Best Garage Heaters – 2023 Reviews

I love spending time in my garage but in winter it gets pretty freezing in there. The colder it gets, the less productive and grumpier I get. Buying the best garage heater made a huge difference.

But which heater is your best option? Should I go with gas or electric? Forced air or infrared radiant? What about cost, efficiency, size and installation?

Best Garage Heater

It’s worth understanding some of these factors before making your choice.

Before we get into the details, here are some garage heater reviews listing the best garage heaters on the market.


Garage Heater Reviews

We've put together reviews of the 10 top rated garage heaters on the market.

This electric garage heater exceeded all our expectations and easily takes the top spot for best electric garage heater.

Installation is a cinch and the performance in a well insulated large 3 car garage (1,200 sq ft) is really impressive. It takes around 30 minutes to deliver a 20 degree increase in that size space.

If the outside temperature is around 40 degrees you’ll need around an hour before the garage is comfortable to work in.

Once you get the garage up to around 60 you can set the heater to low and it’ll maintain the temperature.

Electricity cost is always a concern but this heater is really efficient and the built-in thermostat does a great job of regulating the output.

We loved the heavy duty, industrial feel this heater has as well as the compact size. At this price you’re not going to find a better electric heater.

This is one of the best garage heaters we've seen at this price and heating power output.

Pros

Cons

  • No fumes
  • Low noise
  • Heats up quickly
  • Simple installation
  • Relay is a little loud when it clicks in

If you’re trying to heat a 2 car garage (500 to 600 sq ft) then this is one of the best gas garage heaters to do it with. This CSA certified infrared garage gas heater is 99.9% fuel efficient, converting almost all the fuel it burns into heat.

The wall mount installation is pretty easy and we really like that there’s no electric hook-up required. Instead they’ve used a smart thermocouple to control the valve.

It comes supplied with the wall bracket but you need to make sure you have around 14 inches of clearance above it to your ceiling. It also comes supplied with a wall vent.

Noise is always a concern with gas heaters but this was one of the quietest gas heaters we tried.

We also liked that the thermostat it comes with is wall mounted and not on the unit, so it’s easily within reach.

If you're looking for the best infrared heater for your garage then grab this great unit. There's a good reason it features so highly in infrared heater reviews.

Pros

Cons

  • Super efficient and cheap to run
  • Easy installation
  • No electric hook-up required
  • Separate thermostat
  • Mounting between bracket and heater is a little flimsy

If you’re looking for the best natural gas heater that can heat a large garage (1,250 sq ft) then this forced air unit is one of the best we’ve seen.

It’s setup to run on natural gas but it comes with a conversion kit in case you want to run it off liquid propane instead.

It doesn’t have a low oxygen sensor though so if you’re going to use propane make sure your venting is good and mount a carbon monoxide sensor on the wall near it.

Either way, it runs really efficiently and puts out 50,000 BTU per hour which is plenty for a 2 to 3 car garage.

One of the big contributors to its efficiency is that it uses an electric ignition instead of a pilot light.

The terminals, thermostat and gas connections are well laid out for easy installation and access. The powered exhaust also means you can vent horizontally or vertically.

Besides the gas installation you’ll need 115V supply to it for the electric ignition spark and fan.

It comes supplied with two angled ceiling brackets but the thermostat and venting kit are sold separately. You don’t have to use the Mr. Heater thermostat though as any one will do.

We liked that the low profile design allows for installation in spaces with low ceilings. It only needs 8 feet of clearance to the floor.

There’s no smell and in spite of the powerful fan it runs fairly quietly considering the 50,000 BTU output. This is our choice for best natural gas garage heater.

Pros

Cons

  • Heats a large garage very quickly - 50,000 BTU per hour
  • Low profile, simple installation even on low ceilings
  • Very efficient - electric ignition, no pilot light
  • Powerful fan
  • Venting kit sold separately and is quite expensive

If you’re looking to heat a small garage then this forced-air electric garage heater is an excellent choice. The output power can be set from 2,500W up to 5,000W via the jumpers during installation.

This gives you the option to use the lower output for smaller, less cold spaces or the maximum output if you need it to work a little harder.

It comes supplied with an excellent wiring diagram making DIY installation really simple. The mounting bracket and adjustable louvers give the option for either vertical or horizontal installation.

This heater warms up the space really quickly with the powerful fan shifting the warm air while making very little noise.

It has a built-in thermostat but we’d recommend wiring it via a separate wall mounted thermostat so you don’t have to keep reaching up to make adjustments.

We love the rugged design and at this great price it’s the best small garage heater on the market.

Pros

Cons

  • Great price
  • Variable power settings - ideal for heating smaller garage
  • Easy installation - vertical or horizontal ceiling mount
  • Rugged, durable design
  • Thermostat is a little basic - use an external one

If you’re looking for the best way to heat a garage with high ceilings then check out this great infrared heater. It puts out 40,000 BTU per hour and is designed to be used in buildings with foot ceilings.

If you’ve got a big workshop that needs heating or if your garage has really high ceilings then get one of these.

If your garage has a ceiling that’s lower than 12 ft then rather go for the Heatstar unit we reviewed above.

It runs on natural gas and is extremely efficient. It’s a ventless heater but seeing that it burns oxygen you’ll need an air vent somewhere in your garage.

Installation is simple and it doesn’t require any electrical hook-up as it uses a pilot light for ignition.

It comes with a thermostat but you could install your own one too if you prefer. It’ll need to be the 650mV type though so make sure you get the right one.

The price and performance of this heater are great but it’s only suitable to heat larger garages with high ceilings because of the clearances required.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent heater for larger garages
  • Easy installation - no electrical connection required
  • Good price
  • Very efficient
  • Basic thermostat
  • Only suitable for ceilings over 12 ft

Sometimes a portable garage heater makes more sense. We like the versatility of being able to move the heater a little closer or use it in our barn when we’re not working in the garage.

This heater uses infrared tubes to generate the heat and a powerful fan to circulate the warm air in the garage.

It’s a corded heater so it doesn’t require any installation but it comes with a NEMA 6-30P plug that probably won’t fit any outlet you have in your garage.

You can buy an adapter though or just replace the plug. It needs a 220V supply with a 30A breaker.

The heater is designed to stand on the floor so don’t try and ceiling mount it. It doesn’t have a tip over safety so place it in a safe spot.

The fan is really powerful (and a little loud) so you need around 3 feet of space around it. The nice thing is that because it shifts so much air the casing never gets hot and is safe to touch.

This heater is super durable and it’ll keep your garage warm for years to come. If you prefer something you can move around then this is the best portable garage heater we’ve seen.

Pros

Cons

  • Portable - no installation
  • Compact
  • Powerful fan
  • Heats garage fast
  • Comes with a NEMA 6-30P plug - you may need an adapter

This wall mounted heater is ideal for heating a smaller garage. If your insulation is pretty good then this 4,000W output will be plenty enough for a 2 car garage.

It’s a fairly compact design and is easy to install with the supplied brackets. We like that the swivel bracket allows you to direct the heat and the brackets allow for both wall or ceiling mounting.

The construction is rugged with a stainless steel heating element and durable epoxy coating.

They’ve given some thought to safety as well with an automatic heater shutoff that kicks in if the air flow stops for any reason.

It has a built-in thermostat that works fine but its located on the back of the unit which isn’t great when you need to adjust it.

Besides that one drawback, the great price and small size make the amount of heat this heater delivers really impressive.

It’s perfect for heating your workshop or garage if you don’t want to spend too much.

Pros

Cons

  • Great price
  • Versatile mounting options
  • Plenty of heat for its size
  • Location of thermostat isn’t great

The best way to heat a garage with a large volume space is with a natural gas heater like this one. It puts out 45,000 BTU per hour which is plenty for even a large 3 car garage.

It’s not the prettiest heater but it’ll heat your garage up really fast with a 30 degree increase in around 20 minutes or so. It runs on natural gas but there’s an option to use propane if you prefer.

The installation will take you a few hours and it’s probably worth getting a professional to do it for you if you haven’t done this kind of thing before. It’ll probably take you around 2 to 4 hours to install and, weighing 60 pounds, you’ll need some extra hands.

Once you’ve got it in it will seriously impress. It’s one of the fastest heaters we’ve seen and is ideal for heating larger garages. It’s a little pricey but this natural gas garage heater is going to be far more economical than using an electric heater in the long run. 

Pros

Cons

  • Heats a large garage fast
  • Very efficient
  • Quiet operation
  • Takes a few hours to install
    Pricey upfront purchase cost

This is a great portable propane garage heater. It's ideal for heating your garage but would work well if you’re doing indoor construction work in the winter too.

Indoor heaters that don't require electricity aren't normally up to heating large garages. This one blows out some serious heat though and comes in a variety of output powers.

For the price, the 60,000 BTU model is hard to beat. It comes supplied with a 10 foot hose and regulator and the built-in thermostat allows for easy temperature adjustments.

It’s CSA certified for both indoor and outdoor use. As with even the best propane heater for garage use, we’d recommend putting a carbon monoxide heater up on the wall.

It’s also got tip-over, flame-out and overheat protection built-in.

If you’re looking for a seriously powerful propane garage heater but want something portable then this is a great option at a really good price. 

Pros

Cons

  • Serious portable heat output
  • Great price
  • Durable construction
  • It’s a bit loud

Sometimes you just want to heat the spot you’re working in a little. Or maybe you’re working in your smaller workshop and not your garage.

This portable propane heater can be adjusted from 4,000 to 9,000 BTU per hour which is great for spaces up to around 225 square feet.

It connects directly to a 1lb cylinder and uses a piezo spark mechanism to get it started. It’s certified safe for indoor use and has both an oxygen depletion sensor as well as tip-over protection.

This is the best small shop heater we’ve seen and the versatility it offers means you’ll end up using it in a lot of other places besides the garage.

At this price and considering the great reviews this garage space heater is definitely worth a look.

If you're looking for indoor heaters that don't require electricity then get one of these.

Pros

Cons

  • Great portable design
  • Really good price
  • Delivers plenty of heat
  • Only two heating settings - low and high

How To Heat A Garage - Garage Heating Options

Your garage heating options fall into two broad power source categories and form factors.

To power your heater you need to either use gas or electricity. Once you’ve decided on a power source you need to choose either a forced-air or a radiant heater.

There are pros and cons associated with each of these and we’ll get into that in more detail for each heater type below:

Electric Heaters

The best electric garage heater will either be a forced-air type or an infrared radiant heater (quartz). The forced air heater uses heating elements to warm the air and a fan to force the air out into the room.

An electric radiant heater uses electricity to power infrared tubes that radiate heat and does not use a fan to move any of the heated air.


Gas Heaters

Gas heaters for garage use will either use natural gas or propane (also called LP or butane). Natural gas is normally going to be your cheapest heater power source and it burns cleaner too. A natural gas heater will require some installation to pipe the gas to where you’re installing the heater in your garage.

The advantage of a propane heater for garage use is that it uses a tank so there’s no installation required and these are also portable so you can move the heater around your garage to wherever you’re working.

Gas Heater vs Electric Heater

Your choice between gas or electric really comes down to purchase price versus running cost. A gas heater will always be cheaper to run but requires gas installation, venting (sometimes) and can be a little noisy.

Electric heaters cost more to power but the higher running cost is offset by low noise operation and simple installation.

Ceiling and wall mounted electrical heaters will require some wiring while portable electric heaters are normally corded.

If you live at a high elevation then the efficiency of the gas heater will suffer and you’ll be better off with an electric heater.

If you’re going to be running the heater for a few hours every other day when you’re working in the garage then an electric heater isn’t going to add too much to your bill.

If you need to run a heater almost constantly throughout winter then you’re going to want to go the natural gas route.

For the best efficiency make sure your gas heater uses an electric ignition rather than a pilot light. Burning a pilot light can be responsible for up to 25% of your gas consumption.

Here’s a quick look at some of the pros and cons to consider:

Gas Heater - Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Lower running cost
  • Heats up quickly
  • Very efficient
  • Higher purchase price
  • Requires gas installation​
  • Requires venting​
  • Can be noisy​
  • Not easy to regulate temperature.

Electric Heater - Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Cheaper purchase price
  • Easier installation (electrical hook-up or corded)
  • Easy to regulate temperature
  • Quieter
  • High running cost​
  • Takes longer to get up to temperature
  • Not as efficient

If you don’t mind being able to hear the heater then a gas heater is the best choice for heating your garage.

The lower running costs and effective heating performance make it the better option. Just make sure you have sufficient venting if the product requires it.

Best Way to Heat a Garage In Winter

Forced-Air vs Infrared Radiant Heater

A forced-air heater will heat your garage quickly because the air is heated and then circulated by the fan.

A low-intensity infrared radiant heater doesn’t heat the air, but rather heats the objects in front of it.

Once those objects are warm they warm the surrounding air. This means it’ll take a little while longer for an infrared heater to warm your garage.

Normally you’d install an infrared radiant heater a minimum of 7’ above the floor and aim it down at your garage concrete floor.

Once the floor warms up it then warms the air in contact with it and this warm air then rises. 

This heating process gives you a more uniform and comfortable heat distribution. A forced-air heater tends to stratify the warm air with it being warmer at the ceiling and cooler nearer the ground.

You just need to be careful that there’s nothing within 3 or 4 feet of the infrared heater (including you) otherwise they’ll end up overheating.

The purchase price is often the clincher for some people, especially if you’re trying to heat your garage on a budget. You’ll be paying around twice as much for the best infrared heater as you will for the best forced air heater.

Once you’ve bought it, an infrared heater will be cheaper to run though. 

One of the reasons that an infrared radiant heater is more effective is that it recovers much faster than a forced-air heater does when you open a door and some of the warm air leaves the garage.

 The forced-air heater will need to circulate the cold air through the heater to warm it up.

The infrared heater has essentially turned your concrete floor and other objects in its path into one big heater so it warms the cold air much quicker.

The other concern with a forced air heater is that while it blows hot air to heat your garage it’ll also end up blowing dust. This means that they’re not a good option if you’re busy with a paint or stain project.

They are less expensive than infrared heaters though, which is why they’re a good choice if you want to heat your garage without spending a lot of money upfront.

Infrared Heater - Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Quieter (no fan)
  • Costs less to run - more efficient
  • Doesn’t blow dust
  • Comfortable, uniform heat distribution
  • Fast heat recovery if garage door is opened
  • Purchase price is about twice that of forced-air
  • Needs sufficient headroom and open space in front of it to be effective
  • Takes longer to warm the garage

Forced Air Heater - Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Lower purchase cost
  • Warms garage quickly
  • Installation point less critical
  • Louder (fan)
  • Blows dust
  • Longer heat recovery if doors open
  • More expensive to run

What’s the best kind of heater to use in a garage?

If you’ve got sufficient space in your garage and don’t mind the higher purchase price then an infrared heater will be your best option.

Making sure your vehicles and anything else don’t come within 3 or 4 feet of the heater means you’ll need to spend a little time selecting the right spot for installation. 

If your garage is a little more cramped and you want to save some money upfront then a forced air heater will get the job done nicely. It’s also a lot less critical where you install it.

Just bear in mind that because the fan will disturb any dust in your garage it’s not the best option if you’re doing any painting or staining work.

Heater Sizing - What Size Garage Heater Do I Need?

The ability of a heater to warm a space is either indicated in Watts or BTU’s. Electric heaters are normally quoted in Watts and gas heaters in BTU. 

The size heater you need for your garage is dependent on a range of factors including volume of the space, weather conditions and how well insulated it is.

Without getting too technical we can make a few guesstimates that you can use as a guide.

 A good rule of thumb is that you need around 10 Watts to increase the temperature by 30 degrees Fahrenheit for each square foot.

So if your garage is around 700 square feet and you want to heat the garage from 40F to 70F then you’ll need a 7,000 Watt heater.

Heaters (especially gas heaters) are sometimes quoted with a BTU figure. In these cases the BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a measure of how much heat the heater generates per hour.

Determining how many BTU’s you’ll need to heat your garage depends on a number of variables:

  • Length of garage
  • Width of garage
  • Height of ceiling
  • Level of insulation
  • Temperature increase required

Other issues like the heater efficiency also come into it but we can make some rough estimates by calculating the square footage of the garage and then referring to the following image and chart.

Garage Heater Size BTU Chart

Your other option is to use this handy BTU calculator.

If you’d rather try a little mental arithmetic you could use this rough calculation:

  1. Calculate volume of garage in cubic feet - length x width x height in feet
  2. Calculate temperature (F) increase required - desired temp - minimum expected temp
  3. Multiply volume by temperature difference
  4. Multiply result by 0.133 to get BTU’s required

Cubic Feet x Temperature Increase x 0.133 = Required BTUs

The multiplication factor (0.133) is the “fiddle factor” that is dependent on the amount of insulation you have.

Let’s try an example.

How many BTU’s does it take to heat a 2 car garage?

An average 2 car garage has dimensions of around 20’x20’. Let’s use 24’x24 feet to be on the safe side and to allow for some work space. We can assume a ceiling height of 10’ and average insulation. 

Now we need to know the maximum change in temperature we will need to achieve.

Let’s assume that the coldest it gets in our garage is 32 degrees F and we’d like to warm that up to 72 degrees F. That’s a change of 40 degrees.

Plugging these figures into the BTU calculator gives us a requirement of 24,576 BTU/hour. We can allow a little safety margin and say that we’ll need a 25,000 BTU heater to heat a 2 car garage.

If you use our rough calculation above you get a figure of around 30,000 BTU.

Something worth noting when you’re trying to work out what size garage heater you need is what’s in your garage.

Besides the concrete floor, what else is there that will need to be heated.

If you have a large garage with some big machines, lifts and a few vehicles in it then those are all going to act like big heat sinks.

Your heater will be working for the first few hours to get those up to temperature before the air starts to feel warm.

If your garage is mostly open space with fewer big pieces of steel in it then the calculations above will be more accurate.

Garage Heater Installation


Wall / Ceiling Mount vs Free Standing

Your choice of a fixed wall or ceiling installation or a portable, free standing heater depends on the space your trying to heat.

If you’re working mostly in just one area in a small garage then a free standing heater may be a good option.

They don’t require any installation but they can get in the way and could be a tripping hazard. The warm air will be more localized but the portability gives you the option of moving it around.

If you’re working in multiple spots in your garage then you’ll need to warm the entire space.

The only way you’re going to do that effectively is with a wall or ceiling mounted garage heater. It’s going to require some installation (gas lines and / or electric) but it’ll be out of your way and far more effective.

Gas and Electric Installation

Whenever you’re working with gas or electricity it’s important to know what you’re doing. If in doubt, call a professional. 

Besides the gas connections, venting also needs to be done properly for both safety and performance reasons.

If you’re connecting up an electric heater make sure you’re using the right voltage, adequate gauge wire and the correct breaker. Most electric garage heaters will need a 220V supply and a 30A breaker.

If you’re doing the installation yourself it’s a good idea to get a homeowners installation permit. It costs a few dollars but at least your insurance won’t be void if something goes wrong.

Clearance

Whether you’re installing your garage heater on the wall or ceiling you need to pay careful attention to the clearance requirements the manufacturer suggests. Ceiling clearance is especially important if you prefer your garage fire free.

What About The Thermostat?

Some garage heaters will have a built-in thermostat while with others you’ll need to buy a thermostat and wire it in separately.

It’s worth doing though. If you’re running your heater for long periods you’re very likely to overheat your room.

You’ll end up feeling a little stuffy and you’ll end up paying more on your gas or electric bill than you need to. Even a cheap, simple thermostat will maximize the efficiency of your heater.

Buying a smart wireless thermostat is great for getting the heater going while you're still in your home.

That way your garage will be up to temperature when you walk in an hour later.

Can I Use Propane In A Natural Gas Heater?

Propane has a much higher heat release than natural gas does. In fact, it’s around 2.5 times the heat release of natural gas. 

If you used propane in a natural gas heater the regulator would pass too much gas and you’d end up with excess temperature, soot, incomplete combustion and carbon monoxide. 

A lot of natural gas heater manufacturers will offer propane conversion kits for their heaters.

If you want to use propane then make sure your heater is designed to run on it or get the conversion kit.

Is it safe to use a propane heater in a garage?

When propane burns it produces Carbon Dioxide (CO2). We breathe plenty of CO2 in everyday and it’s not dangerous for humans. As long as you’re breathing enough oxygen in you’re fine.

The problem with any combustion heater is that it burns up the oxygen in the room to keep the flame going.

When there’s not enough oxygen in the room then the propane no longer produces Carbon Dioxide but now it produces Carbon Monoxide and that stuff is deadly.

You should always have some ventilation in your garage even when you’re trying to heat it. If you’re going to use a propane heater in your garage then make sure that it has a low oxygen sensor built into it.

Once the oxygen level gets too low the heater will shut off and there’s no danger of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

The best propane heaters will have this sensor built and are termed "indoor-safe". Some propane heaters are designed for outdoor use only and will not have the sensor.

Either way, we’d recommend being safe and buying a cheap Carbon Monoxide detector and hang it on your wall just to be extra safe.

Vented Heater vs Ventless Heater

Vented heaters will call for more installation upfront but you’ll have a lot less fumes to deal with. If you’re sensitive to smells then this may be the better way to go.

Ventless heaters are safe to use indoors but you’ll need to be sure that your garage isn’t too tightly insulated and that you get some air in there via a vent or by opening the door every now and then.

It’s important to know the local codes your state mandates. Some states, like California, do not allow vent free heaters to be used indoors. 

Heater Safety

Whenever we’re working with gas, electricity or heat we need to be careful. Gas installations should always be done by a professional contractor. If your heater requires venting it’s very important to get that done properly.

Carbon monoxide and other fumes can be deadly.

If you’re using a portable heater make sure that it’s in a safe spot that won’t present a tripping hazard. Tip over protection is always a good idea too.

Electrical installations are a little simpler than gas but you still need to be sure to use the appropriate size breaker.

If you take the maximum wattage the heater is rated at and divide it by your supply voltage (110V or 22V) that will give you your maximum current draw.

Always choose a breaker a few amps higher than that to be safe.

Eg. A 6000W heater powered by 220V supply will draw 27.27A and would require at least a 30A breaker. Make sure that the wiring you’re using is rated to handle that current too.

Garage Heater Noise Level

It may sound a little silly but some heaters can be noisy. Electrical heaters will always be quieter while with gas heaters you’re going to hear that flame. Forced air heaters (gas or electric) will always have at least some noise coming from the fan.

If you work in your workshop with music on or always have machinery going then you’re not likely to notice. If you’re someone that prefers your work environment to be super quiet then go for an infrared radiant heater.

In summer you may also want to get yourself a quiet dehumidifier for when the humidity gets a little high.

What’s the cheapest way to heat a garage?

The purchase price of your garage heater is probably what you’ll be using to compare different options but that’s not really where you should be focusing. The running cost of any garage heater is going to make the purchase price pretty irrelevant.

Electric heaters have a much lower upfront cost but they are a lot more expensive to run.

Natural gas heaters are your cheapest heater to run. If you’re after the most efficient garage heater then go for a natural gas infrared heater.

It’s not the fastest way to heat your garage but, once it gets going, it’ll keep your shop warm without costing you a fortune in utility bills.

One of the biggest impacts on your heating bill can be achieved by improving your garage insulation.

Making sure your walls and ceiling are well insulated and your doors and windows are sealed will have your heater working a lot less.

Laying some rubber over your concrete floor will also make a big difference.

The humidity of the air in your garage will have an effect on the temperature you feel too.

Humid air holds heat better than dry air does. Even if you live in a high humidity environment or if you're using a gas heater it you may get better performance from your heater if you don't run your garage dehumidifier during winter.

Want to know how to heat a garage cheaply? Pay more upfront for a good quality gas garage heater and save on the running costs.

Conclusion

Even if you have the best garage heater you need to make sure that you’re not losing any of that heat.

Make sure your garage is properly insulated with around 6” in the ceiling and at least 4” in your walls. Any less than that and you’ll be wasting energy (and money). 

Make sure you’ve got a good idea of the volume of your garage space and the temperature increase you’re after.

Once you’ve got an idea of the heater size (in Watts or BTU) you’re more likely to get one that’s neither too small or overkill for your garage.

For long term, efficient heating of your garage we'd suggest going for a gas infrared heater. Your budget is a consideration but rather spend a little more to buy the best garage heaters and aim to save money on the running costs.

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    David Miller

    David is a health conscious and houseproud family guy. When he's not being used as a jungle gym by his kids you can find him working on his latest DIY project in the garage.