Propane heaters are a common alternative to natural gas heaters, especially in areas where electricity supply isn’t reliable. They are not only efficient but also incredibly safe. Moreover, propane garage heaters are some of the most potent heating appliances. They generate tons of heat and are designed to direct the heat where it’s needed most.
This guide focuses on how to choose the best propane heater for garage. Among other things, we’ll look at how the heaters work, the benefits of propane over both natural gas and electricity, and critical features to prioritize.
Best Propane Garage Heater Comparison Chart
Last update on 2021-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Let’s begin by reviewing some of the best products in this category. Which are some of the best propane garage heaters you can buy today?
10 Best Propane Garage Heater Reviews
1. Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX 4,000 to 9,000 BTU Radiant Heater
- 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
- When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off.
- Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels. Fuel Consumption/Burn Rate (Gal/Hr) at 4000 BTU = 0.044 Gal/Hr, at 9000 BTU = 0.099 Gal/Hr
- Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator; connects to propane tank (not included); Run Time (Hrs at Max BTU): 3 Hours
- THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND WILL VOID THE WARRANTY.
Last update on 2021-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Most of the products on this list are from Mr Heater, arguably the best manufacturer when it comes to high-capacity, large-application propane heating solutions. This first one, the MH9BX, is the smallest of the batch at just 9,000 BTU (4,000 BTU in Low Setting). It measures 7.7 x 13.4 x 15 inches and weighs a paltry 9 pounds, making it the easiest to carry around.
True to function, the MH9BX comes with a fold-down handle that reduces storage space and a swivel regulator for effortless LP cylinder and hose installation. A piezoelectric igniter allows for easy ignition while high and low-temperature settings enable you to bring the garage to the most comfortable temperatures.
Other features of the MH9BX include a high-temperature wire guard, an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS), and tip-over shutoff to ensure safe operation. In addition, the ceramic heater has a large, durable porcelain coated heating surface to direct heat over the intended area.
- Nearly 100% efficient
- Up to 9,000 BTU/hour
- Piezoelectric ignition
- Swivel regulator
- Best for less than 200 Sq. Ft.
2. Mr. Heater MH18CH Radiant Cabinet LP Heater
- Hi-med-low regulator
- Automatic low oxygen shutoff system
- No electricity needed
- CSA certified. Outdoor use only. Run time (hours at maximum BTU) is 24 Hours and run time (hours at minimum BTU)is 72 Hours
- Heats up to 450 square feet
Last update on 2021-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
If your garage has around 450 square feet, you might want to try out this 18,000 BTU heater. Featuring a 20 lbs. propane tank that is easily mounted inside the unit, it is quite portable, making it a good choice even if you decide to move it outside. Plus, it does not require electricity, so you may place it wherever you like.
While it might take longer to heat a bigger garage, it does so quite fast for a single car garage. Plus, if the oxygen levels are running low, this unit also features an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system. This way, it will prevent any hazards from occurring in your garage, even if you are not constantly attending to it.
On a full tank, this unit can run for 72 hours on the minimum BTU and 24 hours at a maximum. This means that even if you have to leave it running for the entire day during the winter season, there should be no issues.
- It has quite a long runtime
- Very portable
- Includes several safety features
- May not be efficient for two-car garages
3. Mr. Heater Corporation Vent-Free 10,000 BTU Radiant Propane Heater
- 10,000 BTU Liquid Propane heater to heat spaces up to 250 sqaure feet.
- Radiant heat burner
- Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). CSA Certified
- Operating this heater at altitudes over 4,500 FT above sea level could cause pilot/ODS to shutdown the heater.
- Legs and wall mounting hardware included.Run Time: 43.18 hrs
Last update on 2021-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
For small garages or areas where winters are not very severe, you might want to consider using a 10,000 BTU heater. With the ability to warm up to 250 square feet, it is the perfect choice for you if you have a one-car garage.
One advantage of this unit is that you may either mount it on a wall or attach it on its legs. The latter option is more portable, and it allows you to take the unit wherever you may need it. Bear in mind that you might not want to use it inside your bedroom, as the gas emissions could be rather harmful.
The runtime of this unit is at around 43 hours on a full tank. This means that if you need to step out for a few hours, the heater will do exactly what it is supposed to do. It also includes various safety features to ensure that no hazards occur while you are gone.
- It has a long runtime
- It can be mounted on both legs and wall mounts
- It includes various safety features
- It is quite small and might not be able to heat bigger garages
- There is no thermostat, so the temperature is constant
4. Modine HD30AS0121 Hot Dawg 30,000 BTU Propane Heater
Made in the USA, the Modine HD30AS0121 is one of the most popular large-application propane heaters. Although this model delivers 30,000 BTU, there are several other products in the series, some designed to offer as much as 125,000 BTU. The 30k BTU model is the best choice for medium-sized garages while the larger models are recommended for commercial and industrial applications.
The 115-Volt/60-Hertz HD30AS0121 comes with a free basic wall thermostat that you’ll need to install separately. It features an aluminized steel heat exchanger and uses single-stage gas control. Thanks to its optional transformer kits, you can easily extend lead time as per your discretion. The heater itself is certified for residential use and comes in a low-profile design and neutral colours that blend in with most décor. In addition, it has a standard power exhaust pipe that allows for wall or roof venting.
The HD30AS0121’s motor is permanently lubricated for reduced maintenance. You’ll likely require professional installation from an axpert before using the heater. The good thing is, the unit comes with a 10-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
- Powerful 30,000 BTU heater
- Free wall thermostat included
- Certified for residential/commercial use
- 10-year warranty
- Most expensive on this list at over $600
- Rather bulky at 125 lbs
5. Mr. Heater 40,000 BTU Propane Garage Heater #MH40LP
If working in a garage with a higher ceiling, the Mr. Heater #MH40LP is the product to choose. Designed for ceiling heights between 12 and 15 feet, the MH40LP is efficient, cost-effective, and mostly maintenance-free. It mounts to the wall, with standard brackets included. When installing, leave at least 34 inches from the ceiling, 30 inches from the sides of the heater, 30 inches from the back, and 68 inches from the base.
When it comes to specifications, the MH40LP delivers 40,000 BTU/hour and is ideal for spaces up to 1,000 square feet. It is an infrared radiant heater that provides heat directly to objects. Since it uses manual (match) ignition, electricity isn’t needed at all. Thanks to its adjustable thermostat, you can conveniently control temperature.
The MH40LP requires a 40-lb tank (purchased separately). Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer overheat protection or oxygen depletion sensing. It’s, however, CSA Certified and comes with a one-year warranty.
- Heats 1,000 Sq. Ft.
- Maintenance-free; no moving parts
- Quiet, clean, odour-free operation
- Ideal for higher ceilings
- Hose and regulator not included
- Oxygen depletion sensor not included
6. Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor Safe Propane Heater.
- Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 95 square feet. THIS UNIT IS NOT INTENDED FOR GOLF CART USE OR FOR MOTORIZED VEHICLES.
- Continuous odor-free, 45-degree heating angle. Maximum Elevation (Ft) 7000 Feet. Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS). Perfect solution for heating small enclosed spaces like tents up to 95 square feet
- Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included). Run time at minimum btu and maximum btu is 5.6 hours. Do not operate heater in any moving vehicle. This heater requires a vent area of 4 square inches minimum for adequate ventilation during operation
- Low-oxygen sensor and accidental tip-over switch with auto shut-off for safety.THE USE OF UN-AUTHORIZED ACCESSORIES/ATTACHMENTS WITH THIS HEATER ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED, MAY CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, AND WILL VOID THE WARRANTY.
- Recommended for emergency heat, tents, campers, workshops, job sites, porches, patios, decks, garages, storage buildings, picnics, tailgate parties, construction trailers, sporting events, barns, sheds, hunting blinds, shelters and ice fishing shanties
Last update on 2021-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Do you need a small garage heater that can warm up rooms up to 95 square feet? In this case, you might turn your eye towards this “little buddy.” Made for safe indoor use, it is the perfect heater to have around if you want to warm up a garage on a mild winter day.
Unlike other propane heaters that still release a bit of an odor, this one is completely odor-free. Set at a 45-degree angle, its elevated design will help deliver heat much quicker – allowing you to warm up the garage in no-time. Thanks to its odor-free design, you may even use it inside the house if you need emergency heat.
The unit features numerous features, including automatic shut-off for accidental tip-overs and low-oxygen shut-off systems. This way, you can prevent potential hazards from occurring. It also needs no external power, meaning that it is the perfect choice to have around during an outage.
- Very compact and easy to carry
- It includes many safety features
- Completely odor-free
- The start button is quite stiff, making it difficult to turn the unit on
7. Mr. Heater 80,000 BTU Propane Convection Heater #MH80CV
The most potent heater on this list, the Mr. Heater #MH80CV can generate up to 80,000 BTU/hour when operating at maximum capacity. Even in Low setting, you still get a whopping 30,000 BTU/hour, which is more than enough to heat spaces up to 1,900 Sq. Ft. To use the heater however, you’ll need to purchase a 20-pound propane tank separately. A 10-foot hose and swivel regulator are included though.
Being a convective heater, it draws cold air into the heating unit and blows warm air out. A blowing fan helps to push the air out and distribute it in a 360-degree fashion, throughout the intended area. To start heating, hook the supplied hose and regulator assembly to the propane tank and light the unit using the piezoelectric igniter. Thanks to its thermo-electric shutoff valve, the gas supply will be cut off whenever the flame ever goes out.
The #MH80CV stands on a solid metal base that keeps it upright at all times. It is CSA certified and comes with a one-year warranty.
- Up to 80,000 BTU
- Thermocouple included
- Piezoelectric ignition
- One-year warranty
- Propane tank bought separately
- No built-in thermostat
8. Mr. Heater MH25LP 22,000 BTU Propane Radiant Heater
Another radiant heater, but this time a wall installed model offering more BTUs, the Mr Heater MH25LP would also be an excellent choice for the garage. It is 99.9% efficient, meaning that pretty much all the fuel is converted into heat energy. Unlike many propane heaters, it also comes with a thermostat.
The millivolt thermostat must be hooked to the heater (you’ll need to purchase a wire for this connection), but it’s a simple procedure. Once the thermostat is mounted, install the heater to the wall and connect it to the gas tank. It utilizes manual (match) ignition, so electricity isn’t needed at all.
The 3-pound MH25LP is designed for spaces up to 550 square feet (roughly the size of a 2 ½ car garage) and comes fully assembled out of the box. Moreover, it is CSA certified and protected by a one-year limited warranty.
- Up to 25,000 BTU/hour
- Thermostat included (not built-in)
- Comes fully assembled
- CSA Certified
- 1-Year warranty
- 40-pound propane tank bought separately
- No oxygen depletion sensor (ODS)
- Hose and regulator not included
9. Mr. Heater Vent-Free 30,000BTU Portable Garage Heater
Ideally, all heated spaces require ventilation, especially where fossil fuel burning is involved. But, what if there’s very little ventilation? That’s when the vent-free Mr Heater becomes a great buddy. A blue-flame heater offering up to 30,000 BTU, the model #MHVFB30LPT is a natural convection heater that doesn’t require much ventilation.
It, however, features multiple safety features to counter any potential heating dangers. These include automatic low oxygen (ODS) shutoff and overheating protection. A piezoelectric igniter allows for easy ignition while a multi-output valve provides effortless temperature regulation. A 10-inch clearance is required all around the heater.
The #MHVFB30LPT is designed for spaces up to 1,000 square feet. Wall mounting brackets, as well as legs for floor use, are included in the package. It weighs 33.15 lbs and comes with a one-year warranty.
- Get up to 30,000 BTU/hour
- Heats 1,000 square feet
- Thermostat included
- Oxygen depletion sensor included
- Ventilation no needed
- Hose not included
- Tank sold separately
10. Pro-Temp 60,000 BTU Variable Propane Forced Air Heater
Finally, another high-BTU propane heater, but at a lower price than some of the options we’ve covered above, the Pro-Temp is a versatile forced-air torpedo heater. It can be used in the shop, barn, garage, and so forth, as long as it’s a large space (up to 1,500 square feet). An easy-grip handle makes it easy to carry around while an adjustable base allows for angled airflow for precision heating. It pushes out heat at 300 CFM (cubic feet per minute).
Advanced safety features make the Pro-Temp the ideal heater in the garage. A cool-to-touch exterior means you don’t have to worry about accidentally touching the unit. Anti-tip-over cutoff and overheating protection are the other safety measures built into the heater. You’ll need to purchase a 20lb or larger fuel tank separately. When full, a 20-lb tank can run for 10.5 hours uninterrupted.
The 11.2-pound heater utilizes continuous electric ignition and comes with a thermocouple. And it is CSA Certified.
- Up to 60,000 BTU
- Adjustable heating angle
- Continuous electric ignition
- Variable heat settings
- 10-foot hose and regulator included
- It’s a bit loud
Best Propane Garage Heater Buying Guide
Propane heaters come in all sizes and designs. The following considerations should help you select the right propane heater for your garage needs;
How Do Propane Heaters Work?
Propane heaters run on propane. Also known as liquefied petroleum gas, propane is a hydrocarbon gas that is liquefied through pressurization. The fuel often comes in tanks as a liquid but has a property to turn into gas as it exits the tank. When used for heating, the heater is connected to the tank. For smaller heaters, the tank may come as part of the heater.
One difference between these heaters and natural gas heaters is that natural gas is piped to homes. As such, natural gas heaters only need to connect to the gas line in the house to start producing heat. On the other hand, propane isn’t piped to homes. Instead, you must refill your propane tank whenever it runs empty. This means that you’ll need to make arrangements to source or have the gas delivered. Make sure you buy your propane from a licensed supplier.
Types of Propane Garage Heaters
There are two broad categories of propane garage heaters – radiant and convective. Here’s what you need to know about each category;
1. Radiant Propane Heaters
The most common of the two options when it comes to garage heating, radiant heaters transmit heat via electromagnetic waves. The unique thing about the waves is that they only heat solid objects on their paths.
- More efficient: The surrounding air cannot absorb the heat. As such, you don’t have to fret about warm air getting blown out of the house.
- Less noise: Radiant heaters rarely use fans to blow warm air. For this reason, the heating process is generally noise-free.
- Expensive: Radiant heaters are more expensive than similarity rated convective heaters. In most cases, they cost two and a half times as much as comparable convective models.
2. Convective Propane Heaters
Convective propane heaters rely on convection to disperse heat. Warm air naturally rises up and out of the heating unit. Cold air then takes the space vacated by the rising warm air, becomes heated, and eventually rises up and out of the unit too.
Although the convection process can happen completely naturally, most convective fans use a built-in fan for faster and more even heat distribution. These heaters are known as forced-air heaters. The implementation of the fan-system may vary, but their primary purpose remains the same – to enhance the movement.
- More even heating: Thanks to the blowing action, convective fan-forced heaters guarantee more even room heating.
- Low initial investment: Compared to radiant heaters, convective propane heaters cost less.
- Higher operation costs: Convective heaters are not very efficient. A lot of heat is lost when air is blown out of the house. The continually blowing fans also add to fuel costs.
- Fan noises: Blowing fans can be a considerable nuisance. Make sure to check for the decibel rating of the heater before making the purchase.
Advantages of Propane Heaters
There are several reasons you should choose propane over both electricity and natural gas. These include;
It’s more potent than natural gas
You may not believe it, but, pound for pound, propane packs more heating power. It gives you more than twice the heat energy (BTU) you can get from the same quantity of natural gas garage heater in BTU. The result is that you need less fuel to heat the same space.
It’s less expensive than electricity
Although propane is slightly more expensive (it’s rarely 2X more expensive) than natural gas, both gases are cheaper than electricity. One DIY enthusiast did the math some time back. He found that if a gallon of propane costs $3 and a kWh of electricity ₵14 (both very realistic), then you’d save about 20.63% on costs by choosing propane.
Propane is greener than natural gas
While both natural gas and propane involve burning and flames, propane flames burn cleaner than natural gas. Indeed, propane is considered the cleanest burning fossil fuel available. It produces half the amount of carbon dioxide and other emissions as natural gas. In addition, it’s also safe for water and soil. Natural gas, meanwhile, is categorized as a greenhouse gas.
It’s extremely portable
This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of propane over both electricity and natural gas. Since propane is stored in tanks, you can move with the heater without any issues. You can even take your propane heater on your RV and camping trips if you wish. Both electricity and natural gas, meanwhile, can only be used where there’s a connection/supply line.
It’s less flammable
Both natural gas and propane heaters are flammable and must, therefore, be used with caution. However, natural gas is more flammable.
Essential Propane Heater Features to Consider
Different propane heaters have various features depending on the manufacturer and intended purpose. The following are essential features to consider when buying one for the garage;
Size (in BTU)
As we mentioned earlier, propane heaters pack plenty of heating power. Some give off as much as 50,000BTU or more. How much heat do you want? We advise that you consider two things here; the size of your garage and the coverage rating of the heater. Ensure that the coverage value is as close as possible to the size of your garage.
There’s more than one way to turn on a propane garage heater. One of the most common mechanisms is manual ignition where you ignite the heater yourself using a match. A better option, however, is an integrated automatic ignition. Automatic ignition uses electricity. But, since blackouts can happen, you need to ensure that the ignition system can also use batteries as a backup power source.
Portability is all about physical size. How big is the heater? What are the dimensions? How much does it weigh? Larger, heavier models may be a little challenging to move around. But, smaller, lighter ones can be carried around with ease. Look out for wheels, easy-carry handles, and the length of the connecting hose or consider these portable heaters for garages.
Most propane heaters are efficient. It’s what makes propane better than other fossil fuels. But, there are a few concerns. For instance, most propane heaters don’t have thermostats. Also, most don’t have digital temperature displays. In the end, therefore, you have less control over the heating process, which can affect overall convenience. If you can find a model with these features, it would be much better.
To be on the safe side, consider models that come with a warranty, even if it’s just one year. This way, if the appliance malfunctions because of a mechanical issue, you can get free repairs or a replacement. More importantly, check the damages covered by the warranty.
Propane Garage Heater Safety – Understanding your Heater
Though less flammable than natural gas, propane garage heating still comes with a few safety risks. Carbon Monoxide (CO), for instance, is an ever-present danger in all fuel-burning processes.
Aside from standard safe use procedures such as never leaving the unit unattended and turning it off when you go to sleep, check for the following safety features;
Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS)
An ODS monitors the levels of oxygen in your room and automatically turns off the heater when an extremely low level of oxygen is detected.
This is especially important in portable heaters. When the unit is accidentally toppled, there’s a risk of a fire. To prevent any danger, anti-tip-over technology automatically switches off the heater whenever it’s tipped over.
Overheating cutoff works almost like tip-over shutoff except that the heater is automatically turned off if elements of the heater become too hot. Different heaters have different cut off temperatures.
Swivel regulators take care of the connection, ensuring that the hose is as tight and safe as possible.
Often found in infrared garage heaters and gas heaters, protective grids are metal pieces separating the flames from the outside world. The grids protect you from burns when handling a heater in use.
Propane Garage Heater FAQs
Is a propane heater safe for use in the garage?
Yes. Propane is very safe for use in garage heating. Safety precautions are still necessary, though.
Do you need ventilation when using a propane heater?
Yes. Ventilation is needed when using a propane heater to prevent issues of oxygen depletion and drive out the smell of fuel.
Do propane heaters give off carbon dioxide (CO)?
Yes. Even though the risk is less compared to other fossil fuels, CO can still be produced during heating. Take the necessary steps to prevent poisoning.
Do propane heaters smell?
No. Propane is an odorless gas. Beware, however, that both propane and natural gas emit a rotten egg smell when there’s a leak. Whenever you perceive the scent, know that there could be a leak.
Where should I position the heater?
For larger models, place the unit near a window for ventilation. For smaller models, put it on a stable surface with sufficient clearance.
Whenever you need a primary or supplemental heat source in the garage, a propane heater would be an incredible choice. Cheaper than electricity and packing more heat (per unit volume) than natural gas, propane garage heaters are efficient, safe, and easy to maintain. Even better, they also offer the most portable form of heating in unconventional applications. Just make sure to find the right size.
Jesse Pinkman is a passionate HVAC professional writer who grew up repairing any home appliance on which he could lay his hands. He is responsible for ensuring that every article we publish is SPOT ON. When he’s not in the office, he enjoys hiking, watching football, and spending time with his family.