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

November 24, 2020

Your garage can be more than just a space to put your vehicles in Crystal and Twin Cities. It can be a workshop, provide extra storage and more. But when you’re spending more time out there, it needs to be a comfortable temperature.

Garages don’t typically have the ductwork required for standard heating and cooling systems. While you can get ductwork, it’s not the most cost-effective solution. The best 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 find the ideal solution for your needs.

What is a Mini-Split?

A mini-split is close to a heat pump because it shifts heat rather than generating it. This makes it a very energy-efficient heating and cooling system for spaces without ductwork. These electric systems are often put on a wall and joined to the outdoor unit through a tiny hole in the wall.

Although a ductless mini-split costs more, most have earned ENERGY STAR® certification for their energy efficiency. They’re also highly quiet and offer zoned comfort, which gives exact control over your garage’s temperature.

Most mini-splits allow you to connect several indoor units to an individual outdoor unit. If your garage is adjacent to your residence, you may be able to install extra indoor units in spaces 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 mounted 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 are situated in a cold climate and do a lot of grubby dirty work. Garage heaters are heavy-duty and created to stand up to additional grime.

Reviewing Top Features of Garage Heaters and Mini-Splits

We’ve put together a useful guide to help you choose the best system for your garage.


Garage heaters are the lowest-priced option. The typical cost is different due to fuel type, but they’re frequently about half the cost of a mini-split.

Operating Costs

Garage heaters are similar to a furnace, using fuel to create warmth. A mini-split air conditioner is more similar to a heat pump, which transfers heat. This makes a mini-split more efficient to run. You’ll get even lower energy expenses if you get 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 broadest options for fuel kinds—electricity, gas or propane. Mini-splits are electric.

Heating and Cooling

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

Precise Temperature Control

When you want the most exact comfort control, a mini-split heat pump is the smartest solution as it offers 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 eat up premium overhead storage space. In comparison, low-profile mini-split systems are usually installed higher up on a wall and don’t have to have a lot of real estate.

If you’re still waffling between a garage heater and mini-split, the pros GV Heating & Air can help. Contact us at 763-535-2000 right away to receive a free, no obligation estimate. We’ll review your needs, suggest a solution and get it put in rapidly, so you can begin enjoying your garage workspace much faster.