5 Best Heaters for Woodshop Warmth (Beat The Cold)

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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It can be challenging to maintain the temperature of a woodshop, especially if it’s in a poorly insulated garage or barn.

A woodshop heater can help, but only if you choose the right one.

I’ve helped countless homeowners set up heating for their workshops over the years, and I know it isn't one size fits all. In this guide,

I’ll introduce the best woodshop heaters on the market and help you find the best heater for your workshop.

Quick Glance - My Recommendations

Dr. Heater DR966 240-volt Hardwired Shop...

Dr. Heater DR966

Editor’s Choice

Mr. Heater 125,000 BTU Forced Air Propane...

Mr. Heater F271390

Powerful Propane Heater

Mr. Heater F260550 Big Maxx MHU50NG Natural...

Mr. Heater F260550

Natural Gas Heater

5 Top Rated Heaters for a Cold Woodshop

The optimal temperature for woodwork is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, but it should always be kept above 50 degrees to protect your tools and materials.[1]

Here are the options that work best.

1. Dr. Heater DR966

4.8

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

5.0

Current Progress
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Heating Ability

4.75

Current Progress
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Value for Money

4.75

Current Progress
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Who is the Dr. Heater DR966 best for?

The Dr. Heater DR966 is best for medium-sized woodshops in colder climates with little insulation.

Pros
  • Fast and powerful heating
  • High-quality and durable
  • Built-in adjustable thermostat
  • Whisper quiet
  • Great value for money
CONS
  • Must be hardwired (though simple to do yourself)
  • The unit can overheat

For a cold and exposed-to-the-elements woodshop, I recommend the Dr. Heater DR966. It offers fast and effective heating power that keeps even the harshest climates at bay.

The speedy heating is thanks to the forced air mechanism. The fan distributes heat evenly and reliably, and the heater only took 20 minutes to warm my test space.

It may not have the coverage of the Mr. Heater F271390, but you won't find many faster-acting home heating systems.

Despite the effective heating, it runs quietly (under 45 decibels) and is noticeably quieter than other fan heaters.

The heating was impressive, but what I really like about the DR966 is the build quality.

Dr. Heater DR966 fan
It has an industrial-grade stainless steel exterior made to last, a durable heating mechanism, and a solid wall connection.

Plus, it’s affordable (far cheaper than the Mr. Heater F260550 or Dr. Infrared DR910F), offering great long-term value.

The Dr. Heater DR966 has several safety features built-in to keep your home safe, but I did notice that the unit gets hot.

It isn't a problem because it's wall-mounted, but I suggest installing it out of the way.

This forced air heater is the perfect all-rounder and a great asset in any home. If you need reliable and effective heating, this is the model I recommend.

Feature

Details

Heat Output (BTUs/Wattage)

20,500

Coverage (square feet)

600-800

Heating Mechanism

Forced Air

Power

Electricity

Installation

Ceiling or wall-mounted


2. Mr. Heater F271390

4.7

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.25

Current Progress
Current Progress
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Heating Ability

5.0

Current Progress
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Value for Money

5.0

Current Progress
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Who is the Mr. Heater F271390 best for?

The Mr. Heater F271390 is best for large or professional woodshops that need short, powerful bursts of heat.

Pros
  • High BTUs and coverage
  • Easy to move and position
  • Built-in thermostat
  • Automatic low-oxygen shutoff safety feature
  • Compact - can fit in small spaces
CONS
  • Uses fuel quickly
  • Can be a fire risk - keep away from flammable materials
  • Noisy

The Mr. Heater F271390 shows how powerful propane heaters can be and is a big step up from the standard garage heater.

It warmed my medium-sized workshop in minutes and is the best heater for larger spaces.

It has more BTUs than the Dr. Heater DR966 or Heat Storm HS1500 and can circulate hot air quickly to keep your shop warm.

What surprised me most about this powerful heater was how portable it was. It weighs under 3 pounds and has a sturdy handle that makes it easy to lift and place.

It’s also simple and safe.

There are three heat settings, a push-button ignition, and integrated oxygen sensors to shut the unit down if the CO levels get too high.
Mr. Heater F271390 adjustment

The downside of this heater? It drinks fuel and uses propane gas more quickly than other models.

However, this doesn't really concern me because propane is reasonably cheap compared to electricity, and the large propane canisters will still give at least 10 hours of run time (on the low setting).

The Mr. Heater F271390 is more expensive than other models but offers a lot of raw power.

I recommend it for homeowners who need fast heating over a large area for short periods.

Feature

Details

Heat Output (BTUs/Wattage)

125,000

Coverage (square feet)

3100

Heating Mechanism

Forced Air

Power

Propane

Installation

Freestanding


3. Mr. Heater F260550

4.6

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
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Heating Ability

4.75

Current Progress
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Value for Money

4.25

Current Progress
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Who is the Mr. Heater F260550  best for?

Mr. Heater F260550 is best for a medium-sized workshop that needs heating year-round.

Pros
  • Even heat distribution
  • Low cost to run
  • Precise digital thermostat
  • Power exhaust and low-oxygen sensor
  • 3-year warranty
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Requires natural gas for energy

This is one of the best heaters for homeowners with a natural gas supply.

It's perfect for converting a cold garage or barn into a comfortable woodworking shop, providing consistent heating over a medium-sized space.
Mr. Heater F260550 thermostat

It may not have the BTUs of the Mr. Heater F271390, but the balance of performance and efficiency makes this much better suited for most woodshops.

It's also simple to install and use (unlike other natural gas heaters).

It's compatible with vertical or horizontal vents and has a power exhaust to direct vent fumes quickly out of your home.

I still advise hiring a professional for installation, but it shouldn't be a big job.

What I really like about the Mr. Heater F271390 is the digital thermostat. It's one of the most accurate I've used, and it's even Wi-Fi enabled for remote control.

The thermostat doesn't come as standard, so I highly recommend buying a model that includes one.

The Mr. Heater F271390 is noticeably pricier than the Dr. Heater DR966 or the Mr. Heater F271390, but it offers long-term value for money.

It's cheap to run and built to last, with a durable exterior and high-quality components. It has a 3-year warranty, but I expect it will last at least 8-10 years indoors.

If you want a reliable, efficient, and long-term heating solution, this is the model I recommend. Just make sure you have a natural gas line to connect it to!

Feature

Details

Heat Output (BTUs/Wattage)

50,000

Coverage (square feet)

1250

Heating Mechanism

Forced Air

Power

Propane

Installation

Wall-mounted


4. Heat Storm HS-1500-OTR

Affordable Heater For Small Woodshops

4.5

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

4.25

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
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Value for Money

4.25

Current Progress
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Who is the Heat Storm HS-1500-OTR best for?

The Heat Storm HS 1500 is best for homeowners with small woodshops and a tight budget.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Energy-efficient
  • Quiet running
  • Simple to install and use
  • Accurate digital thermostat
CONS
  • Only suitable for small woodshops
  • Less durable

The Heat Storm HS 1500 is one of the most straightforward and affordable heaters.

It doesn't draw much power, but it packs a surprising punch, with dual quartz infrared bulbs providing comfortable and effective radiant heating.

It may not have the power of the Mr. Heater F271390 or Mr. Heater F260550, but it’s more than enough to manage the temperature and relative humidity in a small garage woodshop.

What I really like about this plug-and-play electric heater is the simplicity. It doesn't need any hardwiring or gas, just a power cord into an outlet.

Heat Storm HS-1500-OTR cord outlet
It's perfect for those with limited DIY experience, but make sure you have an outlet nearby!

The only limitation I found with this infrared heater is the coverage. It lacks the power of a propane or natural gas heater, and unlike forced air heaters, it only warms objects.

However, it does oscillate, and by positioning it correctly, you can direct the comforting heat to maximize the benefit.

I recommend buying the tripod model so you can set it up as a freestanding heater. It isn't much more expensive and offers greater versatility.

This heater may not be well-suited to commercial settings or large workshops, but it can be a real asset for hobbyists.

If you want a budget-friendly way to heat your garage year-round, this is the heater I recommend.

Feature

Details

Heat Output (BTUs/Wattage)

5,000

Coverage (square feet)

100

Heating Mechanism

Infrared

Power

Electricity

Installation

Wall or ceiling-mounted, or freestanding (with optional tripod)


5. Dr. Infrared Heater DR-910F

4.5

Overall Score


Energy Efficiency

4.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Heating Ability

5.0

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Value for Money

4.5

Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress

Who is the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-910F best for?

The Dr. Infrared DR910F is best as a permanent heating solution for medium-to-large workshops with minimal insulation.

Pros
  • Combination heating - fast-acting
  • Great coverage for electric heaters
  • Simple installation
  • Easy to use with remote control
  • Commercial grade quality
CONS
  • High running costs
  • Pricey model

The Dr. Infrared DR 910F is one of the most powerful electric heaters on the market, capable of raising temperatures even in the most poorly insulated garages or woodshops.

It performed amazingly in my test lab and took under an hour to raise the temperature 40 degrees - faster than the ultra-powerful Mr. Heater F271390!

This fast heating is thanks to the combination of infrared and forced air heating that delivers consistent and comfortable heat across the space.

Aside from the power and speed, what I like about this heater is the ease of use.

It took me about 10 minutes to wire it in, and it only needs a simple connection (though only try to install it yourself if you have experience with electrics).

There are no complicated settings, just a simple remote control to switch between heating mechanisms or adjust the thermostat.

The thermostat isn’t as precise as the Mr. Heater F260550, but it’s close enough for a workshop.

This heater is expensive (to buy and run), and I don't recommend it for homeowners on a tight budget.

However, it is commercial-grade and built to stand up to heavy use - offering excellent value for money.

Electric heaters can often be easy to use but lack heating output - but the Dr. Infrared DR910F breaks the mold.

If you want commercial-grade electric heating in a large workshop, this is the model I recommend.

Feature

Details

Heat Output (BTUs/Wattage)

35,000 BTUs, 10,000 Watts

Coverage (square feet)

1500-2000

Heating Mechanism

Combination - forced air and infrared

Power

Electricity

Installation

Wall or ceiling-mounted


Comparing Woodshop Heater Features

Preview

Name

Rating

Heat Output

Coverage

Price

Dr. Heater DR966 240-volt Hardwired Shop...

Dr. Heater DR966

4.8

20,500 btu

600-800

sq.ft.

Mr. Heater 125,000 BTU Forced Air Propane...

Mr. Heater F271390

4.7

125,000 btu

3100

sq.ft.

Mr. Heater F260550 Big Maxx MHU50NG Natural...

. Mr. Heater F260550

4.6

50,000 btu

1250

sq.ft.

Heat Storm HS-1500-OTR Infrared Heater,...

Heat Storm

HS-1500-OTR

4.5

5,000 btu

100

sq.ft.

Dr. Infrared Heater DR-910F 10,000-Watt 240V...

Dr. Infrared Heater DR-910F

4.5

35,000 btu

1500-2000

sq.ft.


AC Lab Note:

Read our comprehensive guide to buying space heaters.

Choosing the Perfect Heater for Your Woodshop

What is the Size of Your Woodshop and how much Heat Output do you need?

Woodshops come in all different sizes, and professional workshops are usually substantially larger than hobbyist garage workshops.

The volume of space a heater can warm will vary, and you must choose a woodshop heater sized appropriately for the space.

The coverage of a heating system should be displayed on the packaging and is closely linked to the wattage or British Thermal Units (BTUs) heat output.[2]

To work out the heat output you need for your woodshop, start by measuring the volume of your space (LxWxH) and the average temperature in your woodshop.

Then, use this equation:

Cubic space x desired temperature increase in Fahrenheit x 0.133 = How many BTUs needed

Below is a worked example for a 1500-square-foot woodshop where you want to warm the room by 20 degrees:

1500 x 20 x 0.133 = 3,990 BTUs

Divide the BTUs by 3.41 to work out the wattage equivalent for electric heaters.

3,990 / 3.41 = 1,140 Watts

Below is a rough guide to help you size your heater correctly.

The exact coverage and BTUs/wattage you'll need from your heating system will depend on your environmental conditions.

Volume of space

BTUs needed

Wattage

My recommendation

100-400 square feet (hobbyist woodshop)

5,000-10,000

1500-3000

400-800 square feet (medium woodshop)

10,000-25,000

3000-7500

800-1200 square feet (large woodshop)

25,000-60,000

7500-18,000

1200+ square feet (professional woodshop)

60,000+

18,000+

TL;DR: It is important to match the heat output of your heater with that of the size of the coverage area. It should neither be too big nor too small. 

Temperature, Environment, and Insulation

The temperature, environment, and insulation you have will massively impact how much heating your woodshop needs.

Woodshops in cold and wet climates with limited insulation will be more susceptible to the cold and need more heat to manage the temperature.

I recommend investing in a powerful heater like the Mr. Heater F271390 that blows warm air quickly around your shop.

Woodshops with more insulation will preserve heat more effectively and need less heating.

I recommend a heater with fewer BTUs, like the Dr. Heater DR966, or a portable model for less frequent use, like the Mr. Heater F271390.

Never underestimate just how much difference effective insulation can make to keep workshop heat in.[3]

Spending time and money to insulate your workshop can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

TL;DR: Insulation is of paramount importance. Also important is the average ambient temperature and the overall environment when choosing an air purifier. 

Types of Heaters Suitable for Woodshop By Fuel Type

Electric:

Electric heaters are convenient, safe, and a common choice for woodshops.

You can choose between portable electric heaters offering flexibility in smaller woodshops or hardwired electric heaters for larger woodshops.

AC Lab Note:

Electric heaters, like the Heat Storm HS1500, are typically best suited for small-to-medium sized home woodshops and homeowners who want a simple heating solution.

Propane:

Propane heaters provide powerful heating and can generate heat quickly.

Propane gas heaters are usually portable, and propane is readily available and cheaper than electricity.

The downside is that propane heaters (especially those with a liquid propane tank) can be slightly more complicated to use and refuel, and there is a risk of combustion.

AC Lab Note:

Gas heaters, like the Dr. Heater DR966, produce more warmth than an electric heater, making them ideal for large woodshops.

Natural Gas:

Natural gas heaters are less popular because they require natural gas lines to be installed in your home, which can be expensive.

There can also be a risk of combustion and fire if they aren't fitted correctly.

However, natural gas heaters are very powerful (producing more BTUs than a propane heater) and cheap to run.

They are also great for zoned heating to target the hot and cold spots in the room.

AC Lab Note:

Natural gas heaters, like the Mr. Heater F260550, need professional installation but can be a cost-effective long-term heating solution in your woodshop.

Wood:

Wood-fuelled heaters are less common in woodshops unless you use a central heating wood furnace. They provide consistent heat and help you limit electricity costs.

Plus, they're cheap to run as you will probably have wood scraps or pellets readily available in your working area to use as combustion fuel.

AC Lab Note:

The downside is that they are high maintenance and need proper ventilation/a direct vent outside from the open flame. I would only recommend using wood heaters to warm your garage workshop if you already have a furnace/fireplaces.

TL;DR: There are different types of space heaters based on the fuel type they use. Primarily you should choose one depending upon the fuel type most easily available to you. Electric space heaters are the most common, whereas, propane and natural gas heaters are powerful.

Types of Heaters By Operating Principle

Radiant:

Radiant heaters radiate heat from a hot surface into the room, usually through infrared or tubular heaters. They can be freestanding or ceiling-mounted.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Instant heat
  • Targetted warmth
  • Energy efficient
  • Doesn’t raise the relative humidity

Best for?

A radiant heater, like the Heat Storm HS1500, is best in small-to-medium woodshops where they can be positioned to spread heat optimally. They also work well as zoned heating solutions.

Convection:

Convection heaters generate warm air that then spreads around the room. Electric and propane heaters use convection to provide heated air over a larger area.

Pros
  • Gentle warming over a large area
  • Quiet
  • Simple to set and use

Best for?

Small hobbyist woodshops with natural ventilation to spread the heat or as supplemental heat systems in a large workshop.

Fan Forced:

A fan-forced air heater/space heater works similarly to convection heaters but uses a fan to push the warm air around a space and heat it more quickly.

Pros
  • Fast acting
  • Larger coverage
  • Accurate thermostat control

Best for?

Space heaters, like the Dr. Heater DR966, are best for large or professional-grade workshops.

Hydronic:

Hydronic heaters use hot water pumped in pipes around the woodshop, usually covering the floor space. Heat then spreads through the room to provide gentle heating.

Pros
  • Even heat distribution
  • Economical/energy efficient
  • Continuous heating
  • Limits the humidity

Best for?

Permanent woodworking spaces that need continuous heating

Combination:

Combination heaters use more than one mechanism to warm your woodshop, usually a combination of radiant and forced air heating, making them faster acting and more versatile than other heaters.

Pros
  • Provides comfort and quick warmth
  • Allows for zoned heating
  • Adaptable and versatile
  • Can control the humidity

Best for?

Combination heaters, like the Dr. Infrared DR910F, are best for medium-to-large woodshops that benefit from flexible heating methods.

TL;DR: There are different types of space heaters based on the heating principle. You should choose one depending upon the overall size and condition of your woodshop. 

How Dusty is Your Woodshop?

If you’re doing a lot of sanding, sawing, or drilling, you probably have a lot of fine dust in your woodshop.

Some heaters can blow that dust everywhere, making dust collection much harder.

It can even cause you to inhale more dust, leading to potentially serious side effects.[4]

If you have a dusty environment, I recommend using an infrared heater, like the Heat Storm HS1500, that won't blow the dust around.

Alternatively, wall or ceiling-mounted space heaters (like the Dr. Heater DR966) can provide warm air without blowing up all the dust.

TL;DR: Certain types of heaters can be impractical with a lot of dust around.

Fixed Vs Portable Heater – Which is Better For You?

 

Fixed heater

Portable heater

Pros

  • Permanent heating solution
  • Usually more powerful
  • Usually out of the way and don't take up floor space
  • More affordable
  • Flexible placement and positioning
  • Good for zonal heating to target cold spots

Cons

  • Less flexibility
  • Often more expensive
  • Harder to install
  • Lower heating capacity and coverage
  • Can take up floor space
  • Often have higher running costs

Best for?

A fixed unit heater, like the Dr. Heater DR966, is best for larger woodshops that need frequent heating.

A portable heater, like the Mr. Heater F271390, is best for a small home or garage woodshop that needs less frequent heating (potentially just in winter).

Many workshops often will benefit from a combination of fixed heating for overall warmth, supplemented by portable units for zonal heating.

I recommend this option if your workshop has very cold winter climates or specific areas of cold air.

Does It Have an Adjustable Thermostat?

An adjustable thermostat lets you precisely control the temperature in a space.

I highly recommend this for woodshop heaters as it allows you to keep it in that 65-75 degree sweet spot that protects your wood and tools.

An adjustable thermostat is a common feature for gas and electric heaters; all the models listed above have one.

TL;DR: Having an adjustable thermostat is a must for precise control of the temperature especially in a woodshop.

How Energy Efficient is the Unit?

The energy efficiency of your woodshop unit heater will massively impact your running costs.

In general, you’ll pay more to run larger heaters, but the fuel supply and age of the heater will also have an impact.

Liquid propane or natural gas heaters are typically more efficient and cost less than electric heaters.

If you want to keep your running costs down, I recommend either the Mr. Heater F260550 (for those with a natural gas line) or the energy-efficient Heat Storm HS1500.

TL;DR: Heaters can get quite expensive to run. Choose one that is energy efficient.

Does It Have Safety Features?

Heat and wood can be a dangerous combination, so you must choose a safe woodshop heating system.

These are the safety features I recommend looking for:

  • Tip over switch - stops shop heat automatically if the heater tips over
  • Overheat protection - a great feature for space heaters
  • Emergency shutoff - essential for a gas heater
  • Stay cool surfaces - useful for infrared heaters
  • Built-in ventilation - helps prevent your gas heater from spreading toxic fumes
It’s also worth looking at certified gas and electric heaters that are up to local codes.

The models listed above are some of the safest heater options on the market and are well-suited for safety-conscious homeowners.

TL;DR: Heaters can be dangerous to operate. However, most modern space heaters have several safety features to avoid a mishap. Make sure you actively look for these features before your procure one. 


How We Review & Rank Our Product List

At Air Conditioner Lab, our team follows a similar process when evaluating all products reviews before formulating our final lists for readers.

We begin by gathering data sources directly from brands, e-commerce platforms, online retailers and press releases.

These are then added to a master file we use to compare features specifications from all heater models. You can access this Heater Sheet Here.

Next, we narrow down all the products on the market by evaluating user reviews, ratings and feedback from a wide variety of online and in-person sources.

Our team then discusses and co-ordinates our first hand experiences using these products, as well as gather independent opinions and feedback through Youtube and customer reviews.

Safety Precautions To Consider Inside Workshops

Even the safest heater can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Here are some safety precautions I recommend to keep your workshop and home safe:

  1. 1
    Allow adequate clearance around the heater to prevent fire risks.
  2. 2
    Make sure there’s enough ventilation and direct vents outside.
  3. 3
    Set portable units on a stable surface - particularly if using a space heater.
  4. 4
    Shut off when it’s not in use.
  5. 5
    Install carbon monoxide detectors to protect yourself from CO poisoning.[5]
  6. 6
    Check and clean the filters to prevent overheating.
  7. 7
    Don’t overload the circuit, and have a professional inspect the wiring.
  8. 8
    Remember that every heater is different, so make sure you check the instructions before you start using it.

FAQs

What Temperature Should A Woodshop Be?

The optimal temperature in a woodshop is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the moisture level should be below 50%.

Do Woodshop Heaters Use A Lot of Power?

The power draw of a woodshop heater depends on the make, model, and size of the unit. Workshops are often large and poorly insulated, so a woodshop heater typically requires more power to warm the space.

Do Larger BTU Heaters Work Quicker?

Yes, a larger BTU heater will usually heat a space faster. Still, the heating method (forced air, infrared, etc.) can also impact the heating time.

Which is the Best Option For Your Woodshop?

A woodshop heater should be precise, effective, and reliable. All the heaters on the list tick those boxes, but the Dr. Heater DR966 is my top pick.

It’s high quality, long-lasting, and offers fast heating - making it excellent value for money.

The heating appliance you choose will vary depending on your woodshop setup, and the best heater for woodshop warming will vary in every home.

Hopefully, this article has helped you find the perfect way to keep a consistent temperature in your workshop.

My #1 Recommendation
Dr. Heater DR966

  • Fast and powerful heating
  • High-quality and durable
  • Built-in adjustable thermostat
  • Whisper quiet
  • Great value for money

References: 

  1. https://www.woodmagazine.com/wood-supplies/glues-adhesives/how-does-cold-weather-affect-my-woodworking
  2. https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/units-and-calculators/british-thermal-units.php
  3. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/insulation
  4. https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/hazardous-substances/construction-dust.htm
  5. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/carbon-monoxide-poisoning 
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Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

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