Besides stowing our vehicles and equipment, we use our garages for building and fixing things and just puttering around. But that’s no fun when it’s cold. A garage heater can take the chill out of the air and improve the overall comfort of your space.
There's a heater for any size garage, budget, and necessity, says Deane Biermeier, home repair expert and member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board. But, he cautions: “Consider the type of work you’re planning to perform in your garage. Ensure that the heater is safe for use around sawdust or other flammables, if necessary."
When researching the best garage heaters, we evaluated products based on their heating type, safety features, noise level, and heat output. Our top pick, the Comfort Zone CZ230ER Digital Heater, offers plenty of power, rugged construction, and an array of convenient features.
Here are the best garage heaters to suit a variety of needs.
Comfort Zone CZ230ER Digital Heater
Controllable air flow
Requires 240-volt hardwired installation
Due to its solid performance and even heat distribution, Comfort Zone's CZ230ER Digital Heater is our top pick. The 7,500-watt ceiling-mounted commercial heater saves precious floor space in a packed garage, and offers many convenient features, including a digital thermostat, a 12-hour timer, and a full-function remote control. Dust is no match for the fully enclosed motor, making it an ideal choice for a high-traffic garage or workshop.
Thanks to adjustable louvers and a variable mounting angle, you can control the direction of airflow. The unit comes equipped with an overheat protection sensor and automatically shuts off if it reaches an unsafe temperature. Its heavy-gauge steel construction can withstand sudden drops and spikes in temperature.
The only drawback is this requires hard-wiring to a 240-volt outlet, meaning adding this circuit to your home's electric system, at considerable expense, if not already so equipped. The power it uses also can add greatly to your electric bill.
Price at time of publish: $151
Dimensions: 17.3 x 13.55 x 14.4 inches | Weight: Under 30 pounds | Fuel source: Electric | Heating type: Forced air | Heat output: 7,500 watts (25,600 BTUs)
Comfort Zone PowerGear CZ285 1500 Watt Portable Ceramic Utility Heater
Lightweight and portable
Nice selection of safety features
Fairly short power cord
Covers only a small area
This inexpensive ceramic heater delivers 1,500 watts of power to heat your garage, workshop, or shed. Despite being a budget model, it’s packed with plenty of convenient features, including a top-mounted control panel, adjustable thermostat, and carrying handle. Weighing just under 5 pounds, this unit is incredibly lightweight and easy to move around. Fan-forced heating and a pivoting cradle base ensure even heat distribution.
The Comfort Zone Portable Ceramic Utility Barrel Heater has some great safety features: It’s equipped with an overheat protection sensor, tip-over cutoff switch, and a cool-touch exterior. The unit has a fan-only setting, which provides airflow without heat. Since it plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet, it’s incredibly easy to set up and operate.
Price at time of publish: $67
Dimensions: 8.7 x 9.1 x 8.9 inches | Weight: 4.66 pounds | Fuel source: Electric | Heating type: Forced air | Heat output: 1,500 watts
Best Natural Gas
Mr. Heater F260560 Big Maxx MHU80NG Natural Gas Unit Heater
Easy to install
Fan requires electrical connection
With a powerful 80,000 BTU output per hour, this ceiling-mounted garage heater is capable of heating up to 2,667 square feet—making it ideal for multi-car garages or expanded workshops. Measuring approximately 22 x 30 x 27 inches and weighing about 90 pounds, this unit is on the bulky side, but that shouldn’t be a concern once it’s mounted. Convenient features, such as supplied brackets, external access to power, and thermostat connections, allow for easy installation. This heater has a built-in electric high-velocity fan, which pulls in cool air across a heat exchanger and releases warm air.
It’s important to note that though the Big Maxx heater runs on natural gas or liquid propane, it requires access to an electrical outlet for the fan. So we don't recommend it for unattached garages that lack electrical wiring. Also, you need a universal hookup kit for connecting this product to a gas source, which is not included.
Price at time of publish: $464
Dimensions: Approx. 22 x 30 x 27 inches | Weight: About 90 pounds | Fuel source: Natural gas or liquid propane | Heating type: Forced air | Heat output: 80,000 BTUs (per hour)
Mr. Heater MH60QFAV 60,000 BTU Portable Propane Forced Air Heater
Easy to ignite
Must maintain ample propane supply
Proper ventilation is required
With a heat output of up to 60,000 BTUs per hour, this unit can warm rooms up to 1,500 square feet (about half a tennis court). According to the manufacturer, this model is 50 percent quieter than standard propane heaters. It has an impressive runtime for a fairly small unit—it can run up to 14 hours on a low setting—if used in conjunction with a 20-pound propane tank.
No hardwiring or installation is required. This heater plugs into a 110-volt outlet and includes a 10-foot hose and regulator to connect to a propane tank. It also has solid safety features that users can appreciate such as a high-temperature limit switch, thermoelectric safety valves, and an automatic ignition that runs continuously.
Price at time of publish: $168
Dimensions: 19.75 x 11.5 inches | Weight: 20.2 pounds | Fuel source: Propane | Heating type: Forced air | Heat output: 60,000 BTUs (per hour on high)
Mr. Heater Portable Propane Radiant Heater
Lightweight and portable
Nice selection of safety features
Not sold in Massachusetts or Canada
The beauty of the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater is that you can take it on the go, and position it close by for direct warmth. Measuring approximately 14 x 9 x 14 inches and weighing about 9 pounds, it’s one of the most lightweight and compact models on the market. Since it runs off a 1-pound or 20-pound propane cylinder, no electrical wiring or installation is required. This product produces heat ranging from 4,000 to 9,000 BTU per hour, and it’s intended for use in spaces up to 225 square feet, or about the size of a small one-car garage.
This heater has some great safety features—it shuts off automatically if it’s tipped over, the pilot light goes out, or low oxygen levels are detected. Thanks to the built-in O2 system, this clean-burning radiant heater is approved for indoor and outdoor use. And it can run for about two-and-a-half hours at maximum BTU and about five-and-a-half hours on low.
Price at time of publish: $97
Dimensions: Approximately 14 x 9 x 14 inches | Weight: 9 pounds | Fuel source: Propane | Heating type: Radiant | Heat output: 4,000 to 9,000 BTU (per hour)
Best for Large Spaces
KING KB2410-1-B2-ECO KB ECO2S Garage Heater
Alternative products can cost less
Requires higher amps
To heat a large area, such as a three-car garage, this powerful electric heater from King gets the job done. This unit delivers a whopping 10,000 watts and is capable of heating garages up to 1,000 square feet. Compared with other models, King heaters are some of the most expensive. However, they are known for being eco-friendly and energy-efficient. This heater utilizes a two-stage heating process and automatically uses the lowest wattage to heat a room.
For your convenience, the King heater comes equipped with a wall and ceiling bracket, thermostat, and an infrared remote control. There are more powerful options available in the ECO2S series, including 12,500- and 15,000-watt models, which can heat garages as large as 1,250 and 1,500 square feet, respectively.
Price at time of publish: $1,168
Dimensions: 13.5 x 15 x 16.5 inches | Weight: 42 pounds | Fuel source: Electric | Heating type: Forced air | Heat output: 10,000 watts
Best for Small Spaces
Dr. Heater DR966 240V Hardwired Shop Garage Commercial Heater
Needs 240-volt hard-wired installation
With a heating capacity of up to 6,000 watts, this electric heater is well-suited for smaller garages. This unit is equipped with a handle and measures 14.5 x 14.5 x 13 inches, so you can easily move it around. If you’d prefer to mount the heater on a ceiling or wall, brackets are included. Other convenient features include an adjustable thermostat and a dynamic 8-inch fan that maximizes airflow and keeps noise and turbulence to a minimum. Since the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-966 has a rugged steel front cover and a thermally protected heavy-duty motor, you can use it in any exposed area.
Keep in mind that this unit must be hardwired to a 240-volt electrical supply; it doesn't work with a standard 120-volt residential outlet.
Price at time of publish: $131
Dimensions: 14.5 x 14.5 x 13 inches | Weight: 27 pounds | Fuel source: Electric | Heating type: Forced air | Heat output: 3,000 to 6,000 watts
Sengoku CTN-110 Kerosene Heater
Good safety features
Can run up to 14 hours
Easy-to read fuel gauge
Some reports of faulty igniter
May release a slight odor
Kerosene produces higher heat in a shorter time than most other fuels, so kerosene heaters are an alternative to propane and electric models. However, if you go this route, we recommend that you use a kerosene heater only in garages with adequate ventilation, to avoid carbon monoxide exposure; in fact, that’s good advice for any combustion-type heater. “Permanent installations require that a vent duct carries the combustion gases outdoors,” says Biermeier. We also recommend that you install a carbon monoxide detector in the garage where the heater resides.
Our top pick for such a product is the CTN-110 from Sengoku. Safety features include an automatic shutoff switch, a tip-over switch, and a safety guard that prevents accidental contact with the hot surface. The manufacturer says the unit can warm indoor and outdoor garages up to 1,000 square feet (about half the size of a tennis court).
At 20 pounds, this is one of the lighter such units, and its fairly compact size makes it easy to transport. The large fuel tank has a 1.2-gallon capacity and can run up to 14 hours. A manual siphon pump is included, so you can safely transfer kerosene to the heater without any spills. An easy-to-read fuel gauge allows you to easily monitor the kerosene level. This unit also includes four C batteries; no electricity is required for operation.
Like most kerosene heaters, it may produce a slight odor while running. Also, although this heater is equipped with a push-button igniter, we have seen reports that it needs to be lighted with a match.
Price at time of publish: $150
Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 19 inches | Fuel source: Kerosene | Heating type: Radiant | Heat output: 10,000 BTUs
AEscod 1500W Portable Electric Heater
Lightweight and portable
90° adjustable head
Heats very quickly
Tip-over shutoff + overheat protection
Surface gets hot
Smaller heating capacity
This lightweight, portable electric space heater from AEscod is a good choice for heating smaller garages evenly and efficiently. Featuring ceramic heating technology and a high-speed fan, it’s equipped with a handle for easy carrying, as well as a 5-foot-long power cord, allowing for versatile placement.
There are three heat settings—high (1,500w), low (750w), and natural wind—and you can adjust the head by 90 degrees. Since this is a freestanding unit, it offers crucial safety features such as a tip-over shutoff, and an automatic shutoff in case the unit overheats.
It’s important to note that the surface of this heater gets very hot. To avoid burns, never touch the unit while it’s in use.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimensions: 8.65 x 6.7 x 9.65 inches | Fuel source: Electric | Heating type: Forced air | Heat output: 1,500 BTUs
Heat Storm Phoenix Floor-to-Wall Infrared Heater
Convenient Wi-Fi controls
Sleek, wall-mounted design
Solid safety features
Small-space heating capacity
Short power cord
The Heat Storm Infrared Heater is WiFi-enabled, allowing you to adjust the temperature, enable the child lock, and set the timer from your phone. Delivering 1,500 watts, this unit is best suited for smaller garages.
Unlike many other garage heaters, which are more utilitarian in appearance, this unit has a sleek and modern design that looks great on a wall, and preserves floor space. What’s more, this unit doesn’t need to be hard-wired to your electrical system, making it simple to set up. The only flaw to this heater’s otherwise convenient design is the short power cord, which limits your placement options.
This infrared is packed with a slew of convenient features, including a child lock, tip-over shutoff, and a safe-touch grill. Its digital thermometer boasts a wide temperature range—40 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit—and provides a precise amount of heat. If the unit overheats for some reason, it shuts down automatically.
Dimensions: 4 x 19 x 16 inches | Fuel source: Electric | Heating type: Infrared | Heat output: 1,500 BTUs
De'Longhi HMP1500 Mica Thermal Panel Heater
Sleek, narrow design
Integrated handle for easy carrying
Versatile mounting options
Thermal cutoff and tip-over switch
Other options heat quicker
Small-space heating capacity
This sleek panel heater from De'Longhi can be placed on the garage floor, via its included wheels and legs, or mounted to a wall, with its included bracket. Delivering 1,500 watts at its highest setting, it can adequately heat most two-car garages. With no fan required, it runs very quietly.
This unit throws off plenty of direct heat; though, like most convection heaters, it may take a while to heat up a larger garage. We like the two heat seatings (1,500 or 750 watts), which allow you to conserve power. Another noteworthy feature is the integrated handle, which makes for easy transport. The De’Longhi Mica Thermic Panel also features a thermal cutoff, to prevent it from overheating, as well as a tip-over switch for added safety. It even sounds an alarm if the heater is tipped over.
We have noted a few reports of defective and malfunctioning products; however, this heater is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Dimensions: 27 x 10 x 22 inches | Fuel source: Electric | Heating type: Mica thermic | Heat output: 1,500 watts
If you're looking for a powerful garage heater that doesn’t take up precious floor space, the ceiling-mounted Comfort Zone CZ230ER Digital Heater is our best overall pick. If you’re looking for a portable, budget-friendly option, consider the Comfort Zone Portable Ceramic Utility Heater. Since it plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet, it’s extremely easy to set up.
What to Look For in a Garage Heater
The two most common types of garage heaters are natural gas and electric; others run on propane and kerosene, which require tanks filled with those fuels. The type you choose should depend on your accessible energy, the size of your garage, and how well it is ventilated. Also, “Consider the type of work you’re planning to perform in your garage,” advises Deane Biermeier, home repair expert and member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board. For example, if you’re a woodworker, select a product that avoids sawdust invading the heating elements.
When considering the type of garage heater, also factor in cost efficiency. Generally, a natural gas heater has low utility-bill footprints most but requires a natural gas line, which can be pricey to install. Adding adequate ventilation can add to the initial expense. Electric heaters may use more energy but require less initial cost.
Check the BTU and wattage on the garage heater to confirm it can heat your entire space. A two-car garage measures about 400 square feet; a three-vehicle garage, about 600 to 800 square feet.
Also, consider your prospective purchase’s voltage and how much power it uses, expressed in wattage. Many garage heaters plug in to standard 110-volt outlets, but larger units may require 220 volts. Also, these units consume about 10 watts per square foot. So you should make sure your electric system can handle running these machines without tripping your circuit breakers. Also, Biermeier advises, buy a garage heater that’s only as powerful as you need it to be. “Besides costing more at the outset, a heater that’s too powerful will cycle on and off excessively and reduce the lifespan of the heater,” he notes.
Most garage heaters come with specific features to avoid burns, fires, and fumes. When considering a portable garage heater, look for a model with a cool-touch exterior or wire guard. A tip-over switch or sensor shuts the unit off automatically if it's knocked over. An automatic shutoff system turns off the garage heater if it gets too hot. For combustion-type garage heaters, such as natural gas, propane, and kerosene, a built-in O2 system can detect unsafe oxygen levels.
Some garage heaters can be very noisy, so check out the specs before purchasing. If you prefer a quiet workspace or are worried about waking up others in your home, an electrical heater is your best bet, as their gas counterparts are usually noisier. “Even if you don’t mind excess noise while you’re working, keep in mind that the noise can easily make its way into the house,” Biermeier points out.
Does a garage heater need venting?
We recommend using combustion-type heaters, such as natural gas, propane, and kerosene models, only if your garage is equipped with properly working air vents. “Propane and natural gas garage heaters must be vented to the outside to eliminate poisonous carbon monoxide from remaining in the area," reminds Biermeier. Each permanently installed unit needs a duct vent that carries the exhaust gases outdoors. If your space doesn't have such vents, you should keep open a door or window for adequate ventilation. Or select an electric garage heater, which doesn't require venting.
What is the most efficient type of garage heater?
When compared with electric models, the operating costs associated with natural gas heaters are generally much lower. “A natural gas heater costs more than an electric heater to install, but will be more efficient and cost less over the long run,” Biermeier says.
How do you install a garage heater?
Installing the heater in a physical space is relatively simple: Usually, wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted units come with brackets and mounting hardware. But the power sources complicate the matter. While a propane or kerosene heater connects to an external tank of liquid fuel, using a hose and regulator, a natural gas heater must connect directly to your home’s existing or newly installed gas line. Some electric models can be plugged into standard 120-volt outlets; others need to be connected to household wiring. And some require 220-volt circuitry.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a writer and product tester for The Spruce. A native of New England and no stranger to cold weather, she’s thoroughly researched and personally tested space heaters, heated blankets, and more in the home heating sector. For this round-up, McHugh considered dozens of garage heaters, carefully evaluating each model’s heating type, safety features, noise level, and heat output. For expert insight on garage heaters, she interviewed Deane Biermeier, home repair expert and member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board.