What is The Best Way to Heat a Garage?

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Benefits of a Heated Garage

Heating your garage using an electric garage heater can be ideal if you live in areas where the cold can affect your vehicle or other items stored there, or if you plan to use your garage for a workspace. Below are some of the benefits of having a heat source in your garage area.

Protects Your Car

When your garage is a temperature closer to your home than the outside air, your car will be more protected and more comfortable to enter. With a heated garage, oil in your vehicle will stay warmer, keeping it fluid at all times, allowing it to protect your engine better and your car to warm up faster.

Protects Stored Items

A heated garage will not only protect your vehicle but also protect the items you have stored in there. Your garage may be one of the largest storage areas in your home, and if it is heated, you can store temperature-sensitive items, such as books and furniture.

Provides Extra Space

If you have a smaller home or need additional space for a workshop or workout room, using an electric garage heater can provide you with the extra living space you need, even in colder temperatures. It also will protect the items you need to complete this living space, such as electronic workout equipment and tools.

How Many BTUs Do I Need to Heat a Garage?

Car garages are unique when compared to other areas of the house. They are typically not as well-insulated and have an oversized door where energy can leak out. Because of this, determining the correct BTU can be more challenging. To determine the right amount of BTU for your garage, you will need to know the following:

  • The number of cubic feet of your garage.
  • The temperature you would like your garage to be heated to.
  • The efficiency of your garage.

The first calculation is simple, determining the complete size of the space. You will need to multiply the length of your garage floor by the width, which will give you the square footage. Then you will need to multiply the square feet by the height of the ceiling. This will provide you with the total cubic feet.

After you have the cubic footage of the space, you will want to determine how much you will need the temperature in the space to rise to get to a comfortable temperature. This calculation is simple as well. Determine your optimal temperature and subtract your area's coldest outdoor temperature averages in the winter. For example, if you live in an area where the lowest average temperature in winter is 20 degrees, and you want the garage to be at least 68, the difference would be 48 degrees.

To determine the BTU, take the number of cubic feet and multiply it by 0.133. Then multiply that number by the temperature rise calculation. The final number will need to be rounded up to get the final BTU.

For example, if you have a garage that is 4,500 cubic feet, and the temperature needs to rise 48 degrees, you will need to use the following calculation,

4,500 x 0.133 = 598.5, 598.5 x 48 = 28,728, 29,000 BTUs are needed to heat the space.

You may need to adjust the BTUs higher if you have poor insulation in your garage or windows and doors with poor seals.

Best Way to Heat a Garage

While there are various ways to heat your garage space, such as wood burner stoves, gas heaters, and propane heaters, the best option is traditionally an electric garage heater.  Portable electric heaters are a good option for a less permanent solution, while baseboard heating is an option if you want something permanently installed.

Some of the benefits of an electric garage heater are:

  • They are simple to install and operate.
  • Most come with an adjustable thermostat, and some have a remote control.
  • Some have a variety of heating settings allowing you to customize the temperature of the space.
  • They come in a range of wattages, so it is easy to find one that is the right size.
  • They can be put almost anywhere in the garage and even be ceiling-mounted or wall-mounted.

There are many types of electric garage heaters to choose from, and determining which size you need will depend on your plans for the space and the safety shut-off features for overheating that you want and need. Some of the best electric garage heaters include:


This heating option contains an electric heating element designed to heat the air around it quickly. The fan in the heater will then push the warm air out until the temperature is raised in the room. Many are wall heaters attached with a mounting bracket and are easy to install. The only drawback to this type of heater is that it can take a little bit to heat up, but if you don’t mind waiting a little bit, it can be the best option if you are in an area with mild climates and or only need to heat the garage occasionally. Since these are expensive to run, they are not a good solution if you are looking to keep your garage warm all winter long.


Infrared heaters or radiant electric portable heaters work by generating infrared radiant heat. These radiant heaters are immediately responsive, which makes them quicker to respond than fan-forced air options. The way in which these systems differ is how they warm up the space. Unlike fan-forced heaters, they do not heat the air. Instead, they will heat the objects in space with infrared waves. This means the garage will cool down quickly once they are turned off.


Ceramic air heaters will heat the garage space in the same way as a fan-forced heater heats the airflow. The only difference between the two is that ceramic heaters use a ceramic heating element instead of a metal one. The fact that they have to heat up to get started means they can take a while to heat the room as a fan-forced, but they are slightly more effective at heating a larger space. Also similar to a fan-forced heater, these are expensive to run and are therefore not a great option for keeping your garage at a steady temperature all winter long.

Mini Split 

Mini split electric garage heaters are also a great solution that can provide for energy efficient, safe heating for your garage space. With a mini split system, you will have one indoor air handler in your garage which will connect through a small hole in the wall to the exterior unit. These systems are the ideal option for those wanting to make their garage a consistent temperature. No ductwork is needed and the installation is easy enough to make it DIY for some systems. A mini split system will also allow you to set and control the temperature in the garage with a thermostat or remote control. 

Finally, these systems are the most efficient of all these options, meaning if you want to keep your garage a steady temperature all winter long, this is by far the best option.

Is a Space Heater Efficient For Garage Heating?

Some homeowners may try to use a plug-in freestanding space heater for their garage space. While these types of heaters can warm the air around them for a short time, they don’t typically output enough heat to warm more than the air a few feet around them and likely won’t move the thermostat more than one or two degrees even after running for a length of time.

Portable garage heaters have a lot of features that make them more convenient, such as a carry handle and overheat protection, which can make them an easy go-to option.

Space heaters are only recommended to heat spaces around 150 sq. ft., which makes them not the best option for large spaces, such as garages.

What is the Optimal Garage Temperature in Winter?

The ideal temperature for your garage will depend on the heating function and what you plan to use the space for. For example, if you only plan to use the space to store your car and other items, you will only need to heat your garage to between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, just above the dew point.

If you plan to use the space as a workshop or extra living space, you will probably want to heat it to a temperature in your comfort zone, typically 65 degrees to 68 degrees Fahrenheit for most people.

Turn Up the Comfort in Your Garage Space With a Electric Garage Heater From Superior Home Supplies

Ready to turn your garage into the comfortable living area you need or provide added protection for your stored belongings? Superior Home Supplies has the electric garage heater options you need, no matter the size of your space, the safety features you want, or the heat output you are looking for. Contact us today or shop heater options from our current inventory.

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