Top 3 Best Garage Heaters Reviewed for your Convenience
As the summer goes away and fall settles in, temperatures begin to drop, which can make work in the garage less pleasant. Luckily, due to some of the best garage heaters on the market, you don’t have to stop working on your favorite projects just because the seasons are changing.
These devices make sure your fingers won’t get cold while handling the car battery, and your electronics and vehicles won’t suffer from exposure to low temperatures. They are specially designed to quickly heat up small to medium-sized rooms without the need for invasive installations.
Still, there are so many models on the market that it can be difficult to choose one that responds to your needs. So, to help speed up the decision process and let you get back to work, we reviewed the best products and made a comprehensive buying guide.
You’re also going to find some tips regarding the safe use and safety measures, just to be sure there are no unpleasant incidents.
This is a portable propane radiant heater that comes with two heat settings 4,000 BTU and 9,000 BTU. Furthermore, it is designed with a fold-down handle, a 1 lb. propane tank, and a swivel regulator that make it extremely easy to use.
The F232000 MH9BX Buddy is certified to be used both indoor and outdoor, and it can heat spaces up to 225 square feet in size.
We love the fact that it can be moved around, so you can keep it close to your work area if the garage is larger than the recommended space size. Also, it is nearly 100% efficient, so you won’t be wasting fuel.
It comes with an auto shut-off system which is activated in a series of conditions such as if the heater is tipped over, if it detects that the oxygen levels are low, or if the pilot light goes out. Also, since it’s portable, you can take it on trips (it’s safe to use outside), so the auto shut-off sequence is programmed to activate at altitudes over 7,000 feet above sea level.
Finally, the heater is designed with an electrical ignition system. This means that once you have the fuel, you can start heating up the place.
While it is a bit steep in price, the HD45AS0111 heater is a fixed device that can be used in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. It operates quietly and keeps a low profile, so it won’t be in your way.
The heater is easy to install and needs electricity and a connection to a natural gas or propane pipeline to function properly. The good news is that it can be installed on both sides of the unit (it has openings on the right and left), and the exhaust vent pipe has a small diameter to make the venting process easier.
It works at 45,000 BTU, so if your garage is large or you want to heat up your auto shop, the Modine heater may be the perfect choice. While it has an efficiency of 80%, the resulted heat is enough to keep you and your crew warm for the entire winter.
3. NewAir G56
If you’re not stoked by the idea of a heater running on gas (due to higher risks of fire and exposure to vapors), you may want an electrical device. The G56 from NewAir is a compact heater that works using an electrical resistance and a fan to spread out the heated air (it delivers up to 5600 watts of heating power).
It can heat up to 560 square feet, which makes it ideal for small to medium-sized garages and comes equipped with an overheat protection. Also, it boasts a sturdy steel construction and a carrying handle so you can move it around as needed. Of course, since it needs to be plugged in, you also get a 6-foot cable, so you don’t have to adapt your space around the heater.
Due to the built-in thermostat and manual controls, you can adjust the settings according to your specific needs.
- Quickly heats up 800 square feet
- Certified for electrical safety with overheat protection
- Easy-to-use thermostat with manual controls
- Portable design includes carrying handle and 6-foot cord
- Sturdy steel construction with black powder coated finish
Best Garage Heaters Buying Guide
Now that you’ve browsed through the products we reviewed (and consider the best), let’s have a look at the features to consider.
The power is expressed in BTU, which is British Thermal Units developed each hour. We’re not going to get into the details of how BTU is established or what it means, but you need to know that a heater with more BTUs will be able to heat a larger space.
Still, keep in mind that the power rating specified by the producer on the box is established in ideal conditions. This means that when they did the measuring and testing, the room was properly insulated and there were no other factors to influence the outcome.
Your garage or auto shop is not an ideal room for testing, so our recommendation is to take a heater that’s slightly more powerful than your needs. Also, if your garage has a tall ceiling, you’ll need a powerful device because the hot air goes up, pushing the cold air down. So, if you don’t want to keep just the top of the room warm, you’ll need more power.
Fixed vs. Portable Unit
As you can see, two of the products we reviewed are portable (to a certain extent).
This feature is important depending on your work habits and needs rather than on the performance of the heater.
For instance, if you like moving around from one garage to another, or from one vehicle to another in a large space, a portable model may be the best for you. Now, if you choose a fully electrical heater, it may not be fully portable as it needs to be plugged in. If you want 100% portability, you’ll need a design with a built-in gas tank.
Warning: A portable unit presents a higher risk of tripping over, or accidentally placing it too close to flammable objects in the garage.
On the other hand, if you’re sure you want the garage heated at all times, a fixed unit will do the trick. After all, sensitive tools such as electric hoists don’t do well in cold temperatures!
A fixed unit needs to be connected to a fuel source (electric or gas), and requires a proper exhaust vent, for the safety of everyone working in the garage. This automatically means that the installation will come as an extra investment, but once it’s done, you don’t have to worry about it (except for maintenance).
There are advantages on each side, so the final decision depends on your needs alone.
Depending on its construction, we have three main types of garage heaters:
The best example of a fan-forced model is the NewAir G56 model discussed in our reviews above. The device is compact and uses a fan to push the air through an electrically heated element. This way, the cold air enters the fan and leaves it warm and nice. This type of heaters work best in small rooms and they act quite rapidly, but they’re also a bit on the noisy side.
Quick tip: If you want to heat a larger room, there are some fan-forced designs that use a ceramic element to heat up the air. These have more power and better ability to focus the heat in a specific direction.
Radiant or Infrared
These types of heaters are best suited for small garages, with lots of objects inside. They transfer the heat towards the objects around (they don’t heat the air), so you’ll have to be close to them to get warm. Still, because they use infrared energy, they don’t dry up the air and produce a more comfortable heat than their electric counterparts.
Also, they use quartz and metal sheets to produce and direct heat and work just as well in indoor and outdoor spaces.
Heaters that run on fuel
The most common types of fuel are propane and natural gas, but you can also find heaters that run on diesel or kerosene. They can be fixed or mobile (built-in tank) and heat up larger areas due to the increased level of power.
However, these types of devices can be dangerous to use in enclosed spaces, without proper ventilation and safety measures.
The best models come with built-in safety features that help reduce the risks and ensure a pleasant and worry-free use of the device.
For instance, a portable heater must come with a tip-over switch that shuts down the unit if you trip over it or knock it down by accident. This reduces the risk of fire and lets users work without constantly keeping an eye on the heater.
Another safety feature that’s common in electric devices is the overheat protection. This one gets activated if the heater has been on for a long time and it is slowly becoming too hot to function properly.
Finally, a feature that’s extremely useful in portable heaters, is cool-touch. This means that, even though the heater warms up the place, its surface will remain cool to touch. As a result, if someone were to touch it by accident, they won’t burn their hand. Also, if the heater comes in contact with other objects, there is no risk of fire.
While it’s natural to worry about the price, a heater should be a device that can be customized according to your specific needs. As such, even though it may cost a bit more, it should have the features that allow for a pleasant experience.
For instance, you may want a heater with adjustable louvers that allow users to direct the heat in a specific direction. Also, if the heater is portable but needs to be plugged in, you may want to consider the length of the cable. After all, you want to be able to move around with the device without being limited by the cord!
Another feature that’s important for a portable device is a carry handle. This allows you to move the heater, while in function, without worrying about injuries or other risks. Some devices even come with wheels or casters so you can move it without lifting it from the ground.
All these are designed to help users make the most out of their devices, especially given the fact that this is a product you’ll own on the long-term.
Some Safety Precautions
Before you rush out and buy a garage heater, it’s important to understand that there are still risks involved (especially with portable devices) if used improperly. This calls for extra caution when using them, and we want to remind you of several basic precautions that may be useful, especially in a garage:
- Keep any flammable substances (oils, gasoline, propane, aerosols, and so on) and objects (firewood, textiles, etc.) at a safe distance from the heater;
- If this is a mobile unit, keep it out of the foot traffic to avoid any accidental tripping. While it’s true that most modern designs come with an auto shut off system, it’s best to avoid knocking down the device.
- Make sure the device is complete upon arrival and check for any signs of malfunction or possible damage. It’s best to send it back to the producer (they will happily replace it) than to risk using a damaged unit.
- Keep close track of the maintenance schedule and make sure the heater is properly cleaned and taken care of. Also, depending on the type, replace the parts that are most likely to get most of the wear and tear (such as burner nozzles on gas-fueled devices).
- Avoid any dust or lint buildup in the engine or the fans of the heater as these are extremely flammable and can lead to a short circuit of the electric system.
When used in proper conditions and with care, a garage heater is the best solution to keep the working space friendly and warm. They are powerful, act fast, and are not invasive when it comes to installation.