Particularly in the cold winter months, it can seem quite unappealing to work in the garage for hours on end. However, a lot of us find ourselves still needing to do jobs that can’t be neglected just because of a cold snap.
This is where garage heaters can come in handy. Using a garage heater can help you keep your workspace at a pleasant working temperature – letting you continue working out there, regardless of what the weather’s doing.
There are a few different types of garage heater to choose from, ranging from gas-fuelled to electric, and floor-standing to portable. The following information should help give you more idea about what to look out for (and avoid) on your quest for the best garage heater.
The Benefits of Using a Garage Heater
Here are five ways that using a garage heater could benefit you:
- A garage heater will allow you to make use of your garage space year-round. It’s a shame to have to retreat from the garage or shed just because it’s cold, and a heater can help you continue to use all the spaces on your property to their full extent.
- Using a heater to create a warmer garage environment can also benefit other items in the garage (not just you!). Machines like tools and cars can benefit from not being left cold for prolonged periods. Car batteries don’t react well to the cold, so keeping the temperature up can help the battery last.
- Some garage heaters have specific frost prevention settings. If this is the case, the heater will come on when it detects the temperature has dropped below 5°C. This can help protect all manner of items, from plants to machines, to tins of paint and tools.
- Cold environments invite damp and mould. Using an appliance like a garage heater can help keep damp at bay in the garage. Heating the air can help dry out damp patches and stop them from worsening.
- Even if it isn’t too cold outside, sometimes low temperatures can cause cold hands. Using a garage heater, especially one on a table top or workbench can help keep hands warm and nimble. This can make it a lot easier to do intricate work, rather than trying to work with gloves on.
Electric Vs. Gas Powered Garage Heaters
Some of the garage heaters featured on this page are entirely powered by electricity, whilst others require fuel, like propane, as well as electrical input.
Gas Powered Garage Heaters
Gas heaters use a combination of fuel and electricity – they generally burn the fuel to create heat, and use a fan (powered by electricity) to disperse the heat around the space. These gas heaters tend to be more powerful than purely electric heaters. This is partly down to the fact that all of the electrical power is focused on powering the fan, and all the fuel is providing heat.
These are the heaters to go for if you’re trying to heat a larger space. They often have over 10 kW of power, which is noticeably more powerful compared to a 2 kW or 3 kW electric heater. In the next section you can find out more about what size heater you need.
However, there is one main drawback to using a gas heater. They need to be used in ventilated areas because they are burning fuel and emitting fumes. As a result, a gas heater is not suitable to be used in a space with all the windows and doors closed.
Electric Powered Garage Heaters
Electric heaters do not have the same necessity of being used in a ventilated area because they do not produce any fumes. Therefore, they are well suited for use in small sheds or garages, and all the heat that they produce can be kept inside (with none being lost through open windows or doors). They do not, however, have the same capacity as fuel-powered heaters for heating as large an area.
Electric heaters will generally offer personal warmth instead of having the capacity to heat the whole garage. If you keep these heaters close by, you will benefit from the heat. They tend to be smaller and easier to manoeuvre than gas-powered heaters, so they can always be kept to hand.
Working Out What Size Garage Heater to Buy
This is one of the hardest things to know when buying a heater – buying something too small will be a waste of money, but getting something too big could see your energy bills unnecessarily skyrocket.
The following rule is the simplest way to estimate what size heater you will need: for every 1 ft² of floor space, 10 W of power will be required.
So, if your garage is 15 ft², multiply 10 x 15 which gives 150. Then multiply this by 10 again, which gives 1500. This shows that you need a unit that produces at least 1500 W of power to heat the space.
Gas heaters are measured in BTUs. You can estimate the size of gas heater that you will require by multiplying the required wattage by 3.41. So, again, if your garage measures 15 ft, and will require 1500 W to heat the space, multiply 1500 x 3.41 which equals 5,115 BTUs.
Of course, other factors will affect how much power you need to heat your garage. For example, spaces with high ceilings will require more heating. In addition, the amount of heat required will depend on the insulation of the building as well as if there are draughty window or doors.
Adjustable Settings for Your Garage Heater
Some of the best garage heaters will have adjustable heat settings. This will mean you can choose between different heat outputs, depending on your intention for the heater.
For example, heaters frequently have two power settings: a maximum heat output (of around 2500 W) and a standard heat output (somewhere around 1200 W). Having two settings gives the choice of heat as well as some control over energy consumption and running costs.
There are some garage heaters that will have a ‘cool’ fan option, or a low heat setting (of approximately 40 W). A low heat setting is great for frost protection, keeping a consistent temperature above freezing which will combat frost.
In addition, an adjustable thermostat is a useful function to look out for in a garage heater. With a thermostat you can set your desired temperature for the room, and the heater will maintain this temperature. This means the heater will turn off when the set temperature is reached, and turn back on when more heat is needed. This is a great feature for making the heater easy to use, as well as economical – you won’t be wasting energy that you don’t need.
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