Mini Splits vs. Garage Heaters: What Should I Install in My Garage?

November 24, 2020

Your garage can be more than just a space to store your vehicles in Auburn. It can be a work space, offer added storage and more. But when you’re spending more time out there, it needs to be a cozy temperature.

Garages don’t often have the ductwork needed for common heating and cooling systems. While you can get ductwork, it’s not the most advantageous solution. The smartest method to heat your garage is by having a ductless comfort system, like a mini-split system or a garage heater.

Let’s go through the difference between the two to help you choose the best style for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is much like a heat pump as it transfers heat as opposed to generating it. This makes it an extremely energy-efficient heating and cooling system for areas that don’t have ductwork. These electric systems are often placed on a wall and joined to the outdoor unit through a little hole in the wall.

Even though a ductless mini-split is more expensive, many have earned ENERGY STAR® designation for their energy efficiency. They’re also extremely quiet and provide zoned comfort, which gives precise control over your garage’s climate.

Most mini-splits allow you to connect multiple indoor units to a single outdoor unit. If your garage is connected to your residence, you may be able to use added indoor units in spaces that are difficult to heat and cool.

What is a Garage Heater?

A garage heater is more than a space heater. This all-in-one heating solution is placed on the ceiling or the higher corner of a wall. Depending on the model, these heaters can run on electricity, gas or propane. They’re a great solution if you live in a northern climate and complete a lot of grubby dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and created to stand up to added grime.

Evaluating Top Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

We’ve created a useful guide to help you select the best system for your garage.


Garage heaters are the lowest-priced option. The average expense varies based on fuel type, but they’re usually about half the cost of a mini-split.

Operating Costs

Garage heaters are similar to a furnace, needing fuel to make hot air. A mini-split air conditioner is more similar to a heat pump, which moves heat. This makes a mini-split more efficient to operate. You’ll enjoy decreased heating and cooling costs if you choose an ENERGY STAR® certified model. And you may be eligible for extra rebates because of that energy efficiency.

Fuel Source

Garage heaters have the widest options for fuel sources—electricity, gas or propane. Mini-splits are electric.

Heating and Cooling

As its designation suggests, a garage heater is restricted to just providing heat. A ductless mini-split provides both heating and cooling.

Precise Temperature Control

When you are seeking the most precise temperature control, a mini-split heat pump is the best answer as it provides zoned heating and cooling. That way, your garage will be the right temperature you want it to be.

Space Considerations

Since garage heaters are often mounted on the ceiling, they can consume premium overhead storage area. In comparison, slim mini-split systems are often installed higher up on a wall and don’t need a lot of space.

If you’re still waffling between a garage heater and mini-split, the professionals Forster Heating can help. Reach us at 530-885-8081 right away to receive a free, no obligation estimate. We’ll discuss your needs, suggest a solution and get it installed rapidly, so you can begin enjoying your garage workspace much faster.