Get the right propane powered heater for your cold space with our guide and reviews. We cover forced air heaters as well as the more traditional models.
With winter upon us, we not only get those shorter days and darker nights, but colder weather as the temperature takes a massive drop. If you still want to continue doing work in your garage, then you may be looking for effective and affordable heating solutions.
One of the best ways to deal with this problem is by investing in a powerful propane garage heater. There are various kinds available, however, which can make choosing just one a lot harder and very overwhelming.
These devices are very efficient and one of the safer ways to heat spaces like garages. Of course, there are various other options out there such as electric heaters and kerosene heaters, but neither of these options is actually very efficient.
To help you out before you shop heaters, propane or otherwise, we are going to look at five of the best propane heaters for garage use. You will learn about what makes them good, things that are not so good and we will also discuss things you should consider when buying one of these useful and practical devices.
The Top Models Compared
Take a look at how the top portable propane garage heaters compare in the table below.
OUR TOP PICK
- Up to 125,000 BTU
- Heats 31,000 ft2
- Electronic ignition
- Auto shut-off
Mr. Heater MH35FA
- 35,000 BTU
- Heats 800 ft2
- User friendly
- Auto shut-off
- 25,000 BTU
- Heats 600 ft2
- Wall mounted
Mr Heater Blue Flame
- 30,000 BTU
- Heats 750 ft2
- Low oxygen sensor
- Auto shut-off
Mr Heater MH9BX
- 9,000 BTU
- Heats 200 ft2
- Tip-over shut-off
- Low oxygen sensor
- Easily Portable
The Top Propane Garage Heaters Reviewed
Next, we take a look at each of our recommended propane shop heaters in a bit more detail.
1. Dyna-Glo Delux *** OUR TOP PICK ***
First on our list is the Dyna-Glo Delux forced air propane heater for garage use. We'll start with a bang as this is one of the best in its class. With a BTU range of 70,000 to 125,000 this can comfortably heat an area as big as 3,100 sq. ft. This makes it not only ideal for small areas but larger ones too.
So, whether it's just a domestic garage you are trying to heat or you are looking to heat a construction site, industrial workplace or agricultural building, this will serve you well.
One of the things that makes this such a great item to use, especially if you are nervous about working with gas heating, is the ignition. It does not have the rather dangerous and unpredictable delayed ignition you sometimes get with a manual system. Rather, it comes with a continuous electronic-style ignition. A further safety measure that is featured with this forced air heater is the auto-shut-off protection that prevents the propane powered heater from overheating.
This heater is very flexible thanks to the 360-degrees heating radius it offers that can be adjusted to the exact position that suits the area it's being used to heat. In terms of its construction, it features a large and wide base that stops it from tipping over. This ensures that it will always be safe to use. When you compare it to others available, this propane fuelled heater is well-priced and extremely affordable.
There are some that are cheaper, but just don’t offer the same level of functionality or BTUs. Take the Mr. Heater model (that we have reviewed next), it is actually a lot more expensive but does not provide as high a BTU as the Dyna-Glo. It is also extremely easy to use, and so for rank newbies to the world of propane gas heaters for garages, this is a fine choice.
A major downside to this model though is the fact that it releases a large volume of fumes into the atmosphere, making it not the best choice if you intend on using it to heat a small area that has little to no ventilation.
Bottom Line: To summarize, the Dyna-Glo is an affordably priced, versatile propane heater that would be ideal for any area, as long as it is 3,100 sq. ft. We think it offers great value for money despite its flaws.
2. Mr Heater MH35FA
Next up is Mr Heater 35,000 BTU propane heater for garages and other small spaces. This is a very efficient, forced air heater that utilizes a high-output fan to help maximize the circulation of the hot air around the room or space it is warming.
It features a 10-foot hose and a regulator, both of which are usually standard in this type of appliance. It produces a total of 35,000 BTU, which is enough to warm an area of around 800 sq. ft. In addition to this impressive, if low-range heat output, it has many other features that we are going to discuss in brief detail.
For safety, it includes an automatic shut-off, so if you happen to leave it unattended (not particularly something that we or any experts would recommend you do), it is unlikely to overheat or cause a fire. In addition to this safety feature, there is also the nice functionality of being able to limit the highest temperature that it can warm up to.
Durable and robust, this propane garage heater will keep running continuously for around 12 hours. When compared to others, the first thing you will notice is that the BTU output is lower than many others on the market and therefore, so is the square footing that it can be used to warm successfully and comfortably. This is important if you need that extra bit of power and heat for a much larger space or area.
If there were downsides, we had to pick out about it, the price is a little higher considering you actually get less coverage than you do with the cheaper model from Dyna-Glo reviewed above. There is also the fact that many customers have noted that it's rather noisy. Therefore, if you are looking for a model that won't announce its existence so blatantly, then you might need to look elsewhere.
Bottom Line: Although there are some major flaws with this product, it is still a great portable propane garage heater. The noise can be frustrating, but if it is going to be used in an area that is already noisy, that won't be a problem. Easy to use and effective too.
3. Enerco Heatstar
The next garage propane heater on our list is a little different to the first two because rather than being set up at ground level it is actually installed overhead to send heat downwards and into the room or space you want to heat up.
From Enerco this is a 99.9% fuel efficient liquid propane heater that produces 25,000 BTU per hour that can provide adequate and comfortable warmth for an area of 500 to 600 sq. ft. Obviously, a major advantage of having it installed overhead is that it frees up floor space, which may suit you if you only have a small garage or space that you need to warm, but don’t want to lose floor space.
Generally, you will find that the majority of top propane garage heaters with thermostats have the temperature control built-in to the device. However, this model comes with a handy remote control for the thermostat.
This means that even if you are stood up to 50-feet away from the actual heater, you can still turn it up to heat the space. Which is great for those brisk early mornings when you want to go into your garage as you can turn the temperature up before you even enter the outbuilding. A small thing admittedly, but why miss out on some discomfort, when you can buy a heater that offers this functionality?
Although the idea of installing an overhead heater might make a lot of you nervous, it is not actually as difficult as you might think. The heater comes with the mounting hardware and appropriate brackets you need to set it up and it is fairly easy to do, even with the minimum of experience.
One thing we would point out about this propane powered heater is that the ignition is manual, meaning that you have to light it by yourself. This may only be a small issue that isn't worth worrying about for some people, but for others that are looking for an easier life, it may be best looking at one of the other models on our list that has automatic ignition.
When compared to the others available, this has many advantages, mainly thanks to its overhead installation. However, it also lacks some of the refined features of the previous models we have reviewed.
Bottom Line: Sure, there could be some alterations made to this heater that would make it even better, like the lack of automatic ignition for instance. It is highly energy efficient, saves on floor space and is relatively easy to install.
A propane garage heater with thermostat is a rare breed, which makes this one stand out.
4. Mr Heater Blue Flame
Another on our list from the aptly named Mr Heater is this 30,000 BTU heater that does not require a vent. This is a great solution for heating any small space quickly and efficiently. In fact, because it provides 30,000 BTU of heat it can be used in garages and other spaces with an area of 750 sq. ft.
It comes complete with a thermostat that gives you full control over the temperature and has an electronic ignition that is battery-powered, so you will never have trouble getting the fire started, even on those incredibly cold days deep in winter.
By far the aspect of this heater that makes it stand out over other propane heaters on the market is its use of blue flame, known as convection heat. This means unlike red flames that use radiant heat, the heater's flame actually warms the actual air, not an object or element inside the heater. So as the warm air leaves the heater, it fills the room with that warmth.
If that wasn't enough to convince you of this heater's merits, then consider the fact that many others on the market do not feature a low oxygen sensor built-in to their design. Mr Heater has obviously taken note of this feature being missed out on and has included it in this heater in the form of an Oxygen Depletion Sensor that turns the heater off automatically when oxygen levels are too low, keeping you and anyone else using the garage or space the heater is warming, safe.
Another safety feature that is included in most propane heaters on this list and also in this Mr Heater model is the automatic shut-off that stops the appliance from overheating. Compared to the heater directly above this one, this has an electronic ignition so it is a lot easier to get the heater working.
Up until now, the options for where you could install the heaters we have featured are generally on the floor or a stable base or overhead pointing down from the ceiling. The great thing about this particular Mr Heater model is that there is the option to have it mounted on brackets on the wall or at ground level, which gives you a lot more flexibility with regards to installation.
Bottom Line: Despite some of the obvious downsides, such as the quality of the materials used, there is a lot of great value to this heater. The fact that it provides convection heating and includes the low oxygen level cut-off function, are just two that we like in particular.
5. Mr Heater MH9BX Perfect for Smaller Spaces
There are many average Joe's and experts alike that consider this model from Mr Heater, the MH9BX (Canada- and Massachusetts-approved) portable propane heater to be the best. It is hard to fault the actual functionality and build quality of it. It is capable of producing 4,000 to 9,000 BTU per hour of radiant heat that can warm a space of approximately 200 sq. ft.
Another thing that makes this stand out shoulders above many other models is the fact that it just takes a few minutes to set it up. You simply need to invest in a 20-liter tank of propane, with the appropriate hose length and size and then connect it to the heater and you are good to go.
You can actually switch between using a remote gas supply or disposable cylinder, thanks to the swivel regulator. Furthermore, once everything is hooked up and correctly set, lighting this heater is incredibly easy because of the integrated Piezo mechanism, so you just need to rotate the dial and push.
Much like other models featured in this post, it comes with an ODS built into it and there is also a tip-over shut-off, so if it is knocked over accidentally or the oxygen levels drop dramatically, the unit will switch off automatically.
The major flaw in the design of this, that we can see, is the fact that in order to make it as portable and light as possible, they have had to compromise on the heat output. This means that compared to some of the other models in the same price range, it is not nearly as high performance. That of course, is only a problem, if you need to heat a larger room. If you are looking to heat a small area and don’t want to have an unsightly large heater that takes up too much room, this is perfect.
We think the combination of its size and the versatility of how it can be used either on a mounting or on the fall, plus the reasonable heat output, makes this a great value for money heater. In addition, if you are based in either Canada or Massachusetts, you could use this vent-free heater without worrying about breaking local regulations as it has been fully approved for use in both areas.
Bottom Line: By far, this is the smallest propane heater on our list. Although it does not produce much heat, it is perfect for small spaces and has a lot of safety features that make it easy to use.
So, there you have it, if you are looking for a great way to heat a small to medium area, you have five great options. Most of our choices have very similar features. For instance, most of them are able to produce 30,000 BTUs of heat per hour. However, there are some major exceptions, such as the Dyna-Glo that is capable of producing 70,000 to 125,000 BTUs. While the final Mr. Heater model we looked at is capable of producing just 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs.
Another feature that most of the models on this list share too is the automatic or electronic ignition. This obviously makes it much easier to use, less of a hassle and a bit safer too. The Enerco Heatstar is a major exception, of course, as that particular model is manually lit.
Safety features are also a big concern when you are looking to bring, even the smallest gas-powered heater like a propane powered model. All of the above models we have listed in this list have at least one or two major safety features. One of the most important to look out for, especially if you are using them in a small and enclosed space such as a garage, is an automatic shut-off.
The most important of which is the OSD, which detects low levels of oxygen and turns off the heater to combat it when that occurs. Some of the others also have an automatic shut-off if the heater is accidentally tipped over, to avoid fires.
In our opinion, the best propane heater for garage spaces is the Dyna-Glo Delux. It offers a really powerful heat blast at a pretty reasonable price. It also has the necessary safety features included.If you only have a small garage space to heat then the clear choice is the Mr. Heater MH9BX. This is also a great choice if you are on a tight budget. The Dyna-Glo model also offers excellent value for money.
The most refined model on here is the Mr. Heater MH35FA. It's expensive but it has some great features and is very easy to use.
Recommended Reading: Don't miss our guide to ventless propane heaters for the home.
Now that we’ve helped you by looking at the what we feel are the best propane heaters for garages on the market, we want to help you understand what you should be looking for when choosing one. As well as discussing the various different types of propane devices, how the heat output is rated and the things you need to consider when buying a propane heating device for your garage.
Different Types of Propane Garage Heaters
There are essentially three different main types that each have their own advantages and disadvantage. Below we will discuss exactly what the different kinds are and how they work.
The three types are:
- Radiant Heaters
- Convection Heaters
- Forced Air Heaters
Radiant propane heaters work on the principle that the heat generated by the source flows away from it in a wave-like fashion, and as that heat flows away, it is absorbed by any objects that are close to the heater and then retained in them. The most obvious and biggest advantage of this method over others is that radiant heaters do not contain a noisy fan and do not require an electrical outlet to power them.
On the other hand, though, they have a major disadvantage in that if you want to benefit from them as much as possible, you need to be considerably closer to them than other types of heater. There is also the downside that they are not suitable for providing sufficient heat for a larger sized garage, room or another type of space.
Convection heaters are notable for their blue-hued flame, as most use this kind of heating source. Unlike the above, convection heaters actually generate heat directly and have a small fan inside them that gently blows the air across the source of the heat. The warm air is then circulated around the room or garage warming it as it flows.
A major downside of this method of heating is the fact that the heat levels that can be achieved using it tend to be considerably lower than alternative types of heaters. However, they are more efficient for heating a whole garage or room, rather than just a specific area.
Forced Air Heaters
Forced air propane heaters actually work in a similar way to hair dryers, believe it or not, but rather than electricity heating the elements, propane gas generates the heat and then the resulting warm air is blown in the directions required.
Forced air heaters tend to be very portable and are therefore great at directing heat at you and are capable of generating a lot of heat. However, the fans used in them are normally very noisy.
Recommended Article: We've also got an awesome guide to the highest efficiency small space heaters.
How the Heat Output of Propane Heaters is Rated
BTU, as you will see from our reviews, is the unit of measurement used to rate the heat output of propane garage heaters. BTU is British Thermal Unit and although it's recognized internationally, it is more used here in the USA than it actually is in the place it takes its name from.
Although there are some models that produce less, the best level of BTU from propane models is between 30,000 to 150,000. It's important to remember though, that if you have a smaller garage then you don't necessarily need a heater capable of producing the highest BTU. It could prove to be less economic too as you will have to use more gas when generating more BTU.
You will find though that the better priced and better-quality propane powered models feature variable heating settings that enable you to adjust them.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
If you're buying your first propane powered garage heater then this section will be useful. We run through the key things you should be looking at.
Are you intending on moving your propane heater around from one location to another? If so, you need to think about just how portable a particular heater is. There are some available that feature models with slick and lightweight designs and comfortable to use, ergonomic handles that make it easy to carry them. You will also find that some come complete with casters or wheels that make them much easier to move around.
If the model you choose is not portable, it is likely that it will need to be installed and that is why you need to think where you are going to place it. Measure the space you intend to put it to help you choose the heater that fits that space best. You also need to make sure the area will be okay holding the weight of the propane heater. More lightweight models are much easier to install, as heavier alternatives will need to be done by an installer and it will cost more.
These devices can be pretty powerful and they get very hot so also factor safety into the installation. Do you have pets or children? How much clearance do you have to anything that could be flammable?
Power and Size
You need to think about the size of the area that you want to heat. Garages are not only big and spacious but drafty too, so you will need to factor that in when looking at the BTUs and how big an area the heater can warm, as warm air is more easily lost in a garage. Ideally, you should look to invest in a propane heater with a power level that is higher than you'd normally buy for a properly insulated room on the inside of your home.
Although you will be interested in saving as much money as you can, one aspect that is almost as important as the cost and that being low is whether the appliance is cost-effective or not. This basically means you will have to think not just about the initial cost, but also the running costs too. When choosing a propane gas heater, you should understand that a well-vented and well-insulated garage will be mean lower costs to run it and that it will work more efficiently.
Similarly, a propane heater that is able to cope with what you need and not over-perform will cost less. Be sure to properly measure and work out the amount of power you need and look for a heater that is in your price range and provides that.
We hope you've found this resource of use. Leave us a comment down below if you have any questions about anything you've read. We'll get back to you promptly.
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