Seventy degrees and sunny one day. Forty degrees and cloudy the next.

That’s life in the Midwest in late March and early April, where the OnAllCylinders world headquarters is located. We know many of you can relate.

That’s why, for this installment of our Garage Goals series, we’re focusing on heating and lighting to help get you through this next month (or possibly longer) of social distancing in your garage or shop.

We’ll start with the heating.

Guide to Garage Heaters

Our partners at Summit Racing were visited recently by Mr. Heater, a leader in portable heating. In addition to covering some of the latest products, Mr. Heater provided an excellent guide to choosing the right heater for your space.

The most important thing to pay attention to is the BTU (or British thermal unit) rating — which measures the amount of heat a portable heater can produce.

Generally, the heaters with the highest BTU ratings will be the most expensive.

A common formula for determining how many BTUs you want for the space you are heating is:

Square Footage (building length multiplied by width) x 40.

If, for example, you had a 500 square-foot garage, you would multiply 500 by 40, making a 20,000 BTU heater a solid choice.

Forced Air vs. Radiant Heating

Portable heaters generally come in one of two variants — forced-air convection, or radiant heating.

Radiant heaters heat objects.

Forced air convection-style heaters heat the air.

Both have their advantages depending on your work space, your personal preferences, and how often you’re using it as an outdoor heater.

Check out the video for more information on choosing a portable heater for your garage or shop.

Guide to Shop Lighting

A well-lit shop is safer, more comfortable, and makes it easier to produce great results.

At places like Summit Racing, you’ll find a wide range of options. And that’s exactly where we’d recommend you start — wide.

Start with ceiling fixtures for wide area coverage. Many people prefer good old-fashioned incandescent or fluorescent lighting for lighting wide areas and only opt for LEDs for directional lighting. Others love the efficiency, durability, and reliability of LED technology for any and all lighting.

Much of the industry has turned to LED lights.

Summit Racing, for example, offers a 4,500-lumen LED ceiling light at just 42 watts that retails for $39.99. The advantage is they reduce your energy costs while improving your existing lighting output.

Supplement your wide-angle lighting with task lighting, like free-standing flood lights, hand-held trouble lights, workbench lamps, and clamp-on underhood lamps. For painters and detailers, we carry color-matching lights that duplicate mid-day sunlight. And no tool box or emergency kit is complete without flashlights and headlamps.

Again, you have many of the same options — LED, incandescent, or fluorescent — depending on our preferences.

There are many unique and creative alternatives for focused, directional lighting.

Milwaukee has focused on making lighting solutions that help their users increase productivity, through battery-life tech enhancements, and clever design enhancements for multiple hands-free lighting options built to last a lifetime.

Check out this video for options.

Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.