There are two types of garages. The first one is an integral part of a heated house and so it’s warm in there and comfortable to be in. You can chill with your friends there, fix your car, make a shop or install drums there. The other is separated from your residence and is very cold. Extremely cold, I’d say. To be precise, it’s cool in summer, and in winter… it’s SO cold, that you want to warm up your frozen car with electric car heater, leave, shut the garage and never come back… at least until the evening. Does that sound familiar? And what if you spend too much time in the garage in the winter as you repair your car yourself? A garage heater will become a real salvation.
But before we present Top-6 heaters to you, let's see what types of garage heaters are popular among homeowners, how they are powered and how to calculate the power required and choose the heater for your garage. But if you know what is the most suitable type of heaters for you, move on to the review of the:
Buyer's Guide: How to calculate a garage heater output
What is the best type of garage heater?
Fan forced air heaters and infrared radiant heaters are the most popular garage heater. Both are powered by both electricity and propane (rarely, natural gas). As a rule, the electric ones are usually more expensive to operate, but people consider them safer, while propane is less expensive, but requires a more strict observance of safety rules and constant presence of gas cylinders.
Fan forced air heaters drive off large volumes of air through the heating elements, and the hot air fills the room rather quickly.
Infrared devices are based on the heat radiation principle; they heat the walls, floor, ceiling and objects in the room, which then transfer the heat in the air, rather than directly heating it. Therefore, we recommend positioning these devices not too high and far away from yourself, otherwise you won’t be able to feel the heat.
What garage heater should I choose?
It is room area that matters most when picking a garage heater. A too powerful heater will be inefficient for a small garage and a small portable heater won’t cope with its task in a large shop. Infrared garage heaters are feasible for small spaces as they are less productive than the forced type of heaters but powerful enough to heat up the space. Moreover, they begin their operation faster. A large garage requires a productive fan forced air heater which is able to maintain an optimal climate for a long time even in the iciest room.
How do I calculate a garage heater’s thermal output?
The heaters’ thermal output is measured in BTU/hr (Propane models) and Watts (electric models). The higher these numbers are, the more sq ft the device will be able to warm.
Once you’ve decided to buy an electric heater, calculate how many watts you need to heat the room: multiply the room area by 8 and round up the result. Let us emphasize that this is an approximate result as much depends on the climate zone, ceiling height, etc.
Propane heaters have an AFUE rating of efficiency, based on the amount of BTU / hr. It shows what percentage of useful heat is produced by 100% of gas consumed. We give you the data on the minimum AFUE index from the table drawn up by the Kansas State University specialists:
|Between 18,000 and 20,000 BTU/hr.||58%|
|Between 20,000 and 27,000 BTU/hr.||63%|
|Between 27,000 and 46,000 BTU/hr.||64%|
|Greater than 46,000 BTU/hr.||65%|
A 1000-1500 W (5000 BTU/hr for propane) heater will do for a small garage while a medium-size one would require heating over 2500 W. Large workshops and garages need far more heat so opt for the devices marked as commercial working at 5000 W (or 17000-18000 BTU/hr and more).
This consumer guide lists 5 electric and propane garage heaters available on the market today for different garage sizes. You won’t need to take a wild guess as to what will heat the garage best, you only need to know its area and pick the preferred fuel for the maintenance of the device. In this review you will find 2 propane heater and 3 electric ones.
Is your garage equipped with a socket? In this case, you may find the electric models more convenient to use. They are not portable, but they are considered safer. They are advantageous if your electricity bill doesn’t bite or if you use them temporarily, as in "turned it on for a few hours, and then turned it off." This top review covers a small garage heater, an eco ceramic heater and 2 forced air heaters for more impressive areas, they are household and commercial appliances. One is a compact floor heater for domestic use in a large garage or workshop, and the other is a hanging super-strong item that can also be used for commercial purposes.
Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 Garage Shop 208/240V, 4800/5600W Heater with 6-30R Plug - Heats Up To 600 Sq Ft
1What does this ~$112.99 electric heater have to offer? It has a thermostat that can be adjusted from low to high, auto Overheat Cut-Off Protection and a temperature range of 45-95ºF. As you can see, the thermal output range is not very impressive, it is 4800-5600 W, but it will do for large premises. Such an output is an equivalent to about 19 000 BTU/hr.
It is stated that DR-988 is suitable for heating garages, warehouses, stores, shops, and even a hospital or church. The heater is able to heat up any residential or industrial plant area up to 600 sq ft. Additionally, you needn’t hang it; you can place it on the floor (preferably on a concrete one). This will especially please those who like to repair their car, lying on the floor underneath it as now they are guaranteed to not freeze. You have to put it a comfortable distance from yourself and your car and then you can work as long as necessary. By the way, it's a little loud (which doesn’t matter in the garage, but keep this fact in mind, if you want to use it in a public place).
Excerpts from buyers’ reviews
«I have been using this heater for about a month and a half, average of 2 or 3 times per week. So far, no defects. As far as noise goes, mine does not have any rattles or vibrations. I can see some people not liking the fan noise, indoors, close by. In my opinion, it is really more of a garage or workshop type of heater».
«It works great in my large master bedroom. (placed on a brick hearth for safety). Heats the whole room in about 15 minutes. It is not a quiet unit, but the heat output makes up for it».
«Dr.infrared heater heats my insulated room (R-19 walls + ceiling, no drywall at the time) from 25° to 55° in 30 minutes. It is 9° outside. But another hour later it will be 65+ depending on how often the door is opened».
Price: ~$112.99 Check the current price
Fahrenheat FUH54 240-volt Garage Heater, 2500-5000-watt - Heats Up To 500 Sq Ft
This electric garage heater has adjustable 2500-5000 W output which is nearly equivalent to 17 000 BTU/h. It is thus perfect for heating your garage, workshop, and cellar and outside buildings of up to 500 sq ft. It is made of high-grade industrial materials for use in harsh environments and can heat the room up to 135º F which makes it a real electric garage heater Terminator! Such a device can be used not only for heating but also for:
- commercial purposes: repair and decoration, for severe room heating, for example, when installing suspended ceilings;
- carrying out thermal treatment of the basement or garage to get rid of pest insects etc.
This industrial device is not portable or mounted to the ceiling to the wall horizontally.
The users rate this heater highly and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars meaning that over 90% of buyers are satisfied with it. It warms up garages well even in the coldest weather, and is suitable for heating 2 or more car garages. Some buyers use Fahrenheat FUH54 to heat up large basement area of over 500 sq ft. Although the price is more upscale than other heaters’ and similar devices’, it is justified by its industrial use. Read all customer reviews on Amazon.com to make sure it’s true.
Price: ~$261.00 Check the current price
Comfort Zone CZQTV5M Ceiling Mount Quartz Heater, Black, 1500 Watts - Heats Up To 175 Sq Ft
✔ Package contains (1) PowerGear by Comfort Zone Ceiling Mounted Dual Quartz Heater. Energy efficient Unit. Two heat settings: 750 and 1500 Watts. Designed for Utility or Garage use. 1500 Watts - 5120 BTUs. 3 Prong Grounded Plug. Heater operates with or without light on.
This infrared quartz heater for ~$48.99 is also aimed at spot heating it in small spaces, such as garages, workshops and barns. It is mounted on a wall or ceiling. All you need is access to a socket and a bit of free space. You can also control heating temperature and set the thermal output you need, be it 760 or 1500 watts, which covers the area of 85-175 sq ft. Furthermore, quartz heaters are considered energy efficient.
How do you locate it efficiently? The users don’t recommend hanging it too high as it heats the objects in the room, and not the air. The ideal hanging height is therefore about 7 ft. Here’s another fun fact: the lamp is lit all through its operation. Many users would like to have separate heater and light modes to be able to turn off the lamp when necessary. So far, only 3 options are available: turn the light on, turn a heating element on or turn on both of them. Let the user settings issue stay at the manufacturer’s conscience. In the meantime, about 70% of buyers are satisfied with the work of this garage heater.
Excerpts from buyers’ reviews
«I have six comfort zone CZQTV5M on my restaurant's outdoor patio and i use them nightly, for 6+ hours, for 9-10 months out of the year. The newest model now has a option to not turn on the light, which is pretty brigth and we don't need. The only reason I've given them four stars is that we've had to replace them over the years, as one of the two bars will stop working. Super easy to replace as we remove the broken one from the bracket, and attach the new one to the same bracket. Takes less than 60 seconds».
«I use one half of the garage as a work area. Comfort zone provides enough heat to keep me comfortable in and around the work area. I never expected this unit to heat the garage and didn't purchase it for that purpose. The little light is useless and in my opinion should be removed and the price adjusted».
«Comfort zone heats up 1/2 of my car garage enough to wear a t shirt and sweatpants and be comfortable. For under 60$ each pairing 2 together to heat a garage is cheaper then buying an industrial grade unit».
Price: ~$48.99 Check the current price
Electic Infrared Garage Heater - Low Energy Eco Ceramic Heater - VonHaus 450W
This ~$119.99 electric infrared ceramic heater will provide perfect additional heating, not only for small and medium garages, but also for bedrooms or offices. It uses radiant heat that warms various objects in the room which then in turn give off heat. The main advantage of ceramic heaters is that they do not burn oxygen. Ceramic panel is white, but you can repaint it any way you want. This environmentally-friendly and elegant heater does not make noise and consumes little energy. It is equipped with built-in overheating protection.
VonHaus heater is supposed to be hung on the wall; it cannot be placed on the floor or hung under the ceiling. It has a single heating mode, the temperature cannot be adjusted, and so many users additionally invest in a thermostat, such as the ~$35.58 Lux WIN100 Outlet Thermostat. They argue that this device makes the use of this heater even more convenient.
When operating, the heater does not give off any unpleasant odors. However, those who have repainted it state that the paint can smell slightly and temporarily when the heater is on. That is why it is recommended to choose paint wisely or leave the device as it is. Read all customer reviews on Amazon.com to learn more helpful tips about using it.
Price: ~$119.99 Сheck the current price
Propane home appliances have become an indispensable part of modern life, so a propane heater is no surprise. They have two main advantages:
- They can warm even a very large room.
- They run on cheaper gas fuel.
Can a propane heater be used in a garage? Yes, thanks to the built-in auto shut-off. This means that the propane heater will automatically shut off if the indicator lamp goes out or falls of, and most importantly, if the oxygen level in the air drops to an unacceptable value. Propane combustion exudes much heat, enough to heat both small and large spaces.
We’ve picked 2 most popular models of the wide range of propane powered garage heaters. The first one is a powerful fan forced air heater for a large garage or industrial premises while the second one is a small garage heating best seller.
Dyna-Glo RMC-FA60DGD 30,000 - 60,000 BTU Liquid Propane Forced Air Heater - Heats Up To 1350 Sq Ft.
If you have a large and cold garage or workshop, you’ll need some more serious equipment, namely a forced air heater to actually heat the air and not the objects in the garage, like the infrared unit does.
This propane heateris portable, it has a powerful blower, a long hose for connection with a gas cylinder, a tip-over shutoff and back pressure switch as well as a 1-year warranty which makes it perfect for a garage at the price of ~$94.69.
This model is promised to heat up to 1350 sq ft at the maximum output of 60000 BTU/hr. A standard 20 lb propane tank lasts up to 14 hours. This holds true for only a single trim of the model, others are more powerful. Even the owners of construction sites, agricultural buildings and industrial workspaces will find a suitable option, as there is a 300 000 BTU Dyna Glo product aimed at heating up to 7000 sq ft. However, such a productive gadget will be many times more costly and can be hardly called quiet.
Dyna Glo is valued for safety, simplicity and speed. It is noted it is a matter of minutes for it to heat a 2 car garage. It usually takes 10 minutes given the high temperature settings to heat any room, and then you can turn it down to a minimum, or turn off altogether. The item is convenient, reliable and is rated 4.3 stars out of 5. Perhaps, this is just what you need to have in your garage.
Excerpts from buyers’ reviews
«I have a poorly insulated 24'x36' garage that's missing the weatherstriping around one of the 2 garage doors. it was 12 degrees outside. inside the garage was 29 degrees. plugged this in with a 20# propane tank and it was almost 60 degrees in about 45 minutes - and that was on the LOW setting».
«I have a 3.25 car garage. In 10 min this things makes a big difference and in 20min it is near 70° up from 38-40°. Yes it makes some noise but for the price it works awesome! I am using it with a 20lbs bottle from Lowes and works great. This thing really does the job and for $98 I think you cannot ask for more.».
«I use this to heat my 24'x24' garage. When the temp is in the mid 20's in there, I fire this thing up on full blast and within 25 minutes, it is 50 degrees in there. It heats the area up quickly, but it does have some fumes with it too, so you have to crack a window for fresh air, which kind of defeats the purpose».
Price: ~$94.69 Check the current price
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater – Heats Up To 200 Sq Ft
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX
✔ 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
This is a #1 Best Seller in the RV Heaters & Furnaces category on Amazon.com rated 4.6 stars out of 5, meaning that over 90% of the users of this ~$68.99 portable heater were satisfied with it! The manufacturer characterizes this heater as a 4000 to 9000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 200 square feet and claims that it can be used both as an outdoor and indoor heater. There is a disclaimer though, as indoor use implies only garages, cabins, not living rooms and as tent heaters!
This heater uses radiant heating principle. This is very convenient and economical because the heater starts working instantly and is able to heat everything within a small area. Let us also remind you that this heater has auto shut-off: Mr. Heater will automatically turn off if dropped or if it consumes more oxygen than it is supposed to. A special built-in sensor is accountable for that, so your safety is under control.
What else do the customers like about it? It is lightweight, mobile, and is a great gift for your beloved husband who likes to spend his evenings in the garage or for your father on Father's day to heat his workshop. Read over 2000 customers’ reviews to learn more.
Price: ~$68.99 Check the current price
6 Propane and Electric Garage Heaters Comparison Chart
propane forced air heater
up to 1350 sq ft
Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy
propane infrared heater 4000-9000 BTU/hr up to 200 sq ft
electric forced air heater
up to 600 sq ft
Fahrenheat FUH54 240-volt Garage Heater
electric forced air heater
up to 500 sq ft
Comfort Zone CZQTV5M Ceiling Mount Quartz Heater
electric infrared heater 1500 W up to 175 sq ft
Low Energy Eco Ceramic Heater - VonHaus 450W
electric infrared heater 450 W up to 160 sq ft
NB! According to the information from University of Alaska Fairbanks up to 25 000 fires and 6 000 incidents of severe bums or carbon monoxide poisoning are fixed annually. It doesn’t mean that propane heaters are worse or more dangerous; you simply need to know and follow the safety rules. Accidents take place due to the wrong choice and improper operating of propane heaters. They are unvented heaters and during heating they emit combustion products: carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other gases. For proper operation they need sufficient airspace. When using any propane heater you need to carefully read the manufacturer’s manual and check for automatic shutdown.