As days get colder the need of a heating element in our garages increases. There are multiple ways one can heat up his garage but most of them can cost you a fortune. One of the most economic ways to do this is by getting a propane heater. These heaters use propane gas as their fuel and aren’t as expensive to run as their electric counterparts. In this buyer’s guide you will find out which are this year’s best propane heaters and learn more about them in general.
Before we move on to telling you which features to look for in a heater, and what are these heaters’ pros and cons, here is a little comparison chart between our top 5 handpicked models.
Top Propane Garage Heaters Comparison Chart
When we rated these heaters from first to fifth place we took different features into account such as:
- The price
- The overall quality
- The heating capabilities
- Other features such as warranty period, easy of instalment, etc.
Now, let’s see which one ranked the best for this year and which models are the runner ups.
Mr. Heater MH35LP 35,000-BTU Propane Radiant Heater
When it comes to portable but potent propane heaters, the MH35LP by Mr. Heater takes the prize. It is one of the best price to value ratio heaters on today’s market and is also powerful enough to heat up open spaces of up to 800 square feet. The ease of assembly and safety features this heater puts on the table are also unmatched in this price range. Overall, if you are looking for a solid product that will last you a long time and will reduce the electricity bill, this is the right one for you. To check out more of its features and see which are its strong and weak points, click the button bellow to go to our full review of it.
Pro Temp 60,000 BTU Variable Propane Forced Air Heater
If you want to heat up a larger open area very fast then this is the right heater for you. The Pro Temp 60,000 BTU model is one of the strongest we’ve ever reviewed and packs some serious power. It features a very lightweight but sturdy construction, and a temperature control knob which allows you to choose between three temperature settings which all burn out through different amounts of propane. It works with 20 lbs tanks and on its lowest setting it can last for more than 10 hours. In general, it is a great price to value ratio heater which has good safety features in it and will get the job done, unless you want something even more powerful, in which case Pro Temp give you the choice of a 150,000 BTUs unit. To read more on this particular model, check out our full review!
Martin Direct Vent Propane Wall Heater Furnace Built-in Thermostat 20,000 Btu
Since not everyone need a super powerful propane heater, we decided that we have to include a smaller model. This 20,000 BTU propane heater by the company Martin is truly impressive starting from its overall design to the materials used in it and the thermal capabilities it packs. It is one of the best heaters for smaller garages and living rooms. Another advantage is that it is wall-mounted and the whole installation process is really easy to follow. All you have to do is connect it to your gas line and it is ready to go. There is a thermostat which allows you to control the temperature from a switch. One major downside, though, is that it comes at a very steep price, making it an off-limit product for most families that are on a tight budget for their heater. If you want to learn more about its safety features and other advantages, click the review button below.
Mr. Heater 30K BTU LP Vent Free Blue Flame Heater
In the realm of portable propane heaters there are a few good choices, but this Mr.Heater 30,000 BTU unit is perhaps one of the best out there. Weighing at just around 30 pounds it can easily be transported to another room of the house or even an external workshop as long as there is a propane tank there. When hooked to a 20 lbs propane tank it can last you more than 30 hours which is better than almost any other model in this price range. Speaking of the price, this is a really good value for the money you are paying but consider preparing a few extra bucks as the connectors you will need to fully install it won’t come with your purchase which is a downside. Even if it is potent enough to warm up a garage even during the coldest days, it won’t do a great job in rooms larger than 800 square feet, which is ultimately its effective heating range. Still, it is very efficient and is solidly made from materials that are meant to last you a long time. One more advantage is that you won’t have to pay extra for an additional ventilation system, as this heater is ventless and doesn’t need special venting. Want to learn more about it? Click the button bellow to go to our full review of it.
Comfort Glow GCH480 Propane(LP) Cabinet Heater
If you are looking for a portable propane heater that has different temperature settings then the Comfort Glow GCH480 is a great place to start your search. It can be moved from your garage to any other room of the house thanks to the four wheel system beneath the body. It also packs a BTU power of 18,000 which can be lowered down to 12,000 and 6,000 BTUs depending on how many of the three ceramic plates you will turn on. This by itself is a feature that allows you to keep propane gas burning to a minimum and therefore keep the operation as economical as possible. On the lowest setting, this heater can work more than 60 hours. On top of all that, there are a few safety features that ensure the well-being of your family, as this heater measures the oxygen level in the room it heats up and cuts off gas supply if that gets too low. There also is a metal grill in front of the ceramic plates to keep things from touching the hot surface. To find out more about the various pros and cons of this model, read the full review we did on it by clicking the button below.
Garage Heaters Buyer’s Guide
Before we move on to listing some of the advantages of propane heaters and show you what features you need to look for when buying one, we need to answer one question…
What Exactly Is A Propane Heater?
Propane heaters are gas convection heaters which generate heat in the form of a flame. The convection heaters have a small fan which blows the heat into the room but there is another type of heaters that is called “Forced air propane heaters” that use a bigger fan to blow hot air in whichever direction you point it.
Using propane has its pros and cons but the main reason people do it is because these heaters are generally cheaper to run than their electric counterparts and usually last quite a bit longer in terms of longevity.
The propane itself is transferred to the heating element via a tube or there can be a built-in propane tank in the heater itself but these models are usually less portable as they weigh a lot.
Types Of Propane Heaters
There are four types of propane heaters used in households. Those are:
- Ventless (portable)
- Permanent (wall-mounted)
- Propane furnaces
- Propane water heaters
For this guide, we will focus on the first two kinds.
The portable propane heaters usually are quite small, hence the name. They either have a built-in propane tank in them or are easily pluggable into one. Some models also don’t have vents on them explaining the name “ventless”.
Wall-mounted heaters are a good choice for people who know that they will need this heater for a longer period of time at a specific place. For instance, garage owners usually get wall-mounted models as they are usually stronger and the fixed position on the wall will save up floor space.
Propane furnaces are used for houses which have water pipes running through their walls and floor. The furnace heats up a tank which is connected to all those small pipes across the house and that heats up all the surfaces inside.
Water heaters are just an alternative to electric water heaters with an advantage of lower running costs and the fact that you don’t depend on electricity to have warm running water inside your house.
Additionally propane heaters can be separated into:
- Outdoor heaters
- Indoor heaters
The outdoor heaters are usually bigger and have a stronger fan that will point the heat in a desired location instead of just radiating it into the air and eventually losing the heat to its surroundings. Since there is rarely electricity outdoor (on the porch, for instance), these types of heaters are preferred by a lot of people as well as restaurant owners that have a lot of tables out in the street.
One thing to consider, though, is that outdoor heaters don’t usually have the protection systems the indoor ones have. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the possible side effects of using such a heater in closed spaces.
Indoor propane heaters have built-in safety systems that monitor and prevent the heater from deteriorating the air quality in the room. This is why you should always see whether the heater is meant for indoor or outdoor use before buying it.
Another advantage of the indoor heaters is that they are often very portable and have handles and wheels for easier relocation around the house.
Features To Look For
Before you head over to the shop looking for a new heater there are a few things you need to consider, such as:
- What portability you need out of your heater
- Temperature controls
- Safety features
- How big is your garage?
Let’s get into each of those features one by one now…
How Portable You Want The Heater To Be
If you work in multiple places or have more than one garage, then portability should be on your list of features to look for in your new heater. A small heater with a handle on top is great for portability and can be carried easily around the your house or workshop.
The Heater’s Temperature Controls
Not all propane heaters have advanced temperature controls to them. Some of them allow you to control the temperature output and the fan speed, while others don’t. Go for models that have convenient heat controlling mechanisms.
Always keep an eye on the safety features a propane heater has to offer. As we mentioned, indoor models tend to be more specced towards safety because there are more things that could go wrong in an enclosed environment. We will discuss the safety of these heaters a bit further down this guide.
Lastly, you should always consider the price. A good heater costs just a few hundred dollars. Models more expensive than that are usually not a good value for money, even though they are good products overall. We recommend sticking with the mid-range products as they are the best value for your money and will do the job just fine, especially if you intent to keep them as a garage heaters only.
Consider The Size Of Your Garage
The thermal output of heaters, be it electric or propane, is measured in BTUs (British thermal unit). This is a measurement to show users what room can the heater handle. Propane heaters are measured in BTUs/hour.
For small to average sized garages, a 5000BTU/hr heater will do the job. To be sure of the heating properties, go for a 7000-10 000 BTU one. Larger rooms or workshops will need a heater with 15 000+ BTUs.
There are calculators online that allow you to check out how much power will you need to heat up your room or garage.
Additional Safety Features
There are many safety features in propane heaters and most of them are designed for the indoor models which need them to protect your health.
- High Temperature Cut Off
This feature is present in most heaters and what it does is that it cuts off the propane flow when a maximum heat level is reached. That way it prevents the unit from overheating and can therefore prevent unwanted fire hazards.
Tip: Don’t keep flammable substances or materials anywhere near propane heaters. Their temperatures can reach a very high point and can easily set something on fire if it is too near them.
- Tip Cut Off
When a heater is accidentally knocked over it presents a multitude of fire hazards and this is why almost all heaters have a topple over cut off feature which cuts off the propane supply as soon as the heater isn’t in its regular positioning.
- Oxygen Depletion Sensors
If the CO2 and CO levels in the room in which the heater is get too low it will detect that and automatically switch off. Low oxygen levels are very dangerous especially when a person is chronically exposed to them. A few percentages decrease is barely felt by people but most propane heaters can detect such changes and adjust their setting to prevent further issues.
Want to find out which are the best ways to heat up your garage during the colder months? Click here to go on our dedicated article on the topic where you will get all the information you need!
Pros & Cons Of Propane Heaters
One of the major advantages of having a propane heater is the financial one. Gas prices are far lower than the electric ones (at least currently). This is a very important aspect for homes that only use electricity and want to shave off a little from that end of the month bill.
On top of that, you can move the heater from room to room heating up only one particular room. That is especially valid for the more portable models.
There are no fumes coming out of the burning of propane and is the cleanest way of heating up your garage besides electric heaters. Burning natural gas isn’t toxic unlike when burning woods, coal or even oil. This makes propane heaters the most environmental friendly ones.
Another benefit stemming from this is that propane leaks quickly turn into vapour and dissipate. Other gases can built up either at the bottom or top of the room and pose potential hazard for the inhabitants.
As we mentioned, propane heaters are very useful when it comes to situations when there is no electricity and you have to heat up the place, be it an outdoors café or a construction site. These heaters are often very easy to carry around but you will have to get their gas source close to them as well.
One of the best things about these kind of heaters are very durable and have few parts that can be damaged or that will need replacement. Still, maintenance is required regularly.
There also is an insane amount of heaters in terms of sizes and heating capabilities, making your choice both harder and easier at the same time. Finding the proper size usually isn’t a hard task, if you follow the requirements of the heater and know the volume of the room you want to heat (or the outdoor space).
Now, let’s discuss some of the possible drawbacks of these heaters…
As we said, there is maintenance that has to take place from time to time in order to keep the heater in check and make sure that everything is okay.
Another disadvantage of natural gas heaters is that you need to vent them properly if they aren’t ventless.
Since there is a flame present at the front of most heaters, you will need to keep flammable substances and other combustible materials away from it.
If you propane heater is fan-forced, it will lift up all the dust and dirt from the room in the air.
Can You Use A Propane Heater In Your Garage?
Propane heaters are safe to be used in closed spaces and are far superior in terms of dangerous fumes than other heating methods such as wood or coal burning. The only thing you need to pay attention to is whether there is proper ventilation in your garage and that there are no flammable substances near the heater.
If you want to learn more about garage ventilation, click here to go to our dedicated article on the topic!
What Are The Most Common Options For Heating Up Your Garage?
The most common heaters people use are either kerosene heaters or natural gas (propane) heaters. Infrared heaters are also very popular as they tend to heat up the surfaces instead of just the air.
How Much Does It Cost To Run A Propane Heater In My Garage?
This heavily depends on how big your garage is, how much time you spend heating it, and how potent your heater is. There are calculators out there that can calculate the exact cost of heating up your garage on different fuel types for you.
Finding the best propane heater for your garage can be a challenging task as there are countless of good models on the market. Luckily, you can use some of our handpicked models as they are carefully reviewed and compared by us and are ranked based on their properties. The first and most important thing you need to do when getting a new heater is to figure out how big of a space you will be heating and what your budget is. Based on those two things you should be able to make your final choice pretty easily.