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Whether you're tinkering away on a woodworking project or fixing up your favorite car, working in your garage during the winter isn't ideal (nothing can impede your work like numb fingers or bulky layers of clothing!).
While there are numerous ways to warm up your garage in the winter, adding a space heater is probably one of the most convenient options. You can choose from both gas and electric models, or go for a direct-vent heater if your house is already piped for propane or natural gas.
Whatever your needs, we've researched the best garage heaters to add to your space. Read on for our top picks.
Best Overall: Fahrenheat Ceiling-Mount 5,000-Watt Electric Heater
For a garage heater that offers excellent performance and plenty of heat, our top pick is the Fahrenheat 5,000-Watt Electric Heater. This ceiling-mounted garage heater will stay out of your way while keeping your garage or workshop warm and toasty.
This reliable electric garage heater is fairly compact, measuring just 13 x 14 x 18. It has an adjustable mounting bracket that allows you to position the heater for horizontal or vertical airflow. A favorite feature of this garage heater’s design is the fact that the fan action is delayed until the heating element has warmed up—meaning no more cold air being blown on you while you wait for the warm air to kick in! An adjustable dial allows for temperature adjustment between high and low, but the manufacturer describes the range as being between 45 and 135 degrees.
Note that you'll need a 220V outlet to power this 5,000-watt garage heater capable of producing up to 17,065 BTU.
Best Budget: Optimus Garage Utility Heater
If you want to warm up your garage without burning up your cash, a budget garage heater that is also efficient is a smart choice. The Optimus Garage Utility Heater may not be the most powerful garage heater on the market, but it offers fast heat and easy installation.
This inexpensive garage heater provides anywhere from 600 to 1200-watts of power to heat your garage, workshop, or shed. The unit uses a quartz heating element and halogen lights to keep your work area illuminated. Note that the lighting function can’t be turned on and off separately from the heater, which might be a drawback for some users.
While this isn’t the most powerful garage heater on the market, it works great for a budget-friendly way to keep the space reasonably comfortable during cold weather. You can also opt to install two of these heaters in your garage for extra heating power.
Best Infrared: Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988A Garage Heater
For heat that you’ll feel in a hurry, look for an infrared heater like the 5,600-watt Dr. Infrared DR-988 Heater. Infrared heaters first heat people and objects in the space before beginning to warm the air.
This model from Dr. Infrared is capable of heating garages up to 600 square feet, and people report that it can raise the temperature to 60 or 70 degrees within a few hours. The fan mechanism also does a great job of circulating air in the space, helping to maintain a stable temperature throughout your entire work area. Some users have reported only a minimal temperature difference of less than one degree in their garage space when using this heater.
Another standout feature of this infrared garage heater is the fact that the housing doesn’t become too hot to handle. If you are working near the heater or need to move it, it won’t burn you like the metal housing of some other garage heaters. You will need a 220V outlet for this infrared garage heater to be safely plugged in and operational.
Best Portable: Mr. Heater Portable Propane Radiant Heater
Make sure you always have a handy heat source with a portable garage heater. This is a great way to stay warm if you spend time in your garage, workshop, barn—or all three! The Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy is our pick for a portable heater that will keep you warm wherever you go.
Instead of a large, installed unit that only radiates heat from a single location, a portable heater like the Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy can follow you wherever you go. Keep it close by so that you really feel the warm air on the coldest of nights or take it with you when you move from the garage to an outbuilding or shed for more work.
Running off a 20-pound propane cylinder, this portable garage heater isn’t limited by the availability of an electrical outlet. It also has a high-efficiency rating and burns clean. The built-in O2 sensor helps to ensure that air quality remains safe.
Best Panel: De'Longhi HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater
If you’re looking for a paneled option to heat your garage, the DeLonghi Mica Panel Heater is a quiet, efficient choice that only needs a standard 120V electrical outlet.
While many higher-output garage heaters require an outlet with 220V of power, the Mica Panel Heater is a home heater that can easily cross over into garage or workshop use. The casters on the frame make it easy to wheel it next to your workbench or you can also mount it to the wall for heating a specific area.
One thing that people often point out is that this heater is very quiet. It’s safe to say that your power tools will be noisier than this slim, low-voltage garage heater. Bear in mind that the lower voltage of this heater also means less heating power—so don’t expect it to transform your arctic garage into a tropical oasis. Still, it can take the chill off your work area and make you more comfortable on cold winter days.
Best Natural Gas: Dyna-Glo Wall Heater 30,000 BTU Natural Gas Infrared Natural Gas Wall Heater
Even without electricity, you can have a warm and toasty garage thanks to a natural gas heater—like this Infrared Natural Gas Wall Heater from Dyna-Glo.
With a powerful 30,000 BTU output, this garage heater runs on natural gas or liquid propane. Whether your workshop lacks electrical wiring, experiences frequent power outages, or you’re just trying to reduce electricity consumption, a natural gas garage heater will offer you reliable, efficient heat.
This wall-mounted garage heater is capable of heating up to 1,000 square feet—making it perfect even for bigger multi-car garages or expanded workshops. It should be noted that it will perform best in structures with at least some insulation.
Best for Small Spaces: Dr. Infrared Portable Garage Heater with Thermostat
If your space is small but cold, you need a garage heater that delivers big results. The Dr. Infrared Portable Garage Heater is a compact yet powerful garage heater that warms spaces up to 600 square feet.
At just 12 x 15 inches, this heater is small enough to fit in even the most compact spaces. It features a thermostat control that can be adjusted from Low to High, and has a cool-touch surface and overheat protection for extra safety. This bright red heater is also red hot, thanks to its ability to generate 5,600 watts of power for heating up your space. Keep in mind that this is a small but mighty unit and it requires a 240V outlet—your standard 120V residential outlet won’t work.
After plugging in this garage heater and turning it on, people find that their small garage or workshop is efficiently heated by these quiet units. Choose this heater if you’re looking for commercial-grade durability in a compact, efficient garage heater that is perfect for small spaces.
If you're looking for a reliable garage heater that will stay out of your way, your best bet is the Fahrenheat Ceiling-Mount 5,000-Watt Electric Heater (view at Home Depot). Those who don't have electrical wiring in their garage might want to go for a gas-powered option like the Dyna-Glo Blue Flame Vent-Free Thermostatic Garage Heater (view at Walmart), which is capable of heating up to 1,000 square feet.
What to Look for in a Garage Heater
The two most common types of garage heaters are natural gas and electric. Natural gas heaters are very cost-efficient, but they take up space and require careful cleaning. Electrical heaters, on the other hand, are more compact and require less maintenance. The type of heater you choose will depend on what you have access to, how big your space is, and your personal preferences.
Check the BTU and wattage on the garage heater to make sure that it will heat up your entire workspace. If you're heating up a larger space like a multi-car garage, then finding a larger heater will be your best bet. Also, consider the voltage of the garage heater. If the heater plugs in, you'll need to make sure it won't trip the outlets in your home.
Many garage heaters come with great features to ensure ease of use and your safety. From having wheels to overheat protection to cool-touch housing to a tip-over switch, there are plenty of features to consider. These features can be especially important if you plan to move your heater around. You don't want to burn your hand while picking it up or worry about it starting a fire if it's accidentally knocked over.
Some garage heaters can be very noisy, so check out the specs before you buy one. 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.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and edited by Lily Sperry, a lifestyle writer and commerce editor here at The Spruce. When considering the best picks to include, she consulted dozens of customer reviews, along with write-ups from third-party websites.