Can You Use A Patio Heater In A Garage?

Need to work in your garage during the winter, but can’t prevent that chill from settling in? Patio heaters can be used in your garage, but there are safety precautions that you have to consider. In this post, we’ll tackle the question of whether you can use a patio heater in a garage.

Is it Safe to Use a Patio Heater in the Garage?

Is it Safe to Use a Patio Heater in the Garage

If you are wanting or needing to work in your garage in the winter, it can sometimes be safe (and even prudent) to use a patio heater in your garage.

However, you must heed proper safety precautions if you are going to do so. There are a lot of factors that go into ensuring your safety and others’ safety if you are going to use this type of heater in your garage space. 

You’ll want to consider a number of factors – for example, the type of heater you buy (natural gas, propane, electric, etc), the size of your garage, the size of your heater, and other variables all must be considered before you purchase and install the heater.

Let’s take a look at some of these variables more in-depth. Do as much research about your propane heater ahead of time so that you make the right decision – you can find information online as well as by talking to a local HVAC specialist. 

Here is an informative video on testing a propane patio heater in a garage:

Can You Use A Patio Heater in The Garage With Door Open? 

You not only can open your garage door when using a patio heater, but we highly recommend that you do – especially if you are using a propane or natural gas heater. 

Because propane and natural gas heaters emit a relatively steady stream of CO2, you need proper air ventilation during the entire time you have the heater on. 

Natural gas, specifically, contains gasses such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric oxide that can be fatal if breathed in for long periods. 

It’s recommended that you purchase a carbon monoxide alert system as well as an oxygen level reader to make sure that your space is as safe as possible. 

Not only that, but you should keep the garage door open with electrical heaters as well just in case there is a technical malfunction and you need to allow proper airflow. This can be done to prevent any fires or hazardous material from harming you. 

What Are the Risks of Using a Patio Heater in the Garage? 

We briefly touched base on a couple of hazards that can aries when using a patio heater in a garage. Now, let’s take a closer look. 

Harmful Gases

As stated previously, propane and natural gas heaters require certain gases to leak heat into a room. These gasses are harmful to inhale, so make sure to purchase that carbon monoxide alarm and oxygen level reader, especially if you are doing laborious work in the garage. 

When we work harder, we naturally exhale more CO2 into the air. So, when we are breathing heavily in addition to the CO2 emitting from the heater, our risk of poisoning is even higher. Therefore, it is important to keep that garage door open at all times when working in the garage while a heater is running. 


All kinds of heaters have flammable warnings. It is important to remove all flammable material, plants, and pressurized containers at least three feet or more away from the heater. In addition, you must place your heater on a non-combustible surface. 

Since most heat registers sit at the bottom of a unit, the surface you place it on needs to be cleared and also be mostly inflammable.

Possible Leaks

Propane and natural gas heaters need fuel in order to function. Therefore, it is possible for the hoses and valves to leak if the unit is not properly maintained and is not certified. If you are thinking of purchasing a heater that uses these forms of fuel, conduct regular checks on the hose and valves to make sure there are no leaks. 

Of course, you can always contact a professional to come out and evaluate the condition of your heater, too

Kids and Pets

No matter the kind of heater you get, they all reach extremely hot temperatures with ease. Make sure you keep these heaters out of the reach of children and pets so that they don’t get injured. 

What Kind of Heater is Best for the Garage? Alternatives to a Propane Heater in Garage

What Kind of Heater is Best for the Garage

There are different models of heaters for you to consider. For example, ther’s the freestanding heater where the heating unit is at the base, a pole, and a dome at the top to disperse the heat. You can also get wall mounted heaters as a safer alternative. There are also smaller options such as tabletop haters and infrared heaters.

For your garage, the safest options would either be a portable heater or a wall mounted heater.

The portable heaters take up less space, are easier to maintain, and do not have as much of those gasses as the freestanding or mounted ones (talking about propane or natural gas). Plus, portable heaters still heat a healthy amount of space despite their smaller size. 

Wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted heaters are also a good alternative because there is less risk of materials catching fire. They, too, produce a good amount of heat considering their size. 

In addition to these models, ceramic or electric heaters are most likely the safest to use for your garage. 

Ceramic heaters work similarly to a forced fan heater except, instead of a fan pushing the heat out, the heat is pushed through a heating element. This produces warmer heat and covers a good amount of space. Here is some more information on ceramic heating materials.

Above all, it is worthwhile to purchase a heater with built-in safety features. For example, some heaters come with an automatic turn-off switch when the unit is moved or tipped.

Additionally, some come with their own carbon monoxide readers. These extra features won’t hurt when looking for a heater to purchase.

Can You Use a Portable Propane Heater in a Garage?

You can use a portable propane heater in your garage, but the same rules apply. Make sure that the portable propane heater is certified, is in a non-combustible area, and that it is operating with sufficient ventilation. 

Portable heaters are safer than larger ones, for the most part, but still it is important to make sure that your garage door remains open and you keep it out of reach of children and pets.

How Much Ventilation Do You Need for a Propane Heater?

This depends on the size of your garage and the amount of heat the heater puts out per square foot. 

On average, however, if the space is three feet for every 100,000 BTU/Hr, you 100% need open-air ventilation. 

Here is an article addressing what BTUs are and how to measure them according to your space and heater.

What is the Best Heater for a Garage? 

Each type of heater does a fantastic job of warming the area around you and allowing you to work comfortably without the cold biting at your skin. If you work in the garage during the winter, it is worth it to invest in a quality, safe portable heater. 

Try to avoid propane and natural gas heaters if possible. Because these heaters require specific gasses to operate, it could be dangerous to have in an enclosed space if you do not take the proper precautions.

That being said, an electric or ceramic portable heater would be the best, safest option without compromising on the amount of heat you desire. 

Alongside the kind of heater, the wall/ceiling mount of space heater varieties are the best. They stay out of your way and are safer. You’ll still need to take the precautions listed above, but you can rest easier.

Now that you know which heater is best for your garage, it’s time to start looking for the right one! Spend some time measuring out the square footage of your garage and try to find a heater with those safety installations. Stay warm – and stay safe. 

1 thought on “Can You Use A Patio Heater In A Garage?”

  1. I recommend using a portable heater in a garage, if it is a small area. You can easily find it on Amazon or any shop.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Garage DIY Ideas

6022 S Drexel Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Amazon Disclaimer

Garage DIY Ideas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Garage DIY Ideas does not intend to provide any health related advice, and the content on this blog is not a substitute for medical guidance you may seek. For more information, please read our PRIVACY POLICY.