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 put your vehicles in Des Moines. It can be a workshop, offer 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 required for common heating and cooling systems. While you can install ductwork, it’s not the most cost-effective option. The wisest approach to heat your garage is by installing 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 find the best style for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is similar to a heat pump because it shifts heat as opposed to creating it. This makes it a very energy-efficient heating and cooling system for areas that don’t have ductwork. These electric systems are often put on a wall and connected to the outdoor unit through a little hole in the wall.

Though a ductless mini-split costs more, a lot have achieved ENERGY STAR® certification for their energy efficiency. They’re also highly quiet and provide zoned comfort, which offers exact control over your garage’s temp.

Most mini-splits allow you to connect more than one indoor unit to an individual outdoor unit. If your garage is adjacent to your residence, you could be able to install extra indoor units in rooms that are tricky to heat and cool.

What is a Garage Heater?

A garage heater isn’t a space heater. This comprehensive heating solution is installed on the ceiling or the higher corner of a wall. Depending on the model, these heaters can consume electricity, gas or propane. They’re a great choice if you are situated in a northern climate and perform a lot of dirty dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and designed to withstand additional grime.

Evaluating Top Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

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


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

Operating Costs

Garage heaters are similar to a furnace, needing fuel to create heat. A mini-split air conditioner is more like a heat pump, which transfers hot air. This makes a mini-split more efficient to operate. You’ll have even lower energy bills if you get an ENERGY STAR® certified model. And you may be entitled to additional 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 designation suggests, a garage heater is restricted to just offering heat. A ductless mini-split provides both heating and cooling.

Precise Temperature Control

When you want the most accurate temperature control, a mini-split heat pump is the best answer as 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 usually placed on the ceiling, they can take up valuable overhead storage area. In contrast, low-profile mini-split systems are typically put higher up on a wall and don’t have to have a lot of space.

If you’re still debating between a garage heater and mini-split, the professionals Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling can help. Reach us at 515-207-6569 right away to get a free, no obligation estimate. We’ll review your needs, suggest a solution and get it installed rapidly, so you can start enjoying your garage workspace much quicker.