Which garage heater is best?
A garage may be designed to safely store your car, but in practice, it can be used for just about anything. Among the most popular uses for a garage is to transform it into a home workshop. In warm months, it’s the perfect setup: Just open the door and let the breeze keep you cool. But garages rarely have the insulation to stay warm in cold months on their own. During these periods, you need a garage heater, such as the Fahrenheat FUH Electric Heater, to stay comfortable while you work.
What to know before you buy a garage heater
Fan-forced vs. radiant garage heaters
Fan-forced and radiant garage heaters have their own pros and cons.
- Fan-forced heaters draw in air that’s then warmed by the internal heating components and blown back out. They can heat small to medium spaces quickly. However, they also circulate any dust your garage may have, making them poor choices for woodworking shops.
- Radiant heaters directly heat the objects they’re pointed at, be it you or the floor and walls. They take more time to warm spaces, but the heat they provide is steadier, and they don’t circulate dust.
Garage heaters run on natural gas, propane or electricity.
- Natural gas heaters cost the least to run and heat spaces quickly and with high heat levels. The only complication is they require a natural gas line. If you have a line and it’s in an odd place, you may not be able to situate it properly. If you don’t have a line, it can cost a pretty penny to have one installed — if you can have one installed at all.
- Propane heaters are typically used by those who don’t have natural gas or electricity. You frequently need to have your bottles refilled, and there’s always the risk of running out of propane unexpectedly.
- Electric heaters are the most common and the safest, but they’re also the most expensive to run and have several complicating factors. First, there’s the outlet versus hardwired aspect — some heaters need to plug into a wall, while others need to be professionally installed into your home’s internal wiring. Then, there’s the fact that most garage heaters need a 240-volt line, despite U.S. homes typically having 120-volt lines. In this case, you also need to hire an electrician to have a 240-volt line installed.
What to look for in a quality garage heater
Most garage heaters have temperature control, either in the form of simple dials or fully integrated and adjustable thermostats.
Some garage heaters, especially radiant heaters, use adjustable louvers (which look like the little slats on your car’s AC ports) to direct the heat toward yourself or the area you want to be heated.
How much you can expect to spend on a garage heater
Garage heaters of each fuel source have different cost ranges. Electric and propane heaters are more affordable, with ranges of $100-$500. Natural gas heaters cost $500-$1,000.
Garage heater FAQ
How safe are gas garage heaters?
A. If installed correctly, regularly maintained and properly ventilated, gas garage heaters are safe. However, if you suspect the natural gas or propane line is leaking, immediately switch the heater off and have the lines examined.
What safety features do garage heaters have?
A. Most garage heaters have three key safety features: overheat protection, tip-over protection and cool-touch exteriors.
- Overheat protection detects when the heater’s heating elements or motor become too hot to function safely, a risk that grows exponentially the longer the heater is allowed to run continuously. When triggered, the power is cut off until the components cool.
- Tip-over protection is important for non-mounted heaters. This feature cuts the power if the heater is knocked out of its upright position.
- Cool-touch exteriors are most important to heaters on the ground or walls. The function is in the name — the exterior doesn’t become hot enough to burn you while the heater is running.
What’s the best garage heater to buy?
Top garage heater
What you need to know: This electric garage heater is plenty hot and extra-durable.
What you’ll love: It has a temperature control that stretches from 45-135 degrees with a high-level cutout to automatically switch heat off if the temperature gets too high. It includes a ceiling mounting bracket and has adjustable louvers to direct the heat where you want it.
What you should consider: It’s among the priciest models for residential garages. It has no off button — you need to dial the temperature control down to zero — or power indicator light.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top garage heater for the money
What you need to know: This model from Heat Storm generates a good amount of heat and is smart-home compatible.
What you’ll love: The inconspicuous and futuristic design looks great and doesn’t become hot to the touch, even on the highest settings. It includes a wall mount, and the cord can be hidden inside the unit if it’s mounted on top of an outlet.
What you should consider: The fan can be on the noisy side. If you don’t want to wall-mount it, you need to purchase standing feet directly from the manufacturer’s website.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This tough heater is perfect for large garages or industrial shops.
What you’ll love: The fan can push the high heat levels over a wide area and it can operate for up to 12 hours straight. The body is heavy-gauge steel for durability and the motor is completely enclosed, so no dust and debris can damage it.
What you should consider: It’s expensive and it needs to be mounted where you can access its front control panel. It includes a remote, but customers found it to be inconsistent.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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