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Published Sep 28, 2023 4:00 PM

Electric garage heaters keep us going in that screen-free sanctuary that is the tinkerer’s garage. From keeping the hands warm and pliable to preventing a wobbly shiver, having a nice heater in your garage will keep you working even during the coldest winter or late autumn freezes. Plus, they reduce fumes and gasses being poured into a confined garage. After all, garages already have enough problems with exhausts and chemicals to begin with. However, styles of garage heaters vary tremendously and have a wide variety of features, form factors, and usage conditions. It can be difficult to sort through. This is exactly why we’ve collected the best electric garage heaters in a variety of styles for you to choose from.

How we chose the best electric garage heaters

More so than other types of heaters, electric garage heaters are all about functionality and niche usage. Utility is the most important factor, and, to a large degree, looks don’t matter that much. With this in mind, we found the best electric garage heaters that suit different needs while also taking a stab at an overall best pick. Want your whole garage warm? We’ve got that. Need just a touch of heat? We’ve got that, too. Need the all-so-elusive overhead heater? You get the picture.

Amidst it all, we’re also looking at varying power levels—the crunchy hard numbers of watts and volts—as well as safety features. While 240V heaters are often capable of more power, they’re typically quite inconvenient for the typical American to use, so we’ve limited how many we’re including in the list. Reviews from real customers go a long way, too, so we’ve found products that have been used and preferred by 100s, if not 1,000s, of real people. Older models even get a bonus for longevity when it comes to electric garage heaters, as the technology changes slowly over time.

The best electric garage heaters: Reviews & Recommendations

While we’ve attempted to find the best electric garage heater, we know that many situations, power levels, and types of electric garage heaters might interest you. The vast majority of garage owners will find a suitable electric garage heater on this list.

Best overall: Heat Storm Phoenix Wi-Fi Edition

Heat Storm

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Specs

  • Wattage: 1500 watts
  • Size: 4 x 19 x 16 inches
  • Placement: Wall mounted
  • Heating style: Infrared

Pros

  • Easy to install at only 9 pounds
  • Remote, WiFi control
  • Child lock, tip-over, air filter, and overheat shutoff safety features
  • Robust touchscreen UI

Cons

  • Feet for freestanding mode are sold separately

The Heat Storm Phoenix Wi-Fi Edition is perfect for those dreary cold mornings when the thought of leaving the comforts of your home for even a minute fills you with dread. You can remotely turn it on via WiFi to warm up the garage before you even get there. It will provide good heat for 150 square feet around it and supplemental heat for a full 1,000 square feet. It attaches firmly to the wall, so if you have it installed in the area near your house door and your car, you’ll be able to hop in your car with maximum comfort.

The Heat Storm Phoenix Wi-Fi Edition has robust safety features, including a child lock and automatic shutoff in case of overheating. If you decide to buy the optional feet that convert the wall mount into a freestanding model, there is even tip-over protection. Furthermore, the Heat Storm Phoenix Wi-Fi Edition has an internal air filter that can help clean your air and increase environmental safety while using this heater.

Another bonus of the Heat Storm Phoenix Wi-Fi Edition is its inclusion of an actual UI. For the most part, even the best electric garage heaters include only a knob or two, with low/high heat settings at best. On the other hand, this electric garage heater has a full touchscreen UI with a built-in digital thermostat. It’s just a lot better, presentation-wise, than most of the competition.

Best space heater: Dyson Pure Hot + Cool HP07 

Dyson

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Specs

  • Wattage: 1500 watts
  • Size: 9.76 x 8.07 x 30.08 inches
  • Placement: Freestanding
  • Heating style: Convection

Pros

  • HEPA filter cleans air
  • Heats and cools
  • Bladeless fan design
  • Can control via Alexa

Cons

  • Louder than necessary

When we looked at the best space heaters, a Dyson stood out for its multitool-like ability to get a lot done in the hobbyist’s garage setting. Namely, it warms up your locale when it’s cold, cools when it’s hot, and constantly removes dust and other particles.

The air that runs through the Dyson HP07, a step-up model from our original space heater pick, also gets run through HEPA and Carbon filters, which trap up to 99.97 percent of allergens as small as 0.3 microns (one of the reasons a Dyson also places so highly in our best air purifiers roundup). The small LCD screen identifies pollutants and shows the air quality of the room as well as the current temperature. Then, it uses a bladeless fan (aka “air multiplier”) to disperse warm or cool air at a rate of 77 gallons/second in an oscillating pattern.

At the end of the day, this makes the Dyson HP07 the best year-round electric garage heater. It is the perfect way to treat your garage’s air throughout the year, and unlike a lot of heaters, you won’t feel like it is merely taking up space for half the year (or more).

Best ceiling mount: Comfort Zone CZQTV5M 

Comfort Zone

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Specs

  • Wattage: 1500 watts
  • Size: 5.25 x 26.5 x 14.3 inches
  • Placement: Overhead
  • Heating style: Infrared

Pros

  • Concentrated infrared heat
  • Halogen lamp and heat combo
  • 90-degree tiltable lamp head
  • Safety grill protects lamp and heater

Cons

  • Only two heat settings

There are two reasons to have a ceiling-mounted garage heater: Saving floor space and having a way to concentrate heat onto the top of a workbench. The Comfort Zone CZQTV5M handles both and avoids the frustration of overhead heat rising, not falling onto the person below it.

The secret is that the Comfort Zone CZQTV5M is an infrared heater. Awarded the “best ceiling-mount” category in our assessment of the best infrared heaters, the infrared heat travels in a beam-like fashion, heating what it hits, not the air. In practice, this means that your hands, busy at work, will stay well-heated and comfortable.

Another issue the Comfort Zone CZQTV5M circumvents is lighting. Having a freestanding lamp close to a heater could be awkward or unsafe. The included halogen lamp is what makes this one of the best electric garage heaters. No matter what time it is or how cold it is, you can see and feel your warm and toasty hands while using the Comfort Zone CZQTV5M.

Best freestanding: Briza Infrared Patio and Garage Heater 

Briza

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Specs

  • Wattage: 1500 watts
  • Size: 35.5 x 4 x 4 inches (element)
  • Placement: Freestanding
  • Heating style: Infrared

Pros

  • IP55 rating withstands shop dust and outdoor conditions
  • Includes a tripod stand
  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • 1-9 hour timer

Cons

  • 6-foot range of effectiveness

The Briza is a tripod-mounted infrared heater that can withstand quite a beating. We’ve already reviewed the Briza as one of the best patio heaters, in large part due to this ability to take on the elements. With an IP55 rating, it should be able to withstand some water but also dust. And that’s what makes it great for your garage, too. If you’re into woodworking, for example, having a machine that is rated to withstand a bit of dust is quite critical.

It’s really quite convenient, too. At only 6.6 pounds, you should be able to move the Briza wherever you want in your garage with ease. That includes outside the garage, too, if you want to work out in the open and take advantage of its weatherproofing.

Further convenience comes from its remote control and the fact that it has a one to nine-hour timer that you can set. This makes it the perfect heater for the tinkerer who gets completely in the flow and then forgets to turn things like the heater off. Plus, it has safety features like an automatic turn-off in case things get too heated. 

Best 240V: Dr. Heater DR966

Dr. Heater

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Specs

  • Wattage: 6000 watts
  • Size: 14.5 x 13 x 14.5 inches
  • Placement: Wall-mount
  • Heating style: Infrared

Pros

  • Tough, steel exterior
  • UL-certified for safety
  • Heats well even 12-feet away

Cons

  • Internal thermostat is finicky

If you are willing to go the 240V way (or live in a region where 240V appliances are more accessible), you should consider the Dr. Heater DR996. It is tough, thanks to the hard metal exterior that can take a knocking or two. But it also provides good heat, with high and low settings at an impressive 3,000 and 6,000 watts, respectively. 

While the fan helps a bit with space heating, the Dr. Heater DR996 is an infrared heater, so it will tend to give directional heating. This is a good thing in many ways, with customers reporting receiving quality heat even from as far as 12 feet away or more. At the same time, reports of a finicky thermostat are less surprising due to the heating style.

Best budget: Lasko Space Heater

Lasko

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Specs

  • Wattage: 1500 watts
  • Size: 9.2 x 7 x 6 inches
  • Placement: Freestanding
  • Heating style: Convection

Pros

  • Lightweight with handle
  • Small size fits anywhere
  • 8-foot cord for easy placement
  • ETL listed safety

Cons

  • Only enough heat for one

This affordable space heater provides one person with enough heat anywhere in the garage. Its small size makes it suitable to place on tabletops or down by your feet next to the workbench.

This is one of the best electric garage heaters for a small space, and usually just one person, so you’ll likely want to move it about quite a bit. That should be easy with the Lasko, as it is only 2.9 pounds and has a carry handle embedded in the back. Finding a place to put it should also not be a challenge. Attaching a heater to an extension cord or power strip is generally frowned upon, but the Lasko has an 8-foot cord, giving you a large amount of control over placement in your garage, so long as it has adequate plugs.

Finally, the Lasko is a very safe machine, at least as far as heaters go. It is ETL-listed for safety and has tip-over protection. So, if you do happen to place it somewhere unstable, which is bound to happen if you move it as often as is intended, you won’t have to worry (as much) about a major incident occurring as a result.

What to consider before buying electric garage heaters

Getting electric garage heaters can be trickier than expected. As you’ll likely see, many sites will recommend high-powered heaters that won’t work (at least here in the States) without tricky installations or electrical work being done. Furthermore, due to the nature of electric heat styles, you might often find yourself a bit confused as to how different methods of heat delivery are given via electricity versus gas. We’re here to clear up the muddiness of these topics.

Lastly, there is the all-important issue of safety. Looking at how safe a given device is turns out to be quite important. As a result, we’ll analyze the different safety features you might encounter as you work with the best electric garage heaters.

Electrical considerations

Whenever we hear terms that remind us of power (think words like horsepower, volts, and amps), we tend to think that more is better. However, chasing higher numbers will not necessarily give us the best result when it comes to finding the best electric garage heaters. Here, let’s examine two common words dealing with electric power—watts and volts—and explain what they mean in the context of your electric garage heater.

Watts can pretty much be directly tied to power and heat output. The more watts used, the more power used, and the more heat released. Getting more sounds better, but you’ll want to ensure there are controls to lower heat settings if you get too high wattage. Thermostat shut-off is also handy in these cases. If you’re in a small garage or just need personal infrared heating, 1,500-watt heaters will probably do.

Volts, on the other hand, are not so straightforward. In the US, we use 120V appliances. You’ll often see anything from 110V to 120V listed on most products. But other places (think the UK and other commonwealth countries) often use 240V products, this time with a range of 220V to 240V being the most common listed.

Higher voltage products are capable of putting out higher wattage than heaters with lower voltage. However, the more complex installation (we cannot use 240V products in the US natively) and electrical work required to prepare a space for them make them a more complex choice for most.

And this voltage issue can cause a lot of frustration when searching for an electric garage heater. Many of the top-level product recommendations are 240V products, usually because they have the highest wattage. Again, though, a high wattage isn’t always necessary, especially for localized work or smaller garages. The additional work of using a 240V heater will likely have limited gains for most people.

All this being said, there are more people than just Americans in this world. Plus, some people may already have a 240V set up in their garage or just want the extra power. As a compromise, we’ve focused on listing the best 120V electric garage heaters but have also included a 240V one.

Heating method

The best electric garage heaters typically have one of two heating styles: Convection or infrared. Choosing between these two heating styles is not a simple matter.

Convection heating is closer to the kinds of heating you’re likely used to. This heating style heats and circulates air around an area to provide an enveloping warmth. Convection garage heaters are best for small, enclosed garages.

Infrared heating is a bit more complex but operates more like the heat of the Sun. In effect, a ray is sent out that heats what it hits. However, that isn’t the full story, either, as you’ll notice that many of these heaters also have fans to disperse “stray” heat. Infrared garage heaters are best for large, open garages and individual people.

Safety

In many ways, the best electric garage heaters are already safer than other types of heaters. They don’t give out gasses, and you don’t have to worry about preventing Carbon Monoxide poisoning as you might with traditional heaters. Still, heaters can be dangerous, and if you have a high-efficiency electric garage heater, you should be on the lookout for varying safety measures that can keep you safe if that heat happens to get out of control.

Tip-over protection: This is most important for freestanding electric garage heaters. When a heater is in its normal functioning state, typical models will release concentrated heat out of the front. When tipped over, this “front” can quickly become a surface not intended to get a blast of extreme heat. Tip-over protection gives you an extra layer of security; when it functions properly, the heat will shut down if it happens to get knocked over.

Overheating shut-off: Everything malfunctions occasionally, and even heaters shouldn’t get too hot. This feature will shut an electric garage heater off when it gets too hot to function. This is not to be confused with thermostat control, however.

Safety certifications: There are several possible safety certifications that you might encounter when browsing the best electric garage heaters. The Lasko Space Heater, for example, is ETL listed. This means it meets certain safety requirements for electric heaters in Canada and the U.S. Note that a lack of certification does not mean that a device is unsafe (they’re optional tests, at least for the time being), but they can give you extra peace of mind, which is always worth something.

Shut-off timers: While shut-off timers aren’t safety features, per se, they can help. Their main function is to help you save dollars off of your electric bill and not save your life. But they certainly will help the absent-minded ensure that their electric garage heater gets turned off. If you’ve ever turned the car around to double-check if you’ve locked the front door or turned off the oven, the best electric garage heater for you may well be one with a shut-off timer.

FAQs

Q: How much does an electric garage heater cost?

An electric garage heater can cost anywhere from $50 on the low end to over $1,000. The sweet spot seems to be around the $100 to $200 mark. That being said, electric garage heaters with interesting features or cool mechanisms can go for $600 without being excessive.

Q: Where is the best place to put a garage heater?

The best place to put a garage heater is where there will be the most human traffic. These heaters typically provide the best heat in a radius around them. For people who enter their garage only to get in the car, placing the heater near the door is ideal. That’ll give you maximum warmth as you step into your garage. If you spend a lot of time in your garage doing hobby work, try getting a mobile or overhead electric garage heater.

Q: What temperature should a garage be in the winter?

A garage’s temperature in the winter should be whatever is comfortable to you but not necessarily as warm as indoors. A lot of the best electric garage heaters are made to provide warmth to a solitary person, meaning they don’t necessarily provide a ton of heat to the whole garage. According to Garage Finisher, using climate control (such as an electric garage heater) can help reduce condensation in the garage during the wintertime.

Final thoughts on the best electric garage heaters

Garage heaters have various features, form factors, and usage conditions. However, an electric garage heater in the list above should suit your needs wherever you go and whatever activities you do in your garage. There are even some, such as the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool HP04, that will also serve you during the summer. Keep a solar generator charged up somewhere nearby, and you’ll be ready to keep operating under any circumstances.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.