Our Top 5 Quietest Propane Heaters for Garage: Noise & Efficiency Review

Choosing the quietest propane heater for somewhere like a garage requires the right balance of heat output and noise emissions. After all, there’s little point in choosing a silent propane heater if it can’t warm up your room!

In this article, I cover my top picks for the quietest propane heater. Consider this a follow-up to my more general article on the best quiet garage heaters. I recommend checking that out to understand the different types of heaters and which is best for you.

Before jumping into my top picks for propane heaters, let’s discuss noise levels.

Are Propane Heaters Noisy?

Propane heaters can be divided into 2 broad categories: radiant (or passive) and forced air (or active). Radiant propane heaters range in noise output from 40dB to around 60dB. Forced air heaters, however, start around 50dB.

For a real-world comparison, 40dB is equivalent to someone whispering 2m away, while 50dB is equivalent to a quiet library. 60dB is the same as a normal conversation. Granted, this still isn’t that loud, but it’s bordering on a distracting level of noise.

The bottom line is that propane heaters aren’t noisier than other heating methods (such as gas or electric). To consider a propane heater to be quiet, we’ll aim for a maximum noise output of 50dB or so.

Our 5 Best Quiet Propane Heaters

In my reviews below, I consider noise output and heating capacity as the main factors. There won’t be many dB ratings as most of my picks are radiant models. Of course, we must also think about energy efficiency and usability to come up with the best picks.

Top Pick: Mr. Heater Radiant MH540T Propane Garage Heater

  • Heat. Cap: 45,000 BTU
  • Fuel consumption:
    • 1.43 lbs/hr (min)
    • 2.10 lbs/hr (max)
  • Run time:
    • 14 hrs, for 20lbs (low)
    • 9.5 hrs, for 20lbs (high)
  • Heat settings: 3 (30,000 / 36,000 / 45,000 BTU)
  • Heater type: Propane – Radiation
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs.

The Mr. Heater Radiant Propane Heater is my top pick because it’s powerful, functional, and quiet. Its highest setting is 45,000 BTU, but you can set it at 30,000 or 36,000 too. 30,000 BTU will comfortably heat a 1,000 sq. ft. garage, so you should need to go above the lowest setting.

It’s a sunflower heater, meaning it’s a rotating, circular heater that connects directly to the top of a propane tank. You can hook it up to anything from a 1lb. to a 100lb. tank, giving you loads of flexibility over run time. With a 20lb. propane tank, you could carry it around and you’ll still get 9.5 hours of runtime on high.

The MH450T is a radiant heater, meaning it doesn’t have a fan fitted. Although it’ll warm a room more slowly than a forced air heater, it’s much quieter. We don’t have an explicit decibel rating, but users state it’s quiet. The only sound you should hear is the quiet burning of the propane.

It’s easy to set up and use. You connect it directly to the propane cylinder and it has a push button starter. Then, turn the head to where you need it, crank the dial to change the output, and you’re done. The lack of electricity and its simplicity mean there’s very little that can go wrong.

Some users report it’s not very effective in the wind, as the flame can blow out quite easily. Unlike other heaters, it’s not protected by any kind of casing. In theory, this shouldn’t matter for us if we’re heating a garage. But if you do plan to use it outside, just make sure you shelter it against a wall.


PROs
  • Really easy to use.
  • High heat output.
  • Relatively energy efficient.
CONs
  • Not great when used outdoors.

Top Budget Pick: Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX

  • Heat. Cap: 9,000 BTU
  • Fuel consumption:
    • 0.19 lbs/hr (min)
    • 0.42 lbs/hr (max)
  • Run time:
    • 5.4 hrs, for 1lbs (low)
    • 2.4 hrs, for 1lbs (high)
  • Heat settings: 2 (4,000 / 9,000)
  • Heater type: Propane – Radiation
  • Weight: 9 lbs.

The MH9BX is essentially a camping propane heater, but it’s perfectly suited to warming a garage too. With a maximum BTU of 9,000, it can heat rooms up to 225 sq. ft. in size. At its lowest setting (4,000 BTU), it has a maximum run time of 5.4 hours. On high, this drops to 2.4 hours.

This is because it runs on 1lb. propane cylinders, which obviously don’t have great capacity. However, you can connect it to a 20lb. tank with an optional adapter, as this video demonstrates. Doing so will obviously give you a far greater run time.

One benefit of this heater is that it’s very compact, making it easy to store. It also only weighs 9lb. (excluding propane tank), so you should be able to cram it in a cupboard during the warmer months.

The heater comes with all the safety features you’d expect, such as tip-over protection, wire heater guard, and oxygen depletion sensor. It’s perfectly safe for indoor use, and it’s also portable enough to take camping or to outdoor events.

Some users state that its piezo ignition is a bit temperamental. Others state that its base isn’t well insulated, so it warms the floor underneath. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to ensure it’s on a non-flammable surface. Also, if you don’t want to connect it to a larger tank and are happy to spend a bit more, the Mr. Heater F274800 is the bigger version.


PROs
  • Surprising heating for a small propane heater.
  • Users state it’s very quiet.
  • Can be connected to a larger propane cylinder for greater run time.
CONs
  • Ignition can be a bit temperamental.

Best Forced Air Heater: Bilt Hard 125,000 BTU Propane Heater

  • Heat. Cap: 125,000 BTU
  • Fuel consumption:
    • 3.63 lbs/hr (min)
    • 5.71 lbs/hr (max)
  • Run time:
    • 5.5 hrs, for 20lbs (low)
    • 3.5 hrs, for 20lbs (high)
  • Heat settings: 2 (75,000 / 125,000)
  • Heater type: Propane – Forced air
  • Weight: 16.7 lbs.

The Bilt Hard propane heater is an impressively powerful yet compact model. It’s 19” long and 13.6” high but has a maximum heat output of 125,000 BTU. This makes it suitable for spaces up to 3,125 sq. ft.

Its lowest setting is 75,000 BTU, meaning it still kicks out some serious power at this level. If you want a slightly less powerful model, the 85,000 BTU one drops down to 50,000 BTU. Forced air heaters always have a higher BTU, so you won’t find one much lower than this.

Although we don’t have a specific decibel level, users rate it highly for its noise output. It will be louder than a radiant heater because it’s pushing out air, but this model is relatively quiet for what it does.

It requires a 120V power source for its ignition, but this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. You’re advised to use a 20lb. tank at minimum, which should give you 5.5 hours of run time on low and 3.5 hours on high. Again, forced air heaters are less efficient than radiant heaters. This won’t come as much of a surprise when you see (and feel) one in action!

One downside is that its power cord is quite short, so you’ll likely need an extension cable. Also, it doesn’t have an on/off button, so you need to turn off the propane intake instead. It’s not a massive deal but is a noticeable usability point.


PROs
  • High heat output for a compact design.
  • Quiet for a forced air heater.
  • Designed for use on jobsites – rugged construction.
CONs
  • No on/off switch.
  • Power cord is quite short.

Best for Small Workshops: Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B

  • Heat. Cap: 3,800 BTU
  • Fuel consumption:
    • 0.18 lbs/hr
  • Run time:
    • 5.6 hrs, for 1lbs
  • Heat settings: None
  • Heater type: Propane – Radiation
  • Weight: 5.85 lbs.

The MH4B is basically a mini version of my top pick propane heater. It’s the same sunflower design but has a maximum output of 3,800 BTU. This means it’s only rated for spaces up to 95 sq. ft., hence why it’s my pick for keeping a small garage warm. But it also means it’d work as a camping heater, as it doesn’t need electrical power.

It connects to 1lb. propane tanks and provides a run time of up to 5.6 hours. Unlike the others, it doesn’t have adjustable settings – it’s either on or off. This isn’t a massive issue, as you can control it manually using a switch. However, it does offer less flexibility over heat output.

Again, it has the safety features you’d expect, like oxygen depletion detection and tip-over protection. Also, there’s an 8” base that you slot onto the propane tank. This provides more stability, although some users state it doesn’t connect securely. As such, it falls off if you lift the heater up.

Overall, there’s not much else to say about this model. It’s generally functional and does what you need a heater to do. It’s pretty quiet because it’s a radiant heater, and while it’s not loaded with functions, it’s fairly user-friendly. You could use its handle to turn it into a wall mounted propane heater, but it’s small enough to sit on a table instead.


PROs
  • Compact heater for smaller garages and workshops.
  • 5.6 hours of runtime on a 1lb. tank.
  • Easy to use.
CONs
  • No adjustable heat settings.

Best Portable Model: Gasland MHA18B Propane Heater

  • Heat. Cap: 18,000 BTU
  • Fuel consumption:
    • 0.29 lbs/hr (min)
    • 1 lbs/hr (max)
  • Run time:
    • 69 hrs, for 20lbs (low)
    • 20 hrs, for 20lbs (high)
  • Heat settings: 3 (6,000 / 12,000 / 18,000)
  • Heater type: Propane – Radiant
  • Weight: 17 lbs.

Although most of the models so far are portable, the Gasland MHA18B wins the title of the best portable heater because it’s on wheels. At around 17lbs, it’s the heaviest model listed so far, so the wheels are an obvious help.

The maximum heat output is 18,000 BTU, which is suitable for garages up to 450 sq. ft. It has 2 other heat settings: 6,000 and 12,000 BTU. Connected to a 20lb. propane tank, it’ll provide up to 69 hours of run time on its lowest setting or around 20 hours on high.

Because it’s a radiant heater, it’s about as quiet as you can get for a propane heater. We don’t have an explicit decibel rating unfortunately, but it’s a reasonable assumption because it doesn’t have a blower.

A helpful feature is that it doesn’t require electricity, as it’s run off a piezo ignition. This means you can put it anywhere in your garage without having to worry about extension cables. Of course, there’s still the propane hose but, at 15.7”, it’s not really long enough to get in the way.

Some users mention that its heat output isn’t very strong. When it’s really cold, you need to be within 5ft. to actually feel it. This isn’t unique to this propane heater, as it’s something you’ll notice with all radiant heaters. However, if you’re concerned this might be a problem, go with a more powerful model.


PROs
  • Casters make it easy to move around.
  • High run time on its lowest setting.
  • Easy to set up and use.
CONs
  • Heat output doesn’t feel very strong.

What Matters in a Quiet Propane Heater

When it comes to choosing the best propane heater for your garage, there are quite a few factors you must consider. Here are the most important ones to help you make an informed decision.

Heater Type

Within the overall bracket of propane heaters, there are 3 types to consider. These are:

  • Radiant. Radiant heaters heat a surface, which then radiates the heat into a room. For example, the heater might have a ceramic plate to absorb and then radiate the heat energy.
  • Natural convection. These heaters warm surrounding air and use natural convection currents to distribute heat energy.
  • Forced convection. Also called forced air heaters, these models use a fan to circulate warm air around a space, essentially forcing convection.

But which is right for your needs? Well, it ultimately depends on room size, noise level and desired energy efficiency.

Natural convection heaters are the least efficient because air isn’t a great transmitter of heat. 

Radiant heaters are marginally better because they generate infrared, which is then projected onto a larger surface that either directly reflects infrared or absorbs and emits it. The ability to reflect, absorb and emit is measured by the emissivity of the material. The real deal with thermal radiation is that it doesn’t require a medium to travel, unlike, say, convection, which requires air.

Both natural convection and radiant types are as quiet as you’ll get for a propane heater.

Forced convection heaters are the loudest but also the most powerful because they have a fan that forces convection. They usually have much higher BTU outputs, making them better for large garages. However, they’re often also the least fuel efficient.

Generally, a radiant heater is the best choice because it balances energy efficiency, noise output, and heating power. All but the forced-air propane heater on this list are radiant heaters.

Heat Output

We measure a heater’s power (or heat output) in BTUs. This stands for British Thermal Unit, and is commonly used for devices that change the temperature in a space. While there isn’t a standard correlation between room size and BTU requirement, there are calculators that can give you a rough idea.

Along with room measurements, BTU calculators consider potential sources of heat loss. These include floor type, level of wall insulation, and window thickness. In a garage, you might only have concrete walls and floors and no insulation.

As such, your best bet is to use a calculator that factors this in. Alternatively, choose a heater with a BTU output significantly higher than your room’s square footage. The sizes given on selling pages typically consider well-insulated rooms with minimal heat loss.

For example, if your garage is 250 sq. ft. with concrete walls and floor, consider a heater with an output of 18,000 BTU. This is suitable for a 450 sq. ft. room, and the heat settings should give you enough flexibility.

Noise Levels

There’s not much else to say about noise levels. As you might have noticed above, very few manufacturers state an explicit decibel rating for their propane heaters. On the one hand, this can make choosing a suitable model quite difficult.

But on the other hand, it doesn’t make a massive difference. Radiant heaters will be the quietest. The only noise you should hear is the combustion of propane, which is a low-level hissing sound. It should sit around 40-50dB.

Forced air heaters are louder because they feature blowers (fans). Any device that moves air will make noise; there’s not much we can do about that. But the fans are usually small, so it won’t be an unreasonable level of noise.

Heat Settings

Ideally, your chosen propane heater will have 3 settings, as this is a good level of flexibility. Typically, they equate to around 33%, 66% and 100% of potential output. For example, the Gasland MHA18B’s settings are 6,000, 12,000 and 18,000 BTU.

However, some models will only have 2 settings, where low equates to around 40-50% of the maximum heat output. For example, the MH9BX’s settings are 4,000 and 9,000 BTU, making the low setting around 44%.

These aren’t set percentages, as there can be considerable variation. But the bottom line is that more settings mean more flexibility, although a decent gap between high and low is a fair compromise.

Energy Efficiency

The fuel efficiency of a standard propane heater can be up to 99% depending on the build quality, connection, and other factors. We can calculate the exact fuel efficiency of each propane heater using 2 measurements. First, we need the maximum BTU output. Second, we need the unit’s kWh output, which we get by dividing the BTU by 3,412 (1kWh is equivalent to 3,412 BTU).

In a table, it looks like this:

Heater ModelBTUkWhAverage Fuel Price (US$/lb.)Fuel Rate (lbs. per hour)Fuel Efficiency (lbs. per kW)
Mr. Heater Radiant MH540T45,00013.10.82.100.16
Mr. HeaterMH9BX9,0002.60.80.400.16
Bilt Hard125,00036.60.85.700.16
Mr. HeaterMH4B3,8001.10.80.180.16
Gasland MHA18B18,0005.20.81.000.19
Cost efficiency comparison

As you can see, all the propane heaters have a comparable level of fuel efficiency. The Gasland is the least efficient, but only by a small margin. An efficient propane heater should be able to run for 15-20 hours on a 20lb. tank.

We should also factor in cost efficiency, as propane is a fuel source you’ll need to replace. This is less directly comparable, of course, as the heaters use different tank sizes. Generally speaking, something like the Mr. Heater MH9BX connected to a 20lb. propane gas tank will be the most cost-efficient.

A propane heater is more efficient than a natural gas heater. Plus, propane heaters have the benefit of being “green” fuel, whereas natural gas heaters aren’t. An electric heater is arguably the most fuel-efficient, but also the most expensive to run.

Installation and Setup

None of the models I’ve featured on this list is “fixed” in the traditional sense. Unlike electric heaters, which may be wall- or ceiling-mounted, these propane heaters are freestanding. The level of portability, though, depends on the size of the propane cylinder you attach.

A larger model with wheels (such as the Gasland) is easy to move around a garage. However, something like the MH540T is arguably easier, as it just screws onto the top of the propane tank. Provided you can lift a 20lb. propane tank, you can move it around your garage. Alternatively, you could put the tank on a trolley for easier movement.

Setup typically consists of screwing the heater’s hose onto a propane tank, or the tank directly into the heater. It’s not super difficult, but you obviously want to ensure the connection is tight and isn’t leaking. All the models I’ve listed above are about as easy as a propane heater can be to set up.

Safety

Propane can be a dangerous fuel source if not handled correctly. Heaters will have the following 3 safety features as a minimum to reduce the risk of fire and injury:

Protective Grille

This is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a grille that covers the heating element to make it harder to touch. It also means that if the heater falls over, the element won’t come into direct contact with a flammable surface.

Tip-Over Protection

Again, an easily understandable feature. It’s a switch that detects a change in the unit’s vertical axis. Once it reaches a certain angle, it cuts the circuit, turning the heater off. When it’s upright again, you can turn it back on.

Oxygen Depletion Detection

Unsurprisingly, this detects when oxygen levels in the room drop below a certain amount (typically 18%). If it reaches that point, the gas valve is closed to turn the unit off.

Note, though, that it’s not the same as a carbon monoxide detector. If you plan to use a propane heater indoors without appropriate ventilation, it’s vital that you install a CO detector.

Ignition and Other Features

Most propane heaters use a piezo ignition. Simply put, it’s a button that you press to create an electrical charge, which ignites the heater. It’s the same thing you’ll find on an electric cigarette lighter.

The advantage of this is that it doesn’t require an external power source. Some models do, such as the Bilt Hard force air heater.

It’s a compromise between flexibility and reliability. A piezo ignition gives more freedom for portability, whereas a mains-powered ignition is more reliable. There’s not much more to it than that.

As for extra features, you’re not overwhelmed with options. Some include:

  • Cylinder adapter, allowing you to connect larger propane tanks.
  • Carrying handle.
  • Wall bracket for mounting the heater on the wall.
  • Remote control, allowing for remote ignition.

Related Propane Heaters Questions (FAQ)

Are propane heaters OK for indoor use?

Propane heaters are OK for indoor use, provided you’re safe. Make sure the BTU rating is appropriate for your space and that the unit has low oxygen detection. Also, make sure you have a separate CO detector installed in the room, and that you can ventilate if necessary.

Are propane heaters good for a garage?

Propane heaters are a good choice for garages. They generally don’t need mains connectivity (for fuel or electricity), making them ideal for buildings not connected to your main home. Also, they’re easily portable and can have very high heat output.

Is there a quiet propane forced air heater?

A propane forced air heater is one of the loudest types of heaters, but it’s still not that loud. However, if you want a heater with a fan that’s quieter, an electric or gas heater will be a better choice. Both usually top out at around 60dB.

Final Thoughts on Quiet Propane Heaters

I hope this article has helped you narrow down your options for the best propane heaters for your garage.

My top pick is the Mr. Heater Radiant MH540T Propane Heater. It’s functional, inexpensive, and quiet, and has some serious heating power.

What do you use to heat your garage in the winter? I’d love to hear your recommendations below.

Ludovic
Ludovic
Ludovic uses his technical experience as a Mechanical Engineer to compile Soundproofing DIY guides. You’ll often find him breaking down complex topics to make it clearer for others. He also finds inspiration in sharing mindful habits.

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