We Compare the Best Gas and Electric Garage Heaters

 

NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame 30,000 BTU Gas Wall Heater Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater
The Good High Heat Output, Rugged Design Mounting Bracket Can Be Swiveled or Tilted 45° 99 % Energy Efficient, Very High Heat Output, No Venting Required Flexible Placement Options Ceiling Bracket Provides Flexible Heat Flow Options
The Bad Placed on Floor, Increasing Danger of Accidental Burns Not Portable Professional Installation Required Temperature Control Has to Be Reset Manually After Shut Off is Tripped Hard to Reposition Once Installed
The Bottom Line High BTU and Large Coverage Area A Good Choice for Large Rooms A Small but Powerful Heater An Extremely Powerful and Efficient Gas Heater Generates a Lot of Heat Even on Its Lowest Setting A Good, Adjustable Heater

Anyone who’s spent time in a garage during winter knows how uncomfortable they can be. Most are made of plywood with vinyl or radiant siding; thin walls made to keep out the wine and rain, not trap heat. Garage heaters makes these spaces – and all exposed or poorly insulated spaces such as workshops, basements, attics, and construction sites – livable and workable. For people who spend their winters working, they’re one of the most valuable appliances you can own.

Though every garage heater works along similar lines, not every garage heater is the same, and there are so many different models that deciding which garage heater is the best garage heater is tricky. To help answer the questions, we compared the best gas and electric garage heaters to decide which was helpful and which was hype.

Considerations

Heating Power

Unlike traditional space heaters, garage heaters rely primarily on infrared heating. Infrared heat is is a form of electromagnetic radiation emitted by just about everything: furniture, rocks, plants, even human beings. The rate of emission depends on the object’s temperature. The hotter it is, the more it emits.

Infrared heat waves aren’t absorbed by the air it, just the objects they encounter. If an object absorbs enough, eventually its temperature rises enough that it begins radiating heat as well. Because water absorbs infrared radiation especially well, infrared heaters warm the human body especially quickly. It’s why they feel so much warmer than traditional space heaters. Space heaters warm the air, a notoriously poor heat conductor, rather than us.

Coverage Area

The maximum area a garage heater can cover depends on the amount of BTU’s (British Thermal Units) it can generate, whether the unit is being assisted by a fan, and whether the area is insulated or not. Infrared heat waves radiate out in straight lines from their source, so the closer you are the more intensely you feel them. The only way to maintain a comfortable temperature at a great distance is to increase the amount of radiation being generated or to augment them with fans. Fans are used to blow air over the heating coils – a process known as forced convection – which allows the heat to reach a far greater area than it could if it was relying on infrared heat waves alone. Infrared heat waves can only be absorbed when you’re standing directly in their path. Forced convection allows you to feel at least some of their warmth outside their immediate field of view. Both these factors are impacted greatly by how well protected the space is against heat loss. Thin walls and drafts make it harder to keep heat sealed in, even infrared heat. Insulating your garage allows you to heat it using smaller units. Read How to Reduce the Energy Costs of Your Garage Heater to learn more.

Safety Features

Because they’re designed to operate in adverse conditions, garage heaters generate a lot of heat. This makes them useful, but also dangerous. To prevent fire, keep all combustible material such as furniture, bedding, curtains, clothes, paper, and pillows at least three feet away from your heater while it’s on. For your own personal safety, garage heaters should also have safety grills to prevent you from accidentally burning your self and an automatic shut off that deactivates the heater when it begins overheating.

Price

Price depends the amount of BTUs it can generate. The larger it is, the more it will cost. An average, two-car garage is 576 square feet and requires a 17,000 – 25,000 BTU heater, which normally costs $200-$300 dollars.

Heating Power

NewAir G56

The NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater had one of the largest heating capacities of any garage heater we looked at – 19,707 BTUs. Like most garage heaters, it has a simple set of temperature controls. The left dial controls the heat, while the right switch controls the heating modes. Twist the temperature dial clockwise to increase the heat output. Set the switch to “ON” and the heater will run continuously, adding heat to the air. Set it to “AUTO” and it will activate the thermostat, which turns the heater off and on in order to maintain a consistent temperature. Set the thermostat by pressing the switch to “AUTO,” turn the dial clockwise, and wait for the room to reach your desired temperature. Then turn the dial back counterclockwise until you hear it click.

Like most garage heaters, the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater has a single pole thermostat. Single pole thermostats only have two connection wires, which means they only break on one side of the heater’s power line and therefore can’t be switched off. Even on its lowest setting, the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater will continue producing heat whenever the ambient temperature dips below the lower end of its temperature range: 45°F. The only way to turn it off completely, is to turn the dial to the lowest setting and unplug it.

NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater

The NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater can generate 17,060 BTUs, making it one of the more rugged and powerful garage heaters we looked at. Like the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater, it has a single pole thermostat, but only one heating mode: automatic. The temperature dial is located in the back of the unit and set in the exact same way. Turn the dial clockwise and wait for the room to reach your desired temperature, then turn the dial back until you hear it click.

ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame 30,000 BTU Gas Wall Heater

The ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater has the largest heat output of all the heaters we looked at: 30,000 BTUs. This is a dual source heater, capable of running on propane or natural gas, though it needs a direct connection in order to run on natural gas. Unlike most gas heater, the ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater doesn’t require you install additional exhaust venting to dispose of waste fumes like carbon monoxide. Over 99 percent of all the fuel burned is converted directly into heat, so it’s safe to use in your home and enclosed areas as long as they have some outside ventilation. There should be at least two vents, one within 12 inches of the floor and another within 12 inches of the ceiling, in any room you use it in.

The temperature controls are simple. A simple dial adjusts the temperature up or down. There are five temperature settings, plus two additional settings “PILOT,” which shuts down the burner without extinguishing the pilot, and “OFF,” which shuts the heater down completely. Once the pilot is off, reactive by holding down the control knob in the center of the temperature dial for five seconds, then press the igniter button. The igniter runs on AAA batteries, which are provided with the heater. Once the pilot’s been lit, hold down the control knob for an additional 30 seconds before setting the temperature again.

Like the NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater and the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater, the ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater has a built-in thermostat that monitors room temperature and automatically activates or deactivates the burner to maintain your preferred comfort level.

Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater

The Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater has a relatively small heating capacity: 13,650 BTUs. It has two energy settings, “HI” and “LOW.” It’s recommended that you begin on “LOW” and only switch to “HI” if the temperature of the room is still too cold. On “HI,” the heat will be approximately 40°F above room temperature. 

The Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater is the only garage heater we reviewed with a fan-only mode that circulates air without generating any heat. Turn the “ON/AUTO” switch to “ON” and the temperature dial to “OFF.” To activate the built in thermostat, turn the switch to “AUTO” and turn the dial clockwise all the way. When the temperature reaches your desired level, turn the dial counterclockwise until it’s off to set the temperature. The heater will automatically switch on and off whenever your garage gets too hot or too cold.

Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater

The Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater is another powerful heater, capable of generating 17,065 BTUs. Like the rest of the heaters, it also has an automatic thermostat. Turn the heater on and twist the temperature dial clockwise until the room reaches your desired temperature. Then turn the dial counterclockwise all the way until it’s off. The heater will cycle around this temperature until it’s deactivated. To extend the operational lifespan of the heating element, the Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater has a built in fan delay. After the heater’s been turned off, the fan will run for a few minutes longer until the heating coil has cooled down, in order to prevent it from being exposed to residual heat.

Coverage Area

NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater

The NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater has a coverage area of 560 square feet, enough to heat the average two car garage (576 sq. ft.) pretty reliably. The heater has a fan to assist the heating process, capable of moving 236 cubic feet of air every minute. The heater comes with a carrying handle on top, so it’s completely portable. Set it up in a corner to heat the entire garage or place nearby on the floor or table to use it as a spot heater. The sturdy, stainless steel construction makes it more or less impervious to impacts.

NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater

The NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater also has a slightly smaller coverage area: 500 square feet. Unlike the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater, the G73 is a fixed unit, mounted on your wall or ceiling and hardwired into your electrical system, positioned at least six feet off the floor. The elevated position allows the heat waves to reach and warm more areas of the room than if it was placed on the floor, where the heat could be blocked or obstructed by furniture or other objects. The hanger bracket allows the until to be rotated or tilted 45° in any direction. There are also louvers that let you direct airflow where it’s needed most. When turning or tilting, make sure the exhaust opening in the rear is never blocked and that the front airflow is always parallel to or away from the walls.

ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater

The large heat output of the ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater also gives it the largest coverage area – 1000 square feet – making it ideal for large rooms, uninsulated spaces, and outdoor areas. It’s a freestanding unit, but comes with brackets that allow you to mount it on the wall. If mounted, it should be at least two inches off the floor, at least 36 inches below the ceiling, and have at least eight inches of clearance on either side.

Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater

With a coverage area of only 300 square feet, the Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater is best suited to small spaces and spot heating. The base doubles as a mounting bracket, so it can be used as either a freestanding or wall-mounted heater. The base tilts, allowing you to direct the airflow however you please, in the direction it’s needed most. The unit isn’t hardwired, so it can’t be placed more than six feet from an electrical socket.

Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater

The Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater has a coverage area of 500 square feet, and its fan can blow heat up to 16 feet in front of the unit. It’s a fixed, hardwired unit with an adjustable ceiling mount that allows for horizontal and downward air flow. The unit also has adjustable louvers to provide more control over the direction of the heat.

Safety Features

NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater

The NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater has two primary safety features: safety grills and an automatic shutoff. The grills prevent you from accidentally burning yourself on the heating coils, while the auto shutoff deactivates the unit whenever it gets too hot, to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard. If the automatic shutoff is tripped, unplug the heater and wait 30 minutes for it to cool down. Then plug it in again and resume heating as normal.

Because the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater is a freestanding heater, be careful where you place it. The steel casing can get very hot when the heater’s turned to maximum. Keep it on a level surface and away from anywhere you may accidentally bump or brush against it. If there are children present, it’s best to keep it out of their reach.

NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater

The NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater also comes with safety grills and automatic overheat protection. Because it’s wall mounted, there is no danger of the unit tipping over or causing accidental burns while it’s operating, though there is a risk of electric shock when you’re installing it. Make sure the power supply is deactivated before routing the supply wires from the circuit breaker in order to power the heater. If you’re not familiar with electrical wiring, consult a professional.

ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater

The ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater has an automatic shutoff that prevents the unit from overheating, as well as an oxygen depletion sensor that deactivates the burner if there’s not enough fresh air in the room. Always keep the unit in a well-ventilated area. Air flow is crucial for its operation and your safety. The burner is covered a protective grill and an outer cabinet that’s cool to the touch, to prevent burns.

Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater

Besides the grills over the exhaust and intake vents, the Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater also comes with a high-temperature safety feature that automatically shuts down the heater whenever it gets too hot. Once the safety feature’s been tripped, it has to be manually reset. Wait 10 minutes for the heater to cool down, then press the reset button on the front of the unit with a narrow tool, like a ballpoint pen.

Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater

Like the other units, the Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater also has an automatic thermal cutout that deactivates the unit whenever it overheats. Once the thermal cutoff has been tripped, there is nothing you need to do. The heater will automatically restart once it’s cooled sufficiently.

Price

NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater

The NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater is a very affordable heater. Average price is only $160-$170, making it the least expensive heater on our list and far below what you’d expect for a heater this size.

NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater 

The NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater sells for $220-$280, average price for a garage heater its size.

ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater

We found a lot of different prices for the ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater. Depending on where you buy it, it will cost you anywhere from $200-$300, which is a good deal, given the amount of heat it generates.

Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater

The Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater is another average priced heater. Prices range from $225-$280.

Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater

The Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater is another moderately priced heater. Prices vary, but not by much: $240-$270.

The Bottom Line

Picking one of these heaters over the others wasn’t easy. There was something to like about all of them. We liked the flexible placement options of the Cadet 4000-Watt Electric Garage Portable Heater. We liked how easy it was to adjust and direct airflow with the NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater and the Fahrenheat/Marley FUH54 Suspended Electric Heater, but we absolutely loved how much heat the ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater generated. It’s efficiency was incredible, the first gas heater we’ve seen that’s cost efficient in small areas and safe even without any additional venting equipment. You may be facing some additional expenses in terms of gas, but there are few places you can put the ProCom Vent-Free Dual Fuel Blue Flame Gas Wall Heater, insulated or uninsulated, where it won’t heat the entire area and then some.

Best Bang for Your Buck

No doubt about it, the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater has the best cost ratio of any unit. Even compared to the next cheapest heater, it offers significant savings. Combined with its high heat output, large coverage area, and a rugged, dependable design, the G56 is one of the best buys on the market. Plus it’s easy to use. Plug it in and switch it on. No additional fuel, set up, or expertise required.

The post We Compare the Best Gas and Electric Garage Heaters appeared first on NewAir.com Knowledge Base.

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