Looking for an inexpensive, convenient way to keep your garage warm?
Many of us dread the thought of being (or working) in the garage during cold winter months, and rightfully so!
Keep reading as we look at some of the best electric garage heaters on the market.
In this proHVACinfo guide, you’ll learn the following:
- What are electric garage heaters?
- What are the different types of electric garage heater? (and why they aren’t all created equal)
- How do electric garage heaters work?
- How Much Power do I Need to Heat My Garage? (learn one trick you’ll never forget)
- What do you look for in the best electric garage heaters? (look out for these 4 things)
- And much more!
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
March 28, 2021
Stiebel Eltron Electric Fan HeaterCheck on Amazon
After narrowing down the many available electric garage heaters on the market to just 5, we gave the title of Our Top Pick to the Stiebel Eltron, 1500-watt wall mounted heater.--break--It's easy to see why!--break--First, the excellent wall mounted design of this heater helps to move hot air evenly around your garage.--break--Second, the built-in thermostat gives you precise control of the temperature, a unique feature this model has over most electric garage heaters.--break--It also features a booster timer, letting you set it to maximum heat for up to an hour before it reverts back to the thermostat setting, which is ideal for getting the garage warmed quickly before you plan to be in there.
In a rush? Below is a quick roundup of our top 5 electric garage heaters. Read on to learn more!
Stiebel Eltron Electric Fan Heater
|View on Amazon|
TPI Fostoria Quartz Electric Infrared Heater
|View on Amazon|
HETR 5120 Ceramic Space Heater
|View on Amazon|
TPI 198TMC Portable Heater
|View on Amazon|
Briza Infrared Heater
|View on Amazon|
What Are Electric Garage Heaters?
Electric garage heaters are devices designed to provide warmth to typically unheated spaces like your garage.
They are simple, and standalone, so there’s no additional ducting required from your home’s central air and heat if you have it.
Quick note: this guide is primarily intended for residential garages (like those you’d find in your home). For that reason, our roundup focuses on 120 volt heaters.
While there are some 240v electric heaters, not all houses are equipped to handle 240 volts. For that reason, our guide focuses on only those heaters you can be sure to use safely.
Some electric garage heaters are portable, while others are fixed or mounted to a wall, or even to your ceiling.
What Are The Different Types Of Electric Garage Heater?
There is a wide selection to choose from when it comes to electric garage heaters. Join us as we take a look at the most popular types:
Fan Forced Air Electric Garage Heaters
This is probably the most commonly found type of electric garage heater.
The principle is simple, electricity is used to heat up an element – a common example being a wire mesh or coil.
Behind the heating element, a fan is mounted, which while running, will force air warmed by the element out into the room, and this has the net effect of increasing the room’s temperature.
Infrared Electric Garage Heaters
Infrared heating technology is a little more advanced than simple forced air.
They make use of a special lamp that converts electricity into radiant heat.
Unlike heating elements, they don’t warm the air, but rather, they directly warm the people and objects that come into contact with the infrared light.
One of the biggest advantages of this type of heater is the feeling of instant warmth, a massive plus when compared with the wait time you’ll experience with other types of heater.
The heat from infrared heaters is often compared to the feeling of being out in the sun – and for good reason: it’s the same type of radiation, albeit with much lower energy!
Another big plus with infrared heaters is that, because there are no fans or moving parts, they also operate in almost complete silence – some models may have a slight buzzing noise from the bulb, but it is significantly quieter than fan driven heaters.
Ceramic Electric Garage Heaters
Much like fan forced air electric garage heaters, ceramic type heaters feature a heating element, the key difference is that the element is used to heat a ceramic plate, rather than to directly disperse warm air into the room.
The ceramic plate then radiates heat into the room. In the case of convection ceramic heaters, they utilize a fan to speed up the circulation of warm air.
Check out our review of the Best Ceramic Space Heaters!
How do Electric Garage Heaters Work?
Using the technology described in the above section, electric garage heaters provide safe, reliable heat, in the exact place you need it.
The heater plugs into a standard household outlet for power, and in most cases can be used with standard extension cords, although you should always check to make sure that the power draw doesn’t exceed the maximum for your extension.
How Much Power do I Need to Heat My Garage?
This is a very common question when looking for a garage heater, “how do I know if I’m getting a big enough heater?”
The good news is that the answer is pretty straightforward.
To answer this question, we can generally refer to something called the “10-watt rule”.
Simply put, the 10-watt rule means that for every square foot you want to heat (in your garage, for our purposes), you need 10 watts of power.
So, for example, a 150 square-foot garage needs 1,500 watts to effectively heat it.
Aren’t sure how many square feet your garage is?
Just grab a measuring tape and measure the length of your garage from one end to the other.
Then do the same with width. Multiply the length by the width, and you have the square footage!
So, a garage that is 20 feet long and 10 feet wide is 200 square feet!
If that sounds like too much hassle, take a look below for average sizes of various garages!
- 1-car garage: 12 feet wide x 22 feet deep = 264 square feet
- 2-car garage: 18 feet wide x 22 feet deep = 396 square feet
- 3-car garage: 32 feet wide x 22 feet deep = 704 square feet
- 4-car garage: 36 feet wide x 22 feet deep = 792 square feet
Are Electric Garage Heaters Safe?
Safety is, of course, another common question when it comes to electric garage heaters.
This can be a particular concern when you realize that your garage often stores fuels for cars lawnmowing equipment, and the like.
Not to mention a small amount of fumes from your car’s exhaust lingers in the air every time you enter or exit the garage!
Fortunately, there’s more good news here when it comes to electric garage heaters, as they are among the safest options for your garage!
Unlike other types of heaters (such as those that use propane), there is zero risk of fume emission and no risk of gas leaking from an electric space heater.
What Do You Look For In The Best Garage Heaters?
Because there are so many different kinds of garage heaters on the market, there isn’t really a way to fairly compare different models with regard to features, having said that, this list highlights some of the highlights to look out for on any make or model.
Many people will tend to shy away from electric heaters for fear of racking up huge power bills. With that in mind, when shopping for an electric garage heater, look for the energy star certification.
A truly efficient garage heater will offer maximum output for minimal power draw.
As mentioned above, electric heaters are generally a very safe option for heating your garage.
Having said that, we’d be remiss not to mention safety again here as a top consideration.
If safety is your #1 priority, you can look for touch-safe heaters to ensure they won’t cause injury to you or anybody else in the event of accidental contact.
Timed shut off and overheat lockouts are also great features to look for, either of these can help prevent fires in the event the heater is left to run long enough to cause a hazard.
Unless you go with a wall-mounted option, one of the main purposes of investing in a garage heater is portability, so it goes without saying that having the ability to move yours around your garage to direct heat exactly where you want it is paramount.
Look for electric heaters that are lightweight, and have insulated carry handles to enable you to pick up the unit while it’s still hot.
Ease Of Use
Ease of use is essential, especially if you’re working in your garage, as you probably have a lot going on while your heater is running.
Being able to easily turn your electric garage heater on and off, or to make adjustments (especially while wearing gloves) is a huge plus!
We always recommend fully familiarizing yourself with the instruction manual before using any new equipment, but if you are able to operate an electric garage heater and don’t actually need the instructions, then that’s definitely a good thing.
Certain models feature easy-to-use remotes and user interfaces that make simple operations a breeze.
Our Reviews Of The Best Electric Garage Heaters
Stiebel Eltron Electric Fan Heater (Our Top Pick)Check on Amazon
We had absolutely no hesitation in declaring the Stiebel Eltron as our winner. It’s a wall mounted heater.--break--That means it doesn’t have the benefit of portability, but it does have ultra quiet operation and the ability quickly and evenly warm the entire garage.--break--We really like the wall-mounted design from a safety perspective, because it prevents trip and burn hazards.--break--The heater also features a frost protection function, so it'll keep your garage temperature above freezing to prevent issues like pipe bursts.--break--This really is a premium heater, it’s made with pride in Germany, and has some top end features like a precision thermostat for exact temperature control.
- 5122BTU/Hr heating performance--break--Just 50 dB when running (about the same as your refrigerator hum)--break--60 Minute booster function
- Not portable (by design)--break--Power cord purchased separately
TPI Fostoria Quartz Electric Infrared Heater (High End Pick)Check on Amazon
High end pick when it comes to electric garage heaters went to this excellent overhead quartz electric IR model from the TPI Corporation.--break--Because it’s ceiling mounted, it doesn’t take up any floor or bench space.--break--It provides clean and safe heat, and because it has no fan or other moving parts, its operation is virtually silent.--break--The lamp boasts a hugely impressive 5000 hour life, and listed for both outdoor and indoor spot heating applications.--break--We see great potential in this heater for use as a “heat curtain”, which would allow you to mount it over your garage door and actually leave it open.--break--This is a quality product, made in the USA, and built to last.
- Solid, industrial-quality construction--break--Fast heating--break--Radiant floor to ceiling heat
- Replacement bulbs can be expensive--break--Not a particularly attractive design
HETR 5120 Ceramic Space Heater (Best Budget Pick)Check on Amazon
If you are looking for a good quality electric garage heater and you’re on a tight budget, this portable ceramic forced air unit from HETR is going to get the job done for you.--break--It is rated to 5120 BTU, so heat-wise it does keep up with some of the more expensive models on test.--break--This is definitely the simplest unit we looked at.--break--There are 2 heat control switches, the full power 1500 watt switch hand the half power 750 watt switch.--break--The fan speed is controlled by a rotary dial, making it nice and easy to adjust with dirty hands, or even while wearing gloves.
- Easy operation--break--Price--break--Light weight--break--1-Year warranty
- Could struggle to heat a large garage--break--Fan is noisy
TPI 198TMC Portable HeaterCheck on Amazon
This is a great compact electric heater than can be used in radiant or fan forced convection modes.--break--It has 3 different fan speeds and variable temperature control, and both are operated by convenient dial controls.--break--Should you be on the lookout for a no frills, low maintenance garage heater, this is a great choice.--break--The fan is quiet, and the whole unit is nice and compact, and requires little maintenance beyond wiping with a damp cloth (when cool), and removing loose dust with a duster.--break--The body of the heater is shockproof, and corrosion resistant, and the grille boasts a long lasting chrome finish.
- Heavy-duty construction and design--break--Highly portable--break--Large grille keeps objects at safe distance from heat
- White finish easily becomes dirty in garage settings--break--Despite wide base, the top heavy design allows this unit to fall over--break--Some users found the design unappealing (mostly a preference)
Briza Infrared HeaterCheck on Amazon
We’ve included this infrared heater as a flexible option that can be adjusted to meet your needs.--break--This Briza IR heater can either be wall mounted, or stood on a tripod.--break--This is excellent flexibility that will appeal to many homeowners looking to stay warm in their garages.--break--Because it uses infrared technology, the warmth experienced is almost instant, which is a big plus on particularly cold days.--break--It features a 9 hour timer for safety and convenience, as well as a protective metal sheath to prevent accidental contact with the heating elements.--break--Not only that, but it also has a trip sensor with auto shut off in the event that it is knocked over.
- Top safety features--break--Flexible design--break--Remote control
- Tripod can be easy to knock over--break--Less Powerful
Final Thoughts On The Best Electric Garage Heaters
The vast majority of homes don’t have central heating that extends to their garages, and in colder regions of the country, especially in winter time, this can result in underuse of valuable space in your home.
By investing in one of the electric garage heaters we’ve discussed in this proHVACinfo guide, you’ll be able to effectively heat your garage to comfortable temperatures without having to make modifications to your home or main HVAC system.
Not only that, but because they run on 120v, they operate on standard household outlets, so you’ll be up and running in no time!