Anyone that has their own workshop knows the pains of trying to keep their area warm during those ice-cold winter months. Even the most well-insulated garages need some way of locking in that heat. So we decided to help you out and rate the best space heaters for garage use. Similar applications can include heating large rooms, basements, storage units, sheds, woodshops, small barns, for camping, cabins and even greenhouses.
What we’ve done is compiled the top-rated space heaters in the 13,000 to 20,000 BTU range in order to cover your needs. We find that this range, mixed with consumer feedback, provides sufficient heating for one and two-car garages (as well as similarly sized rooms and sheds). It also takes into account some of the least insulated garage spaces that need a little extra oomph!
BENEFITS OF USING A SPACE HEATER FOR YOUR GARAGE
There are definitely a few key benefits for getting yourself a heater for your workshop, man cave or whatever you want to call it.
Warmth for your Workshop
The obvious. Having cold hands and stiff joints really makes it cumbersome to work on some of those side tasks in the middle of January. And while a few of these electric space heaters may not get you to all the way to 70 °F, you can definitely expect to get between 50-60 °F +, which is certainly workable in most cases.
Space heaters in general are portable so you can move them where you need them. Many people like to move theirs out to the porch or the backyard to just make things a little more comfortable as you and the family enjoy some fresh air. Follow general safety precautions when moving one outside.
Note that many of the electric heaters below require a special receptacle, however, so moving them around may not work in your situation. Propane may be the better option.
Work on Projects Year Round
For those of us that like to work on cars, motorcycles, run a business or just like to keep busy, having a portable heater in those icy winter months is the only way to keep the work going. For some of us, anything under 50 °F is a deal breaker.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SPACE HEATER
Knowing which type of heater you want will depend largely on the application and also on your personal preference. There are two basic types of space heaters, but for the sake of these garage space heater reviews, we’ll only be discussing electric and propane. Naturally, there are some key differences between the two, but here are a few things that should factor in your decision-making process.
Electric vs Propane
There are pros and cons of each, but the safe bet in our application is probably to go with electric. While propane may be cheaper and provide warmer heat, there seem to be more safety concerns with using propane. Here are some of the comparisons between them.
Most of us need something compact and easy to install, so looking for a portable unit should be high on your list. In fact, you’ll probably want something that can be mounted out of the way, on the wall or ceiling. Depending on the size of propane tank needed, this may take up considerably more space than your standard box convection heater.
32% of home heating fires are caused by space heaters. Knowing that, we put a greater emphasis on heating safety. Every electric heater on our list below has an automatic safety shut-off feature, while all the propane tanks come with oxygen depletion sensors. Of course, even the most reliable equipment malfunctions. Refer to our safety section for more information on preventing accidents.
No product comes without a few duds or even a couple unsatisfied customers for whatever reasons. That also includes these space heaters. Although most consumers have great things to say about them, here are a few of the most common complaints in regards to the units below.
- May take an hour or two to warm up a larger garage in extreme cold conditions, potentially more with uninsulated garages with higher ceilings
- Some heaters have troubles bringing temps past 50-60 °F in some ultra cold cities
- Depending on use, it may increase your heating bills $100+ per month
- Thermostat sometimes in the rear of the unit, making it harder to adjust (especially if already installed)
- You may need an electrician to install lines and receptacles for these heaters. Not for beginners.
- Many prefer to buy a separate thermostat for better control
SAFETY INFORMATION ON SPACE HEATERS
It doesn’t take much for any of these space heaters to do some serious damage. Find out where to put them, how to tell if there is a propane leak, why you shouldn’t use an extension cord and much more.
Underwriters Laboratories is a safety inspection and certification company that inspects, audits and certifies products in order to create better safety standards. Look for their UL label on products that are certified. Other similar certifications include CSA and ETL.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of non-fire related, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States had averaged 430 deaths per year between 1999 and 2010. Make sure you ONLY use propane in well ventilated areas and follow all precautions available. Use your propane heaters as per the manufacturers recommendations and consider using a carbon monoxide detector for additional safety.
BEST SPACE HEATERS FOR GARAGE USE – ELECTRIC
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Dr. Infrared Heater distributes a number of different space heaters from bedroom/living room to industrial garage space heaters. Their DR988 portable industrial heater comes in as the best electric space heater to keep your garage area warm. Not only is this forced-air space heater portable, it comes with an adjustable thermostat, built-in handle with cord storage, and finger-proof grill for protection. CUL and UL Listed. Comes with NEMA 6-30P cord. 4200/5600 Watts. 240V. Rated 14,000/19,000 BTU. 20 lbs.
Pros: Auto Overheat Cutoff and Tip over protection – Excellent for 1 and 2 car garages – Thermostat on front of unit – Thermostat works as advertised – Really blows out great amount heat
Cons: May need re-wiring depending on your electrical setup – Strong fan creates moderate noise – Few complaints of early breaking (under 1 year) – Not adjustable for easy mounting
Fahrenheat manufactures a wide array of electric heating products that include baseboard, wall and space heaters. Their 5000 watt convection heater is one of the better space heaters in terms of quality and customer satisfaction and may in fact be number 1 if price is of less concern for you. This unit comes with a dial thermostat from 45 °F to 135 °F, flexible ceiling mount with adjustable louvers for positioning, and has an excessive heat shut-off function. CSA Certified, ETL and UL Listed. 2500/5000 Watts. 240V. Rated 17,000 BTU. 24 lbs.
Pros: Built-in ceiling mount bracket – Adjustable louvers – No complaints of excessive fan noise or rattling – Thermostat on front of unit – Made in USA – Good flow of heat – Automatic safety shutoff in case of overheating
Cons: Expensive – Instructions could be better – Thermostat needs some fine tuning to get right
King Electrical Manufacturing has been a family-owned leader in the heating industry for over half a century and make everything from cabinet to ceiling and portable heating units. Their KBP model is another highly rated space heater, though it comes with a hefty price tag. This unit has a built-in thermostat with precision temperature control, a universal mounting bracket for wall or ceiling installation and a fan delay switch to better dissipate heat. UL Listed. Optional 950/1900/2850/3800/4750/5700 Watt. 240V. Rated 13,000 BTU. 26 lbs.
Pros: Thermostat on front of unit – Precise thermostat control settings by degree – Safety shut off – Not loud or with rattling parts – Easy install – Made in USA – Blows plenty of heat
Cons: Expensive – A few early component malfunctions – May not be easy install – Doesn’t come with cord
Dimplex is a leader in electric heating technology, offering a range of products for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Their garage space heater is another of the top electric portable heaters and comes with many standard features such as automatic temperature control, mounting brackets for wall or ceiling installs and swivel function to direct heat where you need it. CSA Certified and UL Listed. 4000 Watt. 240V. Rated 13,000 BTU. 12 lbs.
Pros: Includes mounting bracket – Swivel function – Auto safety shutoff – Emits good flow of heat
Cons: Fan can be a little noisy – No thermostat, manual dial adjust only – Thermostat is accurate but tricky to fine tune – Some units rattle a little during operation
NewAir has been a premier provider in home appliances for some time now and has products that range from air conditioning to dehumidification and, of course, heating. Their G73 portable heating unit rates favorably in heating garages, sheds and moderate-sized rooms. This unit comes standard with a built-in thermostat, mounting brackets for wall or ceiling installation and adjustable louvers to direct your flow. CUL and UL Listed. 5000 Watt. 240V. Rated 17000 BTU. 15 lbs.
Pros: Auto safety shutoff – Adjustable louvers – Includes swiveling mounting bracket – Good reviews as far as heating power
Cons: Does not include cord or plug – Requires proper installation – Expensive – Few complaints of faulty thermostat
BEST SPACE HEATER FOR GARAGE USE – PROPANE
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|Mr. Heater 18B||18,000||$135||4/5|
|Mr. Heater 20K||20,000||$220||4/5|
Mr. Heater is one of the top brand names in portable heating today. Whether it is forced-air propane or kerosene, Mr. Heater has a reliable product covering your needs. Their 18,000 BTU portable portable heater is one of the most positively reviewed space heaters around. It has direct connects for two 1-lb. cylinders (not included), has wall mounting brackets, a safety tip over switch and oxygen depletion sensor. Rated 18,000 BTU. 17 lbs.
Pros: Low oxygen and safety tip shut-off feature – Swivel regulator for cylinder – Good alternative for power outage – Fast and hot heat – Great for heating RVs and for camping as well
Cons: Need Propane and 4D batteries for blower, may be better buying an adapter – Need bigger tank if you want to last longer – 1 lb bottle lasts only 4-5 hours – No thermostat
Again Mr. Heater comes up on our list with their highly regarded 20,000 BTU propane heater. This unit offers something a little different from their previously reviewed heater. It actually comes with an adjustable thermostat, wall mount or free-standing option, low oxygen shut-off sensor and a battery-powered electronic ignition feature. 20,000 BTU. 28 lbs. CSA certified.
Pros: Easy installation – Convenient wall mount or free stand option – Adjustable thermostat control – Quickly heats up smaller areas – AA Battery included
Cons: Doesn’t have option to mount on bottle – Fan power may seem underwhelming – Few complaints getting unit lit – No safety tip over sensor – Shipping restrictions to Canada, California and possibly Massachusetts
The Dyna-Glo brand includes several types of heating sources for home and industrial purposes. Their 18,000 BTU radiant cabinet heater offers something a little different in terms of portable propane heating. Although not nearly as small as some of the others, this space heater holds a 20-lb tank and comes with locking wheel casters, an oxygen depletion sensor, safety grill for protection and side carrying handles. Rated 18,000 BTU. 16 lbs. CSA certified.
Pros: Caster wheels for mobility – Adjustable heat settings – Gives off plenty of heat – Lasts a lot longer than small canister propane
Cons: 20-lb tank not included – Not portable – Some complaints about pilot light going out frequently – A few complaints of faulty parts
Now you should be better informed on the best space heaters for garages, sheds, cabins and similar applications. Each link will take you to more space heater reviews on Amazon and you can get even more answers to your questions. Of course it needs to be mentioned again that space heaters are dangerous when used incorrectly and are the cause of many fires and deaths around the U.S. every year. Please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on how and where to use them, as well as following some of the safety information links provided above.