For some, winter's approach means putting their DIY projects on hold until spring. It's simply too cold to be out in the garage or workshop. But with a garage heater, you're able to keep working all year round in comfort. There are dozens of models to choose from, but finding the right one for your garage isn't always easy. Here's a short guide to walk you through the most important considerations when choosing a garage heater, plus our three favorite garage heaters on the market.
Considerations when choosing garage heaters
Electric garage heaters come in two main types: fan-forced and infrared. Fan-forced heaters are the most common. They work by drawing air in, heating it up, and then blowing it back out again. Many people like these garage heaters because they're capable of warming up large spaces quickly. However, because they use a fan, they can blow dust or debris around, so you have to be careful where you point them.
Infrared heaters don't heat up the air at all. Instead, they heat up the objects they're pointed at. These garage heaters don't heat up as quickly as fan-forced models, but they do provide consistent, steady warmth, and you don't have to worry about a fan blowing dust or debris around.
Here are some other things you'll need to think about when choosing a garage heater.
Some units are more powerful than others and more suited to heating up a large space. You can get a sense for how powerful a garage heater is by looking at its BTU rating. A higher BTU rating means more power. Consider the size of your garage, and make sure you choose a unit that can heat the entire space.
Garage heaters are more powerful than standard space heaters, and a regular outlet isn't enough for them. Some heaters can use a 240-volt outlet, but many must be hardwired. If you can't do this work yourself, hire a professional electrician.
Many garage heaters come with a mounting bracket. Some heaters are designed to be hung from the wall or the ceiling, while others can be mounted to either.
Some garage heaters only have a couple of settings like High or Low, while others let you choose the exact temperature that you want the garage to stay at.
Look for a unit that has overheating protection to ensure that it won't start a fire. If you're not going to mount the garage heater, you should also look for one that has tip-over protection, which automatically shuts off the unit if it falls over.
Q. Are propane heaters safe to use in a garage?
A. They are safe when they are used correctly. Make sure you have good ventilation and always follow the manufacturer's instructions if you're going to use a propane heater. Electric garage heaters are generally considered safer, however, so one of these units may be a better fit if you don't want to worry.
Q. Does my garage heater need to be hardwired?
A. That depends on the model. Many garage heaters do need to be hardwired, but this isn't always ideal, especially if you want something portable. There are models that can use a 240-volt outlet, so look for one of these if you want maneuverability.
Garage heaters we recommend
Best of the best: Fahrenheat FUH54 240-Volt Garage Heater
Our take: Invest in this garage heater if you're looking for a powerful and durable machine that will last you for many years.
What we like: This rugged heater is known for providing consistent, reliable heat, and it holds up well over time, even with heavy use. It comes with a ceiling-mount bracket and adjustable louvers, so you can direct the heat where you want it to go.
What we dislike: It's a little pricey, but it may be worth it if you're looking for a heater that will last.
Best bang for your buck: Dimplex DGWH4031 4000-Watt Garage/Workshop Heater
Our take: This is a good alternative to our top pick for those who want an efficient garage heater at a lower cost.
What we like: This compact unit generates a surprising amount of heat, and it can warm up a garage very quickly. It has a swivel wall bracket, so you can easily direct the heat, and an auto-shutoff feature to prevent the unit from overheating.
What we dislike: The unit can rattle while it runs, which some people find distracting.
Our take: Consider this model if you're looking for a budget-friendly garage heater to help in cooler temperatures, but you may want something more robust if you're going to be using it in the middle of winter.
What we like: This unit has a quiet fan and five adjustable louvers that help direct airflow. It's reasonably priced and can be mounted to either the wall or the ceiling.
What we dislike: This heater doesn't put out quite as much heat as some users need.
Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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