Best Electric Garage Heaters 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
Last Updated on March 26, 2020
Today’s manufacturers seem more than happy to leave their customers out in the cold. Whether it’s equipment that doesn’t work correctly, breaks down in a short amount of time, or costs far too much for the value it provides, we all know the pain of thinking we’re getting a good deal, only to be disappointed later.
We know this doesn’t have to be the case, and we believe that a well-informed consumer can make a great choice and find the right model for their individual needs.
If you’re looking to score a great deal on an electric garage heater and find the model that will give you the most satisfaction, you’ve come to the right place. Our reviews are designed to walk you through everything you need to know about each model we recommend, while our buyer’s guide is meant to teach you everything about these machines in general so that you can make a well-informed decision.
Our Favorite Choices of 2020 Compared:
|King KBP2406 5700||24 lbs||4.5/5|
|Homegear Garage Space Heater 1500SqFt|
|Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988||12 lbs||4.2/5|
|Black + Decker Utility BHUC201B||13 lbs||3.95/5|
The 5 Best Electric Garage Heaters:
1. Fahrenheat FUH54 Electric Garage Heater – Best Overall
The Fahrenheat FUH54 is our top model for heating up your garage. It comes with a large temperature range, as it’s capable of producing air that’s between 45-degrees and 135-degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a great temperature range, and it means that you can keep your garage from freezing or heat it up to your liking even in the harshest winters. The bracket on this model allows you to mount it to the wall or ceiling easily. It also comes with adjustable louvers, which allows you to adjust the vent to any angle so that you can get the warm air where you need it in your shop.
This model also has a great reputation for putting out lots of heat, which makes it a great option for keeping your garage warm. Not all heaters work especially well, but this one occasionally gives people concerns about it putting out too much heat, which is a good problem to have. The only real issue with this model is that it needs to be hardwired into a 240-volt line. That means you need some electrical know-how or to pay an expert to do it. Overall, this will be the best model for most people.
2. King KBP2406 5700W Garage Heater
The King KBP2406 5700-watt electric garage heater is another good choice for keeping your garage warm in winter. This model comes with a built-in thermostat, which makes it easy to get the temperature you want with an easy spin of a dial. You can also tie it into a central thermostat system for quick and easy temperature control. In the summer, you can use this model in fan-only mode, giving it some use in warm months, too. This model can be affixed to the wall or ceiling, so you can use it in whichever configuration suits your garage better.
This model also comes with the Pic-A-Wattage element, which means you can scale this model up or down in power based on your garage size so that you can find a balance between heating power and electrical efficiency. The only problem with this model is that the thermostat tends to burn out. Sometimes this takes years to happen, but sometimes it’s just a few months. For the high price this model demands, that’s a big problem. If it were to be resolved, this model could take first place. Overall, this model might serve you well but carries a high price tag.
3. Homegear Electric Garage Heater – Best Value
The Homegear Garage Space Heater 1500SqFt provides a lot of value in a small package, and given its low price, it earns the title of best value for the money on our list. This model is lightweight and doesn’t require a wall or ceiling mount, so you can move it around to where you need it most. You can also get it in two different black-and-metal colors, or in a brown faux-wood casing. That means you can get a model that will match the overall look and feel of your garage. It comes with an LED screen that makes it easy to see what temperature it is putting out, and the control interface is simple and easy to use.
This model is the best space heater for garage work if you don’t want to wire up a special 240-volt circuit. This model runs on standard 120-volt power, so getting it up and running is easy. It’s not as efficient as 240-volt models, so it doesn’t put out as much heat. Consequently, it’s better for smaller garages. If you have a large garage, you’ll be disappointed, but with a small one, this is easily the best value for the money.
4. Dr Infrared DR-988 Garage Heater
The Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 is a good portable model and doesn’t come with or need a ceiling mount, so you’re free to use it around the shop. This model has a great reputation for getting even poorly-insulated garages to an acceptable temperature. It may take a bit longer with this model than others, but this one gets the job done eventually, which means it’s reliable, even if it’s not speedy. It’s also lightweight, clocking in at just under 12 pounds, which is light enough for anyone to move around. The carrying handle is a nice touch, as it allows you to move this heater without touching any surfaces which might be warm.
However, this model doesn’t have a ceiling mount, which is okay because you’ll probably be moving this model around with you while you work. It also requires a 220-volt outlet, but it doesn’t need to be hardwired, so you can use a long extension cord. That allows you to keep this model close and be as warm as you can while it heats the whole garage. This could be the best portable heater for garages, especially poorly-insulated ones, though it won’t be the right model for everyone.
5. BLACK+DECKER BHUC201B Electric Garage-Heaters
If you’re interested in spending as little money as possible, the Black + Decker Utility BHUC201B might interest you. It’s the cheapest model on our list, and while you can’t expect to get the same power out of this model as you could with a more expensive one, you can get some good use out of this one. To its favor, this model runs very quietly, which can be a problem with other garage heaters. It also comes with a 120-volt plug, so you can use this even if you don’t have any special outlets in your garage. That gives you the flexibility to use it in other places as well if the need arises.
One of the big problems with this model is its inaccurate thermostat. That’s a problem likely due to its low price. It means that you’re going to have to do a lot of micromanagement to get the temperature to be what you want it to be. This model doesn’t have the same maximum temperature as other models on our list. If you’re going to be using your heater a lot, you’ll probably want a better model, but for occasional use, this is a good deal.
We hope that our reviews have already helped you find the model of electric garage heater that will keep you warm for years to come. If you’re still not sure which model is right for you, don’t worry. There are a lot of things to consider, and it can feel overwhelming at times, so if you want help in thinking through each step of the buying process, make sure you check out this buyer’s guide. We’ve filled it with great information about electric garage heaters, so you can learn everything you need to know to make a well-informed purchase and get a great deal at the same time.
Electric Heater Safety
Electric heaters aren’t as dangerous as their kerosene counterparts, and relative to other electric heater locations, like the bathroom, putting an electric heater in the garage is generally a much safer task. That being said, all heaters come with some degree of risk, so it’s important that you know how to take proper safety cautions before you start.
The first and most important, thing you can do is make sure that you never allow your electric heater to get wet. This goes double for portable models or ones that you’re going to be touching at any point. Water is a great conductor of electricity, and when a heater gets wet, it’s all too happy to share its electricity with water it’s in contact with, and potentially to you. Electric heater electrocutions can be fatal, so make sure you always keep your heater dry.
You’ll also want to make sure that all of your electrical connections are installed correctly. Many electric heaters built for garages are built with 240-volt connections in mind. Many heavier-duty power tools use these connections, so there’s a chance you already have one in your shop.
If you don’t, you may have the electrical know-how to install a 240-volt outlet yourself, but if you don’t, it’s a good idea to call an expert. 240-volt outlets carry a high voltage and can be dangerous for amateurs.
Finally, make sure you don’t rest anything on your electric heater. This is less of a concern with wall- and ceiling-mounted units, but if you’re using a portable one, the flat surface can sometimes be a tempting resting point. The cases on heaters can get very hot, so you could burn yourself when reaching for a tool that you rested there. Or, if you put something flammable on top, you could end up with smoke or a fire. So, don’t rest anything on top of your heater.
If you’re going to want to heat your garage and get it hot, fast, then you’re going to want a powerful electric garage heater. You’ll see terms like “voltage,” “wattage” and occasionally even “BTU,” thrown around. If you don’t know what these terms mean, it can be hard to find the model that is right for your garage.
Put simply, voltage is the measure of the difference in potential between two the two holes in an outlet. The bigger the difference between the two, the more power that can flow through the outlet at a given time. Standard outlets in the United States are wired up for 120 volts. Some electric garage heaters are wired so that they can use 120-volt power outlets. They tend to be lower power and put out less heat than their 240-watt counterparts.
240-watt garage heaters require a special 240-volt plug. Other tools also make use of this tool, so there’s a chance there’s already an outlet for this in your garage. If there’s not, you’ll need to have a new one installed by a professional or do it yourself if you know how to do it safely.
The interesting thing about wattage is that you can find 120-volt and 240-volt models that have the same wattage. You might be asking yourself what the difference is. Watts are a measure of electrical power, or how much electricity can pass through point in a given amount of time. Watts are equal to the Voltage of the line times the Amperes in the line. You’ll see this expressed in the equation W = VA. Since the model we mentioned before has the same wattage but twice the voltage as a 120-volt device, it only has half the amps.
That means it can draw far more power out of a single outlet, which is why 240-volt heaters run hotter and can cover larger areas than 120-volt models. In fact, a general rule of thumb is that a 120-volt model can cover a square footage equal to 1/10th its wattage. A 1500 W model could be estimated to heat an area 150 square feet in size efficiently. You could expect about double that out of a 1500W, 240-volt heater. So, if you’re heating a larger garage, it’s a good idea to get a 240-volt heater.
While you won’t see this designation much inside the United States, it’s a common measure of heat outside of the US. BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit,” and one BTU is equal to .293 Watts. You can use that formula to convert the designation used on a foreign model to check about how many square feet it could heat efficiently. Keep in mind that many European devices are designed for use on a 230V system, and thus may not be compatible with American electrical standards.
Sometimes you don’t need to heat your whole garage. If you need to heat the area around you while you work for a short time, it may be a good idea to invest in a portable model. Portable models allow you to reposition the heater easily, and while they often don’t have the same high-end power that you would get out of a stationary heater, they can be a good choice if your garage isn’t like a second home during the winter.
Portable models tend to be 120-volt. This is good for numerous reasons. You can use any of the standard outlets in your garage to power it, which means you should be able to find a nearby plug most of the time. If not, it’s easy to get an extension cord that will provide enough power.
The most portable models also come with wheels. That makes it easy to roll them around, and a lot of people, especially those of us with bad backs, will appreciate not having to heft the full weight of these machines while we work. Portable models also tend to come with carrying handles, so if they don’t have wheels, you have a cool surface to touch to move them around.
There are a few small things that can add a lot of value to your purchase. The first of these are heaters that can tie into a central heating system. Using a thermostat elsewhere in the garage to control the heater can go a long way towards getting a more even heating of the room, but also requires less micromanaging on your part.
Another useful feature is adjustable louvers. These metal bands sit in front of the heater and allow you to direct the warm air to a specific point in your shop. That could be on you if you’re just starting and don’t want to be freezing, or away from you if the garage has already heated up some.
Wall- and ceiling-mounted units can also save a lot of space. Your counters and floors will be less cluttered because you won’t need to move a heater around. You also won’t have to worry about tripping over its power cord. As a secondary bonus, wall- and ceiling-mounted models tend to have more power, so they can heat your garage more quickly and evenly.
Which electric garage heater is right for you?
If you want to get the best value for your money, it may help you to stop thinking about the final price tag. A lot of people are drawn to the cheapest or most expensive models, thinking that will bring them the best value on a per-dollar basis. And while the dollar value is important to overall value, value includes the satisfaction you get from using the product. So, it may be cheap on a per-dollar basis, but if you end up disliking it, the value goes down.
A good way to maximize your value is to start by figuring out what your garage heater needs to do to make you happy. How fast should it heat up? How evenly should it heat? Should it be permanently mounted or portable?
Once you have answers to those questions, make a shortlist of all models that will satisfy those requirements. Then, it’s safe to choose the model from that list which costs the least. That model will be very satisfying, but you’ll also get it for the best price, meaning you not only get a model that’s great on a per-dollar basis relative to the competition but one that you’ll love using, too.
The Fahrenheat FUH54 comes with wall or ceiling mounting, a good temperature range, and good heat output, making it our top model. The King KBP2406 5700-watt electric garage heater has a built-in thermostat, Pic-a-Wattage technology, and can be mounted on a wall or the ceiling, though its high price keeps it out of first place. The Homegear Garage Space Heater 1500SqFt comes with cool color options, an LED display, and can work on 120-volt outlets. Given its low price, it’s the best value for the money on our list. The Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 is lightweight, great in small garages. With its carrying handle, it’s the most portable garage heater on our list. The Black + Decker Utility BHUC201B is inexpensive and quiet, but its inaccurate thermostat and poor maximum temperature drop it to the last place on our list.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you understand the electric garage heater market. You should now be able to find the model that best heat your garage, and make your next winter project a warm one.