6 steps to choosing the right bathroom radiator


Stylish bathroom heating is everywhere. Once thought of as a bit of a luxury, heated towel rails are now a staple of many homes, adding extra comfort and warmth to bathrooms large and small.

However, when it comes to choosing a bathroom radiator for your home, you need a bit more to go on than just good looks. Essentially, towel radiators are multifunctional devices that need to be able to perform a minimum of two jobs.

First of all, if your bathroom radiator is your main source of heating in the room, it must provide efficient heating, so it’s nice and warm when you undress for your shower or step out of the bath. You may be able to go for a lower output towel rail if you also have underfloor heating installed but heating efficiency should not be disregarded.

Secondly, the advantage of having a heated towel rail compared to a regular radiator is the warm embrace of a towel that really enhances the bathroom experience. Heated towel rails are a great place to hang your towels before and after use, making it a useful storage solution for towels that are nice and toasty and ready for use at all times.

Choosing a bathroom radiator is an important task – it’s an investment into your home that needs to deliver on a daily basis. To help you make the right decision, take account of these 5 key criteria.

  1. Size is everything

When it comes to towel radiators, size really matters. Towel radiator typically range in size from 700x400mm up to 1800x600mm and it’s important to choose a radiator that’s in proportion to the overall size of the bathroom.

A radiator that’s too small won’t have the oomph to heat the room, leaving you with a disappointingly cold bathroom. Too large and your radiator will look odd, and cost you more than it should in heating bills. The size of the radiator is linked to its heat output.

  1. The right heat output

The heat output of your towel radiator is calculated in terms of BTU (British thermal units per hour) that tells you how much energy will need to heat your bathroom. The higher the BTU value, the more powerful the heating output will be.

The calculation itself is a simple process that can be carried out using an online BTU calculator which will take into account details such as the room dimensions, the presence of single or double glazed windows and how sheltered the building itself is. This will determine how many radiators are needed and how powerful each should be.

  1. How much storage?

While size and output are key considerations, you also need to consider your storage requirements when you choose the size of your towel radiator. How many people use the bathroom? How does that translate into the number of towels that need to be hung up every day? Do check that there’s enough usable space between each rail to fit a bath towel.

Look out for bathroom radiators with additional storage space or shelving. As mentioned above, a heated towel rail is a multifunctional device – it should act as a space saver and can even double up as somewhere to dry clothes. In terms of physical space, a full size towel radiator for a large bathroom is likely to take up most of the wall, while smaller towel rails can be wall mounted, leaving space for storage below

  1. Gas or electric?

The difference between a fully integrated bathroom radiator and a heated towel rail is that the former is part of your central heating system, while the latter can be an independently controlled electric set-up. Radiators will only work when the central heating is operational, meaning their functionality may be limited in the summer. Electric models such as these are independent of your main heating system. This makes installation easier and means they can be more flexible to your demands – you can switch them on/off as and when needed.

For the best of both worlds, choose a dual fuel bathroom radiator. This allows you to run the radiator how you want, whether in tandem with the central heating system during the colder months, or electrically during the summer.

  1. Which material?

Stylish bathroom radiators come in all kinds of material – from matt and polished metal to eye catching coloured materials. The two most important considerations here are the risk of leaking and corrosion. Most central heating radiators are made from mild steel, which is an affordable option but not the best material for rooms with high moisture levels such as bathrooms.

Stainless steel offers better protection for wet rooms and steamy bathrooms, while chrome and aluminium suit most contemporary bathrooms styles. Aluminium, in particular, has a high heat output which allows for a slimmer profile – handy as a space saving option for smaller bathrooms.

  1. Make a style choice

When it comes to bathroom radiators and heated towel rails, there’s a wealth of product choice out there. Depending on the rest of your bathroom scheme and the size of the room, choose a radiator as a feature or focal point or have it blend into the background.

Traditional style radiators and towel rails can look stunning in any setting while reproduction period models can make a real statement in older homes. Alternatively, there are many modern heating solutions that can be visually striking, including unusual contemporary curved or spiral designs.

Finally, bathroom radiators and towel rails should always be installed by professionals, for your own safety and to avoid mistakes that could be costly to rectify later on. If you are purchasing your bathroom towel rail from a reputable bathroom showroom, the team there may have their own installation service or be able to recommend a professional installer.

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