A 120v electric garage heater is one of the most convenient, cost-effective space heating options to keep your garage or a small shop warm throughout winter.
Often small in size and either installed permanently or equipped with ergonomic handles for easy movement, most of these heaters deliver more than enough heat to keep an average-sized space warm without posing any safety concerns.
This guide rounds up some of the best 120-volt electric garage heaters. We’ll also teach you how to choose the best product from the lot. Let’s begin with the reviews;
Best 120v Electric Garage Heater Comparison Chart
Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best 120v Electric Garage Heater 240v Reviews (Updated List)
1. Dr. Infrared Heater DR998, 1,500-Watt Heater
The Dr. Infrared DR998 is an Elite Series all-in-one heater, humidifier, air conditioner, and oscillation fan. It’s the first infrared Heater that combines ultrasonic mist vapor and built-in oscillation function to boost heat transfer rate while producing a new level of therapeutic comfort.
The DR998 delivers 60% heat more heat than other 1500-watt heaters thanks to a dual-heating (quartz tube + PTC) system that provides the fastest heat transfer rate. It has three heat settings – Auto, Low, and High and features an adjustable thermostat with a range of 50 to 86F. A built-in ultrasonic humidifier gently adds moisture to the area you’re heating. Other features of the DR998 include a 1-12-hour timer, durable casters, overheating & tip-over protection, and quiet, efficient blowing.
The DR998 is rated at 12.6 amps and plugs into a standard 120-volt 3-prong outlet. In addition, it measures 16 x 13 x 15 inches, weighs 26 lbs, and comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
- Dual heating system
- 3- Heat settings – Auto, High, and Low
- 1 to 12-hour timer function
- Delivers 60% more heat
- The 1,000 Sq. Ft. rating is misleading
2. NewAir G73 Hardwired Electric Garage Heater
The G73 is one of NewAir’s best selling garage heaters. Built from durable stainless steel, it packs 17,000 BTU of heating power and can warm up to 500 square feet. Better still, it’s a very efficient heater that heats up quickly and distributes the heat evenly throughout the intended space. It comes with a built-in thermostat for easy and accurate control of the temperature in your working area.
This is a fixed heater that is permanently installed either on the wall or the ceiling. A swivel bracket is included to make it easy to direct heat where you need it most. The package also includes a mounting bracket to make installation easy. The unit is hardwired (not plug-in) to eliminate maintenance issues. The G73 moves air at 200 cubic feet per minute (CFM).
Moreover, the Heater measures 9 x 9.5 x 14 inches and weighs 15 pounds. It runs on 30 amperes and is UL Listed as a mark of safety.
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Built-in adjustable thermostat
- Swivel and mounting brackets included
- UL Listed
- No remote control
3. King PSH125T Portable Shop Heater
A rugged portable heater ideal for supplemental heating in shops and work sites, the King PSH125T is another durable, affordable garage heating option. It features a flow-through design where heat efficiently moves around the room as air is pulled from the back of the Heater and discharged at the front.
A Super Stop high-temperature limit technology shuts off the Heater whenever overheating is detected. A built-in adjustable thermostat, meanwhile, allows for convenient temperature control. The PSH125T comes with a 120-volt-rated, 6-foot grounded cord that ensures maximum portability. Its other features include a lighted On/Off switch, nichrome heating element, permanently lubricated motor, and a comfort grip handle with adjustable tilt control.
The PSH125T is small at 15 x 13 x 11 inches and extremely lightweight at just 10 lbs. It plugs into a standard 5-15 amp, 120-volt outlet.
- Adjustable tilt control
- Rated 1500 watts
- Auto-reset safety limit
- Power indicator light
- Works best in very small spaces
4. Black + Decker Utility 1500-Watt Heater
Another extremely portable heater ideal for small areas such as garages, workshops, and basements, the Black + Decker is a beautiful unit with powerful heat output. The rugged cabinet design makes it easy to fit into the smallest workspaces while integrated carry handles allow for easy movement from room to room.
The Decker’s lower handle tilts to deliver adjustable airflow. This way, you can direct heat in a particular direction for increased efficiency. High (1,500 watts) and Low (750 watts) heat settings deliver even greater heating efficiency. A fan-only operation mode is available so you can use the unit as an air conditioner whenever necessary.
The Black + Decker runs on an aluminum PTC heating element for safe, powerful heat transfer. In addition, it comes with overheating protection to safeguard its users in case of any power surges. The unit measures 15 x 13 x 14 inches and weighs a mere 13 lbs.
- 1500 watts heating power
- Carry handle for portability
- Automatic overheating shutoff
- Fan-only mode available
- Best suited to tiny spaces
5. Homegear 1500-Watt Infrared Portable Electric Heater
The HomeGear is a cabinet space heater recommended for use in garages sheds, and workshops. One of the reasons it’s very popular is that it’s a micathermic heater, which is always extremely efficient. The Homegear combines Mica and Quartz infrared heating tubes to deliver powerful, uninterrupted heat.
Thanks to the high efficiency, the 1500-watt (5,100 BTU) heater can work well even in spaces as large as 1,500 square feet. A blower fan helps to push the heat fast and evenly throughout the intended area. The unit features a built-in digital thermostat for temperature control. Additionally, it has an LED display that allows for convenient climate monitoring. Overheating shutoff technology protects you and the home in case elements of the Heater become too hot.
The HomeGear is ETL and cETL certified and requires a minimum 13A circuit. It measures 12 x 13 x 17 inches, weighs 11.5lbs and comes with a 71-inch cable.
- 5,100 BTU
- Ideal for up to 1,500 Sq. Ft.
- Dual Mica and Quartz heating
- ETL and cETL certified
- Kicks on and off too often
6. Patton PUH680-N-U Milk House Utility Heater
Finally, the Patton PUH680-N-U is a somewhere-in-the-middle garage heater that offers the incredible heat output of cabinet-style heaters while providing the extreme mobility of smaller units. Also known as the Milk House, it has a rugged, all-metal housing for durability and front guards to protect the Heater in case of tip over.
Two heat settings – High (1,500 watts) and Low (1,000 watts) allow you to choose the most comfortable heating level. A digital thermostat makes climate control even more convenient as you can select a precise heating temperature. The unit uses a blower fan for fast and even distribution of heat. Safety protection comes in the form of a tip-over switch and high-visibility power lights.
At just 5.74 lbs, the Milk House is the lightest product on this list. It measures 10.3 x 7.7 x 14.7 inches and is UL Listed.
- Rugged, durable steel housing
- Quiet, fan-forced convective heating
- Automatic thermostat
- Multiple safety features
- Produces a burning smell
- Can get a bit loud
120v Electric Garage Heater Buying Guide
With the reviews covered, let’s now focus on how to choose the best 120v garage heater for your application. The following considerations should help you make an informed decision.
Is 120-Volt Enough?
To be honest, a 120-volt heater is a fairly small-sized heater. Only buy this type of heater for small spaces. For garages (or an area) larger than 30 x 30 feet, you’d need something bigger. You’ll especially need a bigger heater if the area is poorly insulated.
A 220-volt model would be ideal in some larger applications. However, remember that 220-volt heaters are designed for commercial applications. They generate a lot of heat. If you’re dealing with a medium-sized garage, a possible solution would be two 120-volt heaters.
Also important to note is that 120-volt power outlets can take up to 20 amps. Beyond that point, safety becomes an issue. Therefore, if you’re dealing with a heavy load (more amps), check if the garage or the area you intend to heat has two circuit breakers. If there’s only one breaker, it’s advisable to call an electrician to help with some wiring.
Types of 120v Garage Heaters
There are two broad ways to categorize electric garage heaters (no matter the BTU rating) – by mode of heating and by portability. With regards to portability, there are two subcategories; portable and fixed.
Portable heaters are light units that can be moved around with ease. Often, they stand on feet and can be placed in any location as long as there’s sufficient clearance. These heaters are also some of the easiest to use, mainly because no wiring is required. In many cases, even assembly isn’t required. Upon purchasing the heater, all you have to do is find the right spot for it, plug it into the proper outlet, and turn it on to begin heating. The majority of electric garage heaters 120v fall in this category.
Fixed electric garage heaters, on the other hand, are mounted either to the wall or the ceiling using fasteners. In most cases, the units are also meant to be hardwired to the home’s electrical system. As such, professional installation might be required.
With regards to the mode of heating, there are three main subcategories including radiant, convective, and micathermic.
The most popular heating mode among electric garage heaters, radiant heating involves the use of electromagnetic waves to heat objects. The waves, which carry heat energy, transfer the energy to objects they encounter on their path. This is different from convective heating where heat is transferred to the surrounding air such that objects (including you) absorb the heat from the air.
Since radiant heat is only transferred to objects and not the surrounding air, the mode of heating is very efficient, especially in large spaces. Radiant heaters also generate heat quickly. The only downside is that they are more expensive than comparable convective and conductive models. Infrared garage heaters are the most common type of radiant heaters.
In convective heating, a current is passed through a high-resistance electric element. As the element heats up, it releases some of the heat to the air passing through the unit. The warm air is then pushed out of the unit and into the room while cold air enters the unit to be warmed.
In some cases, the movement of cold air into the Heater and warm air out of the unit happens naturally through convection (thus convective heaters). To accelerate the process, however, most of the heaters employ built-in fans to blow air out and distribute it evenly throughout the room.
Micathermic (Mica) Heaters
Mica heaters are different in three ways. First, they don’t have a blower. Secondly, the heating element is more powerful than that used in convection heaters. Lastly, and most importantly, the heating element is surrounded by a special heat-conducting stone known as mica (thus the name micathermic).
Mica plays a vital role in the working of a micathermic heater. It helps the Heater to relay heat from the heating element to different areas of the room. Additionally, mica produces electromagnetic waves when heated. These waves are used to further heat up the room. In the end, therefore, you end up with both convective and radiant heat.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a 120v Electric Garage Heater
Since 120-volt electric garage heaters come in a wide range of styles and options,you must make your choice wisely. We recommend that you prioritize the following considerations;
Just because you’re buying a 120-volt heater doesn’t mean that all the units come in one size. On the contrary, 120-volt heaters come in many different sizes. Most are rated at 1,500 watts, but you’ll easily come across models rated at 1,200 watts, 2,500 watts, 4,000 watts, and so forth. Some are also rated in British Thermal Units (BTU) – one (1) watt = 3.41 BTU. The greater the wattage or BTU value, the more heat the unit delivers.
2. Size of the garage
How much space are you looking to heat? Is it 300 square feet, 500 square feet, or perhaps more or less? A standard 120-volt electric garage heater rated at 1,500 watts (approximately 5,200 BTU) is ideal for spaces between 400 and 600 square feet. The coverage also depends on factors such as insulation and ceiling height. The good news is that electric garage heaters display the recommended coverage area on the product label to help you make the right choice.
3. Ease of installation
You get to choose from portable and fixed (wall or ceiling mounted) installation options. Fixed garage heaters are more difficult to install. Moreover, since they’re often hardwired, you might need to hire a professional electrician, which is an additional cost. If you are not prepared to spend significant time and money on installation, a portable model would be ideal.
4. Convenience controls
Features such as digital displays and remote control make it much more convenient to control the climate in the garage or space you’re heating. An adjustable thermostat is another control to consider. Also, check if the Heater has a timer function. Timers allow you to program the heating for the desired period, say a few hours. Once the set period ends, the unit goes off automatically.
5. Safety features
Finally, make sure that the unit is built for safe use. One of the hallmarks of a safe electric garage heater is certification or listing by a recognized laboratory such as the UL, CSA, or ETL. Aside from certifications, check for safety features such as anti-tip-protection, overheating protection, and a cool-to-touch exterior.
Electric Garage Heater Maintenance
After you buy the Heater, the next step is to keep it working optimally for a long time. As such, maintenance is imperative. The following tips should help keep your Heater in top shape.
A lot of dust and other particles will likely settle on Heater during use. Dust it once a week to remove any foreign particles.
Use a damp microfiber towel and a little dish washing liquid to wipe away grime.
For heaters with vents or grilles, vacuuming regularly will help clear airflow. The same applies to models with fans.
Wipe heat reflectors
Radiant heaters often use a reflecting surface to direct heat. These surfaces become dusty too. Periodically, unscrew or unclip the grille protecting the reflector plate and use a towel to dust off the plate.
The reflector surface can also catch rust, especially if not dusted regularly. Use rust remover spray or scrub the surface to remove the rust.
Remember to turn off the Heater and allow it to cool down before you begin any maintenance activities.
Finding a great 120v electric garage heater shouldn’t be difficult. Just make sure you’re choosing the right type (radiant, convective, or micathermic) while keeping portability in mind. Also, take into account the wattage (or BTU), convenience controls, and safety. To keep the Heater in top shape and optimally functioning for a long time, dust, vacuum, and wipe the unit regularly.