Are you looking for an opportunity to extend the use of your garage or workshop into the winter months? If so, it may be time to invest in a space heater! These convenient heating units can be set up quickly, occupy minimal space and provide a surprising amount of heat.
To help you find the perfect space heater for your garage, I have put this guide together. I discuss the different factors that you should consider when shopping for a space heater including the type of heater and important safety features. The Backyard Boss team has also put together our list of the 5 best space heaters currently on the market.
The Backyard Boss Top Space Heater for Your Garage for 2021
|Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI Infrared Heater||Check The Price!|
|Mr. Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU Portable Propane Forced Air Heater||Check The Price!|
|Atomi Smart Wi-Fi Portable Tower Space Heater||Check The Price!|
|Mr Heater F260560 Big Maxx MHU80NG Natural Gas Unit Heater||Check The Price!|
|Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 Ceramic Utility Heater||Check The Price!|
Why You Can Trust Us
My husband and I are both crafty people with a love for DIY projects. While some projects can easily be done indoors, others need to be moved to the garage or workshop for a variety of reasons. Here in Canada, that’s not always the most comfortable place to be during the winter months! This led us to explore the different options to heat our garage including wood burning stoves, mini-split heating systems, and (of course) space heaters.
Ultimately, we decided on a space heater that could also be used indoors, if needed, or even on the go while we’re car camping with an electrical hookup. To find the right heating unit, we purchased and tried several options including different sizes and styles. Not only were we able to find the best space heater for our needs, but we also learned a lot about the different options on the market.
In this guide, I am combining the knowledge that I have gained firsthand with the opinions of the rest of the Backyard Boss team, research into the specific features of the products currently on the market, and some insight into how they perform in real-life settings thanks to the reviews left by other customers.
Best Wall-Mounted Space Heater
Why We Like It: Constructed with energy-saving infrared technology, the Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI Infrared Heater is a convenient and reliable solution for smaller garage spaces. The compact and portable design is not only easy to move as needed, allowing you to share one heater between multiple spaces as needed such as your garage, outdoor workshop, utility shed, or basement. When installed, the heater is mounted to the wall taking up minimal space and keeping your floor clear for other uses. While the heater does require access to an AC electrical outlet for power, you can hide the cord inside the heater when installed directly over it, minimizing the chance of accidents or injuries from an exposed cord.
The heater is safe to use indoors with no harmful fumes. The unit remains cool to the touch while operating and offers overheat protection to protect your home from the risk of fire. If you are using your heater with pets or small children around, a safe touch grill and tip-over shut-off both help to protect your family and prevent injuries. It features an easy-to-read digital thermostat on the unit itself and is also Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to adjust the temperature from anywhere in the home with ease. This is a great option if you want to turn on your heater and give your garage time to heat up before heading out on a colder day.
Who Should Buy It: Homeowners that are searching for a solution to heat a smaller garage or shed without sacrificing floor space will appreciate the wall-mounted design of the Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI Infrared Heater.
Best Propane-Powered Space Heater
Clean-burning and highly efficient, this reliable propane heater features industrial durability and a surprisingly quiet operating design.
Why We Like It: If you’re looking for a small but powerful propane heater, this variable 30-60,000 BTU heater from Mr. Heater may be the perfect solution. It uses patented Quiet Burn Technology, allowing it to operate approximately 50% quieter than a standard propane heater. The heater runs on a standard 20lb propane tank and can run for up to 14 hours on a full tank at the lowest heat setting. While the heat itself is propane-powered, the unit does require access to an AC electrical outlet to power the blower fan.
The industrial-level durability of the heater will stand up to ongoing use and the occasional abuse that it may experience in a garage or workshop situation. On the top, a heavy-duty ergonomically designed handle makes it easy to move the unit as needed while the temperature output is easily controlled on the base of the heater. Included with the heater is a 10-foot hose and regulator for the propane connection. It is CSA certified and cleaning burning, however, as with any propane burning unit it should be used outdoors or in places with significant ventilation. For safety reasons, you should always set up a carbon monoxide detector nearby when in use.
Who Should Buy It: Offering a strong and reliable level of heat, this propane-powered space heater is a great option for those needing a high-powered and durable heater for their garage or outdoor space.
Best Smart-Home Compatible Space Heater
Why We Like It: Are you a technology lover, syncing all the major controls in your home up to your Alexa or Google Assistant? If so, the Atomi Smart Wi-Fi Portable Tower Space Heater is a great product. With an improved wi-fi set-up, the heater will reconnect to your network if you ever experience a power outage. The highly-rated Atomi Smart app makes it easy to control the heater from your home while you’re on the go. Designed to keep the whole family safe, this heater offers 360-degree tip-over safety as well as an instant notification to your phone if it tips. It also has a wobble-free base, cool-touch housing, and overheat protection.
The large touch screen panel makes it also easy to operate your heater without the need for an app, switching between high, low, and ECO modes. Unfortunately, the touch screen does not have a child lock option, so it should be set up out of reach for any children in your home. The heater can be set up out of the box in approximately 5 minutes while the 1500-watt ceramic heating technology allows you to heat any space up to 750 square feet. Wide-angle oscillation evenly heats the whole room, reaching every corner of your garage.
Who Should Buy It: Technology lovers will enjoy the way that the Atomi Smart Wi-Fi Portable Tower Space Heater seamlessly connects with Amazon or Google Assistant, making operation easy anywhere in your home.
Best Space Heater for Large Garages
With the ability to heat up to 2000 square feet, this heavy-duty heater is both powerful and reliable, heating any garage with ease.
Why We Like It: With an impressive performance of 80,000 BTU, this natural gas heater can easily heat any garage up to 2000 square feet, making it a great option for larger garage spaces and workshops. It is designed for use with natural gas; however, the included liquid propane conversion kit will allow those without a natural gas hookup to easily adjust the heater to their needs. It also features a powered exhaust system, allowing the fumes from natural gas combustion to be effectively vented out either using a category 1 vertical or category 3 horizontal set-up.
The Mr. Heater F260560 Big Maxx MHU80NG Natural Gas Unit Heater is compatible with a thermostat, however, it would need to be purchased separately. To install the heater, mount it with the included angle brackets ensuring that there is a clearance of at least 8 feet between the base of the heater and the floor. This heater does require a more extensive installation than the other options on this list, however, Amazon does offer a hook-up kit for an additional cost. This means that it is better suited for a taller garage space. It is also backed by a limited 3-year warranty on parts and burners if you run into any complications.
Who Should Buy It: If you are looking for a space heater capable of heating a large garage space, the Mr. Heater F260560 Big Maxx MHU80NG Natural Gas Unit Heater is a great choice.
Best Budget Space Heater
This small and portable ceramic utility heater is easy to transport wherever it’s needed while still packing a surprising amount of power to heat your space effectively.
Why We Like It: Constructed with a durable metal frame, this compact space heater is ready to stand up to whatever it will face in your garage. The unit weighs less than 5 lbs. That, combined with the sturdy carry handle, makes it the perfect choice for anyone that is looking for a space heater that can come with them from location to location. It features 2 separate heat settings, high and low, as well as a fan-only mode for times when the heat isn’t needed. This can all be controlled using easy turn dials on the top along with both power and caution indicator lights.
The body of the space heater is designed to stay cool to the touch during prolonged use while an overheat protection sensor will give you peace of mind. It is also outfitted with a tip-over cut-off switch to keep you safe from accidental fire hazards. The fan offers wide heat distribution for open spaces; however, the heat is directional meaning that there could be places in your garage that the heat doesn’t reach. At the same time, the directional heating and pivoting cradle base allow you to focus the heat exactly where it’s needed at any time.
Who Should Buy It: The Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 Ceramic Utility Heater is a good option for anyone that is shopping for a space heater on a budget.
Types of Garage Space Heaters
Forced Air Electric
Using the same approach as a forced-air furnace, these space heaters work by using a fan to push heated air out into the surrounding area. This warm air mixes with the existing air in the room to raise the temperature. These heaters are designed for smaller spaces and take longer to heat up your space as they are less effective than other heating types. However, they are generally available at a lower price point.
Ceramic heaters are very similar to forced air heaters. They both operate by moving heated air, but the ceramic heater uses a ceramic heating element instead of the metal element that is found in most standard forced-air electric. While they come with a higher price tag, the ceramic element heats the air at a faster rate, making them more effective at heating your space quickly or heating a larger area.
Natural Gas/Propane Heaters
Unlike the above heating options that rely on electricity and a heating element, natural gas, and propane heaters both work by creating a flame, burning fuel, to heat the air that is then dispersed using a fan. Natural gas heaters connect to the gas line in your home and come at the highest price point of the heaters on this list. Propane heaters require a propane tank and hook-up to provide the fuel that the heater requires to operate. These heaters are often more powerful than the electric options making them the best choice for larger garages and workshops.
Also known as radiant heat, these heaters send out infrared waves that heat up the objects that they come in contact with, like your body. The big difference between this heating type and others on the list is that it doesn’t change the ambient temperature in the room. For this reason, you will start feeling as though you are cooling down quickly when the heater is turned off.
Important Things to Consider when Choosing the Best Space Heater for Your Garage
Garage Size and Details
If you’re currently shopping for a space heater for your garage, the first step is to determine your needs based on the garage itself. There are a few different details about your garage that could impact the power needed to maintain your ideal temperature throughout the cold winter months. This includes the square footage of the space that you are heating, the ceiling height, how you use your garage space (and how many doors are being opened, letting in the cold air), and whether your garage is insulated. If you are heating a larger space, or a space lacking proper insulation, you are going to need a heater that offers a higher heat output. A general rule of thumb is that you can heat 1 square foot of space efficiently for every 10 watts of output offered by your heater.
Installation Requirements and Portability
All garage space heaters can be divided into two categories, mounted or portable. A portable garage heater is a unit that is freestanding, allowing you to move it as needed. They are often electrical heaters, requiring nothing more than finding an available outlet and plugging it in. While a portable heater offers more versatility, they do require more floor space than a mounted unit. They also carry additional risk because they can be easily knocked over.
Mounted garage heaters are designed to be mounted either to the wall or ceiling in your garage. They are often either hardwired into your garage electrical system or require a fuel source such as natural gas or propane, preventing them from being able to be easily moved. Mounted heaters are usually larger and more powerful than the powerful varieties, making them a great choice for larger garages and workshops.
You may be focused on the energy efficiency of your garage heating choices for one of two reasons – the impact that your heater will have on your energy bills as well as your impact on the environment. The good news is that there have been several new features added to today’s space heaters with a focus on reducing operating costs and minimizing energy usage.
If you are concerned about the drain on your electricity, you may want to take that into consideration when choosing your fuel type. Electric garage heaters will draw significantly more power than a propane unit that only uses electricity to power the fan. Heaters are often left running longer than necessary, but this can be remedied either by choosing a unit with a timer and automatic shut-off setting or one that provides an adjustable thermostat allowing you to control the temperature.
Finally, consider exploring heaters that offer an eco setting. These features are designed to allow you to enjoy the heat needed in your garage, workshop, or other space while minimizing the energy required to provide it.
When searching for a garage heater, you should pay careful attention to the safety features that each of the options provides. These features are in place to keep you and your family safe, especially if there are children or pets involved.
Automatic Tip-Over Shut-Off
The biggest safety concern with most portable space heaters is the potential of it being knocked over, creating a fire hazard in your home. For this reason, you want to ensure that your space heater offers tip-over protection. These generally work with some form of tip-over switch or sensor, causing the heater to shut off automatically if it is tipped or knocked over.
Another risk to consider, especially if you have pets in your home, is the power cord. Longer, exposed power cords can be tempting to young pets to chew causing injuries from electrocution. If this is a concern in your home, consider a space heater that has a compartment to conceal the cord or one that is built-in, eliminating the exposed cord entirely.
Heaters that are often kept within reach of children, like portable space heaters and wall-mounted heating units, can pose a significant burn risk if they were to touch the surface of the heater. To prevent this from happening, many heaters now include cool-touch protection. This ensures that the exterior of the heater stays cool enough that you can touch or grab it without causing any injuries.
If your heater starts to overheat, it can cause damage to the heater or even create a serious fire hazard. Overheating protection is a standard safety feature that can be found in almost all space heaters currently on the market, preventing this from happening by shutting off the heater when it senses that the temperature is rising too high internally.
How We Picked
Selecting the best garage heater for any space can be overwhelming due to the large number of options currently available. From electric garage heaters and portable space heaters to natural gas garage heaters, there is a lot to consider. I started by sorting the available options into the above-mentioned categories, such as heaters for large spaces and smart-home compatible space heaters. From here, I was able to look more in-depth at each of the options including the power source, safety features, portability, heating output, and energy efficiency.
This narrowed the list down considerably, but to find the best in each category, I then looked at the customer reviews of others who have purchased the heaters. This is a great way to see how the heaters performed in the real world over time, revealing any potential problems that aren’t mentioned in the product listings. This revealed five garage heating options that are sure to keep your garage or workshop warm and toasty in even the coldest temperatures.
Choosing the Best Space Heater for Your Garage
While I am confident that any of the five highlighted space heaters would be worth the investment, there was one that stood out as a great option for most situations. The Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI Infrared Heater is a great wall-mounted heater that combines the safety and energy savings of infrared technology with the ease of control provided by a smartphone app. By mounting it to the wall, it minimizes the space required, making it a great choice even if you are working with limited space.