Mini Splits vs. Garage Heaters: What Should I Get for My Garage?

November 24, 2020

Your garage can be more than just a space to park your vehicles in Arlington. It can be a workshop, offer extra storage and more. But when you’re out there more often, it needs to be a comfortable temperature.

Garages don’t often have the ductwork required for standard heating and cooling systems. While you can add ductwork, it’s not the most cost-effective solution. The best method to heat your garage is by having a ductless comfort system, like a mini-split system or a garage heater.

Let’s discuss the difference between the two to help you find the right option for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is close to a heat pump since it transfers heat as opposed to creating it. This makes it a very energy-efficient heating and cooling system for spaces without ductwork. These electric systems are typically placed on a wall and connected to the outdoor unit through a little hole in the wall.

Though a ductless mini-split is more expensive, many have earned ENERGY STAR® recognition for their energy efficiency. They’re also highly quiet and provide zoned comfort, which offers accurate control over your garage’s temperature.

Many mini-splits allow you to link several indoor units to one outdoor unit. If your garage is adjacent to your residence, you might be able to install 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-in-one heating solution is installed on the ceiling or the upper corner of a wall. Depending on the model, these heaters can use electricity, gas or propane. They’re a great choice if you reside in a chilly climate and complete a lot of dusty dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and created to keep working through additional grime.

Comparing Key Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you pick the best system for your garage.


Garage heaters are the most economical solution. The estimated cost varies based on fuel type, but they’re typically about half the cost of a mini-split.

Operating Costs

Garage heaters are similar to a furnace, needing fuel to create 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 enjoy even lower energy bills if you select an ENERGY STAR® certified model. And you could be entitled to added 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 indicates, a garage heater is limited to only delivering heat. A ductless mini-split offers both heating and cooling.

Precise Temperature Control

When you are seeking the most precise temp control, a mini-split heat pump is the wisest solution because it provides zoned heating and cooling. That way, your garage will be just the temperature you want it to be.

Space Considerations

As garage heaters are often mounted on the ceiling, they can consume valuable overhead storage area. In comparison, low-profile mini-split systems are typically put higher up on a wall and don’t need a lot of room.

If you’re still deciding between a garage heater and mini-split, the pros Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Call us at 360-255-5857 today to request a free, no obligation estimate. We’ll go over your needs, recommend a solution and get it installed rapidly, so you can begin enjoying your garage workspace much faster.