The Best Electric Garage Heaters for a Comfortable Bonus Space, Tested

Don’t let the weather dictate when you can and can’t work in your garage. Get a top-quality electric garage heater to warm up your workshop.

Best Overall

The Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX Infrared Space Heater on a white background.

Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX Infrared Space Heater

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Lasko 1,500-Watt Digital Ceramic Space Heater and its remote on a white background with an orange and yellow illustration to mimic heat.

Lasko 1,500-Watt Digital Ceramic Space Heater

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Best Wall-Mounted

The Broan-NuTone 198 4,000-Watt Wall Heater on a white background.

Broan-NuTone 198 4,000-Watt Wall Heater

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Cold-weather days can turn your garage into a frigid, uncomfortable, and unproductive work space. An electric garage heater can keep your garage warm and toasty so you can continue working in comfort, no matter the outside temperature. Electric garage heaters are powered by an electrical connection through an outlet, allowing you to easily set them up for use in any wired garage or with an extension cord running to the closest outlet.

The best electric garage heater for your garage or workshop will depend on your floor space requirements, the type of heater you want, and the safety features you need. Take a look at the products below that represent some of the best electric garage heaters in each respective category according to quality, functionality, and overall value.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX Infrared Space Heater
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Lasko 1,500-Watt Digital Ceramic Space Heater
  3. BEST WALL-MOUNTED: Broan-NuTone 198 4,000-Watt Wall Heater
  4. BEST FOR GARAGE GYM: Comfort Zone Ceiling-Mounted Radiant Quartz Heater
  5. BEST HARDWIRED: Broan-NuTone 9815 1,500-Watt Wall Heater
  6. BEST FOR WORKBENCH: Isiler 1,500-Watt Ceramic Fan Space Heater
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 Portable Industrial Heater 
The Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 Portable Industrial Heater on a garage floor before testing.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Electric Garage Heaters

Testing the best electric garage heaters required a few days’ worth of work, as the temperatures in the garage needed to be low enough to give these heaters a fair shake. Over the course of three mornings, the temperatures were in the high 30s or low 40s in degrees Fahrenheit, which gave us the perfect opportunity to test them out.

First, we tested the setup. We attached and hung brackets, wired heaters, and installed apps to see how easy it was to go from the box to heating the garage. Then, we cranked these space heaters up to see how well they’d heat the garage. We also performed a test where we let the heater regulate the temperature in the space by itself (which is why we could only test a few each day).

Finally, we tested each of the best electric garage heaters’ safety functions. While we weren’t able to get any to overheat, we did tip them all over to ensure the safety features worked as they should. If they didn’t (one didn’t), we noted it in the guide.

Our Top Picks

The top-rated electric heaters below were chosen for quality, price, and functionality. To help you choose the best model for your garage or workshop, we performed hands-on testing with the best electric garage heaters. We made sure they are easy to install, operate as they should, and have the safety features necessary to keep users safe.

Sadly, some heaters didn’t make the cut. While we generally love Comfort Zone heaters, the ceramic model we reviewed came broken while the box was still in generally good shape. If it was simply a bracket or small crack, we’d get it. But the condition it arrived in was unsafe for use, so we scratched it from our list of favorites.

Best Overall

Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX Infrared Space Heater

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Infrared
  • Style: Wall-mounted
  • Wattage: 1,500

Pros

  • Slick Wi-Fi controls allow users to adjust heat output from anywhere at anytime
  • Attractive appearance on the wall without taking up a lot of space
  • Wide temperature range between 40 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit; suitable for cool and cold climates

Cons

  • Has a very short power cord, so it must be mounted close to an outlet

The Heat Storm infrared heater has 1,500 watts of power and is Wi-Fi enabled. Access and control it from a smartphone, Google Assistant, or Alexa. Just set the built-in thermostat to a desired room temperature and let the heater do the work. You can also set a heating schedule or activate the child lock to prevent anyone from changing the heater settings.

Wall-mount the heater to provide continuous heat to a garage without taking up floor space. The heater doesn’t need to be hardwired into an electrical system, so setup is easy. If the heater overheats or somehow falls from the wall, it has both a tip-over mechanism and overheating protection to shut down the heater and prevent further damage.

During testing, the Heat Storm proved to be a great overall choice. It came with a neat template with a built-in level to ensure we could hang it properly. We also liked that this heater has a range between 40 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it can protect pipes from freezing without keeping the space too warm, or heat a garage up to the point we’d trade in our work boots for flip-flops. The app was very easy to install, and the heater has a much nicer appearance than most heaters. The one downside was that its very short cord (around 3 feet) limited where we could install it.

Get the Heat Storm electric garage heater at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.

Best Bang for the Buck

Lasko 1,500-Watt Digital Ceramic Space Heater

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Product Specs

  • Type: Ceramic
  • Style: Portable
  • Wattage: 1,500

Pros

  • Quietly produces quite a bit of heat; the sound should not disturb people in the garage
  • Oscillation mode spreads heat evenly around the room; does not leave any cold spots
  • Handy remote for changing the settings and temperatures from anywhere in the room

Cons

  • Doesn’t shut off when tipped over; needs to be watched when in operation

This portable electric garage heater is tower shaped and has an oscillation feature so heat can spread across a taller and wider area from the ceramic elements. Set the temperature to either a fixed low setting or a fixed high setting for a maximum 1,500-watt power output. The ceramic heater also comes with an adjustable thermostat that can be used for automatic operation.

After turning the heater on, users can choose to set an automatic timer that will turn off the heater when it reaches the scheduled time or leave it to function on its own until turning it off. The heater comes with a built-in carry handle, a remote control, and several safety features, including overheating protection and a cool-touch exterior that allows for maneuvering the heater while it is in use without getting burned.

The nicest thing we found about the Lasko space heater is how quietly it heats the space. By using ceramic heating, it displaces the cold air with warm air and creates a cycle, all while barely making a sound. We also liked the remote, but the oscillating function was even better as it distributes heat faster and more evenly than most shop heaters. The only complaint is that it doesn’t have much in the way of safety features; tipping it over didn’t even shut it off.

Get the Lasko electric garage heater at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Wall-Mounted

Broan-NuTone 198 4,000-Watt Wall Heater

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Product Specs

  • Type: Fan-forced
  • Style: In-wall mount
  • Wattage: 4,000 at 240 volts (V) and 2,000 at 120V

Pros

  • Flexible voltages; suitable for different heat settings needed in cool or cold climates
  • Heavy-duty construction can withstand rigorous use and high-heat outputs
  • Easy to access for cleaning; helps to prevent malfunctions and clogs

Cons

  • Requires 240V for full heat output capability; may not be suitable for some users

For a wall-mounted electric garage heater, the impressive Broan-NuTone 4,000-watt garage heater delivers. Designed to work with either a 240V (4,000-watt maximum output) or 120V (2,000-watt maximum output) electrical system, this wall heater can either be plugged into an available outlet or hardwired directly into the electrical system with the appropriate attachments.

The fan-forced electric garage heater has a heavy-duty 18-gauge steel grill and an adjustable thermostat on the front of the heater. Downflow louvers in the grill direct the airflow toward the ground, so it may be best to install this heater higher up on the wall. A built-in fan delay prevents the fan from operating until the element has reached a high enough temperature so the fan will push out only heated air.

We found that the Broan-NuTone heater was truly a heavy-duty model. The box that installs in the wall and the faceplate itself can definitely hold up to garage uses. We also liked that the faceplate is removable for easy cleaning. However, we had two different takes on the power. On one hand, we liked the flexible voltages, but on the other, it’s markedly less powerful when wired to 120V. The best method for full capability and minor inconvenience is a 10/2 wire run directly to a panel, but that might require an electrician.

Get the Broan-NuTone 198 electric garage heater at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.

Best For Garage Gym

Comfort Zone Ceiling-Mounted Radiant Quartz Heater

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Radiant
  • Style: Ceiling mount
  • Wattage: 5,000

Pros

  • It produces plenty of heat while also being totally silent
  • Infrared heat warms the objects in the space rather than the air; ideal for gyms
  • Built-in light serves as a reminder that the heater is on
  • Ceiling-mount bracket works very well and is very easy to install with the right hardware

Cons

  • The hardware that comes in the kit is low quality
  • It shows that it can be wall-mounted but it’s much better as a ceiling-mount heater

Comfort Zone’s ceiling-mounted radiant quartz heater is a great option for anyone looking to heat their garage gym space from the top down. This unit draws 1,500 watts to feed its dual heat elements, helping heat the immediate area rather than the air throughout the garage. Users can install it over their weights, treadmill, or other equipment, allowing it to heat these objects so they can radiate heat as well.

This unit comes with a mounting bracket and the hardware required to install it. It has a pull cord that allows users to adjust between four settings and three output levels: low, medium, medium with the light, and high with the light.

First, we’ll start with mentioning that the hardware that comes with this kit is low quality. The screws stripped easily when driving them into ceiling joists. However, if the relatively low-grade hardware isn’t an issue for a user, it’s actually a very nice heater. It produces silent heat, and it doesn’t have a fan to blow hot air into the user’s face.

It does show that it can be wall-mounted, but we would not suggest it as the bracket doesn’t feel strong enough. It does work great as a ceiling-mounted design, and the bracket is very easy to install. We also liked that it has a light, not because it’s powerful enough to illuminate much, but because it can remind the user that the heater is on—it’s just strange that the light doesn’t come on automatically in the low setting.

Get the Comfort Zone electric garage heater at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Hardwired

Broan-NuTone 9815 1,500-Watt Wall Heater

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Forced hot air
  • Style: Wall-mount
  • Wattage: 750 at 120V, 1,500 at 220V

Pros

  • Runs more quietly than most other forced-air electric garage heaters
  • Recesses into a wall where it sits nearly flush with the drywall so it doesn’t take up floor space
  • Can be wired for 120V or 220V installations for flexibility

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a built-in filter, so it will be harder to clean than other models

Anyone who wants a permanent heating solution that they can hardwire into their garage’s electrical system may want to consider the Broan-NuTone 9815 wall heater. This heater is capable of drawing 750 watts when wired to 120V or 1,500 watts when wired to 220V systems. It installs in the wall where it sits nearly flush with the drywall for a clean installation that doesn’t take up any floor space.

The Broan-NuTone 9815 is quite a nice heater. It’s much quieter than most other forced-air fans, and although it does require a more involved installation process, it might be a great fit for a garage or even an unheated mudroom or storage space off of the garage. We wired ours with a temporary installation so we could test it with 120V power (it’s very simple to prepare for 120V or 220V), and it produced quite a bit of heat with 750 watts, though it may be more suitable for insulated and attached garages.

The 9815 has a built-in adjustable thermostat that controls the forced-air element and fan, allowing users to set their heater and allow it to turn on and off on its own. It also has an overheat switch that shuts the unit down if temperatures get too high. However, we would’ve liked to see some sort of filter since it’s going to be more difficult to clean than most other models.

Get the Broan-NuTone 9815 electric garage heater at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best For Workbench

Isiler 1,500-Watt Ceramic Fan Space Heater

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Forced hot air
  • Style: Portable
  • Wattage: 1,500

Pros

  • Very compact design that’s ideal for placing on a workbench
  • Built-in handle stayed cool throughout our test so we could move it
  • Wide range of temperature settings for users to customize

Cons

  • Tip-over switch is a little strange, as it’s just a plunger and can trip if placed over a hole

The Isiler 1,500-Watt ceramic fan space heater is a compact heater that fits just about anywhere. Just under 7 inches tall by 6 inches wide by 6.5 inches deep, it doesn’t take up much space wherever it’s placed, so it’s a great option for a workbench. And it’s much smaller than the product images suggest, so we didn’t have much hope of it being a useful heater. While we stand by the fact that it can’t heat a whole garage, it’s actually wonderful to use on a workbench.

It blows hot air across the surface to keep users’ hands and tools warm without taking up much space at all. It’s lightweight and has a built-in handle that makes it easy to move (and it stayed cool during the entire test). The tip-over switch is just a plunger underneath the heater, though, so if it’s sitting over a hole in the workbench, such as those for clamps or bench dogs, it will trip and need to be reset, and that’s the first we’ve seen of that.

This model features a 1,500-watt draw and produces heat through its ceramic element and forced-air fan. It has an adjustable thermostat that users can set between 41 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It also includes an overheat switch that shuts down if temperatures get too high.

Get the Isilier electric garage heater at Amazonor Wayfair.

Also Consider

Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 Portable Industrial Heater

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Product Specs

  • Type: Infrared and forced hot air
  • Style: Portable
  • Wattage: 5,600

Pros

  • Powerful compared to the 120V models; suitable for large garage spaces
  • Setup can be very simple with the correct outlet already installed
  • Tough construction prevents it from tipping over
  • Compact design can fit in small garages without taking up much space

Cons

  • Buyers might not have the receptacle required for this heater

Those who enjoy radiant heating, forced hot air, and big-time performance may really appreciate the Dr. Infrared heater. This 240V heater comes with the cord and plug already attached, which is atypical for most other 240V heaters. Once set to the desired temperature (between 45 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit), it will heat up quickly and maintain the temperature with the built-in thermostat.

We liked the amount of heat that this model produced. The heater itself is powerful, relatively easy to clean, and doesn’t require any real setup—unless a NEMA #6-30P outlet isn’t available (we didn’t have one). We’re not industrial electricians, but locating a receptacle for this plug was a nightmare. Hint: A dryer, welder, or table saw outlet probably won’t work. For that reason, it’s probably best to hire an electrician, so budget a bit of extra cash for installation.

Get the Dr. Infrared Heater electric garage heater at Target, Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

ALSO TESTED

Heat Storm 1,500-Watt Tripod Space Infrared Heater

Let’s start this by saying that this is the first Heat Storm product we didn’t like. We’ve tested many Heat Storm space heaters over the years and they’ve all been great, but this one’s not nearly flexible enough to warrant the price.

We have two main issues with the Heat Storm: The first is that it only has one heating element, which definitely doesn’t produce as intense of a heat as other similar infrared models. The second issue is there is no way to adjust the output. It’s on or it’s off. For the money, there are much better options available.

Jump to Our Top Picks 

What to Consider When Buying an Electric Garage Heater

Before choosing an electric garage heater for your garage or workspace, take a few minutes to educate yourself on the most important shopping considerations to keep in mind.

Types of Electric Garage Heaters

While electric garage heaters all basically function the same way, electric heaters fall into three main types: fan forced, infrared (radiant), and ceramic.

Fan Forced 

Fan-forced heaters use an electric heating element within the heater to rapidly heat the air around it. A fan in the back of the heater pushes this forced air out into the garage or workshop to warm up the ambient air and raise the temperature within the room. This style of electric heater takes time to heat up and isn’t as effective as a ceramic heater.

If it is a smaller work space and you don’t mind waiting a bit for some heat, a fan-forced heater will serve you well; otherwise, consider an infrared or ceramic electric garage heater.

Infrared

Infrared garage heaters are also known as radiant or quartz heaters. Infrared heaters generate radiant infrared heat that can be used for small or large garage spaces. These heaters begin working as soon as they are turned on and provide a very high heat intensity when compared with fan-forced or ceramic electric garage heaters.

However, the heat generated by infrared heaters does not warm up the air within the garage space. Rather, infrared heating warms up objects, like a person or vehicle. This means that while people will feel warm with the heater on, the ambient air has not changed temperature, and when the heater is switched off, the temperature of the objects and people in the garage will drop quickly. This also means that the more items and people in a garage, the less effective the infrared heater will be because the waves will be dispersed throughout the objects and people in the room.

Ceramic

Ceramic electric garage heaters function basically the same way fan-forced heaters function but with one significant difference: They use a ceramic heating element instead of the metal component in fan-forced heaters. This difference in the material makes them far more effective than a fan-forced heater at heating a large space.

Ceramic heaters are a good option for larger garages or workshops where users want to raise the temperature of the ambient air instead of heating only physical objects, as with an infrared heater. However, ceramic garage heaters will still take some time to heat up before the fan can begin blowing warm air.

Garage Size

It’s critical to know the size of a garage or workspace when selecting an electric garage heater. If a unit is not powerful enough for a space, then a user will be left working in the cold, and they will be out the money spent on the wrong heater. A good rule to follow for choosing an adequate garage heater is that for every 10 watts of output, it can heat 1 square foot of space. For instance, a 150-square-foot garage or shop will be fully heated by a 1,500-watt electric garage heater.

Also, keep in mind the amount of actual space. If only a third of a garage is used while the rest is for a vehicle or storage, then a smaller heater may provide enough heat but won’t waste energy by heating up the rest of the unoccupied room.

Portable vs. Mounted

Electric garage heaters can be separated into two main installation types: portable and mounted.

  • Portable electric garage heaters can stand on the ground or a table. They can be maneuvered to get the best heat for the room. These heaters don’t require much in terms of installation or setup and generally need only an available outlet to begin working right out of the box. These heaters take up floor and table space, and their cords can be a tripping hazard.
  • Mounted electric garage heaters can be wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted. They can also be hardwired into the building’s electrical system for a more powerful heat output, or they may be plugged into a regular power outlet, which is a style of mounted heater that is easier to install than the hardwired type. Mounted heaters are a great option for those who are looking for a semipermanent heater that will need to be set up only once. However, for those who don’t have a large garage or workshop, these bigger units may be too powerful for a small space.

Adjustable Thermostat

For an electric garage heater that can monitor the ambient temperature of the room and turn on when the temperature is too low and off when the temperature is too high, consider a heater with a built-in adjustable thermostat. This feature allows users to choose an ideal temperature for the garage, and the heater will automatically begin heating until the ambient air in the room reaches that temperature. It’s an ideal function in colder climates that may need 24-hour heating because the auto-on and auto-off features will keep a garage at the right temperature without wasting unnecessary energy.

Maintenance

Any heating or cooling appliance will require some maintenance to continue working effectively over the years, and an electric garage heater is no different. Lightweight heaters are less expensive than more durable units, but they won’t last as long. If you don’t mind replacing a heater every couple of years, sufficient heat can be achieved without having to do much maintenance.

More durable electric garage heaters will last longer, but they will need to be cleaned regularly. You’ll also want to inspect the power inlets for breaks and test the heat outputs to ensure they are functioning properly. Cleaning on a regular basis helps make the more expensive heaters end up costing less over time, as you won’t need to replace several lightweight heaters.

Safety Features

Electric garage heaters can be dangerous if they are not properly installed, set up, and used. Fortunately, many manufacturers have begun adding safety features designed to make the product as accident-proof as possible, including tip-over mechanisms, overheating protection, and cool-touch features.

  • Tip-over mechanisms were designed because electric garage heaters are easy to knock over, especially when they’re in a busy workshop, small garage, or a home with small kids. This mechanism activates when the heater is knocked over, automatically shutting down the heater to prevent damage.
  • Overheating protection is a useful feature that’s designed for days of prolonged use when the ambient temperature can fluctuate by several degrees, causing the heater to begin to overheat. When this happens, the overheating protection senses the rising temperature and shuts off the heater to prevent external damage to a garage and to stop internal damage to the heater.
  • Cool-touch features are primarily used for wall-mounted and portable garage heaters because they are often set up or installed in locations where passing children or adults can come into contact with the sides of the heater. Heaters without this safety feature can cause a significant burn, but the cool-touch feature allows a user to touch or grab the outside shell of the heater without injury.

Additional Features

Electric garage heaters have advanced with the times and now come with a variety of additional beneficial features. Take a look at these features below to see if any are must-haves for your new electric garage heater.

  • Extended cords give users the ability to place the garage heater anywhere within reach of the outlet, expanding the available areas to set up and keep warm.
  • A handle on a portable heater makes it easier to pick up and move around the garage to the ideal location.
  • Wheels can make portable space heaters easier to move.
  • Louvers on an electric garage heater allow a user to direct the flow of the heat with a fan-forced or ceramic garage heater.
  • Wi-Fi–enabled electric garage heaters can connect to a website or an app so users can control the heater through a smartphone.

The Advantages of Owning an Electric Garage Heater

There are many benefits to owning an electric garage heater, but one of the foremost advantages of these useful appliances is being able to have a warm, comfortable garage workspace year-round.

Electric garage heaters versus built-in heating systems also provide the ability to choose how and where to use them, so long as a power source is available. Install a semipermanent heater on a garage wall or ceiling to create a reliable heat source that doesn’t need to be set up every time it is used. If more maneuverability with an electric garage heater is desired, then get a portable product that just needs an outlet and somewhere to stand.

Simple installation and eco-friendly operation are two primary advantages that electric garage heaters have over natural gas heaters. Electric heaters are also more affordable, and their heat output is optimal for most residential garages, though very large spaces may call for a more powerful heating option, such as a natural gas heater.

  • Using an electric garage heater allows users to work effectively in a garage in cold temperatures.
  • Electric garage heaters can be mounted on a ceiling or wall in a semipermanent position, or they can be portable, giving users the freedom to choose where and how to use them.
  • For residential garages, an electric heater is an inexpensive, effective option that is easy to install compared to natural gas heaters.

FAQs

Still not sure about which electric garage heater is right for you? Below are some answers to commonly asked questions about electric garage heaters.

Q. Where should I place my garage heater?

Unlike gas heaters, you can place portable electric garage heaters anywhere you want. If they aren’t giving you the heat and results you want, just move them. Fixed or mounted electric garage heaters that have a forced-air or ceramic-heating function are best installed in the coldest corner of the garage with the air directed toward the center of the room.

Fixed or mounted electric garage heaters that use infrared or radiant heating need to be positioned at least 24 inches from the walls of the garage to ensure that they do not cause a fire. Measure and mark out this safety zone, then select an area within the zone that is close to your usual workspace so you can benefit the most from the heater when it is installed.

Q. How many watts do I need to heat my garage?

The type of heater, the layout of your garage, the contents of your garage, and the ambient temperature are all factors that can make this a difficult measurement to pinpoint, but a basic rule to follow is approximately 10 watts for every square foot of space that you want to heat.

Q. How much does it cost to run an electric garage heater?

This depends heavily on your local electrical costs, the wattage of the electric heater, and how long the heater has been used. However, on average, a 1,500-watt electric space heater will cost between $0.18 and $0.25 per hour to use.

Meet the Tester

Tom Scalisi is a full-time DIY and construction writer for many of the largest websites in the industry, including BobVila.com, This Old House, Family Handyman, and Forbes as well as his own pest control blog.

Additional research provided by Timothy Dale.

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Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.

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