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

November 24, 2020

Your garage can be more than just an area to store your vehicles in Carpentersville. It can be a workshop, provide extra storage and more. But when you’re spending more time out there, it needs to be a cozy temperature.

Garages don’t typically have the ductwork necessary for common heating and cooling systems. While you can get ductwork, it’s not the most cost-effective remedy. The best way to heat your garage is by having a ductless comfort system, like a mini-split system or a garage heater.

Let’s review the difference between the two to help you discover the right solution for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is close to a heat pump as it transfers heat rather than generating it. This makes it a very energy-efficient heating and cooling system for spaces 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.

Though a ductless mini-split is more expensive, many have achieved ENERGY STAR® certification for their energy efficiency. They’re also very quiet and offer zoned comfort, which gives accurate control over your garage’s climate.

Most mini-splits allow you to link multiple indoor units to a single outdoor unit. If your garage is adjacent to your home, you might be able to have additional indoor units in rooms that are hard 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 upper corner of a wall. Depending on the model, these heaters can run on electricity, gas or propane. They’re a great option if you live in a cold climate and complete a lot of grubby dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and made to stand up to extra grime.

Reviewing Key Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

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


Garage heaters are the most budget-friendly style. The typical cost differs because of fuel type, but they’re usually about half the cost of a mini-split.

Operating Costs

Garage heaters are similar to a furnace, consuming fuel to generate heat. A mini-split air conditioner is nearer to a heat pump, which shifts heat. This makes a mini-split more efficient to run. You’ll get decreased energy costs if you choose an ENERGY STAR® certified model. And you could be eligible for added rebates due to that energy efficiency.

Fuel Source

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

Heating and Cooling

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

Precise Temperature Control

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

Space Considerations

Because garage heaters are usually installed on the ceiling, they can eat up valued overhead storage area. On the other hand, space-saving mini-split systems are typically put higher up on a wall and don’t have to have a lot of room.

If you’re still deciding between a garage heater and mini-split, the professionals Controlled Comfort HVAC Inc can help. Reach us at 224-412-8308 now to request a free, no obligation estimate. We’ll discuss your needs, advise you on a solution and get it installed fast, so you can start enjoying your garage workspace much sooner.