This question comes up frequently. With a garage, safety is a major
concern. It also depends on how cold your nights are. Personally I have
1) An older electric heat cube. "Older" means about 12 years old and there
are better ones on the market. The cube can handle cool weather but takes
an hour or so to be noticeable. I also use it to supplement my flame heater
2) I use a 24K btu kerosene heater and it does a great job on my 670 sq ft
garage, especially considering I have 11 ft ceiling. I live in Kansas and
it will hold its own down to mid teens when the wind is blowing from the
north (north garage door). On mid 30 to mid 40 degree days I can heat the
garage up with the kero heater and cube and then turn the flame off when the
temperature gets up to 60 or so. The cube will slow the cooling or hold its
Obviously a flame heater comes with hazards. Car goes outside. Keep
gasoline or volitile solvents out of the garage - these are stored in a shed
in the back yard. Keep the shop clean. I work in a 3 car garage and the
heater is in stall 1, most woodwork is done in stall 3 and some assembly in
the middle. I turn it off when I open stains, thinners, etc.
Another possibility is a recycled residential furnace. If you have gas and
space you can often install one pretty cheaply. You need to get it a couple
of feet off of the floor.
You've asked some good questions!!
I just bought a Dayton "cube" type electric heater from Grainger. Cost
about $110 plus shipping. It is designed for use in a shop enviroment. If
you Google Search this Newsgroup using "Shop Heat", I think you'll pick up a
thread on this heater. That's how I found it. If you don't find it, let me
know or repost, and I'll see if I can get you the link to the manufacturer.
It does run on 240 volts, but I have that capability in my shop. It's
supposed to develop up to 19,000 BTU's, which should heat my 20x25 shop
I tried a Kerosene heater last winter. It smelled bad, and I couldn't seem
to adjust it to minimize the smell, even though the directions said it could
be done. I ended up returning it to HD. Since my "shop" is really the two
car garage that's attached to my house, I just didn't want to have that
odor. Also I think any type of flame heater requires some type of
ventilation or fresh air exchange, which meant leaving a door or window
partly open. I can't imagine using a kerosene heater for indoor residential
heat like it recommends on the box.
There's all kinds of controversy about the fire/explosion hazard. I think
if you keep it cleaned out with a blast of compressed air on a regular
basis, it should minimize that hazzard. Also, remove anything that
generates fumes - gas, kerosene, solvents, etc.
Good luck -
I recently purchased a torpedo heater from the blue borg. Sat am it raised
the temp in my 22'x24' shop from 28deg. to 68deg. in about 25 min. The
heater was purchased to bring the temp up quickly (or just to heat the
garage for short working times) and the fireplace i have in there maintains
the temp. on days when i'll be out there a while longer. The torpedo is a
Reddy brand 55k btu heater and has a built in thermostat for about $180.
It'll burn kero, diesel or jet fuel it says, i just use kero as it is non
Other than the noise from the fan, the heater works well. --dave
Last winter I burned diesel in mine simply because it was easier to find.... the
first gas station I pulled into had it. The smell was different... not worse;
just different. As for heat, it will raise it up from 40 to 70 in about 20
minutes. The only real negative is the noise.
I have used regular "house" kerosene heaters and dealt with the smell
with some scent you can buy at lowes.
My wife got me a couple of the radiant heaters in the Lee Valley catalog
and 2 have easily kept my 14x26 shop at 70 degrees even when it was below
freezing outside. The only down side to these I can see is that they
don't bring the temperature up quickly.
I have a propane fired torpedo heater capable of 100,000 BTU. Takes only
minutes to heat my shop (30x19). Once the temp is comfortable I only need to
fire it up every hour or so. I have it running off a 20lb LP tank and this
tank will last about a month at present usage. If I am in the shop 8 hours a
day 5 days a week.
This is a geographically large newsgroup. What's "cold" ? You need
to put a long-sleeved shirt on when you wander past the palm trees at
night ?, or you need to heat the shop to stop your fingers freezing to
the tablesaw ?
I'm in England. It gets down to freezing at worst. Any colder and I
give up. My workshed is uninsulated and has a roof of single layer
clear PVC (the worst thing about it).
My main problem is humidity and condensation, not cold. At night in
January I get indoor rain from the roof. At low temperatures it's hard
to dehumidify during the day, so I can't get humidity much below 80%.
My heating is a long-wavelength infrared heater - white ceramic plates
with no glow. Just 500W on the wall over the bench keeps me happy.
I'd like 1kW or 2kW if I get another heater. The heat from this is
dry, controllable, no fire hazard, and efficiently heats me without
heating the air.
Tool storage is in a heated cupboard. Steel "wardrobe" sized cabinet
with 25W of anti-condensation heating in the base.
This reminds me-- anyone using one of the electric radiant heaters
that Lee Valley and other sell for about $50? Like this:
I live in central MN and try to use the garage until the temps get
below zero. I have a kerosene heater that is nice to huddle over, but
it takes a few hours to warm the place up to 55 when it's really cold
out. I'm wondering if a radiant heater above my bench would allow me
to work (with warm hands) in conditions I currently cannot?
How cold does it get?
I'm in CT and use a propane heater, 30,000 Btu. It is good down to about
15 -20 degrees. Anything below that is just too cold for the power. Most
electric space heaters are in the 5,000 Btu range.
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