What’s the best shop heater for you? Well, it depends on the size of your space, your budget and whether you want a gas or electric. We cover a range of shop heaters in this guide as we know that everybody’s needs are different.
Intro | Best Shop Heater
Choosing a heating system for your shop or garage can prove to be a challenging task if you’re unsure what to look for. This guide covers the basics of what you need to know in buying the best shop heater for your work space. Before you buy, there are some factors you will need to consider.
It’s hard to work with numb fingers when temperatures reach bone-chilling digits. Since most workshops and garages have very little, if any, insulation, it can get pretty frigid during the winter months. Winter weather and freezing temps can also be bad news for woodworking. Cold temperatures can cause glues and finishes on wood to not dry properly. Even worse, freezing temperatures often causes wood and lumber to crack as moisture is drawn out from the cold, dry air.
A heating system for your workshop will allow you to work comfortably year-round. When it’s time to install a shop heater for your workspace some very key points can help you in achieving better efficiency and cut your energy costs.
Ideal for small spaces | Pro-Temp PT-18-PCH-A
Why A Conventional Space Heater May Not Be Best for Your Shop
If you have a small workshop or work out of a home garage, you may be thinking a conventional heater such as a space heater is sufficient. The type of work or materials that are being used frequently in a shop could pose a serious risk with conventional heaters. Factors such as dust from woodworking, paint particles or spray finishes could pose a fire hazard, not to mention often result in burner issues with conventional heaters requiring the need for service calls.
Types of Shop Heaters
Heating units come in various forms. When you’re considering efficiency in terms of cost and heating adequacy it’s important to know the difference in what each type of unit has to offer. If you know very little about how heaters operate, it can get confusing when trying to decide which type of heating system is right for your space.
A gas or electric forced-air shop heater blows out warm air to heat up a room. This is the more economical option especially if hooked up to natural gas. Keep in mind, however, this heater blows out air which will stir up dust particles along with it. This would not be an ideal choice heater for a woodshop where you will be frequently cutting wood or working on painting and finishing projects.
Mr. Heater MH60QFAV | 60,000 BTU Propane Forced Air Heater
Forced-air gas heaters require a vent typically routed through the attic and roof or through a sidewall. Some models include a vent kit with it. It also requires an electrical hookup to power the blower so placement should be near an electrical outline in addition to the gas line. For woodworking shops or where paints and finishes may be frequently used, a heater with a separate combustion chamber is recommended. These types of heaters are designed to draw in fresh air from outside rather than circulating paint and dust-laden air.
Infrared Shop Heaters
This is a type of gas heater which radiates heat by heating up objects in the room that in turn radiate heat into the air. For woodworking projects and workshops infrared technology offers the best shop heater as it doesn’t stir up dust or particles into the air. If your shop has concrete floors this type of heater will provide more uniform heat throughout the shop for a more comfortable working environment. An infrared shop heater also maintains the humidity levels so it won’t affect materials such as lumber.
Infrared Shop Heater by Heat Storm | with 13 ft. cord
An important safety factor to consider when installing this type of heater in a garage or industrial shop is location and proximity to combustible materials. In order to feel the immediate effects of the warmth this type of heater produces you need to be within a certain range. It takes much longer to heat up an entire room as opposed to forced-fan air heaters. Be sure to read clearance requirements for these types of heaters prior to installation and ensure safe distance from combustible materials.
Electric Garage Heaters
Electric heaters are a popular choice among consumers as they’re easier and safer to install. An electric heater generates heat using electrical energy and generally uses a built-in fan to disperse heat. Many portable units use a standard 110-120 volt plug; however the units designed for industrial use often require 220-240 volt. This is an important factor to look at before purchasing as well as the required circuit breaker.
Choosing the Right Size
Finding the best shop heater for your workshop will require some measuring to get the right size. Trust me when I say this isn’t something you want to take a guess on especially if you’re looking to save on energy costs. If you’re going in blind hoping to get help from an ‘expert’ at a hardware or department store for a shop heater, they may convince you that a ceiling-mounted heating system designed for a warehouse is what you need.
An oversized shop heater even on a low temperature setting will frequently cycle and waste energy. Likewise, some industrial heaters require a minimum clearance of 8 feet from the base of the unit or require special permits for use in a building with 7-8 foot ceilings. On the other hand, a unit that is too small for the size of your garage or shop will not heat it up effectively and can run the risk of overheating trying to reach the set temperature.
NewAir G73 | Electric Garage Heater | Heats up to 750 sq.ft.
Choosing the right size heater for your workshop should be based on the following:
- Square footage of your garage or workshop
- Ceiling height
- Climate zone you live in
The amount of heat a unit puts out is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) and this number can help provide a general idea on what size model you need. The general recommendation for smaller workshops and garages such as a 1-2 car garage is a radiant or infrared heater. A fan-forced air heater that produces 1500 watts is also a suitable option. For larger work spaces where you want warm air throughout the entire garage consider a gas-fueled unit or a 4,000-5,000 watt heater for effective heating capability.
Buildings that are not insulated, especially larger buildings, will require a heater that can produce more heat. This means choosing a model with a greater BTU rating. These types of buildings are also known for losing heat quickly when the garage door is opened and in particularly colder climates. The best shop heater types for non-insulated buildings are infrared or radiant heaters.
Installation and Safety Guidelines
When choosing any type of gas shop heater it is highly advised to have it properly installed by a professional installer or the gas supplier. It is critical that installation is done properly to meet all guidelines, codes, and requirements. If any adjustments, alterations, service or installation is not done properly it could result in serious injury or even death. If you don’t really know what you’re doing, let a trained professional do it!
VIDEO | Installing the NewAir G73 (Electric Heater)
You should also be sure the unit you’re considering is rated for use in the type of building you have. For instance, if you work from a home garage or out of a residential workshop industrial heating units will not permitted by building inspectors.
With electrical shop heaters most are too powerful to plug into a common household outlet. Most workshops are already wired for more powerful appliances, but if your unit will be hardwired directly you need to be sure all wiring meets the national and local codes. Plug-in models are much easier to install but still require a circuit that meets the amperage and voltage the unit requires. For hardwired electric heaters you should consider having a trained electrician install the unit if you aren’t familiar with wiring and circuit requirements.
VIDEO | How to Install A Gas Garage Heater
For gas or alternative fuel-run heaters you will need a ventilation system. Heating systems that run on alternative fuels produce by-products, particularly carbon monoxide. A fully or well-insulated garage is not ideal for a gas or fuel sourced heater as they typically don’t have a proper ventilation system. Putting in a ventilation system will reduce the efficiency of the insulation and can add to your total cost. In addition to having proper venting in place, a carbon monoxide detector is also recommended.
Work Shop Heaters
Here’s a look at some of the top rated heaters for your garage or shop. Many of these models come equipped with added features for convenience and safety to meet your heating needs.
Fahrenheat FUH54 | Best Shop Heater
- 5,000-watt heater at 240-volt and 26.1 amps creates ample heat to warm a garage, basement and warehouse or construction addition
- 500 sq. ft. heating area capacity makes it easy to heat a sizable space
- Dial heater controls provide easy operation; built-in thermostat adjusts from 45 degrees to
- 135 degrees Fahrenheit, letting you customize heat levels
- High-level cut-out automatically deactivates the heater at excessive heat levels and reactivates it automatically when temperature returns to normal for safe use
- Ceiling bracket allows horizontal or vertical-flow mounting, and provides for mounting in positions in between for flexible placement options
- CSA, ETL and UL listed for safety
The Fahrenheat 240-volt unit heater is ideal for spaces up to 500 square feet if not insulated. At its highest capacity it puts out up to 17,065 BTUs to warm up a space of up to 700 square feet depending on outdoor temps and heat leaks inside the garage. There are various settings with a dial to adjust temperatures from 45-degrees up to 135-degrees Fahrenheit. A built-in thermostat maintains the optimal temperature per your setting.
There’s an added safety feature which automatically shuts down if the unit reaches excessive heat levels to protect from overheating and will automatically reactivate when levels return to normal. It is built with a durable water-resistant coating to ward off rust or corrosion from developing. It comes with a ceiling mount bracket to install either vertically or horizontally. This unit is a 26 amps and will require a 30-amp breaker electrical circuit.
NewAir G73 | Best Shop Heater
Will heat up your garage or workshop, up to 500 square feet, fast and efficiently.
- Built-in thermostat with automatic shut-off protects against overheating
- Durable stainless steel construction is built to last
- Hardwired to eliminate maintenance problems associated with propane heaters
- Heats up to 500 square feet – perfect for shops, garages, worksites
- Includes bracket to mount unit on wall or ceiling – safely out of the way
- Safest garage heater on the market – customers’ trusted favorite
- Product Dimensions: 9.00″L x 9.50″W x 14.00″H
- Product Weight: 15.00 lbs.
- 240 volt
- Built-In Thermostat
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the NewAir G56.
Application: For heating garages, workshops, warehouses, barns, job sites, and more
This compact wall or ceiling-mount electric shop heater can provide convenience and flexibility for a comfortable work space. It boasts a powerful performance to provide a little over 17,000 BTUs per hour heating capacity to quickly bring up the heat in a small garage or work shed up to 500 square feet.
VIDEO | Learn More about the NewAir G73 Shop Heater
The electric unit is hardwired to connect directly to electricity and meets all safety guidelines with a UL certification. The 240-volt shop heater comes with a swivel bracket to conveniently direct heat where you want it. It has a built in thermostat for maintaining the desired temperature setting and also features a safety shut-off function to avoid overheating. Because it is hardwired, professional installation is recommended, however it is simple enough to DIY with some basic electrical knowledge.
NewAir G56 | Best Shop Heater
- Certified for electrical safety with overheat protection
- Easy-to-use thermostat with manual controls
- Portable design includes carrying handle and 6-foot cord
- Quickly heats up 800 square feet
- Sturdy steel construction with black powder coated finish
- Product Type: 5600 Watt Garage Heater – Fast Heat for 560 Sq. Ft
- Product Dimensions: 11.00″L x 10.50″W x 14.00″H
- Product Weight: 16.60 lbs.
- Application: Used to heat garages and workshop areas
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the NewAir G56.
If you’re looking to heat up your work area quickly, the 5600-watt garage heater by NewAir offers over 19,000 BTUs per hour. Designed with a single-pole thermostat, this heater can easily maintain the set temperature for a comfortable working environment. This shop heater has the capability of heating up to 800 square feet effectively and offers a thermal cut-off system to avoid overheating from occuring. Simply turn the manual thermostat control on the unit from low to high for faster heat output. The built-in fan offers two settings: ON for continuous operation to distribute heat or AUTO which cycles the fan intermittently for maintaining ambient temperature.
VIDEO | Learn More about the NewAir G56 garage heater
This electric heater is constructed of durable steel and offers a portable design with a carrying handle and 6-foot cord. It’s designed to be set up on the floor allowing you to easily install it where you need it most. A steel grill is incorporated on the front of the unit as a safety measure to protect hands and fingers.The 6-30P plug requires a 240 volt outlet on a 30-amp circuit.
Dr. Heater DR966 | Best Shop Heater
Heavy Duty 240V Single Phase 3000/6000W Commercial Electric Heater
- Heavy duty 240-Volt single phase 3000-Watt and/or 6000-Watt commercial electric heater hardwire
- Power cord is not included in this unit
- Rugged stamped steel front cover with five-way adjustable louvers for easy control airflow
- Large 8 in. fan provides maximum air flow with minimum turbulence and noise
- Adjustable thermostat with high and low setting
- Ceiling and wall mounting bracket are included
- UL/CUL listed
- Uses spiral steel metal sheath electric heating elements with low sheath temperatures
- 8″ fan provide maximum air flow with minimum turbulence and noise
- Gently distributes warmth through your area.
- Totally enclosed, thermally protected, heavy duty ball bearing motor features permanently lubricated provides long life and low maintenance.
- Built-in adjustable thermostat
- Rugged stamped steel front cover with five-way adjustable louvers
- Ceiling and wall mounting bracket are included.
This is a heavy duty 240v single phase 3000/6000W commercial-grade heater. It produces over 20,000 BTUs for a coverage area of up to 600 square feet. It features 2 different modes of operation allowing you to select the wattage you need for the output you prefer. A built-in 8in fan provides air flow with a quiet operation. It gently distributes warm air with very minimal turbulence paired with the unit’s steel metal sheath electrical heating elements for uniform warmth. The built-in thermostat can be adjusted from low to high and it features an automatic temperature control to maintain an optimal temperature for a comfortable working environment.
This industrial heater is designed to last and perform as a primary heat or backup heat source to help cut energy costs. The heavy-duty motor is fully enclosed with thermal protection for long lasting quality. It comes with the ceiling/wall mount bracket and should be installed at least 6 feet from the floor. The heater is hardwired directly to electricity and does not include a power cord with the unit. It also requires a 30 amp breaker.
Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 | Best Shop Heater
Ideal for heating a range of applications, such as : construction site, garage, basement, and workshop.
- Heat Up To 600 Sq Ft : provides continuous heat and is a perfect choice for your garage or workshop.
- Rated around 19,110/14,335 BTU.
- 1 Year USA Warranty
- UL and C-UL listed
- Power Cord: NEMA 6-30P (receptacle NeMA 60-30R 250V 30 Amps)
- Requires a 220V plug.
- Not for general residential or household use, cannot be mounted on the ceiling
- Engineered and Designed In USA.
- Ability to clean the filter with water or a normal vacuum.
- Auto Energy Saving Model
- Built in thermostat that can be adjusted from HIGH to LOW.
- Weight : 20 lbs.
- Size : Height: 15.875″ / Width: 11.5″ / Depth:11.5″.
- Watts: 5600/4,200.
- CFM: 357
- Comes with built-in carry handle with maximum portability.
- High temperature heating limit for safety.
- Electronic Thermostat: 45-95 deg. Overheat protection.
- Finger-proof intake and discharge grills.
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988.
This infrared shop heater gives you flexible options to control the heat output for a comfortable space year-round to work in. The infrared technology heats up a larger area at the same time as opposed to just the air directly in front of it. An adjustable thermostat allows you to set the temperature between 45-degrees to 95-degrees Fahrenheit to maintain a constant temperature even in sub-freezing temps. There’s also an automatic cut-off feature to prevent overheating.
The portable design is not constructed to be mounted to a ceiling. It is designed for industrial use and capable of warming up to 1,000 square feet of surface area efficiently. A built-in fan is made to move a great amount of air further than other heaters in a short amount of time to deliver hot air evenly. The 5,600 watt unit requires a 220v plug in.
Mr. Heater Big Maxx F260560 | Best Garage Heater
Model MHU80NG : 80,000 BTUd, Natural Gas Heater
- 80,000 BTU per hour
- For use with natural gas
- Heats up to 2,000 sq. ft.
- Spark ignition features self-diagnostic control module
- Includes 2 angle brackets for ceiling mount
- Low Profile Design – Can be installed in low-ceiling buildings
- Minimum 8 ft clearance from floor to base of heater required
- 1/2″ gas connection
- Category 1 vertical, category 3 horizontal venting
- Natural Gas to Liquid Propane conversion kit included
- Thermostat sold separately
When you’re looking to warm a larger shop space like a warehouse or a barn, this 80,000 BTU natural gas heater is the unit to go with. It puts out up to 80,000 BTUs per hour and effectively warms up to 2,000 square feet. The unit is designed with an electric high velocity fan to draw in cool air from the back and force air through the heat exchanger. The unit can be vented vertically or horizontally thanks to a powered exhaust.
The low-profile design is suitable for mounting in low-ceiling buildings as it requires a clearance of 8 feet from the floor. The thermostat and A/C terminals are easy to access and features a ½ inch gas connection. There is a conversion kit included for natural gas to propane. It is noted that this unit is not designed to allow a fresh air intake so it would not be a suitable option for woodworking shops.
Mr. Heater MH40NG | Best Shop Heater
- Efficient, cost effective infrared heat
- For use in buildings with 12 to 15 ft ceilings
- Clearances: Top – 36″, Sides & Back – 30″, Below – 68″
- Heats up to 1000 sq. ft.
- No electricity required, Maintenance free; no moving parts
This is a high intensity 40,000 BTU radiant shop heater designed for buildings with 12-15 foot ceilings. The natural gas infrared heater provides efficient heating for a coverage up to 1,000 square feet. Unlike other natural gas heaters, this unit features a unique power pile thermocouple instead of electricity to control the valve so it will operate even during power outages.
The infrared heat technology offers 99% efficiency to heat the air by warming objects and people. A thermostat is included to control your comfort level. Clearance requirements for use indoors must be 34” from the ceiling, 30” from the sides as well as 30” from the back of the heater and 68” from the base of the heater.
King Electric KB2407-1-B2-ECO | Best Shop Heater
7500W Electronic Control Garage Heater with Bracket, Thermostat and Remote Control.
- ECO2S electronic controller with a large LED display
- Automatic 2-stage heating uses lowest wattage required to effectively heat spaces
- Includes a 1- to 9-hour timer and a summer fan-only mode
- Constructed of 20-gauge electrogalvanized steel with a rust-inhibiting baked enamel finish
- Totally enclosed fan motor for long-lasting performance
- Spiral steel fin element produces superior heat transfer
- Built-in fan delay
- Adjustable louvers direct airflow
- Single phase
- Remote Control Included & Wall Holder
- Summer Fan Only & Timer Modes
- Built-In Fan Delay To Dissipate Heat
- High Mass Steel Fin Heat Exchanger
- Patented Smart Limit Protection
- Permanent Lubricated Unit Bearing Motor
- Universal Wall/Ceiling Bracket Included
- Made in the USA
- 5-year warranty
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the King Electric KB2407-1-B2-ECO.
This smart electric heating system is designed to work smarter with energy-efficient features to use the lowest wattage necessary to heat up a 2-car garage. Designed with an electronic controller, this unit offers better accuracy in reaching desired temperature. The compact, lightweight 7500-watt shop heater effectively heats an area up to 800 square feet and features an eco-mode to save energy when it reaches the set temperature. A patented Smart Limit Protection feature is designed to automatically shut down the heater in the event it becomes overheated.
The digital thermostat can be adjusted to your desired temperature and also comes with a remote control to adjust the temperature or turn the unit off. There’s an additional fan only setting for circulating the air without heat. The compact design and universal mounting bracket make installation easy. An access panel is located on the bottom of the unit allowing quick and easy wiring to electricity.
VIDEO | Learn More
Once you have chosen the best shop heater for your workspace there are still a few things to keep in mind. Read the manufacturer’s guide thoroughly to ensure all requirements are met for the unit. Think carefully about where you plan to install the unit for optimal heat distribution. Follow maintenance care listed in the user manual if your unit requires it for prolonged use and safety. Always turn off your heater and unplug it (if optional) before closing up shop.
Don’t let the cold temperatures keep you from doing the activities you enjoy or make work unbearable. A shop heater will provide a warm, functional space for your projects so you can work year-round.
King Electric GH2410TB
- Built-in thermostat
- Adjustable Louvers to Direct Air
- Power On & Over-Temp Indicating Lights
- High Mass Steel Fin Heat Exchanger
- Patented Smart Limit Protection
- Permanent Lubricated Unit Bearing Motor
- Universal Wall/Ceiling Bracket Included
- Proudly made in the USA
- 3-year warranty
Specifically engineered for large or exposed areas, such as : commercial stores, workshops, barns, storage shed and garages to prevent freezing.