Need a Garage Heater? Key Features to Look For!

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Adding a space heater to your jobsite, workshop or garage is one way to make your workspace more comfortable during chilly months. Keep in mind that indoor space heaters will be ineffective at heating large spaces that aren't very well insulated. This means you'll be looking for a heater that's designed specifically for use in garages, workshops and jobsites.

There are a wide variety of garage heaters to choose from including ones that run on electric, natural gas or propane. Keep reading to learn more about what you should be looking for to help make your decision easier.

Heat Range

Make sure your heater is suited for warming large spaces. One way to check is to look at the size of the space the model is designed to heat. This is typically given in square feet.

If this information isn't included, check to see what the electrical rating is. This information is usually given in terms of watts or BTUs (for gas heating). There is a 10/1 ratio of watts to square feet. For example a 5,000 watt heater will cover 500 square feet. To figure out watts from BTUs here is the conversion ratio:

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1 watt = approximately 3.41214 BTUs/hour

Not good at math? Don't worry, here is a handy calculator that will help you figure out how many BTUs or watts you'll need based on the dimensions of your space, insulation condition and temperature to increase or decrease.

Keep in mind that many external factors determine how effective your new shop heater will be. Some examples include:

  • The height of the ceiling and size of the room
  • How well insulated the space is
  • If there are any drafts in the space

Electric vs. Gas

When choosing a heater for your large workspace you have 2 different options: electric and propane gas. Consider the advantages of each one so you can determine which is best for you.

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Electric Pros:

  • Don't require ventilation unlike gas units as it can be dangerous to breathe in propane in a closed off space
  • Avoid the hassle of having to refill a gas tank like with propane unit
  • Infrared options offer instantaneous results, heating only nearby objects instead of a whole space

Gas Pros:

  • Can heat extremely large workspaces as much as 4,500 sq. ft. unlike electric units that typically heat only up to 500 sq. ft.
  • Gas fuel is cheaper than using electricity, so they'll save you money in the long run

Safety Features

Safety is a top priority in any work environment and many heater models come with built-in safety features, which include:

  • Finger-proof intake and discharge grills to help prevent burns
  • High temperature heating limit to prevent overheating
  • Automatic shut-off feature if the unit were to tip-over

Low Maintenance

Few people want to spend time and money maintaining their heater. All units require some cleaning or maintenance, but some will require more than others.

To steer clear of this problem, try to find a model with the following features:

  • A solid construction with a permanently lubricated fan motor
  • An air intake grille that helps keep debris from damaging the unit

Models that have these features don't usually require major service or maintenance.

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Additional Features to Look For

Many heaters include additional features that make the units more efficient and easy to use. Some key features to look for include:

  • Mounting bracket - Ideal for heaters that will be used in one space and will not be moved. It allows you to mount your heater on the wall or ceiling, which will save valuable space
  • Thermostat - Ideal for maintaining a set temperature in your work area. Many units feature adjustable thermostats, which allow you to warm your garage, jobsite or workshop to the perfect temperature.
  • Portable design - If you're going to be moving the heater between jobsites, look for a lightweight design that's easy to move. Many units come with wheels or handles for added convenience.
  • Fan feature - Many electric heaters come with fans that help disperse the warm air. Also, some fans can be operated with or without heat, which means that it can be used year round to make your workspace more comfortable.

Next Steps

Now that you know what to look for, you can browse the wide variety of units offered to find the garage heater that best fits your needs.

Shop Our Selection of Garage Heaters