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

November 24, 2020

Your garage can be more than just an area to put your vehicles in Heflin. It can be a work space, provide additional storage and more. But when you’re out there more often, it needs to be a comfy temperature.

Garages don’t usually have the ductwork necessary for standard heating and cooling systems. While you can install ductwork, it’s not the most economical solution. The smartest way to heat your garage is by installing a ductless comfort system, like a mini-split system or a garage heater.

Let’s discuss the difference between the two to help you discover the ideal style for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is close to a heat pump since it shifts heat rather than making it. This makes it a very energy-efficient heating and cooling system for areas that don’t have ductwork. These electric systems are often put on a wall and linked to the outdoor unit through a tiny hole in the wall.

Even though a ductless mini-split is higher priced, most have achieved ENERGY STAR® certification for their energy efficiency. They’re also highly quiet and provide zoned comfort, which gives accurate control over your garage’s temperature.

Most mini-splits allow you to link several indoor units to an individual outdoor unit. If your garage is part of your residence, you may be able to use additional indoor units in rooms that are tricky to heat and cool.

What is a Garage Heater?

A garage heater is better than a space heater. This all-encompassing heating solution is placed on the ceiling or the higher corner of a wall. Depending on the model, these heaters can use electricity, gas or propane. They’re a great solution if you live in a northern climate and perform a lot of grubby dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and made to keep working through additional grime.

Evaluating Key Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

We’ve assembled a handy guide to help you pick the ideal system for your garage.


Garage heaters are the most economical option. The average cost varies because of fuel type, but they’re often about half the cost of a mini-split.

Operating Costs

Garage heaters are much like a furnace, using fuel to generate warmth. A mini-split air conditioner is more similar to a heat pump, which shifts hot air. This makes a mini-split more efficient to use. You’ll have even lower heating and cooling costs if you select an ENERGY STAR® certified model. And you may be eligible for extra rebates as a result of that energy efficiency.

Fuel Source

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

Heating and Cooling

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

Precise Temperature Control

When you want the most precise temperature control, a mini-split heat pump is the smartest answer since it delivers zoned heating and cooling. That way, your garage will be the right temperature you want it to be.

Space Considerations

Because garage heaters are usually installed on the ceiling, they can consume valuable overhead storage area. In contrast, low-profile mini-split systems are usually put higher up on a wall and don’t require a lot of real estate.

If you’re still deciding between a garage heater and mini-split, the professionals Bain Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc can help. Contact us at 256-270-1196 today to get a free, no obligation estimate. We’ll go over your needs, suggest a solution and get it working quickly, so you can get started enjoying your garage workspace much quicker.