Greenhouse Heater: The Best Type of Heater for Your Greenhouse

A greenhouse heater is essential for maintaining the optimal temperature for plant growth, especially during colder months. It plays a vital role in extending your growing season, ensuring that your plants are protected from temperature fluctuations that could harm them.

Choosing the right greenhouse heater can be a daunting task given the variety of options available. The purpose of this article is to guide you through the process. We’ll discuss the different types of heaters, factors to consider when choosing one, and safety precautions to keep in mind. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision for your greenhouse’s heating needs.

Why Do You Need a Greenhouse Heater?

So, you’ve got your greenhouse set up, and you’re excited to start growing all sorts of plants. But wait, have you thought about heating? A heater isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity if you’re serious about gardening. Let’s break down why.

Extending the Growing Season

First off, a greenhouse heater can extend your growing season. Imagine being able to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, or even some exotic plants year-round. Sounds great, right? With a reliable greenhouse heater, you can maintain the ideal temperature for your plants even when it’s snowing outside. This means you can grow crops that would otherwise be impossible to cultivate during certain seasons.

Temperature Regulation

Now, let’s talk about temperature regulation. A heater helps maintain a consistent temperature, ensuring your plants are always in their comfort zone. This is especially important during the night when temperatures can drop dramatically. A sudden chill can stress your plants, leading to slower growth or even disease.

The Consequences of Poor Heating

So, what happens if you skimp on heating or, worse, don’t have a greenhouse heater at all? Here are some potential pitfalls:

  • Stunted Growth: Without adequate heat, your plants won’t grow to their full potential. You’ll notice slower growth rates and reduced yields.
  • Increased Susceptibility to Diseases: Cold-stressed plants are more susceptible to diseases. You might find yourself dealing with mold, mildew, or other unwanted guests.
  • Limited Plant Varieties: Without a greenhouse heater, you’re restricted to growing only those plants that can survive in your local climate year-round. Say goodbye to those tropical beauties you’ve been eyeing.

In summary, a greenhouse heater is more than just a nice-to-have; it’s essential for anyone looking to make the most out of their greenhouse. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional grower, the right heater can make all the difference in your gardening success. So, are you ready to make an informed choice? Keep reading to find out how.

Types of Greenhouse Heaters

Alright, now that we’ve established why you absolutely need a heater, let’s get into the nitty-gritty: the types of heaters you can choose from.

Electric Greenhouse Heaters

First up, we have electric greenhouse heaters, the plug-and-play option that many people find convenient.


  • Easy to install: Just plug it in, and you’re good to go.
  • Clean: No fumes or emissions to worry about.
  • Precise temperature control: Many models come with thermostats.


  • Can be expensive to run: Your electricity bill might give you a shock.
  • Limited heating capacity: Might not be sufficient for very large greenhouses.

So, if you have a smaller greenhouse and easy access to electrical outlets, this could be the way to go. But keep an eye on that electricity bill!

Gas Greenhouse Heaters

Next, let’s talk about gas greenhouse heaters. These bad boys can really crank up the heat and are often used in larger, commercial greenhouses.


  • Powerful: Can heat larger spaces efficiently.
  • Cost-effective: Natural gas or propane can be cheaper than electricity.


  • Installation: You’ll likely need a professional to set it up.
  • Emissions: You’ll need good ventilation to handle the fumes.

If you’ve got a big greenhouse and you’re serious about this gardening thing, a gas heater might be your best bet. Just make sure you’ve got the ventilation to handle it.

Infrared Greenhouse Heaters

Last but not least, let’s consider infrared greenhouse heaters. These are the high-tech members of the greenhouse heater family.


  • Energy-efficient: They heat objects, not air, making them super efficient.
  • Even heating: Provides a consistent temperature throughout the greenhouse.


  • Pricey: Initial costs can be higher than other types.
  • Complexity: May require a bit of a learning curve to use effectively.

Infrared heaters are the new kids on the block, but they’re gaining popularity fast. If you’re looking for something that’s efficient and provides even heating, this could be the heater for you.

How to Choose the Best Greenhouse Heater

Okay, we’ve covered why you need a greenhouse heater and what types are out there. Now comes the question: How do you choose the best greenhouse heater for your specific needs? It’s not just about picking the one with the shiniest features; you’ve got to consider a few key factors.

Size of the Greenhouse

First things first, how big is your greenhouse? The size will significantly impact the type of greenhouse heater you should go for.

  • Small Greenhouses: If you’re working with a smaller space, an electric heater might be all you need. They’re easier to install and usually provide enough heat for confined areas.
  • Large Greenhouses: For those of you with more expansive greenhouses, a gas heater could be a better fit. They’re more powerful and can efficiently heat larger spaces.

So, measure your greenhouse and calculate the volume. Many greenhouse heater models will indicate the amount of space they can effectively heat. Match this with your greenhouse size, and you’re on the right track.

large heater in a large greenhouse

Climate and Weather Conditions

Where you live also plays a big role in your choice. Are your winters mild or more like a scene from “Game of Thrones”?

  • Mild Climates: If you’re in a milder climate, you might not need a super-powerful greenhouse heater. An electric or even an infrared heater could do the trick.
  • Harsh Climates: If winter in your area means business, you’ll need a heater that can stand up to the cold. A gas heater is often the go-to choice for these conditions.

Energy Efficiency

Last but definitely not least, let’s talk about energy efficiency. We all want to do our part for the planet, and choosing an energy-efficient greenhouse heater is a step in the right direction.

  • Look for Energy Ratings: Many heaters come with energy-efficiency ratings. The higher the rating, the less it’ll cost you in the long run.
  • Consider Infrared: As mentioned earlier, infrared heaters are pretty efficient because they heat objects, not air. This can be a more energy-efficient option.
  • Check for a Thermostat: A built-in thermostat can help maintain a consistent temperature without wasting energy.

In summary, the best greenhouse heater for you will depend on the size of your greenhouse, your local climate, and your energy efficiency needs. Keep these factors in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to making a choice you’re happy with.

Greenhouse Heater Safety Tips

Alright, you’re almost ready to go out and grab that perfect greenhouse heater. But before you do, let’s talk safety. Because let’s face it, a heater is still a machine that generates heat, and if not used correctly, it can pose some risks. So, what should you keep in mind?

Proper Ventilation

First up, ventilation. You might wonder, “Why do I need ventilation if the whole point is to keep the heat in?” Well, good ventilation is crucial for several reasons:

  • Gas Heaters: If you’re using a gas greenhouse heater, proper ventilation is non-negotiable. Gas heaters can produce fumes that are harmful to both you and your plants.
  • Humidity Control: Heaters can make the air dry. Good ventilation ensures that your plants still get the humidity they need.
  • Air Circulation: Plants need fresh air for photosynthesis. Ventilation ensures that fresh air circulates, even when the greenhouse is sealed to keep the heat in.

So, don’t underestimate the power of good ventilation. It keeps the air fresh, the humidity balanced, and if you’re using a gas heater, it’s an absolute must for safety.

Regular Maintenance

Next on the list is regular maintenance. You wouldn’t drive your car for years without a tune-up, right? The same goes for your greenhouse heater.

  • Cleaning: Dust and debris can accumulate on your heater, affecting its efficiency and posing a fire risk. A quick clean every now and then can make a world of difference.
  • Check for Wear and Tear: Over time, parts can wear out. Regularly inspect your greenhouse heater for any signs of damage or wear and replace parts as needed.
  • Calibration: If your heater has a thermostat, it might need recalibration over time to ensure it’s still accurate.

Regular maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your greenhouse heater but also ensures it operates safely and efficiently.

In a nutshell, a greenhouse heater is a fantastic tool, but like any tool, it needs to be used responsibly. Proper ventilation and regular maintenance are key to ensuring your heater serves you well without any hiccups.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Greenhouse Heater

So you’re armed with all this knowledge about greenhouse heaters, and you’re ready to make a purchase. But wait a minute! Even with the best intentions, people can make mistakes. Let’s go over some common pitfalls you’ll want to steer clear of when choosing your heater.

Overlooking Energy Efficiency

Remember how we talked about energy efficiency? Well, it’s easy to get dazzled by a greenhouse heater with all the bells and whistles and forget about how much it’ll cost to run. Ignoring energy efficiency can be a costly mistake.

  • Long-term Costs: A less efficient heater might be cheaper upfront, but it can cost you more in the long run due to higher energy bills.
  • Environmental Impact: An inefficient greenhouse heater will consume more energy.

So, when you’re comparing options, don’t just look at the price tag. Check the energy rating and consider the long-term costs.

greenhouse heater

Incorrect Sizing

Another common mistake is choosing a greenhouse heater that’s the wrong size for your space. It’s like buying shoes; too small and they’re uncomfortable, too big and you’re tripping over yourself.

  • Too Small: A greenhouse heater that’s too small won’t be able to maintain the temperature, leaving you with cold spots and unhappy plants.
  • Too Large: On the flip side, a heater that’s too large can make your greenhouse feel like a sauna, which is also not ideal for most plants.

To avoid this, measure your greenhouse carefully and check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the heating capacity. Some heaters will indicate the square footage they’re designed to heat. Make sure this matches up with the size of your greenhouse.

In summary, when you’re out shopping for a greenhouse heater, keep these common mistakes in mind. Overlooking energy efficiency can lead to higher bills, while incorrect sizing can result in either an overheated or underheated greenhouse. So, take your time, do your homework, and make a well-informed decision.


From understanding why a greenhouse heater is essential to exploring the different types available, we’ve gone through the A to Z of greenhouse heating. We’ve also touched on the crucial factors to consider when choosing a heater, like the size of your greenhouse, the local climate, and the importance of energy efficiency. And let’s not forget those safety tips and common mistakes to avoid.

Choosing the right greenhouse heater isn’t just a matter of picking the first one you see online or in a store. It’s about understanding your specific needs and doing a bit of homework. Measure your greenhouse, consider your local climate, and don’t forget to think about long-term costs, especially when it comes to energy efficiency.

In the end, the best greenhouse heater for you is the one that fits your unique situation like a glove. Whether you’re a casual gardener looking to extend the growing season for a few favorite plants or a commercial grower with a large greenhouse, there’s a heater out there that’s perfect for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I use a regular space heater in my greenhouse?

While it’s technically possible to use a regular space heater, it’s not recommended. Greenhouse heaters are specifically designed to handle the conditions of a greenhouse, including humidity and temperature fluctuations. A regular space heater may not be as durable or efficient in this setting.

Q2: How do I calculate the size of the greenhouse heater I need?

To calculate the size of the greenhouse heater you’ll need, you should first measure the volume of your greenhouse in cubic feet. Many greenhouse heater manufacturers provide guidelines on the heating capacity of their products, often indicating the square footage they can effectively heat. Match this with your greenhouse size to make an informed choice.

Q3: Is it safe to leave my greenhouse heater on overnight?

Generally, it’s safe to leave a greenhouse heater on overnight if it’s specifically designed for greenhouse use and has safety features like tip-over protection and overheat protection. However, it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure proper ventilation in your greenhouse.

Q4: Do I need a thermostat for my greenhouse heater?

A thermostat isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s highly recommended. A thermostat can help maintain a consistent temperature, which is better for your plants and more energy efficient.

Q5: What type of greenhouse heater is the most energy-efficient?

Infrared greenhouse heaters are generally considered the most energy-efficient because they heat objects rather than the air. However, the most energy-efficient option for you will also depend on other factors like the size of your greenhouse and your local climate.

Q6: How often should I perform maintenance on my greenhouse heater?

The frequency of maintenance depends on the type of heater and how often it’s used. However, it’s a good idea to check it at least once a month during the heating season for any signs of wear and tear, and to clean away any dust or debris.

Q7: Can I use more than one type of greenhouse heater?

Yes, you can use more than one type of greenhouse heater, especially in larger greenhouses where you might need a more powerful gas heater for the main area and smaller electric heaters for specific zones. Just make sure to adjust for this in your calculations for size and energy efficiency.

grant yost greenhouse innovator

Grant Yost

Grant Yost is co-owner of Beulah Land Farms, a small business that is part of and trying to push forward the local food movement. Although I grew up on a farm in the middle of Kansas, we took the wheat and other grain to the elevator, and then went to the grocery store to buy all our food. Maybe it's a generational thing, but we should be growing our own food as much as possible! My wife was diagnosed with Graves disease, which is an auto-immune disease affecting the thyroid, and while it wasn't debilitating (we are grateful for that) we have to wonder if it had to do with processed food and our mass-produced food supply. Auto-immune epidemic anyone? Also, maybe a generational thing... we live in the city in Kansas City, but our kids want to move to the farm!

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