Here’s the basic idea we men have about garage heating: Let’s get a space heater, several layers of clothing and we’re good to go. However, season after season it shows that freezing in our garage during winter is not the smartest idea.
Getting the best garage heater to combat freezing outdoor temperatures makes all garage related work much more enjoyable.
Not all garage heaters are good. Picking space heaters, in general, can be tricky. It’s especially difficult to get a good garage heater that’ll do the job well because man garage heater producers put price, not power and reliability, first.
Low price can equal low-quality parts and subpar garage heater performance. You want to avoid:
- Gas-fueled garage heaters that are not properly vented (your garage will smell of gas).
- Bad performing ones. Example: 50,000 BTU garage heater producing 30,000 BTU of heating capacity.
- Miscalculating garage heating needs. It’s common for people to buy a unit that’s too small to properly heat the whole garage.
To avoid making the wrong choice, we reviewed several top garage heaters. Some of them were faulty even, others didn’t perform as well as they should. Nonetheless, the ones built with high-quality parts and properly certified by AHAM (performance, energy-efficiency) are both reliable and capable of heating 1, 2, 3, or even 4 car garages.
We have created a list of these best garage heaters below. You’ll find a table with key metrics such as BTU performance and wattage, followed by short reviews of each of the top garage heaters.
But first, let’s go over a few key metrics based on which you can compare garage heaters and determine which one is the best for your garage.
3 Key Specifications You Need To Know Before Choosing The Right Garage Heater
Everybody’s garage is different. Some homeowners have a 2 or 4 car garage, others have the one with a 15 ft tall ceiling, again others have little or no wall insulation.
To choose the right garage heater, we’ll look at 3 important things to check before buying a certain unit:
1. How Many BTU Should Your Garage Heater Have?
The most important specification to worry about is the heating capacity. You will find garage heaters with as little as 10,000 BTU and as much as 100,000 BTU (electric garage heaters capacity is usually measured in Watts – they range from 1000W to 5000W).
How to know what size of garage heater would be just right for your garage? Without being too pedantic about the garage heater sizing, you can follow this rule of thumb:
1 sq ft = 10 W = 34.1 BTU
In general, to heat up 1 sq ft of garage you’ll need 10 W garage heater (relevant for electric heaters). Since 1 W = 3.41 BTU, that means you’ll need 34.1 BTU for each sq ft. Here is a table of common garage sizes and the corresponding garage heater capacity, based on this rule of thumb:
|Garage Size||Power in Watts||Power in BTUs|
|240 sq ft (12×20 1 car garage)||2,400 W||8,200 BTU|
|440 sq ft (22×20 2 car garage)||4,400 W||15,000 BTU|
|620 sq ft (31×20 3 car garage)||6,200 W||21,200 BTU|
|800 sq ft (40×20 4 car garage)||8,000 W||27,300 BTU|
|1000 sq ft||10,000 W||34,100 BTU|
|1500 sq ft||15,000 W||51,200 BTU|
Obviously, this is a very rough estimate. In order to more precisely size a garage heater, you have to consider climate, ceiling height, and insulation as well.
Nonetheless, using this rule of thumb you get a very good idea of how big a garage heater you’re looking for.
Some garage heater producers also include 1, 2, 3, and 4 car garage size estimates. For example, King Electric (one of the best electric garage heater producers) offers 5,000W, 7,500W, 10,000W, 12,5000, and 15,000W units. They have this heater sizing guide to make garage heater sizing easier:
2. Which Type Of Garage Heater Is The Best?
Types of garage heaters differ depending on the power source. We have electric (fan-forced, infrared), propane, and natural gas powered ones. Which type of heater is the best?
They all have their advantages and disadvantages. What’s important for you when you’re choosing which type is the best for your garage is to be aware of the pros and cons. Here is a shortlist with the key advantages and disadvantages:
- Fan-forced garage heaters. Electricity-powered; a fan creates an airflow via heated wires, heating up indoor garage air. Cheap, small, and simple to install but electricity is the costliest power source. Nonetheless, they are the most popular garage heaters due to sheer convenience.
- Infrared garage heaters. Electricity-powered; they create a localized heating field around them. Not appropriate for heating up the whole garage; you have to have them need you at all times.
- Propane garage heaters. You have to use liquid propane sold at gas stations and vent the heater. However, propane heaters are both very powerful and cost-effective.
- Natural gas garage heaters. Natural gas extension needed if you don’t already have it in your garage. Natural gas is financially the most viable fuel with minimum running costs.
Most people get electric fan-forced heaters for their garage simply because they are so convenient. No need to worry about fuel, you just plug it in (usually needs 208-230) and it’s up and running. However, electricity is the most expensive energy source.
Technical guys prefer low-cost propane and natural gas heaters. You have to install them properly but you will save more than $100 every heating season just because you’re not using expensive electricity to power the garage heater.
3. Which Safety Features Are Really Important?
With us guys in the garage and some major heating wattage present, things can quickly go wrong. That’s why it’s important for garage heater producers to predict what might go wrong and put in some safety features.
The garage heater’s safety features include:
- Tip-over safety (for floor-mounted heaters); protects you and your garage. If you have a heater on the garage floor, it might tip over (because we’re clumsy or any other reason. Tip-over safety automatically shuts the heater off if the system detects something is wrong with the position of the garage heater.
- Overheat shut-off. Simple enough to understand; if the garage heater overheats (which might lead to complete break-down or even fire), the heater will automatically shut off.
- No flame protection; important for natural gas or propane heaters. If there is no flame to fire up natural gas or propane, the garage heater will immediately shut-off. This is designed in order to avoid gas build-up.
- High heat guards. Physical barriers between the hot parts of the garage heater and us. If we hit the heater with a leg or arm, we won’t get burned because the guards protect us from heat exposure.
All in all, garage heaters are fairly safe devices but do check for these specific features. It’s better to be prepared than sorry.
With this, we come to the list the best garage heaters of all types:
Complete List Of The Best Garage Heaters In 2020
In the table you’ll find heating capacity in BTU and Watts, regardless of the power source (Electricity = Watts, Gas = BTU). We used 1 W = 3.41 BTU converted so you can compare electrical garage heaters with gas ones:
#1 KING KB2410-1-B2-ECO KB ECO2S (Best Garage Heater Overall – Electric, Powerful, Energy-Saving)
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 51,200 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 15,000 W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 1,500 sq ft|
|Power Grid:||240 V, 63 Amps|
|Air Flow:||925 CFM|
KING ECO2S garage heaters are simply phenomenal. Just one look at the specifications and pretty much everybody realizes KING electric garage heaters are a class of their own; both compared to other electric models, as well as propane and natural gas powered heaters.
The extraordinary KING electric garage heater both:
- Excels at heating specs that make electric garage heaters so convenient.
- Turns weaknesses of electric heaters on its head.
Obviously, most people will get a convenient no-BS electric heater for their garage. That means you have to deal with two electricity-specific problems; lower power and high electricity cost.
Most Powerful Electric Garage Heater For Big Garages (And Most Energy-Efficient)
KING ECO2S turns these electricity-specific weaknesses on its head. First of all, most electric heaters can achieve 5,000 W. That is good enough for a 1 car garage. However, most of us have 2 car garage and 5,000 W just won’t cut it.
That’s why KING ECO2S is one of few electric garage heaters to offer powerful models. in fact, you will find the basic 5,000 W model, as well as 7,500 W, 10,000 W, 12,500 W, and even the incredibly powerful 15,000 W model capable of heating garages as big as 1,500 square feet. Here is how you can find the right size model for your garage:
Finally, we have a powerful electric heater for even for 4-car garages.
The additional value of the ECO2S series is the ‘ECO‘ part. KING heaters are the most energy-efficient electric garage heaters. Given how powerful they are – the 15,000 W model draws up to 63 Amps – the eco-friendly energy-saving device is exactly what you need.
All that power does come with superior specs. For example, the big 1,500 W can produce 925 CFM airflow; no other garage heater comes even close. If you compare the airflow of the best 5,000 W heaters, you will see that most have from 200 to 280 CFM airflow. KING’s 5,000 W model has a 400 CFM airflow; that’s about 30% more than a standard 5,000 W heater.
Of course, such superior specs come at a higher initial price. KING heaters might be expensive (at first), but you get the bracket, thermostat, and remote control included in the package. What is even more, the true saver in the long-term is the reduced electricity usage. The ECO2S is the most well-rounded electricity-saving heater.
All in all, the KING ECO2S is, without a doubt, a line of the best garage heaters. Powerful, energy-efficient, and unmatched in performance, they are a complete solution for 500 sq ft to 1,500 sq ft garage heating needs for 10+ years.
#2 Mr. Heater F260550 Big Maxx (Best Natural Gas Garage Heater)
|Power Source:||Natural Gas (or Propane)|
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 50,000 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 14,700 W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 1,250 sq ft|
|Venting:||Vertical or Horizontal|
Mr. Heater F260550 Big Maxx combines all the best aspects of natural gas powered garage heaters. These include:
- Powerful 50,000 BTU energy output (for up to 1,250 sq ft garage).
- Cheapest energy source – natural gas. It’s the cheapest big garage heater to run.
- Easy venting; available both vertical and horizontal venting.
The key feature of non-electric heaters for the garage is that they can produce a whole lot of power. The Mr. Heater F260550 Big Maxx can produce 50,000 BTU (that’s equal to 14,700 W). That will easily heat up all middle-sized and most big garages.
If you’re heating a garage with some serious power, you don’t want it to cost a fortune, right? That’s exactly why natural gas is an ideal power source. Natural gas costs several times less than electricity. You have to have access to natural gas piping and the installation is not a piece of cake; but once you have it up and running, it will easily save $100 on fuel per winter compared to electric garage heaters.
What is more, you can convert the Big Maxx to a propane garage heater. You get the conversion kit in the package, along with the 2 angle brackets so you can mount the heater on the ceiling.
Usually, you want some maneuverability as far as venting is concerned. The Mr. Heater F260550 Big Maxx has options of being vented both vertically or horizontally. That makes it easier to install it in any garage.
In short, Mr. Heater F260550 Big Maxx is one powerful and very fuel-efficient heater for the garage. You don’t have to worry about high Amps (as with powerful electric heaters) and you can even convert it to use propane gas.
Compared to 3-, 4-car electric garage heaters which cost $1,000, it’s extremely affordable. It costs about $500 and you will have the minimum running costs with natural gas as fuel.
#3 Fahrenheat FUH54 (Best Small Electric Heater For Small Garage; Very Popular)
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 17,065 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 5,000 W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 500 sq ft|
|Power Grid:||208-240 V, 9-20.9 Amps|
|Air Flow:||270 CFM|
Most people don’t need a big 1,000+ sq ft garage heaters. That explains why the small Fahrenheat FUH54 is so popular. This small electric heater can create 5,000 W power capable of heating up small garages up to 500 sq ft.
Above all, it’s convenient. It’s quick and easy to install it – you just plug it in 208V or 240V – and you’ll get 270 CFM hot airflow almost immediately. You can place it near you, set it up to 135°F, and have a warm garage in less than 10 minutes.
You can manage the energy output with both the voltage and fan motor setting. Just by using these two things, the Fahrenheat FUH54 can generate from 1,874 W to 5,000 W. Here is a table with specs that gives you more insight:
As you can see, the maximum Amp draw is 20.9A. You won’t need Amp breakers or anything. The beauty of Fahrenheat FUH54 is that it comes ready just right out of the box. You only need to mount it on the ceiling, turn it on and you can start working in a cozy and warm garage.
#4 Mr. Heater F272700 40,000 BTU (Best Propane Garage Heater )
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 40,000 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 11,700 W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 1,170 sq ft|
Mr. Heater F272700 is one of the more interesting heaters for the garage. You have a propane-powered heater capable of producing up to 40,000 BTU output. The heating output is coupled with the infrared heater (only 6 lbs total weight) you can mount pretty much anywhere.
That might a bit sophisticated design but it’s perfect for a heavy-duty propane garage heater. You can move the infrared heater wherever you’re currently working and get intense heat even when your garage is almost frozen over.
The 40,000 HTU heat output is more than enough to heat up a whole 1,000 sq ft garage. The best part is that liquid propane is cheap (much cheaper than electricity, for example). You can get it at any gas station when needed and run it Mr. Heater F272700 with it.
The whole heater doesn’t have moving parts; it’s easy to maintain. However, the infrared heater needs a bit of clearance in all directions (36” on top, 30” on sides and back, 68” below). That usually a small price to pay for such a well-throughout garage heater.
#5 Dyna-Glo GBF30DTDG-2 Blue Flame Vent Free (Most Cost Efficient Heater For Garage)
|Power Source:||Natural Gas or Propane|
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 30,000 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 8,800 W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 880 sq ft|
Dyna-Glo GBF30DTDG-2 is unique because it’s a gas garage heater (natural gas or propane) without the need to be vented. Basically, it created as convection of hot air in much the same way as the central heating system.
You can easily switch from using natural gas to propane (you’ll require 100 lb or larger tank for that). Both fuel-options are very cost-effective. The Dyna-Glo GBF30DTDG-2 has a 99.9% energy-efficiency. Add the low cost of natural gas and propane to that, and you get the most cost-effective garage heater.
It is capable of creating up to 30,000 BTU of heating power; quite a lot for a below $300 heater.
With gas garage heaters, safety features are especially important. The Dyna-Glo GBF30DTDG-2 has a built-in ODS sensor that shuts the garage heater off if it detects too much carbon monoxide or too little oxygen.
All in all, when you mount the Dyna-Glo GBF30DTDG-2 on the wall in your garage, it looks great, it gives you tremendous amount of power for a record low initial and running cost.
#6 Dr. Heater DR966 Hardwired 6,000 Watt Electric Garage Heater (Budget Version)
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 20,500 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 6,000 W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 600 sq ft|
|Power Grid:||240 V, 12.5 and 25 Amps|
Dr. Heater DR966 is that quick ‘my garage is cold’ fix. If you have a 2-car garage with up to 600 sq ft, you’ll probably have the least amount of worry by getting the Dr. Heater DR966. Here are a few reasons why:
- It’s portable; comes with a handle and you can easily move it around the garage.
- It’s the budget version; if you need a quick and cheap electric garage heater, this is it.
- Very popular because of the 6,000 W heating output; perfect for a 2-car garage.
It has two power outputs – 3,000 W and 6,000 W. The Dr. Heater DR966 is powered by heavy-duty 240 V, you just switch between 12.5 Amps and 25 Amps to get the two power outputs. That’s much simpler than 10+ power output settings other electric garage heaters have.
In essence, this is a quick and simple 2-car garage heater on budget. It costs less than $200 and performs it’s just pretty well and without much fuss.
#7 NewAir G73 Hardwired 5,000 Watt Electric Garage Heater
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 17,065 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 5,000 W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 500 sq ft|
|Power Grid:||208-240 V, 9-20.9 Amps|
|Air Flow:||200 CFM|
It’s really interesting to compare NewAir G73 with the Fahrenheat FUH54 (#3 pick). Both are 5,000 W electric heaters with similar specifications. The NewAir G73 just has 9 lbs and 70 CFM less than the FUH54.
In short, the NewAir G73 is the slim-down, lightweight version of the older (and popular) Fahrenheat FUH54. It’s designed for everybody who likes to move the heater around. It only weighs 15 lbs which means you’ll easily lift it up, even above your head.
The 200 CFM airflow is a bit weak but it will heat a 500 sq ft garage in time (might need up to an hour). Essentially, the NewAir G73 is the Fahrenheat FUH54 light; easily portable, comparable specs and with almost the same price tag.
#8 Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988A 5,600 Watt (Cheapest Infrared Garage Heater)
|Heating Cap (Conv):||Up to 19,100 BTU|
|Watts (Conv):||Up to 5,600W|
|Garage Size:||Up to 560 sq ft (in theory)|
|Power Grid:||208-240 V, 23.3 Amps|
Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988A is, above all else, one cheap electric garage heater. It cost less than $150; that’s as low as you can go. Now let’s see what you get for that money.
5,600 W of heating power using a standard 208-240V outlet and 23.3 Amps. That’s quite an impressive figure for such a budget garage heater. However, putting these specs into perspective is the fact that this is an infrared heater. That means it won’t readily heat up the whole garage at once. At most, it will heat you if you’re near the heater.
The maximum temperature it can achieve is not 135°F, common for garage heaters. Instead, the maximum temp of the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988A is 95°F; that’s quite a major difference.
It’s clear that you get what you paid for when it comes to garage heaters. In the case of the cheap Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988A, you just don’t get that much.
How Do You Heat Your Garage In The Winter?
Everybody’s situation is different, but we all hate a cold garage. If you have some alternative way to heat up your garage, or even experience with a garage heater, you’re welcome to share it in the comments below.