Some of you are probably wondering why you even need a garage heater in the first place.
I mean, it’s not like your car’s going to get cold or anything, right?
Of course not, it’s just a hunk of metal, glass, and circuits. But you, my friend, are not a hunk of steel. If you’re anything like the average homeowner, then your garage probably serves as a workshop, tool shed, and lounge; it’s like your very own home away from home, but still right in your home.
Unfortunately, most garages are not insulated and don’t have AC. So you can imagine how painful, uncomfortable and impractical it’s going to be working with frozen fingers.
Working at extremely low temperatures is no fun, but it’s nothing that a little heat can’t fix. We’ve done the hard yards to bring you the best garage heater for the job and everything you need to know about these appliances.
But for our more impatient readers, we’ll dive right into the top 10 best heaters for your garage.
The Modine HD45AS0111Natural Gas Hot Dawg Garage Heater utilizes two different fueling options to suit different purposes and different occasions. For those longer, not so chilly days, you can use electricity for convenient heating. However, you can also use the gas option for when your power is out or when you need quick heatingRead Our Review
Affordable, indoor safe, highly portable and quite effective, the F232017 MH9BXRV Buddy Portable RV Radiant Heater is more than ideal for the weekend warrior who doesn’t have too much space and won’t need too much heat. If you have a small garage and just want a convenient, economical way to keep yourself warm, snug and cozy, this is it right hereRead Our Review
High-powered, effective, superb quality and even better craftsmanship, the Fahrenheat FUH54 240-volt Garage Heater can definitely be the primary source of heat for your garage, basement or any room that is smaller than 500 square feet. It is constructed of high-grade industrial material that will feel right at home in harsh environmentsRead Our Review
The innovative fan delay makes the DGWH4031 one of the most economical and energy efficient models out there. This function allows the fan to kick in only after the element has reached a certain temperature and use that residual heat to keep your room warmRead Our Review
Cadet The Hot One Heater RCP502S is not all about killer looks on the outside. This hot cake is constructed using tough as nails 20-gauge steel construction that is then baked on a powder coat paint finish to give it unrivaled levels of durability. So, whether you work in a damp basement or own an extremely busy industrial or commercial workshop, the Hot One will survive practically all sorts of conditionsRead Our Review
If you have a massive cellar, garage or commercial workshop you’ll be more than pleased with the high 13,000 BTU output as well as a patented heating element that cycles through an entire host of wattages. With a permanently lubricated power motor, your fan won’t be slacking anytime soonRead Our Review
The Optimus H-9010 Garage/Shop Ceiling or Wall Mount Utility Heater is by far the cheapest, most economical heater on our entire list. This is the ultimate solution for homeowners looking for affordable, space-saving featuresRead Our Review
How We Tested
As always, we’re never shy about disclosing our entire process to our readers. If you’ve been to our site before, then you obviously know how serious we are with the testing and reviewing phases.
However, we’ll go over the testing procedure just to put our new reader’s concerns to rest. Hey, we won’t beat around the bush; that’s not our style. I mean, you’ve probably been using home heaters for years, and you definitely know your way around one. But when it comes to taking manufacturers and brands apart and getting the right product for the right job, it’s no mere accident that you found your way here.
See, what makes us the most suitable resource for virtually anything and everything to do with heaters is the blood, sweat, and tears we put in testing every single product we review. So if you think these 10 meager heaters were tough, think again.
We had to invest thousands of man-hours of total testing using hundreds of different heaters in different garages. It’s safe to say that we found out everything there was to find out about garage heaters.
All Types of Garage Heaters
With all the different styles, designs and types of garage heaters, making your choice can be a bit confusing. From the way they are powered to their mode of operation and even the way they create heat, there are all kinds of garage heaters to look at.
Fortunately, we’ve had time to see all the different models in action and know pretty much everything there is to know about these heaters.
Why not let our expert reviewers tell you all about the different types of garage heaters and their respective categories?
Types of Garage Heaters According to Fuel
- Electric Garage Heaters
These are by far the most common type of garage heaters when it comes to the fueling type. Electric heaters stand head and foot above the rest when it comes to convenience and low maintenance. All you literally need is just an electrical outlet, and you’re ready to go. You won’t even have to worry about constantly replacing the fuel like other types.
Electric garage heaters are also the least dangerous types compared to the rest. They are a great option for forgetful people since there’s no danger of using open flames or combustible fuels. Similarly, most electric models come with auto shut off features. They are also more efficient in heating up small to mid-sized rooms and won’t require any upkeep, maintenance or ventilation.
- Natural Gas and Propane Heaters
If you have a large, drafty space and are looking for a garage heater with a bit of power behind it, then the gas isle is probably where you want to be shopping. Both natural gas and propane are great options because they provide heat that’s about 5 to 10 times stronger than any electric model. Of course, they are more expensive to purchase, but they save more energy in the long run compared to electric models.
Their winning element has to be portability. Since they don’t need a power outlet, gas-powered heaters are the most portable units you will ever find. But with the exception of a few ventilated models, gas heaters may not be the best for indoor use due to the exhaust.
Similarly, they require an incredible amount of maintenance and regular monitoring of the gas levels, so you don’t run out. Gas powered heaters are extremely dangerous because they use open flames and combustible gases to get the heat going. So take full caution when operation one of these bad boys and watch out for any gas leaks or loose connections that could lead to fire.
Types of Garage Heaters According to Heat
Fuel source aside, there are generally two types of garage heaters according to the mode of operation. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
- Fan Forced Garage Heaters
The concept of a forced air heater is pretty simple and straightforward, but let me recap it real quick. A forced air heater heats up some conductive coils and pushes room temperature air through it; effectively heating up the air itself. Forced air vents are probably the most popular type of heater due to their easier installation process.
Forced heaters are great for heating up a whole area even with constant moving. They are also incredibly convenient since they have thermostats that let you set the precise temperature and it can automatically run when needed to keep the space at that temperature.
Sounds great, isn’t it?
The only downside is that it takes a while to get a room at the desired temperatures. And if there are any open doors or windows, it’ll take even longer.
- Radiant or Infrared Heat
As the name suggests, radiant or infrared heaters direct heat forwards to objects or people that are close by. This makes them perfect for people looking to heat small areas within a larger area such as a patio table or work bench. Their mode of operation can be compared closely to that of the sun which provides a more comfortable kind of heat than forced air heaters. That’s because instead of heating the air, it uses heat waves that pass through people and objects.
The strongest advantage of infrared heaters is that they heat up almost immediately without any delays waiting for an entire room to heat up. There’s also no fan, so there’s no incessant humming or loud noises.
The only limitation with these types of heaters is that you have to be directly in front of them to enjoy the benefits. You won’t really feel the heat if you’re constantly moving around the workshop.
Main Features to Look Out For When Shopping for Garage Heaters
When you’re out buying a garage heater, you want to make sure that it includes all the basic features you could possibly need.
Want to know the basics?
Just like any other appliance, the more customizable your heater is, the better and easier things will be. If you go for a basic unit, you might face common issues like one heat setting or a heat path that is nowhere near where you need it.
If you’re a bit confused about what function you need and what you don’t, why not have a look at all the main features and see which one suits you best.
- Adjustable Louvres
If you’ve been paying attention to recent heater designs, adjustable louvers are usually the first feature you notice. See, not all workshops and garages are designed the same.
As such, people need something to help direct heat to where it’s needed the most instead of having to move, spin and turn your heater all the time. Adjustable louvers come to the rescue by pointing the heat through a series of directions for a maximum heating effect.
- Power Cable Length
When you’re out shopping for a garage heater, it helps if you can find one with a long enough power cord. This will allow you to place the heater as close to the workstation as possible to receive quicker and more efficient results.
Imagine installing an infrared garage heater 10 to 20 meters away from your workstation. There’s no way the heat is getting to you unless you move closer. In case your heater comes with a short plug cable or it requires some hardwiring, get an extension that maintains high voltage.
- Carrying Handle and Wheels
If you’re looking for a light and portable heater for your garage, it helps if it comes with as many mobile features as possible. One of these features is a carry handle that lets you carry and reposition the heater easily.
Sure, this may not be an essential feature initially, but you’ll be cursing yourself when you have to awkwardly ferry your heater from one place to another. Similarly, the handle lets you carry the unit without burning your fingers off.
Castors and wheels are both extremely useful features to have on a garage heater. These little accessories enable you to move your heater without needing to lift it off the ground. As garage heaters are getting larger and more powerful, lifting them can be bad for your back and dangerous for your health. Wheels let you ferry the whole thing even while it’s still in operation.
We’re still on the same topic of features, but I feel obligated to mention that the following features should be treated as mandatory and not optional. When it comes to you and your family’s health and safety, not a single compromise should be made no matter how much money it will save you.
The top, must-have safety features on garage heaters include:
- Tip Over Off Switch
It’s not entirely uncommon for all sorts of items to get knocked over every now and then, especially in a busy garage or crowded workshop. Getting a heater with tip over sensors guarantees that the unit will shut down if it falls over and avoid any horrible fire hazards and accidents.
- Overheat Protection
Since heaters generate massive amounts of heat, using them continually for long periods of time puts the machine at risk of overheating. Once your heater becomes too hot, it’s prone to getting damaged or too hot to function. Overheat protection comes in the form of an automatic shut off system and in-built safety switch so the heater turns itself off it hits critical internal temperatures.
- Cool Touch or Wire Guard
When you’re running a heater anywhere near people, the last thing you want is for it to get too hot to the touch. Whether there are pets, children or even adults, accidents do happen and someone may end up touching the sweltering heater. Buying a heater with a high-temperature wire guard or a cool touch surface helps avoid any accidental burns.
Tips and Secrets for Heating your Garage Safely and Efficiently
As with any other source of heat, there are certain precautions that have to be taken to ensure proper use and user safety.
This is why you need to take superfluous care when using your garage heater. Hopefully, the following tips will help you heat your workshop or garage safely and efficiently.
If what you need is total efficiency, then the first thing you will have to do is insulate your garage or workspace. This will help prevent any heat from escaping and as a result, save you a lot of heat and energy.
As a matter of fact, some homeowners start insulating their garages and find that they don’t need a heater after all. But if your home is still cold and frigid after insulating all the garage walls and ceilings, then go ahead and buy a garage heater.
- Check all the Windows and Doors
It doesn’t make any sense to heavily insulate the walls and ceilings of your garage only to leave the doors and windows as they are. Any gaps around the windows or doors are very likely to cause draughts and will allow plenty of heat to escape from your workshop. If your windows are not insulated, go ahead and add some sealant or caulk to fill in all these gaps, keep the heat high and the heating bills low.
- Choose the Right Heater
Both the safety and efficiency of your garage heater will be influenced by the type or model you get. Before you even buy one, you should make sure that it is designed for your size garage; no more, no less. So make sure you measure your workshop accurately to get the right heater in there.
- Check Out Local Ordinances
You have to know your area code before you install any type of heating appliance in your detached garage. As you will no doubt find out, there are some things that local authorities will not allow.
For example, some states require you to have a permit before installing a heating unit. Others require an inspector to come and inspect if your garage meets the clearance requirement rules. This will really help you avoid any problems with the authorities.
- General Safety Tips
There are a few common general safety tips that anyone who owns a garage heater needs to observe. The first rule involves never leaving your heater unattended. If you’re going out, make sure the unit is always turned off.
Similarly, make sure the heater is disconnected before you carrying out any cleaning and maintenance practices. Additionally, you should make sure that flammable substances such as sawdust and debris don’t come into contact with the heater. Last but not least, it’s highly advisable to you keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the event of a fire.
Garage Heater Care and Maintenance
When it comes to garage heaters, the care and maintenance practices differ with the type of model as well as the kind of fuel used. For electric heaters, the maintenance practices are virtually non-existent save for the usual cleaning up.
It’s the gas-powered models that require a mountain of maintenance practices. For starters, you have to monitor the heaters regularly so you don’t suddenly run out of gas. Secondly, you have to remain very vigilant for signs of gas leaks or any loose connections that could pose a serious fire hazard. And lastly, gas-powered models will require you to constantly replace depleted fuel canisters once it runs out.
That’s right; this is exactly why foreseeing or predicting the quality of fabrication and shelf life of a specific heater becomes a nightmare. Fortunately, the length and extent of the manufacturer’s warranty is always a sure way to know what to expect.
It indicates the calculated level of trust and confidence that the brand itself has placed in their own product. Which is why going through heater warranties and their terms are the best reliability indicator you could possibly find. Manufacturer’s warranties for heaters typically range anywhere between a few months all the way to years.
However, some recognized and established brands may even give decades on their warranty. So ensure you check out the warranty length, its terms as well as what previous buyers are saying about the garage heater before you buy.
If you’re going to install a heating unit in your detached garage, then you will have to get an extra insurance cover for it. That’s because detached garages and workshops don’t fall within home insurance coverage. As a result, any accidents or incidents caused by these appliances will not be compensated.
Making sure that your garage heater is tightly secured and equipped with all the latest protection features really helps prevent accidents. However, getting extra insurance will guarantee you protection in the event of an unforeseen incident.
If you’re looking to change your garage heater’s thermostat and turn it to a wall thermostat, then nothing’s stopping you. You might, however, want to know that depending on the unit you purchase, tampering or changing the thermostat might void the warranty. That’s why it’s vital to read through the user manual and proceed to contact the manufacturer directly before doing anything.
While hardwiring a heater offers safer and more powerful operation, this heavily depends on the model. Some electric heaters will require permanent hardwiring while other more portable models have plugs for plugging into any outlet. In the end, the decision whether or not to get hardwired installation will depend on the unit you purchase.
Some heaters for garages will have to be hardwired for more permanent installation. However, other units just plug into an outlet. Either way, both units heat the same way. The only real difference is that with hardwired installation, you will have to contact a certified electrician. Since there will be some serious wiring that needs to be done, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
So before making any purchase, make a conscious choice whether to have your heating unit permanently installed or if you prefer a more portable unit that can be moved around. If you want a mobile heater, then choose one that’s more compatible with the very same outlet in your garage.
Typically, the type of plug your garage heater will use depends on the size and power of the unit. Every model varies with regards to power consumption.
If your garage outlet can only accommodate a 120V heater, make full sure the one you purchase doesn’t need more or less voltage. Have your outlet looked at by a professional to you know exactly what type of heater to purchase or if you’ll have to install another compatible outlet.
As always, we can’t leave without giving our customers a few worthy mentions. We know our heaters inside out, that’s why our buyers appreciate having some recommendations from guys who have experience with these units.
If you’re looking to go all out with super fast heating for your large workshop or garage, then the only unit you will ever need is the Modine HD45AS0111Natural Gas Hot Dawg Garage Heater. Boasting of a compact design that can pump a serious amount of 45,000 BTU, the HD45AS0111 is definitely one hot dawg and probably the best garage heater. But that’s not even the best part guys!
Throughout our entire list, we are yet to see heat coverage that even comes close to Modine’s unit. People with massive garages, workshops, cellars and commercial spaces will appreciate the large 1000 square feet of coverage. No more braving those cold, chilly mornings or working with almost all your fingers frozen stiff. Get your commercial space warm and toasty with this Godsend heater today.