15 Ideas For Heating A Garage Or Workshop… Efficient Winter Heaters

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Garage heating appliances are essential in colder climates to maintain a comfortable working environment and protect temperature-sensitive stored items.

A range of heating options exists, including natural gas heaters, electric heaters, propane heaters, wood-burning stoves, and innovative options like mini-split heat pumps or radiant floor heating systems. Eco-friendly solutions like solar heaters are also available.

Choosing the right heating appliance involves evaluating the size and insulation of your garage, as well as considering both the initial and ongoing operational costs. Safety, noise level, and the type of heat provided (radiant vs. forced air) also play into the decision-making process. The best choice will depend on your individual circumstances, including budget and availability of fuel sources.

How To Heat A Garage

most efficient way to heat a garage

The most cost-effective method to heat a garage during winter will largely depend on factors like the size of the space, insulation quality, and the local cost of fuels. However, a portable propane heater is a commonly used cost-efficient solution.

These heaters can quickly provide a lot of heat, are easy to move around to direct warmth where it’s most needed, and can be used only when you’re actually in the garage, avoiding wasted energy. Moreover, propane is a clean-burning fuel, reducing the risk of air quality issues. But always ensure adequate ventilation in your garage when using this type of heater to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.

To further reduce heating costs, good insulation of your garage is essential. This will ensure that whatever heating method you choose, the warm air will stay inside and the cold air will be kept out.

1. Natural Gas Heaters

These are a popular choice for heating spaces like garages and workshops due to their efficiency and power. Natural gas heaters can either be vented or ventless. Vented models direct exhaust gases outside, while ventless models have an oxygen depletion sensor to automatically shut off if the oxygen level in the room drops too low.


  1. High efficiency – natural gas burns cleanly and can heat large spaces quickly.
  2. Low operational cost – natural gas is typically cheaper than electricity.
  3. Dependable heat source – unaffected by power outages.


  1. Installation cost – might require professional installation and gas line.
  2. Potential safety concerns – if not well-ventilated, can cause carbon monoxide buildup.
  3. Not portable – once installed, it can’t be easily moved.

2. Wood Burning Stoves

If you have an abundant supply of firewood, a wood-burning stove could be a cost-effective way to heat your space. Besides providing heat, they can also add a rustic aesthetic to your garage or workshop. However, you’ll need to install a proper chimney or flue for ventilation, and regular cleaning is necessary to prevent creosote buildup.


  1. Cost-effective if wood is plentiful.
  2. Provides ambient heat and aesthetic appeal.
  3. Can function during power outages.


  1. Requires regular cleaning and maintenance.
  2. Needs proper ventilation and chimney installation.
  3. Inconsistent heat output – depends on wood quality and burning rate.

3. Outdoor Wood Furnaces

Also known as outdoor boilers, these provide a central heating system for your entire home, garage, and workshop. They are typically larger and can burn more types of fuel than indoor wood stoves. Heat is transferred to the garage or workshop via underground piping.


  1. Can heat multiple spaces from a central source.
  2. Uses plentiful, renewable fuel.
  3. Independent of electricity supply.


  1. Significant initial investment required.
  2. Needs regular refueling and cleaning.
  3. Heat distribution may be inefficient over long distances.

4. Radiant Floor Heating

This involves running heated water pipes or electric coils under the floor of the garage or workshop. It provides consistent heat and is efficient because it minimizes heat loss. However, it might be more suitable for new builds or during renovations due to the installation process.


  1. Even, consistent heat distribution.
  2. Energy efficient as it minimizes heat loss.
  3. No noise or visible equipment.


  1. Expensive and complex to install.
  2. Slow to warm up.
  3. Difficult to repair if problems occur.

5. Infrared Heaters

These heaters use infrared radiation to heat the objects in a room rather than the air itself, leading to a quicker feeling of warmth. They can be powered by electricity, natural gas, or propane, and are often used in large spaces like garages and workshops due to their ability to heat quickly and efficiently.


  1. Heats quickly, warming objects not air.
  2. Efficient, particularly for large spaces.
  3. Quiet operation.


  1. Can be expensive to operate.
  2. Direct exposure to infrared can be harmful.
  3. Heat can be localized rather than evenly distributed.

6. Electric Fan Heaters

These are easy to install and can be moved around the workspace to direct heat where it’s most needed. They’re best used in smaller spaces or as a supplementary heat source in larger areas. If you have a really nice garage or workshop, one of these corner electric fireplaces could be perfect.


  1. Portable and easy to install.
  2. Fast to warm up.
  3. Often inexpensive to purchase.


  1. Can be noisy.
  2. Not energy efficient for large spaces.
  3. Can be a fire hazard if not used carefully.

7. Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps

These units provide both heating and cooling for your garage or workshop. They are energy-efficient and easy to install, requiring only a small hole in the wall to connect the indoor and outdoor units. They also offer the advantage of being able to control the temperature in different zones separately.


  1. Provides both heating and cooling.
  2. Energy efficient and zone-controlled.
  3. Simple installation with no ductwork.


  1. High upfront costs.
  2. Requires professional installation.
  3. Outdoor units can be damaged by extreme weather.

8. Propane Heaters

These are portable and provide a lot of heat, making them ideal for heating large spaces quickly. Propane is also a clean-burning fuel, so it doesn’t produce harmful emissions. Some models have a forced-air feature that helps distribute heat more evenly. If you already have a propane fire pit getting another appliance that uses the same fuel may save on costs.


  1. Quick, powerful heat source.
  2. Portable and versatile.
  3. Clean-burning fuel.


  1. Propane can be expensive.
  2. Can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if not well-ventilated.
  3. Needs regular refilling or connection to a propane tank.

9. Pellet Stoves

Similar to wood-burning stoves, pellet stoves burn compressed wood or biomass pellets. They are known for their high efficiency and cleanliness. Some models have a hopper that can hold enough pellets for several hours of heating. The Vogelzang Pellet Stove is one recommended model.


  1. High efficiency and clean burning.
  2. Can use various types of pellet fuel.
  3. Automatic pellet feed in some models.


  1. Upfront cost can be high.
  2. Requires electricity to operate.
  3. Needs regular maintenance and pellet supply.

10. Kerosene Heaters

Kerosene heaters can generate a lot of heat and are often used as a backup or emergency heat source. These are best suited for well-ventilated areas due to potential fume emissions.


  1. Powerful heating for large spaces.
  2. Portable and doesn’t require electricity.
  3. Reliable for emergency heating.


  1. Kerosene fuel can be expensive.
  2. Potential for harmful fumes and requires ventilation.
  3. Risk of fire if not used carefully.

11. Ceramic Heaters

These electric heaters generate heat by passing electricity through ceramic plates. They can be quite efficient for smaller spaces and provide a steady source of heat. Some models have fans to help distribute the heat.


  1. Energy efficient for small spaces.
  2. Safe to touch – outer surface doesn’t get too hot.
  3. Quiet operation.


  1. Not suitable for large areas.
  2. Some models can be expensive.
  3. Can pose a fire risk if left unattended.

12. Oil-Filled Radiators

These heaters are filled with oil that is heated by an electric element. The oil retains heat well, providing a consistent heat source. While they take longer to heat up, they provide heat for longer periods even after they’re turned off.


  1. Provides steady, long-lasting heat.
  2. Quiet and efficient.
  3. Low maintenance.


  1. Slow to heat up.
  2. Can be expensive to purchase.
  3. Heavy and less portable.

13. Halogen Heaters

These heaters use halogen elements and can provide immediate heat. They’re typically smaller and more portable than other types of heaters. However, they’re better suited to smaller spaces or for personal use, as they might not heat a larger area as effectively.


  1. Provides immediate heat.
  2. Energy efficient for small areas.
  3. Portable and compact.


  1. Not suitable for large spaces.
  2. Halogen bulbs can be expensive to replace.
  3. Potential fire risk if knocked over or covered.

14. Heat Pump Water Heaters

These types of heaters, also known as hybrid water heaters, use electricity to move heat from one place to another. They can be very efficient, especially in moderate climates. They can also be combined with a hydronic heating system to provide heat to your garage or workshop.


  1. Energy efficient, especially in moderate climates.
  2. Can heat water and provide space heating.
  3. Low operational costs.


  1. High upfront costs.
  2. Requires professional installation.
  3. Less effective in very cold climates.

15. Solar Heating

This is a more environmentally friendly option, but it requires a substantial initial investment. Solar panels capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, which can be used to heat your garage or workshop. You could use this electricity to power any of the electric heaters mentioned above.

Keep in mind, the effectiveness will depend on your geographic location and the availability of sunlight. The cost of solar panel installation also varies from country to country.


  1. Environmentally friendly and renewable.
  2. Low operating costs after installation.
  3. Can be used to power various types of heaters.


  1. High initial installation costs.
  2. Dependent on sunlight availability.
  3. May need backup heating for cloudy days or at night.

Most Efficient Way To Heat A Garage

The most efficient way to heat a garage can depend on various factors, including the size of the space, the local climate, and the availability of different fuel sources. However, many people find that mini-split heat pumps offer an efficient and versatile solution.

These systems are capable of both heating and cooling, and they allow you to control the temperature in different zones separately. They’re energy-efficient and have the benefit of simple installation without the need for ductwork. They offer a consistent, quiet source of heat and are an especially good choice if your garage is well-insulated.

Keep in mind that while they have a higher upfront cost compared to other options, the operational costs are relatively low, making them a cost-effective solution in the long run. Soapstone wood stoves are also very efficient, though they’re generally too nice to keep in the garage – one of these small and tiny wood stoves would be a better option for those with plenty of firewood.


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