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Mini Splits vs. Garage Heaters: What Should I Install in My Garage?

November 24, 2020

Your garage can be more than just an area to park your vehicles in San Jose. It can be a workshop, give added storage and more. But when you’re working out there more often, it needs to be a cozy temperature.

Garages don’t usually have the ductwork needed for standard heating and cooling systems. While you can add ductwork, it’s not the most economical option. The wisest way to heat your garage is by getting 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 choose the right option for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is much like a heat pump as it transfers heat as opposed to generating it. This makes it a highly energy-efficient heating and cooling system for spaces that don’t have ductwork. These electric systems are usually installed on a wall and linked to the outdoor unit through a small hole in the wall.

Though a ductless mini-split costs more, many have earned ENERGY STAR® recognition for their energy efficiency. They’re also highly quiet and offer zoned comfort, which provides precise control over your garage’s temp.

The majority of mini-splits allow you to join several indoor units to a single outdoor unit. If your garage is part of your residence, you might be able to use extra indoor units in areas that are difficult 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 installed on the ceiling or the higher corner of a wall. Depending on the model, these heaters can use electricity, gas or propane. They’re a great solution if you reside in a northern climate and do a lot of dirty dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and designed to withstand added grime.

Evaluating Top Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

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


Garage heaters are the most budget-friendly style. The estimated cost differs due to fuel type, but they’re frequently about half the cost of a mini-split.

Operating Costs

Garage heaters work similarly to a furnace, consuming fuel to make heat. A mini-split air conditioner is closer to a heat pump, which transfers warmth. This makes a mini-split more efficient to run. You’ll get even lower energy expenses if you select an ENERGY STAR® certified model. And you may be eligible for added rebates as a result of that energy efficiency.

Fuel Source

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

Heating and Cooling

As its name indicates, a garage heater only provides providing heat. A ductless mini-split delivers both heating and cooling.

Precise Temperature Control

When you are looking for the most exact temp control, a mini-split heat pump is the best answer because it delivers zoned heating and cooling. That way, your garage will be the exact temperature you want it to be.

Space Considerations

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

If you’re still debating between a garage heater and mini-split, the professionals American HVAC Inc can help. Reach us at 408-215-1018 today to request a free, no obligation estimate. We’ll go over your needs, recommend a solution and get it working fast, so you can start enjoying your garage workspace much sooner.