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The 5 Best Ways to Heat Your Garage in Winter

How to Heat a Garage
By:Liz Kane| Last Updated:03/28/2024
Time to Read: 5 min

Project Overview

Time to Complete
7-14 days
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How to Heat a Garage

If you use your garage as a workshop, cold weather can keep you from DIYing for months every year. But there are plenty of ways to reclaim your workbench. We’re here to help you figure out how to heat your garage so you’ll never again have to hang up your tool belt for the winter.

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“We hear from people needing to heat their garage for all kinds of reasons. Your garage may be a great place to keep your garden thriving during the winter months. We’ve also heard from professional woodworkers who use our heaters for drying sealant and other projects that go smoother with a warmer temperature.”
Lena Crocker | Cadet Heat


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How to Heat a Garage for Year-Round Use

In the tables below, we’ll look at the pros and cons of five common garage heating solutions. We’ll also cover whether each option is a good candidate for DIY installation. With that information in hand, you’ll be able to decide the best way for you to heat your garage.

1. Install Better Insulation

What Is It? If you tend to have mild winters, you can keep your garage at a comfortable temperature by simply insulating your garage door and windows, and weather-stripping exterior doors. You’ll likely still need to wear some layers while you work, but beefed up insulation will keep your garage much warmer than the outside.

Man Adding Insulation to Garage



  • Insulation and weather stripping are typically very affordable.
  • No ongoing costs once installed.
  • Installation is simple and straightforward.
  • Not a good choice for areas where temperatures regularly dip before freezing.
  • You won't have control over the exact temperature in your garage.

DIY Friendly? Yes! According to Lena Crocker of Cadet Heat, “Adding insulation is an easy project for most DIYers that with will help limit heat loss and keep your garage warmer.” Most homeowners will have no trouble adding insulation to windows and weather stripping to doors. Insulating a garage door is a bit more involved, but still very doable for the average DIYer.

2. Hook Up an Electric Space Heater

What Is It? Electric space heaters for your garage are really just bigger and more powerful versions of the portable units you might use to warm up your office or bedroom. If floor space in your garage is limited, you can even find electric space heaters that can be mounted on the wall or from the ceiling.

Electric Space Heater On Floor



  • Current energy-efficient models typically won’t raise your electric bill by much.
  • Can also be used inside the house if needed.
  • No ventilation required.
  • Can take longer to heat up a garage than other options.
  • Might be difficult to use in garages with few outlets.
  • Will be less effective in an uninsulated garage.

DIY Friendly? Very - heating your garage with an electric space heater is as simple as finding a good spot and plugging it in.

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Pro Tip: “We recommend looking into a heating system that can be controlled by a thermostat. It’s easy to forget about a heater out in your garage after turning it on. Using a thermostat is safer and can save you some money on your energy bill because you won’t be using more electricity than you need.”
Lena Crocker | Cadet Heat


3. Fire Up a Combustion Space Heater

What Is It? Combustion space heaters use a fuel source such as kerosene or propane to create heat. Most need to be run on a specific fuel type. However, there are models that can run on multiple types of fuel, giving you the flexibility to buy whichever is currently cheapest.

Kerosene Space Heater



  • Most models will heat an average-sized garage fairly quickly.
  • Can continue heating the garage even during power outages.
  • Often cheaper upfront than an electric space heater.
  • Very noisy. Many people equate it to the sound of a jet engine.
  • Fuel odor may bother some people.
  • You’ll have ongoing fuel costs.
  • Combustion introduces moisture into the air, so there’s a risk of rusting your tools or vehicles if you frequently use your heater for long periods.

DIY Friendly? Yes - just like with an electric version, all you need to do is set it in place and fire it up.

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Safety Concerns: Combustion heaters produce carbon monoxide. They should never be used without cracking your garage door several inches and/or opening windows to create ventilation. They should also never be used inside your home. Even in well-ventilated garages, you should install a carbon monoxide detector for added safety.


4. Install a Ductless Mini-Split System

What Is It? A ductless mini-split system is made up of an air-handling unit, which is installed inside a room, and a compressor which is located outside. These two components are connected by a conduit. The entire system is powered by electricity.

HVAC Professional Fixing Mini-Split System



  • Lots of flexibility for placement. Can be installed along the floor, mounted on a wall or suspended from the ceiling.
  • Many models come with a remote for easy control.
  • A great choice for heating a garage you want to use as an additional room.
  • Some units can also provide cooling in hotter months.
  • Upfront costs are much steeper than for most other garage heating options.
  • Filter must be cleaned monthly since debris can build up in a ductless system.
  • Not the strongest option for cranking up the heat. In very cold climates, you may need supplemental heat.

DIY Friendly? Only if you have advanced DIY and electrical experience. In most cases, you should hire an HVAC professional to install your system.

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“It is important to hire someone who is familiar with your specific heating system. For example, when working with electric heaters, we recommend using a licensed electrician. That way they are sure to be very familiar with electricity rather than a general contractor.”
Lena Crocker | Cadet Heat


5. Add Radiant Heating

What Is It? Radiant heating systems are installed under a floor or as panels in the walls or ceiling. The system uses infrared radiation to heat a surface itself rather than the air of the room. There are several different types of both floor and wall/ceiling radiant heat systems, so do your research to see which type is best for you.

Contractor Installing a Radiant Heating Floor



  • Very low operating costs once installed.
  • Extremely quiet.
  • Floor installations heat a space more evenly than other options. This avoids creating spots that are significantly warmer or cooler than the rest of the garage.
  • Expensive upfront to install.
  • Installation is an involved process, especially for floor systems.ilter must be cleaned monthly since debris can build up in a ductless system.
  • Moisture may build up on the surface where the system is installed.

DIY Friendly? No – this garage heating option should always be installed by a professional who has experience with radiant heating.

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A Word of Caution for Woodworkers: “Two big things come to mind when it comes to garage safety and heaters: sawdust and flammable vapors. Neither one of these mix well with heaters. If you do woodworking, we always recommend checking in with heater manufacturers to see which products can be safely used in your garage.”
Lena Crocker | Cadet Heat


Take the next step and convert your garage into a room!