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

November 24, 2020

Your garage can be more than just a place to store your vehicles in Lodi. It can be a work space, give added storage and more. But when you’re working out there more often, it needs to be a comfortable temperature.

Garages don’t often have the ductwork required for regular heating and cooling systems. While you can install ductwork, it’s not the most economical option. The best approach to heat your garage is by using a ductless comfort system, like a mini-split system or a garage heater.

Let’s go through the difference between the two to help you discover the best option for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is close to a heat pump since it moves heat instead of generating it. This makes it a highly energy-efficient heating and cooling system for spaces that lack ductwork. These electric systems are typically put on a wall and joined to the outdoor unit through a tiny hole in the wall.

Though a ductless mini-split is higher priced, most have received ENERGY STAR® certification for their energy efficiency. They’re also very quiet and offer zoned comfort, which provides accurate control over your garage’s temp.

The majority of mini-splits allow you to link multiple indoor units to one outdoor unit. If your garage is part of your house, you might be able to have extra indoor units in spaces that are tricky to heat and cool.

What is a Garage Heater?

A garage heater isn’t a space heater. This all-encompassing heating solution is installed on the ceiling or the high corner of a wall. Depending on the model, these heaters can consume electricity, gas or propane. They’re a great choice if you reside in a northern climate and do a lot of dusty dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and made to stand up to added grime.

Evaluating Notable Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

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


Garage heaters are the most economical style. The estimated cost is different based on fuel type, but they’re usually about half the cost of a mini-split.

Operating Costs

Garage heaters work similarly to a furnace, using fuel to create heat. A mini-split air conditioner is more like a heat pump, which moves hot air. This makes a mini-split more efficient to use. You’ll have reduced utility costs if you choose an ENERGY STAR® certified model. And you could be entitled to added rebates as a result of that energy efficiency.

Fuel Source

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

Heating and Cooling

As its title suggests, a garage heater is restricted to just delivering heat. A ductless mini-split provides both heating and cooling.

Precise Temperature Control

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

Space Considerations

Since garage heaters are usually installed on the ceiling, they can take up valued overhead storage space. In comparison, space-saving mini-split systems are usually placed higher up on a wall and don’t require a lot of room.

If you’re still waffling between a garage heater and mini-split, the professionals Tokay Heating and Air Conditioning can help. Reach us at 209-257-3156 right away to get 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 quicker.