Skip advert
Advertisement

Best garage heaters 2024

Keep comfy for longer with these garage and workshop heaters

The need to look after your car doesn’t go away just because the weather has turned colder. But there’s no doubt that it’s more difficult to motivate yourself to get into the garage when numb fingers and cold concrete await.

It’s not just you who will feel chilly – products such as car waxes and paint might not be usable when the temperature drops. Running a heater might seem like a luxury, but it will be cheaper than having a ruined respray and will make you more productive as well as more comfortable.

Several are available, some powered by gas, paraffin and even diesel. But these need to be used in well ventilated spaces and can cause condensation – not ideal around rust-prone parts and tools. So here we focus on mains-powered heaters designed for smaller garages and the DIY motorist. Which one hit the hot spot?

How we tested them 

Using the heaters in a wood and brick single garage with a thinly insulated roof, we timed how long it took to raise the ambient temperature by 10 degrees C, from a finger-numbing five degrees to a far more comfortable 15. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

The thermometer was placed two metres from the heater and at height of one metre, because this is typical of your position when working on a car or at a bench. We took noise readings at the same point, and then the heaters were scored on their efficiency, adjustability, extra features, cable length and value.

Reviews

Erbauer BGP2108-25-1

  • Price: Around £45  
  • Power: 2.5kW
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Website: screwfix.com
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The winner from our last heater test retains its crown, even though the Dimplex beat it in our speed test. However, the 2.5kW output means the Erbauer still warmed our thermometer quickly, and the heater’s body has a tilt adjustment, making it easier to aim the stream of air where you need it most. 

The unit has two heat settings with a thermostat control to keep the garage at a constant temperature. There’s also a fan-only mode, which is surprisingly powerful and could be useful in summer too. We also like the handy hook to keep the 1.7 metre-long cable neatly wrapped.

Buy now from Screwfix.com

Dimplex Rugged Workshop Fan Heater

  • Price: Around £85  
  • Power: 3kW
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Website: dimplex.com

If you want a heater that you can use frequently and is built to last, then the sturdy steel-clad Dimplex could be worth the extra investment. With a 3kW maximum heat output, it was the fastest to heat our space, but we also really like the adjustability of the heat output and thermostat. This means you won’t need to keep turning it on and off to maintain a comfortable temperature. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

A frost mode also means it will keep the temperature above zero – perfect for protecting coolant systems and preventing pressure washers from freezing while you are not around. The only letdowns are a weedy-feeling fan and a short 1.5m cable.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Buy now from Argos.co.uk

Autojack 2KW Electric Ceramic Fan Heater

  • Price: Around £25 
  • Power: 2kW
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Website: amazon.co.uk

Because of the Autojack’s bargain price, we weren’t expecting much from this heater. But it turned out to be almost identical to the Sealey CH28 we tried in the last test – and that costs a whopping £71.94 compared with just £24.99 for the Autojack.

With just a 2kW output, this was never going to win the heat test, but it still did a decent job of warming our space and it was easy to direct the narrow blast of warmth where it was needed. The unit itself is compact, making it easy to store and move around, and it’s quiet too. Only the short 1.25m cable lets it down.

Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Clarke Devil 2850

Clarke’s heater is pitched at the higher end of our price range and has the power to justify it – only the Dimplex has more heating output. However, it wasn’t quite as fast as the winning Erbauer to heat our space to the target temperature, and it was noisier than the top three units too.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The tall, rectangular shape will make it easier to store than some of the rivals here though, and the steel shell makes it feel as though it’s built to last. Two power levels, a thermostat, and a summer fan option give you plenty of choice, but there’s no frost setting.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Buy now from Machinemart.co.uk

Screwfix PTC-2000

  • Price: Around £37  
  • Power: 2kW
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Website: screwfix.com

The PTC-2000 is laughably small when you compare it with its rivals here, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. The ceramic plates give almost instant heat in a steady, narrow stream, which means it’s ideal if you want the warmth localised in one area, such as under a bonnet. However, it’s not so effective at warming a larger space. 

We also like the generous 1.7m-long cable, but would appreciate a fan-only setting to make the heater useful in summer too. The PTC’s main issue is cost. A £7 price rise since our last test means it doesn’t look like great value compared with the Autojack.

Buy now from Screwfix.com

Tesco Fine Elements 2000W Flat Fan Heater

  • Price: £17  
  • Power: 2kW
  • Rating: 3 stars 
  • Website: tesco.com

Tesco’s heater blows its rivals away on price, but it is obviously less rugged than others that are specifically designed for garage work. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t use it occasionally for keeping you warm in the workshop, but you’ll need to be wary of damp conditions and condensation. Plus, rather than ceramic plates, it has exposed glowing elements, which aren’t as safe where there may be dust or vapours in the air either.

That’s a shame because it’s surprisingly good at heating. The unit can be stood upright or flat, is the quietest heater we tested, and even has a thermostatic control with a frost setting. It’d be great for use in a clean garage or showroom.

Buy now from Tesco

Verdict:

Any of these heaters will prevent numb knuckles and poor paintwork in your garage, but for the average DIY motorist it’s the Erbauer BGP2108-25-1 that takes the top spot in this test. It has the best combination here of performance, value and features. 

For more frequent users the Dimplex feels as though it will last longer and has the power to get bigger spaces warmer, faster. We love the frost setting too, but the price means it’s more of an investment. At the other end of the price scale is the genuinely surprising Autojack. It’s great value and performed well on test, so finishes in third place. 

  1. Erbauer BGP2108-25-1
  2. Dimplex Rugged Workshop Fan Heater
  3. Autojack 2KW Electric Ceramic Fan Heater

Spent time and the garage and have mucky hands? These are the best workshop hand cleaners you can buy...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind
Dacia Duster - tailgate
News

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind

The value brand’s new warranty is also available on used cars, as well as for existing Dacia customers
16 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month
Mercedes EQC - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month

Mercedes’s EQC showed that the German firm was serious about electric cars and it’s our Car Deal of the Day for Monday 15 April
15 Apr 2024
New BMW X3 prototype review: first impressions of next-gen mid-size SUV
BMW X3 prototype (camouflaged) - front tracking
Road tests

New BMW X3 prototype review: first impressions of next-gen mid-size SUV

The X3 is a BMW best-seller and we’ve taken an early drive of the new model that's about to take over that baton
14 Apr 2024