The Best Garage Heaters Tested in 2023

Learn the ins and outs of garage heaters, find out what features to look for, and see which models are top performers.

By Glenda Taylor and Timothy Dale and Tom Scalisi | Updated May 5, 2023 2:24 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

The Best Garage Heater Option

Photo: Tom Scalisi

For DIYers and hobbyists, a garage can often be project central. It can be the place to store tools and to work on a variety of projects—even when temperatures are low.

Fortunately, a garage heater can banish the shivers when it’s cold out. Selecting the best heater for a garage depends on several factors, including the size of the garage, the preferred type of fuel, the importance of portability, and essential safety features.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the best garage heaters, as well as what we experienced during hands-on testing with our favorite products.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Comfort Zone Electric Ceiling Mounted Heater
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Lasko 755320 Ceramic Space Heater
  3. BEST FOR CEILINGS: Fahrenheat FUH Electric Heater for Garage
  4. BEST HEATER/HUMIDIFIER: Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater Humidifier
  5. BEST INFRARED: Dr. Infrared Heater Exaco Industrial Heater
  6. BEST PANEL: De’Longhi HMP1500 Mica Thermic Panel Heater
  7. BEST FOR BARNS: Mr. Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU Propane Heater
  8. BEST COMMERCIAL-GRADE: Dr. Infrared Heater DR-966 240-Volt Commercial Heater
  9. BEST INDOOR/OUTDOOR: Briza Infrared Electric Indoor/Outdoor Heater
  10. BEST FOR WORKBENCH: HeTR Forced-Air Portable Ceramic Heater
  11. BEST WITH WI-FI: Atomi Smart WiFi Ceramic Tower Heater
  12. BEST FOR PLUMBED GARAGES: Bio Green 110-Volt Palma Greenhouse Fan Heater
The Best Garage Heater Option

Photo: Tom Scalisi

How We Tested the Best Garage Heaters

We put these garage heaters through their paces, considering installation, output, and (to a degree) safety features. First, we removed each unit from the box and set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Many didn’t need any setup, while others required attaching legs, hanging brackets, and installing wiring. We took note of each, relative to the type of heater, as gas and 220-volt heaters are expected to be a little more involved.

Then, the heaters were tested for output. We turned each heater on and let it warm up the garage, taking note of how long it took to reach the desired temperature. At this point, we checked the additional features, such as humidifiers, thermostats, and timers.

Finally, we checked each heater’s safety features, such as cool-touch surfaces and tip-over shutoffs. Replicating the low-oxygen cutoff would’ve been dangerous, so we took the manufacturer’s word for it.

Our Top Picks

The lineup below includes some excellent heaters that we hand tested in real-life situations. They proved to be top notch in their heating method for heat output, safety, and overall quality. Organized by category, this list can help folks find the best garage heater to stay warm while working.

Best Overall

The Best Garage Heater Option: Comfort Zone Electric Ceiling Mounted Heater

The Comfort Zone electric garage heater is a semipermanent option that mounts on a ceiling or a wall. It can be either hardwired into the home electrical system, or you can fit it with a plug-in cord for a 30-amp outlet. The heater’s durable steel body is resistant to impact damage, and a dual-knob thermostat at the base makes it easy to control the temperature in the garage.

This 5,000-watt forced-air electric heater has adjustable louvers and a variable-angle mounting bracket to direct airflow wherever necessary. A built-in sensor in this garage heater ensures that the unit won’t overheat. If the temperature gets too high, the device switches off immediately to prevent internal or external damage. It proved to put out plenty of heat.

While the Comfort Zone is a quality garage heater, setting it up was a bit of a mixed bag. It didn’t come with the 220-volt pigtail or box entry (the cable clamp that secures the wire to the box), so these must be separate purchases. Otherwise, it was very easy to set up. Another plus: Removing the grill is simple, making future cleanings a breeze.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric, 240 volts
  • Installation style: Mounted
  • Heating method: Forced air


  • Simple to install; can be hardwired or fit with a cord for a 30-amp outlet
  • Grill is very easy to remove and take apart for cleaning when necessary
  • This model pumps out plenty of heat and it’s easy to control temperature


  • Does not come with the needed wire or cable clamp; separate purchases required

Get the Comfort Zone garage heater at Amazon, Lowe’sThe Home Depot, or Tractor Supply Co.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Garage Heater Option: Lasko 755320 Ceramic Space Heater

The Lasko ceramic space heater is well suited for the garage—or any indoor location where a bit of extra warmth would be welcome. Just pick it up by the built-in handle and find a suitable location with an accessible power outlet. The heater can be adjusted via the control panel on the top of the unit or with the included remote.

Once the heater is turned on, you can opt to set an automatic timer that will turn it off when it reaches the scheduled time, or have it run nonstop until it is switched off manually. The 1,500-watt heater boasts several additional features, including oscillation, overheating protection, and a cool-touch exterior so that you can maneuver the unit while it is in use without getting burned.

During testing, the Lasko proved to be a surprisingly powerful (and very quiet) heater. While it wasn’t able to heat the whole garage, it did make a significant difference in the immediate area. We also liked that it has a remote control for adjusting the temperature and swapping through modes. The oscillation mode is particularly nice for spreading a bit of heat over a larger area, like a workbench or a shop floor. The only complaint is that this fairly tall heater doesn’t have any tip-over protection. We left it face down on the garage floor for over a minute, and it just continued to heat.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric, 120 volts
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Forced air


  • Remote control for adjusting temperature and modes
  • Very powerful heat output yet super-quiet operation; won’t distract users with noise
  • Has an oscillation mode, overheating protection, and cool-touch exterior


  • No tip-over protection; continues to heat when knocked down

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

Best for Ceilings

The Best Garage Heater Option: Fahrenheat FUH Electric Heater for Garage

Midrange electric garage heaters like this are a good choice for those who prefer a ceiling-mounted heater. This powerhouse has a built-in overheating detection system that will shut down if the temperature gets dangerously high.

Control the heat output with the simple analog dial at the base of the unit and redirect the flow of warmth with the adjustable mounting bracket and louvers. This 5,000-watt heater comes with a built-in thermostat and a thermal safety shutoff. However, the unit does not include a power cord, so it must be direct-wired to a dedicated 240-volt outlet with a 30-amp breaker.

In testing, the Fahrenheat FUH electric heater proved to be a solid choice in a compact design. The hanging bracket was easy to install, and adjusting the angle of the heater was as simple as loosening the two mounting nuts and positioning the unit. Also, this model’s shroud aims the heat downward, warming the space below it. But its lack of a 220-volt wire or cable clamp means shoppers will have to make separate purchases

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric, 220 volts
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Forced air


  • Simple bracket style makes installing this model on the ceiling easy and straightforward
  • Compact yet durable design ensures that it will last for years in most workshops
  • The shroud has positionable louvers that aim heat downward, effectively warming the area below


  • Necessary wire or knockout cable clamp are not included; separate purchases required
  • Does not include a power cord; must be direct wired

Get the Fahrenheat garage heater at Amazon, Northern Tool + Equipment, or Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Best Heater/Humidifier

The Best Garage Heater Option: Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater Humidifier

The Dr. Infrared portable space heater humidifier has a programmable thermostat with a range of 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and three different modes, including automatic, high, and low. It can also function as a humidifier, creating a cool mist from the top of the unit that helps prevent the air in the garage from becoming too dry.

This 1,500-watt electric heater uses radiant infrared heat to quickly warm up the garage. For safety, it boasts both overheating protection and an automatic shutoff that turns the heater off if it gets knocked over. This not only serves to prevent damage to the heater but also avoids accidents with flammable materials that may likely be nearby in a garage.

We found a lot to like with this Dr. Infrared heater—and a few things to moan about. First, the humidifier is excellent, creating lots of water vapor. Second, the remote operates the humidifier, the oscillation, and the temperature, giving you total control. Finally, the oscillating louvers make spreading heat about the garage a breeze. The only complaints are that, while portable, this model doesn’t have a handle (it rolls on wheels, but moving it with a handle would be easier). Also, despite being so large, the dial can be difficult to read if the unit is not at eye level.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric, 120 volts
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Infrared


  • Built-in humidifier prevents the air from getting too dry and uncomfortable
  • Remote-control adjustments allow you to control the temperature from across the room
  • Oscillating louvers pivot and spread heat around the room for an even, comfortable heat


  • No carrying handle, so users have to bend over and roll it around
  • Display can be hard to read from more than just a few feet away

Get the Dr. Infrared Heater Humidifier garage heater at Amazon, Lowe’sThe Home Depot, or Overstock.

Best Infrared

The Best Garage Heater Option: Dr. Infrared Heater Exaco Industrial Heater

If infrared or fan-forced heating is more appealing than convection heat, then this Dr. Infrared Exaco garage heater is a great choice. It has a dual heating system that incorporates a radiant infrared heating element, which can quickly warm up physical objects, like people and tools, and it has a fan-forced heating system to warm up the air in the garage.

The heater needs a 208-volt or 240-volt connection to function properly, allowing it to run at up to 5,600 watts. Once the garage heater is set up in a safe location away from flammable material, the temperature dial can be set between 45 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and it will automatically maintain this temperature as long as the heater switch is on “auto.” The heater will run continuously with the switch set to “on.”

If ample heat is the primary goal from a compact heater, the Dr. Infrared Heater Exaco can deliver. Although this is an industrial-grade heater, there isn’t much setup or installation to do: Just remove it from the box. However, this unit does run on 220-volt electricity and uses a NEMA #6-30P plug, which many users may not have on hand (we didn’t); budget some extra cash for the outlet and an electrician, if needed.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric, 220 volts
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Infrared and forced air


  • Solid, heavy-duty construction feels like it will last in even the busiest workshops
  • Simple setup and controls; includes auto function to maintain constant temperature
  • Compact design produces a lot of heat; uses both infrared and forced air


  • Does not come with needed plug adapter

Get the Dr. Infrared Heater Exaco garage heater at Amazon, Lowe’sThe Home Depot, or Target.

Best Panel

The Best Garage Heater Option: De’Longhi HMP1500 Mica Thermic Panel Heater

The De’Longhi garage heater has a narrow panel design that produces radiant heat from the front while the sides and back remain cool. The back stays cool enough for the entire heater to be mounted directly to the wall in a garage or other interior without the risk of fire. Control dials on the side of the unit allow the adjustment of temperature and the intensity of the heat.

If a wall mounting isn’t desired, this flat-panel heater can sit on its wheeled base, allowing it to be moved freely around the garage. The 1,500-watt electric heater also has an automatic power shut-off system to prevent damage should the unit get knocked over. It will even sound an alarm to ensure that you know the heater is on its side.

The De’Longhi Mica thermic panel heater ended up being one of our favorite garage heaters during testing. We really enjoyed how quiet it is while running, despite putting out quite a bit of heat (directly in front, at least). Also, this model has flexible mounting options, with legs and wheels for floor mounting as well as a wall-mount bracket.

The slim design means the heater won’t take up much space when heating the garage and can then be tucked away almost anywhere when not in use. We also found that this unit’s tip-over switch activated faster than the others. The only downside we noted is that it does take a while to heat up, and it may not heat a large garage as fast as other options.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric, 110 volts
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Mica thermic


  • Almost silent while running so you can focus on projects, not the noise from the heater
  • Slim design prevents the heater from taking up too much space in tight workshops
  • Immediate safety-switch activation to prevent accidents from occurring due to a tip over
  • Flexible mounting options allow users to choose the best mounting option for their needs


  • Takes a little longer to heat up than some other models

Get the De’Longhi garage heater at Amazon.

Best for Barns

The Best Garage Heater Option: Mr. Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU Propane Heater

Whether an animal barn, large garage, or equipment shed requires a warm up, Mr. Heater’s propane heater might fill the bill. This propane-powered heater plugs into a standard 110-volt outlet to operate an internal fan and continuous ignition, as well as a propane tank, and then lights easily to pump out a ton of heat. The low setting produces 30,000 BTUs and can run on a 20-pound propane tank for up to 14 hours. Set to high, its 60,000-BTU output can heat up to 1,500 square feet of barn or garage space.

We’ve used kerosene “salamander” heaters in the past, but this was the first propane model we’ve used. We found it was also very easy to set up, coming with a gas hose that attaches to a standard 20-pound propane tank. Lighting the Mr. Heater was very easy, requiring simply pressing the fuel valve to allow propane in, though we did jump a bit when we first plugged it in and the continuous ignition and fan kicked on at the same time. Temperature adjustments proved simple to make as well, with the top setting actually producing too much heat for our drafty 40 degree Fahrenheit garage.

Just keep in mind that there is a distinct unpleasant exhaust odor with this unit. This model cannot be used in a nonventilated garage, and it does have some clearance requirements, so it may be best outside a garage door and blowing under a half-open overhead door.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Propane
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Forced air


  • Produces plenty of heat for spaces like barns and garages, particularly on the high output setting
  • Setting up the heater and attaching it to the propane tank is simple and doesn’t require any specialized tools
  • It comes with the required hose to connect to a propane tank for easy setup


  • The exhaust smell is quite unpleasant and could affect some people more than others

Get the Mr. Heater garage heater at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Commercial-Grade

The Best Garage Heater Option: Dr. Infrared Heater DR-966 240-Volt Commercial Heater

The Dr. Infrared 240-volt commercial heater might be a great option for those in the market for a high-quality heater with ample output. This model features two modes: 3,000 watts and 6,000 watts. It has an adjustable thermostat built into the heater, but it also comes with an additional thermostat to install on the wall for better control of the temperature. It is a direct-wire application, meaning that instead of a cord to plug in, the installer hardwires it into a 240-volt circuit.

We’ve tested a few of these wall- and ceiling-mount heaters, and this Dr. Infrared hardwired shop heater is one of the nicest. The design is smooth and appealing, rather than overly boxy like most other models. The oversize plastic knobs make it easy to lock the heater in place once you find the ideal angle. This makes a big difference, as these knobs were easier to use than smaller hardware typically found on other similar heaters. If the unit is to be ceiling mounted, its louvers are adjustable to direct airflow down or way from the work area .

Although the built-in thermostat doesn’t indicate temperature values that users can set precisely, once they get an idea of how much warmth they need in their garage, they’ll know where to set it. The biggest concern with this model is most folks will have to hire an electrician to run 240-volt service to the heater so it can function in most garages. Also, the product description makes it sound like it comes with a separate wall thermostat, but our test model did not.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric, 240 volts
  • Installation style: Wall or ceiling mount
  • Heating method: Forced air


  • The design is smoother and more attractive than most similar commercial heaters, which are typically very boxy
  • The hardware in this kit is of higher-quality than most other garage heaters
  • Tilting louvers allow you to direct airflow exactly where you want it


  • Will most likely require an electrician to run the 240-volt circuit
  • Product description infers that a wall-mounted thermostat is included, but our test unit didn’t have one

Get the Dr. Infrared Heater commercial garage heater at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Dr. Heater

Best Indoor/Outdoor

The Best Garage Heater Option: Briza Infrared Electric Indoor/Outdoor Heater

Anyone looking for a flexible garage heater that they can also use outside to keep the chill at bay should consider the Briza infrared electric indoor/outdoor heater. This infrared heater is weatherproof, allowing it to withstand rain, snow, sand, and dust. It also has three output settings: 750 watts, 1,200 watts, and 1,500 watts.

The Briza boasts flexible mounting options. It comes with hardware to attach it to a wall or ceiling, and also includes a portable telescoping tripod so that it can stand alone and be adjusted for height wherever it is placed. It has a remote control so you can adjust the temperature or set a timer without having to reach up to the unit (the timer is only available through the remote, in fact).

In testing, we were impressed by the amount of heat the Briza produced while also being incredibly quiet. It gets so warm on the highest setting, we could barely stand in front of it, yet it emits a barely audible hum. We also found infrared heat more comfortable than having a fan blowing hot air at us. Though at first we were a little skeptical of the tripod, it proved to be very sturdy and telescopes to the perfect height. Our only complaint is that while there are three settings, this heater doesn’t have a thermostat to turn it on and off when the room meets the desired temperature.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric
  • Installation style: Portable or wall mounted
  • Heating method: Infrared


  • Produces plenty of heat with 3 settings: 750 watts, 1,200 watts, and 1,500 watts
  • Features flexible mounting options between wall and ceiling as well as sturdy, portable tripod
  • Weatherproof indoor-outdoor design resists rain, snow, dust, and sand; ideal for garage, deck, or patio


  • Despite having 3 output settings, there’s no thermostat function to turn it on and off when desired temperature is reached

Get the Briza garage heater at Briza Comfort.

Best for Workbench

The Best Garage Heater Option: HeTR Forced-Air Portable Ceramic Heater

Those hoping to heat a workbench area in a garage or basement shop might want to consider the HeTR forced-air portable ceramic heater. This model’s compact size allows it to sit on most workbenches without getting in the way. It produces 5,120 BTUs, which isn’t a ton of heat, but enough to keep cozy while working at a bench in a garage or shop setting. Built-in features, such as adjustable positioning and a thermostat that turns it on and off automatically, add value.

We found the compact design of this forced-air ceramic heater ideal. Small and lightweight, it’s easy to move around, position, and store on a shelf when not in use. We also like that this model has a thermostat to prevent the heater from running at all times and adjustable vertical-angle positioning for pinpointing the airflow. Surprisingly, it lacks a safety switch to shut it off automatically—potentially a deal breaker for garage environments where tip overs are common. It was also slightly noisy, but not loud enough to be distracting.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Forced-air


  • Compact and lightweight; ideal for placement directly on a workbench without hogging space; small enough to easily store on a shelf
  • Adjustable positioning for directing airflow exactly where needed to keep warm
  • Thermostat automatically shuts the model off and turns it back on according to the temperature in the room or garage


  • It doesn’t have a tip-over switch to shut it down if it falls over
  • Somewhat louder than comparable small forced-air heaters

Get the HeTR garage heater at Amazon.

Best with Wi-Fi

The Best Garage Heater Option: Atomi Smart WiFi Ceramic Tower Heater

Folks who’d like to control the temperature in their garage from anywhere may find the Atomi Smart Wi-Fi ceramic tower heater ideal. This heater features 1,500 watts of output, heating garage spaces up to 750 square feet. It also has an LED display, an oscillation function, a built-in handle for easy carrying, and a tip-over switch that shuts the heater down if it falls over.

It proved pretty simple to install the Atomi app and add it to our Wi-Fi for total control, and we appreciated being able to control the temperature from our phone as well as set schedules, timers, and other functions. The heater also comes with a remote control.. In terms of warmth, we found that this model heats up quickly and produces adequate output for smaller garages. Despite being tall, it’s compact enough to stash under a workbench. Folks should know, however, that if the garage, shed, or other workshop area is fairly far from the home, a Wi-Fi extender may be necessary to make the most of this heater’s smart features.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Forced air


  • Produces plenty of heat (more than we expected) for most smaller garages
  • Wi-Fi allows you to monitor and control garage temperature from smart devices
  • Compact design allows it to stow away under a workbench or a shelf when not in use


  • Wi-Fi might not reach garages that are too far from the house; a Wi-Fi extender might be necessary to take full advantage of this heater

Get the Atomi Smart garage heater at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best for Plumbed Garages

The Best Garage Heater Option: Bio Green 110-Volt Palma Greenhouse Fan Heater

Cold snaps can spell disaster for garages with water or sewer lines, but the Bio Green Palma greenhouse fan heater lets folks avoid this problem. This heater can maintain temperatures around 48 degrees Fahrenheit—considerably lower than most space heaters. This allows the forced-air unit to run less often while still preventing frozen pipes. It features a 5,118-BTU 1,500-watt output and a digital thermostat for easy temperature setting.

During our test, we realized that the Palma heater’s value lies in its ability to maintain very low temperatures without allowing freezing—it’s not intended to give a garage Florida Keys-level warmth. And we found that it does this job quietly and very well. It’s well built, with a tough stainless housing, and it’s splash proof to prevent damage from a bit of water. It doesn’t have a tip-over safety switch, but given its compact, stout size, it would be tough to knock it over by accident. Our only complaint about the Bio Green was the off-gassing smell it produced when it was first turned on.

Product Specs 

  • Power source: Electric
  • Installation style: Portable
  • Heating method: Forced air


  • Runs very quietly to create a relaxed, distraction-free garage environment
  • Splash proof and constructed of stainless steel, it’s a rugged, durable option well suited to a garage
  • Digital thermostat allows you to maintain the desired temperature in the space
  • Can monitor and maintain lower temperatures than most space heaters, making it ideal for keeping garage plumbing from freezing


  • It produced an awful off-gassing odor when it was first fired up

Get the Bio Green garage heater at Amazon or Gardener’s Supply.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Garage Heater

Before choosing the best heater for the garage, take a few minutes to learn about some of the most important shopping considerations, including heating method, fuel source, and heat output. There are also critical safety features that can help keep you safe while enjoying the heater.

Stationary vs. Portable Garage Heaters

DIYers will want to figure out what’s most valuable in their garage: freed-up space on the counter or the floor, or the ability to work at a few different workstations. Knowing this should help when deciding whether to purchase a stationary or a portable garage heater.


Busy DIYers may appreciate being free of the trip hazard that electric cords on the floor can create. Stationary garage heaters most often attach to the ceiling, but there also are options that mount to a wall.

There are a wide variety of energy options, sizes, and prices that range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The downside to mounted heaters is that they typically cost more than their portable counterparts because they’re closer to commercial quality.


No matter the type of heating or fuel used, portable heaters focus warmth where it’s needed the most. Like space heaters on steroids, forced-air options feature large horizontal tubes that house the heating element and a powerful fan that delivers blasts of hot air.

While portable electric units often cost less, they can be less powerful than their multifuel counterparts. Alternatively, portable units can distribute warmth through radiant heat and convection.

Heating Method

Not all garage heaters control the temperature in the same way. There are three primary heating options: forced air, convection, and radiant.

  • Forced-air garage heaters vary in size, fuel type, and price, but all operate by cycling blasts of hot air into the space.
    Gas-powered models tie into a home’s gas line. This tends to be cost-effective because natural gas and propane are often more affordable than the electricity required to produce the same heat. Gas-powered units, however, cost more up front than electric models, and local codes require installation by a licensed professional.
    Multifuel forced-air heaters work fast to produce heat, but their powerful fans can stir up debris and may feel uncomfortably warm if pointed directly at the user. Some models produce fumes and water vapor, making adequate ventilation necessary.
  • Convection garage heaters include water- and oil-filled radiators. They rely on an enclosed flame or a heating element to warm the air within the unit, which then rises naturally without the help of a fan. Many are portable, but some—such as baseboard convection heaters—should be mounted.
    Convection heaters are better for heating entire rooms because they warm the air that circulates naturally, and they rate among the most affordable garage and shop heaters on the market. However, they can take a while to warm a garage to a tolerable temperature, and they won’t offer the intense heating effect of a forced-air or radiant heater.
  • Radiant garage heaters feature highly polished reflectors that direct infrared heat outward for spot heating or—in the case of large overhead units—heating an entire garage. Radiant heaters warm objects directly in front of them (think of sitting near a campfire), so users can start feeling toasty fast if one is pointing in their direction.
    Because radiant heaters offer steady warmth without blowing air, they are well suited to DIYers who do woodwork since they won’t stir up dust particles. Powered by natural gas, propane, or electricity, these units are available either mounted or portable and in a range of sizes.

Fuel Source

Consumers have a wide range of energy options to choose from when shopping for a garage heater. While they’re most commonly fueled by electricity, propane, or natural gas, there also are heaters that run on diesel and kerosene.

Since electric garage heaters pull a lot of power, these usually require a designated electrical circuit on its own breaker. An electrician can tell if existing garage wiring is adequate to run an electric heater or if a new circuit should be installed.

If there is already natural gas service to a home, there is an option to install a natural gas heater. Propane-powered heaters can be installed on a home’s propane line, or individual tanks of propane to fuel smaller heaters can be purchased.

Heat Output

The best garage heater for a space can produce enough heat to be comfortable, without breaking the budget. Heat output for gas-powered heaters is measured in BTUs. Gas garage heaters typically range from 12,000 to 30,000 BTUs or more.

When trying to determine the heat output of an electric heater, a general guideline is to provide 10 watts of output for approximately every square foot of space. For example, a 100-square-foot room will require a heater with 1,000-watt output for adequate comfortable warmth.

Most heaters advertise the maximum square footage the unit can adequately heat with a standard 8-foot ceiling. If a garage has a higher ceiling, take that into consideration and pick a size up. Insulation will also affect the warmth factor in a garage. Even a high-capacity heater cannot prevent icy drafts from entering through poorly insulated doors and windows.


Safety must be a primary consideration when deciding on the best garage heater. To help keep the space safe and comfortable, manufacturers have added several features, including cool-touch exteriors, overheating protection, and automatic shut-off systems.

  • Cool-touch exteriors are common with portable and wall-mounted garage heaters. The heater has a shell made of fiberglass or plastic, which are both poor conductors for heat. The exterior of the heater stays cool, despite the heat produced.
  • Overheating protection ensures that the heater doesn’t burn out its own system. When the heater senses dangerous temperatures, it turns off to prevent internal damage to the unit and external damage to the room.
  • Automatic shut-off systems are similar to overheating protection in that the response is to shut down the heater to prevent damage. This system is typically triggered if the heater is knocked over; however, some products also shut down if the heater senses a short in the wiring.

Additional Features

Various different features may add to the convenience and efficiency of a garage heater. These include programmable thermostats, oscillation, and remote controls.

  • Programmable thermostats allow you to set a specific temperature using an electronic keypad or a remote, ensuring that the heater works to reach this temperature and then only activates to maintain the heat.
  • Oscillation helps to properly distribute heated air via an almost 180-degree rotation. Though it is most common with portable garage heaters, some wall-mounted models can have oscillating louvers (vents) that can change the direction of the airflow.
  • Remote controls offer the convenience of being able to operate the heater from anywhere in the room, so there’s no need to walk over to turn the heat off or to change the temperature setting.


Portable garage heaters only need to be positioned and provided with fuel or electricity to function. Wall- and ceiling-mounted garage heaters typically come with the hardware required to install the heater, but some products don’t have mounting brackets. Also, for hard-wired installations (these heaters don’t have plugs), it may be necessary to hire an electrician.

Mount a heater in the coldest corner of the garage, ensuring that ceiling-mounted models are at least 24 inches from the walls to reduce fire risk. Direct the heater toward the center of the garage and follow the manufacturer’s steps to make sure that the heater is installed according to its specifications.


Even after becoming familiar with the best garage heaters, there may still be some lingering questions about the type, efficiency, and appropriate size. Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about garage heaters to provide additional info.

Q. What type of heater is best for a garage?

The best type of heater for the garage depends on your needs. Large garages benefit from a natural gas or propane heater because of the high heating capacity, allowing the heater to adequately warm the space. However, an electric garage heater is a safer alternative and the heating capacity is suitable for smaller garages.

Q. What size heater do I need for my 2-car garage?

Depending on where you live, the answer to this question can vary. Areas with mild winters will naturally require less heat production to warm a space than locations with harsh, freezing winters.

However, an electric garage heater with 3,000 watts is usually needed to heat a 2-car garage. The best gas garage heater for a 2-car garage usually has a rating of about 18,000 BTUs to adequately heat the space.

Q. What is the most efficient garage heater?

Efficiency can be difficult to determine because an electric infrared heater technically has 100 percent efficiency, but it may actually cost more to operate than the best natural gas garage heater. This is due to the cost of electricity over natural gas or even propane. If you are looking for a heater that uses almost every watt of energy for heating, then an infrared heater can be the best option.

Q. Can a garage heater be too big?

Yes, a garage heater can be too big. If it is too big, the excess heat produced quickly makes the garage feel uncomfortable, forcing you to open the door to release some heat. If you have a smaller garage, consider using a portable heater to keep the space warm.

Q. Will a 1,500-watt heater heat a garage?

It depends on the size of the garage. Typically, a good general guideline for electric heaters is that they provide 10 watts of output for every square foot of space. This means that as long as the garage is 150 square feet or smaller, a 1,500-watt heater is more than adequate.

Q. Where should a heater be placed in the garage?

Portable garage heaters can be placed anywhere. Fixed or mounted garage heaters should be installed in the coldest corner of the garage, directing the heat and airflow toward the center of the space. Make sure that heaters are installed at least 24 inches away from the walls, and always check the manufacturer’s directions to install and use the unit properly.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Tom Scalisi is a full-time DIY and construction writer for many of the largest websites in the industry, including Bob Vila, This Old House, Family Handyman, and Forbes. He also owns and operates a pest control blog, His uninsulated garage makes winter projects tough in the Northeast, so he knows a thing or two about keeping warm out in the shop.