Garage heater suggestion?

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Forum topic by LoganN posted 10-28-2013 01:30 AM 4511 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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435 posts in 2097 days

10-28-2013 01:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: garage heat

Hey all! I have a 2 car garage in Rochester NY that I insulated the walls and I put foam board on the ceiling. Last winter it was pretty brutal in there with a portable oil filled radiator for heat. I only have 120 volt in there and I want something so that I can keep my hands functioning. Anyone have a good suggestion for a heater? Ideally it would be under $100, but I’ll go up to $200 if I have to.

22 replies so far

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3374 days

#1 posted 10-28-2013 01:37 AM

I’ve noticed that asking questions like this tend to receive a huge spectrum of answers….usually other people’s experience with whatever piece of equipment they are using. What you really need first is a heat loss calculation.

What’s the square footage? How many windows? What size are they? Slab floor? Insulated garage door? What’s the typical outside temps in the winter and how warm would you like it to be in your space? All of that and more is going to play into it. I guess my point is that there is no cookie cutter answer and with a $100 budget it’s pretty limiting and there is a high chance that you will just end up with buyer’s remorse over a little IR heater that some guy in New Mexico swears by.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2272 days

#2 posted 10-28-2013 01:40 AM

$100 or so for an electrician to run one line of 220 and 80$ for a garage heater.
Works for me in Eastern Canada. Without the heater, my shop stays above freezing. I turn it on before going out and I have a small ceramic heater on the counter.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View LoganN's profile


435 posts in 2097 days

#3 posted 10-28-2013 02:19 AM

I’m fine with the cookie cutter answers! I want to see what others have that has worked for them. At this point I’m taking suggestions. My place has 2 windows and one of the garage doors has insulation on it. I put up a wall in the garage and 1/2 is my shop. There is a raised plywood floor over concrete and double paned windows I installed. The garage size is totaling about 440 sq ft, but about 160-180 of that is walled off.

I would love to run 220 out there, but the line would be about 100 feet and I’m not sure yet if it is worth the cost.

Thanks for the help guys. Let’s hope there are more suggestions for something useful and efficient!

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2089 days

#4 posted 10-28-2013 03:34 AM

I’ve used both the sub-$100. 2-1/2’ high oil heater and ceramic type heaters. I found the oil heater to be useless relative to the ceramic heater in terms of heat output. To my observation, both were operating within their normal parameters.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View firefighterontheside's profile


19404 posts in 2053 days

#5 posted 10-28-2013 03:44 AM

If you’re not going to heat it all of the time, those oil filled radiators are useless. They just don’t heat an area fast enough. I would say either a radiant heater to hang from the ceiling or a forced air ceramic electric heater. Was it insulated last winter? Assuming not, I think you will do better this winter with a different heater. Is this an attached garage? With the insulation, the garage should stay much warmer just with the insulation and the heat lost from the house into the garage.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3909 days

#6 posted 10-28-2013 04:13 AM

Hey Logan, you may find a bunch of answers in similar threads already asked here (I think there are about 10 pages if answers so it may be a bit of a read :-) . I just typed in ‘garage heat’ in the search window at the upper right if this page.

I use a small ‘construction’ heater and I can heat my shop from -20C to about +15C in a couple hours. I generally put the heat in Friday morning if I know I’ll have the weekend available for wood working and it’ll be toasty by the evening.
Mind you if it dips much colder or if it is really windy I will avoid anything to do with glueing or finishing as the temperature of the wood will often be too cold fir predictable results. HTH

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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612 posts in 2121 days

#7 posted 10-28-2013 04:27 AM

Ductless heat pump

View UpstateNYdude's profile


917 posts in 2179 days

#8 posted 10-28-2013 04:30 AM

small radiant heater

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2643 days

#9 posted 10-28-2013 04:31 AM

I bought a Presto heat dish(parabolic heater) a couple of days ago from Costco for under$70 it throws a lot of heat ,you can point to where you are standing ,like 3 to 4 feet away and you’ll be warm in no time,I don’t turn it all the way up ,just set it on medium is plenty of heat.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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Robert Brown

151 posts in 2888 days

#10 posted 10-28-2013 03:02 PM

Kerosene Heater

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3261 posts in 2872 days

#11 posted 10-28-2013 05:13 PM

I use a kerosene heater and do well with it but I am in the south. You DO have to provide ventilation for these.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3374 days

#12 posted 10-28-2013 10:57 PM

There is a raised plywood floor over concrete and double paned windows I installed. The garage size is totaling about 440 sq ft, but about 160-180 of that is walled off.

See that’s what I’m talking about. All of that makes a huge difference. Concrete slabs will act like a giant heat sink until they get warm, by raising the floor up you eliminate that issue. Did you insulate the wall between the spaces?

With that square footage you may get by with a 110VAC unit but keep in mind that those will draw a significant amount of amps and really should be on their own dedicated circuit.

Ductless heat pump

Heat pumps become ineffective when the temps drop below about 40*F….This is why they usually include supplemental electric heat in the air handler.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

332 posts in 2245 days

#13 posted 10-28-2013 11:42 PM

You’ve got my sympathy fellow cold weather person.

Probably more than $100 unless you’re lucky: scrounge up an old wood stove. Though it would probably cost at least $200 to install it correctly, the operating costs are cheaper than elec and great way to dispose of scraps. I used one successfully for 2 years in Mass – but have to say I was really glad when I installed a gas furnace, if for no other reason then I didn’t have to stoke it all the time.

The cheap solutions lead to drafty results. OK…so go with the flow. I found it helps to tent glue-ups and finishing projects. An old 100W bulb and a $2 HD painters tarp make a sauna.

Also, really thick backpacking boot socks and vibram soled boots long underwear and a fleece vest – winter uniform.

Good luck and wishes for warm winter.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

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4020 posts in 1964 days

#14 posted 10-28-2013 11:51 PM

Check this out the best price I’ve ever seen; probably is a promo.


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Craftsman on the lake

2831 posts in 3634 days

#15 posted 10-29-2013 12:03 AM

I live in Maine. I’m in my 5th year using this heater after doing this review of it. Cost was $160 at the time with $75 instillation after I hung it on the wall myself. costs me about $100/year to run it and I’m in my 25×25 ft shop often. Heats my insulated shop up to shirt sleeve temperature in about 30 minutes when about 25 degrees out. Very satisfied with it.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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