unit by plugging it into an electric outlet or by using natural gas, whichever is convenient. But remember that natural gas heaters will need good ventilation. There’s also an option to convert the unit into a propane garage heater if you prefer.
Besides its versatility, this garage heater can generate up to 45,000 BTUs per hour, keeping your garage as warm as you need. This Hot Dawg garage heater is the best choice to warm up more than 1,000 square feet of space. Its 80% heating efficiency is also worth it, enough to justify the unit’s high price tag.
2. Best Electric: Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater
- 18,500 BTUs
- Thermostat control switch
- Overheat protection
- Fan mechanism
For quick and convenient heating for a small garage space, the Dr. Infrared Electric Garage Shop Heater is our top pick. It’s an electric heater with a plug-and-play function, easy to install for heat that you can feel in a hurry.
The 18,500 BTUs per hour that this unit can generate is enough to warm up garage areas around 600 square feet. You can set your preferred temperature from 45 to 95 degrees through the built-in electronic thermostat. It can increase the air temperature up to 10-degrees with a few hours. The unit also does an excellent job at maintaining a stable temperature throughout your garage, thanks to its fan mechanism.
Another standout feature of this Dr. Infrared electric heater is its finger-proof intake and discharge grills. It’s dependable and safe, especially with the high-temperature heating limit for extra safety.
3. Best Propane: Mr. Heater Portable Forced Air Heater
- 60,000 BTUs
- Forced air heating method
- 50% quieter than standard propane garage heater
- Continuous ignition up to 14 hours
If you need to warm a massive garage space or workshop, a propane garage heater is an effective and efficient solution. The best one in the market is the propane-powered Mr. Heater Portable Forced Air Garage Heater.
It’s called the torpedo heater for a reason, generating a maximum heating power of 60,000 BTUs. This heating unit can warm up a garage of up to 1,500 square feet. Because it’s a portable heater, you can use this unit wherever you want, as long as there’s a propane tank available.
While propane heaters aren’t best known for their quiet operation, this Mr. Heater unit features Quiet Burner Technology. It’s 50% quieter than standard propane garage heaters. Plus, it can take out the chill out of your garage for up to 14 hours when used in a low setting on a 20-pound propane tank.
4. Best Natural Gas: Mr. Heater Big Maxx Unit Heater
- 80,000 BTUs
- Forced air heating method
- Low profile design
- Vertical and horizontal venting
When it comes to heating solutions, Mr. Heater is one of the brand names worth checking out. It’s another popular choice if you are looking for a heavy-duty natural gas garage heater, and our best pick is the Big Maxx Unit Heater.
It’s not only the top pick for a natural gas heater for a garage, but an efficient option for heating large garages. It can generate heat up to 80,000 BTUs, enough to take out the chill around a 2,000 square feet room.
The large capacity of this heating unit comes with a massive weight of 85 pounds. But that shouldn’t be an issue after mounting the heater. Meanwhile, its low-profile design allows you to install the unit in a low-ceiling garage. But it’s best recommended to mount the heater with an 8-feet clearance from the floor to its base.
5. Best Infrared: Heat Storm Wi-Fi Wall-Mounted Heater
- 5,000 BTUs
- Wi-Fi enabled
- ETL safety certified
- Corded electric heater
Infrared heaters are excellent if you want to heat a portion of your garage quickly. Our best pick in this category is the Heat Storm Wi-Fi Wall-Mounted Heater for many reasons.
For one, this unit comes with an ETL Safety Certification. It’s a quality and safe heating unit to add to your garage space.
What’s even better is that it has a range of smart features for convenience, efficiency, and safety. You can control the heating output through a remote or a mobile app, thanks to its Wi-Fi technology. Although you can mount this garage heater to the wall, it’s still relatively mobile. You can take it off the wall and bring it anywhere. It’s portable and lightweight at only nine pounds.
This garage heater is an incredible choice for warming up small spaces, even if there are kids and pets around, thanks to its safe-to-touch grill.
6. Best Mini Split: Air-Con 24000 AC/Heating System
- 24,000 BTUs
- Heat and cool functions
- Inverter technology
- Wi-Fi ready with optional remote
If you want both the cooling and heating functions for your garage, mini-split systems are the most convenient option. You can use this AC/heating unit all year long: cooling during the summer and heating during the winter.
-Con’s 2400 AC/Heating System is our top pick out of all mini-split heat pumps in the market. It might not be the most prominent brand, but this unit can outperform most heat pumps from popular and pricier names. It has a considerable 24,500 BTUs heating capacity with an unbeatable 11.8 HSPF rating, where most mini-splits only have 10.0 HSPF ratings.
This mini-split heating system is an incredibly efficient unit for your garage, saving you up to 60% on energy consumption compared to standard units. It also comes with a range of features like a dedicated dehumidifier, turbo mode, auto-reset, auto-clean, and Wi-Fi technology.
How to Choose the Best Garage Heater
Before buying a garage heater, consider what type of heaters are available and what will work best for your garage. Also, check its fuel source and the ideal garage heater size for the amount of space you have.
Read the guide below to help you choose the best garage heater for your needs.
Types of garage heaters
There are two main categories of garage heaters: forced-air/fan-forced and radiant/infrared garage heaters. They differ in how they heat up or warm your garage.
Fan-forced garage heaters draw in the cold air from your garage, warm it, then blow it back out. They have the best heating efficiency and work great for warming up large garage spaces. The only downside is the operational noise because of the constant pushing out of the air.
Infrared heaters warm the part of your garage adjacent to it. An infrared garage heater provides direct and steady warmth. It doesn’t stir up any dust particles, so it’s a perfect option for a workshop garage. However, it’s not very efficient to heat an entire garage, especially if you have a large one.
Garage Heater Fuel source
Your garage heater can be powered by either electricity, propane, or natural gas.
Electric heaters are the most popular because of their convenience. Plug the unit into an outlet, and you can instantly warm up your garage. But they are expensive in the long run because they can increase your monthly power consumption.
On the other hand, a propane garage heater is efficient in heating large garage spaces without increasing your electric bill. But they require refilling, and you might have no heat source until you get a refill.
Lastly, a natural gas garage heater is an excellent option if you have an existing gas line. It is an ideal heat source for large spaces for an extended period without worrying about refills or electricity.
What size garage heater to get?
Buying the right garage heater size saves you money in more ways than one. A too-large heater for your garage is an extra expense for heating power you don’t need. Getting a unit too small and heating a room beyond its capacity will run up your power bill.
Estimate your garage heater size by calculating the number of BTUs to match the heating power you need in your garage.
BTU = (garage insulation rating)*(garage volume)*(desired temperature rise)
Use a rating of ‘0.5’ for a garage with strong insulation, ‘1’ for average insulation, ‘1.5’ for weak insulation, and ‘5’ if your garage has no insulation.
Garage Heater FAQs
How to install a garage heater?
Installing a garage heater depends a lot on what you got.
Do you have an electric garage heater? If so, most of them are simple ‘plug and play’ heating units. It means that you only need to plug the unit into a power source once you mount the heater where you want to place it in your garage.
If you have a propane or natural gas garage heater, the same premise of installation applies. First, you need to mount the unit somewhere in your garage and then attach it to the ideal fuel source based on your heating unit.
Garage heaters can also come in wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted models. Installing the unit will also depend on that.
In terms of placement, it’s typically best to install your garage heater at the back wall of your garage, where it faces the garage door. But make sure that you mounted it where there are not many objects blocking it at the front to allow the heater to push out warm air without obstructions.
How to build a waste oil heater?
If you want a free heating system for your garage, you can build a waste oil heater. There are plans on making homemade burners, whether you prefer open flame burners or a complex injection unit.
You can start building a free heater for your garage with a waste oil heater kit with:
- Waste oil tank and furnace
- Burner and built-in compressor
- Metering pump and fuel pick-up
- Manometer, fuel gauge, drain valve
Building a waste oil heater is no easy task, but if you have an endless supply of waste oil, it might be a cost-effective option to warm your garage. Most units have multi-fuel capabilities. So, you can use fuel oils, waste motor oil, waste vegetable oils, gear oils, and many more.
How to vent a garage heater?
In most cases, it’s best recommended to have a professional install the heater and vent in your garage. It’s often the case if you are using a gas heater for the garage. But you can still save a portion of the cost if you install the vent.
You can install a venting system for your natural gas garage heater in two ways: through the roof or the wall. Either way, you can follow these steps to vent a garage heater.
- Measure the size of the duct and calculate the length needed
- Determine the position of your garage heater
- Trace the outline of the duct and cut through your wall or ceiling
- Insert the vent and connect one end to your heating unit using a duct elbow
When setting up the venting system, ensure that you are using the correct pipe size according to your heater’s manual.
Looking for a Garage AC Unit Instead?
We are still actively reviewing new Garage AC units for you. But in the meantime, here’s a favorite of ours!