The 6 Best Garage Heaters to Turn the Cold Space Into an Extension of Your Home

Whether you use your garage for storage, vehicle parking or a DIY workshop, the best garage heater can make all the difference.

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6 Best Garage Heaters For 2023VIA MERCHANT

If you live in a place that gets cold, installing the best garage heater will transform your garage from an icebox to a comfortable DIY refuge. Whether you’re trying to keep the garage toasty-warm or merely prevent stored items from freezing, let heat output be your guide. Garage size determines the overall heating power required, as well as whether you’ll need a blower on the heater. However, sizing can be complicated, so looking into our HVAC sizing guide is a good starting point.

Aside from providing comfort during colder months, installing a garage heater is beneficial for several reasons, says Brad Roberson, the president of Aire Serv, a Neighborly company specializing in HVAC services for residential and commercial clients. It helps prevent damage to vehicles, protects valuable belongings and enhances functionality. “These heaters ensure a warmer and more controlled environment within the garage, creating a more usable and versatile space for various activities, such as workshops or home gyms,” he says. Keep reading to find the best garage heater to suit your needs.

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Heat Storm 600 Watt Garage Heater Heat Storm 600 Watt Garage Heater

Best Overall Garage Heater

Heat Storm 6,000-Watt Garage Heater

This 6,000-watt garage heater from Heat Storm produces up to 20,000 British thermal units (BTUs), warming up to 1,000 square feet, making it a smart choice for most garages. It’s Wi-Fi enabled, allowing it to be monitored and controlled from a smartphone app or through your Alexa. Use its interconnectivity to start warming up the garage before you get there—simply set a timed on/off schedule and adjust the temperature. This best garage heater runs on 240-volt service and needs to be hardwired to a dedicated circuit.

“I researched a lot of heaters and looked at a lot of reviews, including a lot of YouTube install/reviews. Although this heater was among the more expensive units, I believe the value justifies the price,” writes Jacob Miller, a five-star reviewer. “It is a good quality build, it works well and there’s no extra dinking around needed. You unpack the box, wire it up, turn it on and it just works.”

Pros

  • Suitable up to 1,000 square feet
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Can be controlled via app or Amazon Alexa
  • Mount on wall or ceiling

Cons

  • Needs to be professionally hardwired

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Pelonis Oil Filled Radiant Space Heater Pelonis Oil Filled Radiant Space Heater

Best Budget Garage Heater

Pelonis Oil-Filled Radiant Space Heater

If your primary concern is budget, then this Pelonis space heater might be the right choice for you. The least expensive heater on this list, it runs on 120-volt power and gives off approximately 5,000 BTUs. That’s not enough to heat an entire garage, but enough to keep you warm at a workbench or treadmill.

This radiator-style best garage heater has three settings—600, 900 and 1,500 watts—so you can control how much heat it puts out. Heavy-duty caster wheels let you roll it around the garage to wherever it’s needed, and a carrying handle lets you move it to other rooms that may get drafty. Moreover, this option comes equipped with automatic shutoff protection and a tip-over switch for added safety.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Adjustable heat settings
  • Portable and runs quiet
  • Built-in cord wrap and handle

Cons

  • Hot to the touch

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Best Garage Heater for an Open-Air Space

Dyna-Glo Forced-Air Heater

If you work with running engines or products that give off fumes, you probably leave the garage door open. If you’re working in an open-air environment, you’ll need serious air movement and high BTUs. The Dyna-Glo forced-air heater runs on kerosene (recommended) or diesel fuel, and can heat a whopping 4,000 square feet.

This best garage heater is not meant for enclosed or smaller spaces—it’s noisy, requires significant ventilation and creates moisture that will condense on your tools. But with an open overhead door, all the negatives drop away, ultimately leaving you with a much warmer work environment.

Pros

  • Continually heats cold air in open spaces
  • Heats up to 4,000 square feet
  • Fuel gauge with runtime data
  • Built-in digital diagnostics and adjustable thermostat

Cons

  • Requires kerosene or diesel fuel
  • Not eco-friendly

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Heat Storm Wifi Enabled Infrared Heater Heat Storm Wifi Enabled Infrared Heater

Best Smart Garage Heater

Heat Storm Wi-Fi-Enabled Infrared Heater

If you love controlling your devices remotely, take a look at this smaller-size Heat Storm infrared heater. Not sure if you turned off the heat before heading up to bed? Just check the app on your phone. Want to preheat your workspace before starting on your latest project? Open the app and you’re good to go.

The Heat Storm is a wall-mounted heater, which keeps it out of the way, and the 110-volt plug means easy installation. You can expect this energy-efficient heater to give off up to 5,200 BTUs, which is plenty for insulated garages that need just enough warmth to take the edge off. Additionally, this fan-favorite unit boasts more than 11,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. One happy shopper, Heather784, calls it the “best garage heater yet,” adding, “this thing is the best bang for the money for a garage and small space heater.”

Pros

  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Control with a smartphone app
  • Easy to install
  • Safe to the touch

Cons

  • Can only heat rooms up to 150 square feet

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Best Heater for a Single-Car Garage

NewAir G73 Electric Heater

If you’re only heating a small area or simply taking the chill out of the air, go with a mid-sized electric heater. The NewAir G73 electric heater is a wall- or ceiling-mounted electrical unit (240-volt) good for about 500 square feet. The manufacturer rates it at 17,000 BTUs, ideal for a single-car garage. The built-in fan helps circulate air and raise the temperature faster.

I’ve had this in the garage for three years now. It has never given me any issues,” shares verified purchaser, Brooke. “It keeps our garage warm all winter and the temperature controls work well. Couldn’t be happier with this.”

Pros

  • Heats up to 500 square feet
  • Sturdy steel construction
  • Can be mounted on the wall or ceiling
  • Tilt design to direct air

Cons

  • Needs hardwiring and requires professional installation

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Hot Dawg Ceiling Heater Hot Dawg Ceiling Heater

Best Heater for a Two-Car Garage

Modine Hot Dawg Ceiling Heater

If you have a spacious garage or need to raise the temperature significantly, you’ll need a heater with a larger blower and higher BTUs. This gas-powered Modine ceiling heater combines operating value, ease of use and reliability. According to Robertson, as a general guideline, a heater with an output of 20,000 to 30,000 BTUs is often suitable for a well-insulated two-car garage. With an impressive 45,000 BTUs, this model is sure to warm most garages while also conserving valuable floor space.  

This heater won’t have you playing outlet Tetris while operating corded power tools, either. Connect it to a programmable thermostat to maintain a cooler temperature overnight, and it kicks on only when you’re in the garage. Among the many positive reviews, one happy shopper writes: “Heater works excellent in a Wisconsin attached garage. Brings the temp up to 80 degrees in 15 minutes. Runs quiet and smooth.”

Pros

  • Impressive 45,000 BTUs heats large spaces
  • Low-profile design
  • Highly durable
  • Built for residential and commercial use

Cons

  • Requires professional installation
  • Pricey

Types of Garage Heaters

  • Propane heaters: Portable and versatile, these heaters use propane gas for efficient heating in areas without electricity.
  • Natural gas heaters: Connected to a gas line, these models provide a continuous and cost-effective heat source for larger areas.
  • Electric heaters: These heaters are powered by electricity, efficient, easy to install and are suitable for smaller garages.
  • Infrared heaters: Emitting radiant heat, infrared heaters warm objects directly, offering focused and energy-efficient heating.
  • Forced air heaters: Utilizing a fan to distribute warm air, these heaters are effective for quickly heating larger garage spaces.
  • Radiant tube heaters: Mounted on the ceiling, these units radiate heat downward, making them ideal for spot-heating specific areas.

What to Look for When Buying a Garage Heater

In addition to considering the size of your garage, it’s important to think about the following factors when looking for the best garage heater:

  • Safety: Is your garage filled with flammable materials and wood dust? Is it so cramped you’ll be bumping into a heater that can be tipped over? Do kids or pets play there? Most heaters are safe if used properly, but look for additional safety features to suit your situation.
  • Garage use: Will you be spending long hours at a workbench, or do you only need enough warmth to prevent the vehicle batteries from dying?
  • Garage finish level: Is the garage fully insulated with drywall? Or is it uninsulated and drafty?
  • Power source: Garage heaters are powered by propane, kerosene, natural gas or electricity (120-volt and 240-volt).
  • Cost: The cost of the best garage heater is more than the number on the price tag. It’s important to also factor in fuel, installation and maintenance.
  • Energy efficiency: Aside from considering the carbon footprint, this will largely determine the operating cost of the furnace.
  • Sound/noise level: Noise can be a bigger factor than you might guess, especially for attached garages. How loud is the heater, and how often does it kick on?
  • Installation: Garage heaters range from small mobile units to wall- or ceiling-mounted units fed by natural gas lines. Consider whether you’re comfortable with installing a garage heater on your own. If you’re not, then figure installation costs into your overall budget.

Why You Should Trust Us

The best garage heaters were hand-chosen by Dan Stout, a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on a wide range of areas in the building and DIY world, including project planning and permitting, basic electric and more.

For this article, we also got advice from Brad Roberson, the president of Aire Serv, a Neighborly company that provides HVAC services to residential and commercial clients. Aire Serv is a trusted name in the field of heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance and repair; and Robertson has almost 20 years of experience.

How We Found the Best Garage Heaters

Our best garage heater picks were selected by a former residential remodeler who worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY, referencing reviews of dozens of different garage heaters and evaluating how they stack up in real-world conditions. Only those with exceptionally good consumer reviews made the cut. From there, those with the highest scores and most relevant benefits and features were chosen as winners. When a garage door insulation kit isn’t enough, the best garage heater comes to the rescue.

FAQ

What is the best kind of heater for a garage?

The best kind of heater for a garage is entirely dependent on the size of your garage and the severity of your winters. Consider all the factors listed above to determine the right model for your home. When in doubt, Robertson suggests consulting with a heating professional to help determine the most appropriate unit based on your specific needs.

What size heater do I need for my garage?

According to Robertson, the size of the heater you’ll need depends on factors like insulation, local climate and desired temperature. For climates with cold-to-moderate winters, here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Up to 250 square feet: 10,000 to 15,000 BTUs (gas), 5,000 to 7,000 BTUs (electric)
  • 250 to 500 square feet: 15,000 to 30,000 BTUs (gas), 7,000 to 12,000 BTUs (electric)
  • More than 500 square feet: 30,000 to 75,000 BTUs (gas), 12,000 to 20,000 BTUs (electric)

Are garage heaters safe?

Garage heaters can be safe if used properly and in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. It’s crucial to select a heater with safety features such as tip-over protection and overheat shut-off. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation in the garage to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. Regular maintenance, following safety instructions and keeping flammable materials away also contribute to a safer heating environment.

How do I install a garage heater?

While some individuals with technical proficiency may attempt to install a garage heater on their own, Robertson says it is generally recommended to hire a service professional to get the job done correctly. “Garage heaters involve electrical or gas connections, ventilation considerations and safety measures that require expertise to ensure proper installation, compliance with local codes and safe operation,” he says. “Professional installation helps prevent potential hazards and ensures optimal performance and efficiency of the garage heating system,” he adds.

Allison T.S. Robicelli
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated food and recipe writer, humorist, and the author of four (quite good) books. Her writing credits include the Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Food52, The Takeout, and other major publications. Before becoming a full-time writer, she spent over a decade as a working chef, and was the co-owner of the acclaimed Robicelli's Bakery in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to food and comedy, she also writes about history, parenting, and cannabis. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband, two teenage sons, and four patient cats.