The BestHeating Radiator Buying Guide

The radiator buying guide banner.

So you want to buy a radiator?


In this UPDATED guide, we’ll give you the tools, the skills and the know-how to find the ideal radiator(s) for (pretty much) every room of your home.

“That’s a bold statement!” I hear you cry.

But this is BestHeating and nobody does radiators quite as we do.

So stick the kettle on (or pour the vino), kick back and let’s find you the perfect radiator.

Oh, and if what you really want is a heated towel rail, check our ultimate bathroom heating guide, instead.

The Complete Guide To Buying A Radiator

It’s safe to say that buying a radiator is a considered purchase.

It’s not like buying a pair of socks or choosing a pack of chewing gum – it’s a pretty big deal and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

We’ve published a few different guides on purchasing radiators before and we’ve looked into where we can improve even further to help you make the best choices – helping you to make an impressive change to your heating and even add value to your home.

So in this latest guide, we’re going to look at every room, discover the best heating solution for every space and help you to transform your home heating into something more than just a thing that keeps you warm.

From vertical designer radiators for your living room, to compact space-saving towel rails for your kitchen or en-suite, we’ll cover all of the bases, each of the rooms and every possibility – or at the very least give it a good go.

If you want to dive right in, choose your room or type of radiator from this list and jump to a quick solution…
Radiators for the Kitchen
Radiators for the Living Room
Radiators for the Bathroom
Electric Radiators
We’ll start with understanding how to work out the size and heat output of the radiator you’ll need and look at calculating those all-important BTUs.

But first, let’s see what our favourite interior design team have to say about choosing the right radiator for your space. 

Most homes have got horrible old convector radiators that are an eyesore, but rather than hide them with a radiator cover or paint them the same colour as the walls so that they disappear away, why not incorporate your radiator into your interior design?

If you live in a period property and are being sympathetic to the features then column radiators like the Milano Windsor are a great way to have something more in keeping with the style of the property.

Or if you live in a more modern home then something like the Milano Alpha would be ideal.  The clean lines and flat surface of the columns means it would sit well within a more minimal space where clean lines are a key element of the design.

And if you really wanted to go to town then the Milano Capri coloured radiators would help you make a real statement in a room or space!

Calculating The Correct BTU Output

Before I start getting all technical on you, just remember one thing – though it’s important to get correct, calculating your required heat output is easy.

Of course, there are a few factors that can affect the amount of power you’ll need, such as room dimensions, levels of heat and types of window to name just a few.

But if you have a tape measure and the ability to count, you’re pretty much golden on getting the perfect calculation.

A simple BTU Calculator like ours will tell you what size of radiator or towel rail you’ll need for each space – so just count up the walls, work out what’s above, below and beside your room and input all the details into the calculator to get accurate Wattage and BTU requirements and you’ll be ready to find that brand new radiator.

Check out this video for more info on BTUs.

BTU Calculator 'calculate your BTU requirements' banner

What’s the best radiator for my kitchen?

Kitchens have become the focal point of many a modern family home because they are not only designed for families to cook with one another but are equally as important for entertaining and bringing people together.

Though usually the warmest room in the house – because of the oven and hob – you’ll still want to keep your kitchen heated in the winter when the temperature drops. Luckily for you, there are a huge number of options available that will add a touch of style and elegance to your space and still provide you with the warmth that you’ll need when the days start to get a little shorter.

A Small Kitchen

A small kitchen might not be the biggest heating challenge you’ll ever face, but finding somewhere for your rad to go – what with all the worktops, cupboards and appliances to contend with – can be quite difficult.

A government study in 2010 put the average floor area of a UK kitchen at 11m², though a small proportion of them were less than 5m², meaning that there are a few VERY small kitchens out there.

At 5m², when you factor in a fridge/freezer, cooker and other appliances – not to mention the food prep areas and the storage space you’ll need – that doesn’t leave much room for a radiator or a heated towel rail.

Thankfully there are stylish, compact heating solutions available that will not only give you the heat that you need, but can help to add an impressive design touch to your space too – turning a once bland bit of warm metal into a statement-making piece of kit.

Heated Towel Rails are becoming ever more popular in modern kitchens as they not only heat the space but – as the name suggests – they heat your towels too and the rise of vertical designer radiators has seen some amazing transformations in kitchens all over the UK.

Heated Towel Rail

The perfect solution for heating a small kitchen space, this Milano Artle anthracite heated towel rail is a simple and affordable way to add style and warmth to your space.

Milano Artle heated towel rail in a kitchen

Vertical Designer Radiator

Designed to make a bold statement, this Black Milano Aruba Slim features a space-saving slim vertical profile to help you maximise space and create a contemporary monochrome colour scheme.

Milano Aruba slim black radiator

It’s very easy to overlook heating in a kitchen as you assume that the hob and oven will generate enough heat for that space.  But with more and more people extending their homes and placing the kitchen in those extensions, it’s really important to make sure that you’re adequately heating your larger space.  Some things to think about are:

  1. Should you install underfloor heating in the kitchen itself?
  2. Are there clever ways to utilise pillars or walls that would otherwise be dead space? This might mean installing a vertical radiator or placing it further up the wall to avoid any units or furniture
  3. If you can’t heat the room adequately with one radiator then think about installing more than one in key areas where you will need the heat e.g. when sitting at a dining table or if you’ve got a seating area near the kitchen

A Large Kitchen

As you would expect, a large kitchen will require a radiator with a much higher heat output than usual, but modern designs mean that you don’t need to look at an over-sized radiator to adequately heat the space.

Newer radiators marry seamless functionality with intelligent design, so you can make the most of the styles on offer regardless of the size and shape of your kitchen space.

open plan kitchen with a vertical radiator

One of our most favourite Instagram accounts @dreambound74 has a huge kitchen that features a stunning Milano Windsor radiator (seen in the above picture on the left and more clearly below).

Milano Windsor white vertical radiator.

No matter how big or small, kitchens are unusual rooms to heat because you aren’t always going to need the radiators on in order to heat the room.

For example, if you are cooking and the oven and hob are on, you’ll probably have enough heat to melt one of the icecaps if your radiator is on too; so it’s best to consider what kind of person you are – one that cooks, or one that doesn’t.

If you do cook – and have the oven on regularly – it makes more sense to buy a radiator with a lower heat output.

If you don’t know how to turn your oven on and are one of those “I don’t do cooking” types, it’s best to invest in a more powerfully charged radiator or towel rail – and if you fall somewhere in the middle, then there’s always TRVs

Thermostatic Radiator Valves sense the air temperature around them and regulate the flow of water through the radiator they are attached to. If you set them to the required temperature they will heat the room to that limit and then go no higher, perfect for both cooks and takeaway fans alike.

Customers Kitchen Radiators

As you can see above, our customers are kind enough to send us some amazing images from time to time and there is nothing as satisfying as seeing one of our radiators in place and making all the difference to the look and feel of a space.

Here are some pictures sent in by Graeme Barker of before and after the installation of his impressive Milano Java Vertical Designer Radiator – we think it makes all the difference in his beautiful new kitchen. Well done Graeme!

old radiator on a kitchen wall
Milano Java white round tubed vertical designer radiator on a kitchen wall

How Do I Choose The Best Radiator For My Living Room?

If you’re like the majority of people, most of the time you spend at home will be spent in the living room. From curling up in front of the gogglebox to having your Mum over for afternoon tea, whether you call it the living room, lounge or sitting room – unless it’s the height of British Summer Time – chances are you spend most of your leisure time there.

Because of that fact, it’s only right that you’ll want the space to sing with style and panache and have a real sense of homeliness about it.

And what better, more functional way is there to achieve a goal like that, than with a designer radiator?

One of our favourite customer accounts @nordicllar have brought more of their style into their living room with a modern flat panel Milano Alpha designer radiator. Take the full tour of their beautiful home and find out why they love their designer rads right here.

Designer radiator in a Nordic style living room

Vertical Radiators For The Living Room

Vertical radiators make a big style statement regardless of the room you put them in. But in the sitting room, they are especially grand and bold and help to maximise space.

History shows that old panel radiators were placed under windows in order to release heat into the room through natural convection – draughts from the window meeting with warm air from the rad which was then distributed throughout the space.

Modern vertical radiators – particularly ones with much higher outputs – can adequately heat a space without having to ride on the back of any draught from a window. Not only that, but with most homes having double or even triple glazing these days, what little breeze there may have been is now virtually non-existent.

Milano Windsor vertical column radiator in a dining room.

The image above is a great example from @little_york_house of how you can make the most of your available space with a vertical designer radiator.

We stock a wide variety of radiators in this style and they are proving to be ever more popular up and down the UK. Here is a selection of Vertical Rads that are perfect for the living room.

The Milano Aruba

Featuring an impressive heat output for such a slimline radiator, the vertical Milano Aruba offers the opportunity to make the most of your available space and add a touch of modern style and elegance to your space.

The Milano Windsor

Offering a more traditional slant on the modern vertical radiator design, the Milano Windsor is reminiscent of the old Victorian school house radiators of yore (I never thought I’d use the word yore) and helps to create a great contrast between more contemporary furnishings and your central heating.

Horizontal Designer Radiators For The Living Room

As I mentioned, the ‘normal’ done thing is to place radiators under the window and it may be that you want to stick with keeping them there.

A wall with a window is considered dead space – as you can’t really put any furniture up against it without blocking the light from the window – and putting furniture up against a radiator is a big no-no too.

Keeping your radiator right where it is and improving its style will mean you don’t have to spend extra cash on a plumber to move the pipework and you can put that cash towards getting a new and improved, more stylish and statement-making horizontal designer radiator.

Though not as popular as the vertical styles, a horizontal radiator will help to add a sweet finishing touch to a space, is arguably easier to install (because of pipework remaining where it is) and will still add value to your property and look absolutely stunning.

Check out these two from our extensive collection.

Horizontal Milano Aruba – with vertical bars

I know it might seem that we keep on banging on about Milano radiators, but let’s be honest about it, the value and style of each and every one of them is second to none.
With this horizontal Milano Aruba, it’s easy to replace your existing panel radiator with minimum fuss and transform your sitting room in no time.

Milano Aruba designer radiator in a living room

Horizontal Milano Aruba – with horizontal bars

Another way to enhance your heating is with alternative Milano Aruba. Horizontal bars are a real departure from standard panel radiators, as they catch the eye and can be a real conversation starter.

Milano Aruba horizontal designer radiator

Customers Living Room Radiators

We love how our customer Leanna from the @makingmy_home has made the most of her living room wall space by installing a vertical column radiator. The tall panels offer more heat output than a horizontal radiator could offer that would fit in that space. Plus, it has added another feature to that cosy corner. Perfect!

Which Bathroom Radiator Should I Buy?

In your bathroom you’re going to want to keep towels warm and dry and install a radiator or heated towel rail that ties in with the fixtures and fittings that you already have – or perhaps (if you’re a little bit ‘out there’) go for something that is a huge departure from the norm.

Why not just go for a radiator and place a towel rail over the top, as was achieved with amazing levels of skill and style by our friend Charlotte at The Home That Made Me (see below).

The home that made me ensuite

A Small Bathroom

As with any other room, the size of your bathroom will dictate the kind of radiator you purchase, but there are a few other factors to bear in mind too.

If you have a big family – but a small bathroom – and need to keep a large number of towels dry and ready for use, installing a HTR with some thermostatic valves could be the way forward.

Milano Elizabeth Towel Radiator

If what you require in your bathroom heating is a more traditional look and feel, then a Milano Elizabeth may be the perfect heating package – there lots of different traditional styles available out there too.

Milano Pendle HTR with Shelf

An attractive and yet highly functional design, the Milano Pendle Heated Towel Rail with Shelf offers a high heat output and gives you storage for hand and bath towels alike. A great little solution for bathrooms in which storage can be an issue.

Milano Pendle towel radiator

A Large Bathroom

If you have a large family bathroom, then you may want to consider a bigger radiator and accessorise with some robe hooks or towel rails; that way, you can still get enough heat into the space while keeping things neat, tidy and dry.

Large Milano Pendle with Shelf

As with the smaller design, this large Milano Pendle offers the user a shelf alongside more horizontal bars for added storage and a greater heat output. Perfect for a large family bathroom.

Large Milano Pendle towel rail

Ladder Style Milano Arno

If you have a large family, require a large number of towels and really want to add a bit of modern style to your home, then the Tall White Milano Arno could be a great solution for you and your family.

Large Milano Calder heated towel rail

Customers Bathroom Radiators

Don’t forget, you don’t have to install a towel rail in your bathroom if you don’t want to. There’s nothing wrong with pushing the boat out a little and investing in a sleek designer radiator – just like our customer Nic Tortice.

Nic took the step of replacing the old panel radiator in her bathroom with a beautiful Horizontal Milano Capri, and we think the anthracite colour really enhances the look of her shiny new bathroom, don’t you?

Bathroom b and a

Which is the best radiator I can buy fro my bathroom?

Can I buy an Electric Radiator?

Of course you can! Just like @ourlittlechurchcottage have!

Electric Radiators are a great option for anybody that’s looking to heat a room that’s perhaps not being served by their gas central heating – I’m talking conservatories, extensions and even garden sheds!

I discussed the rise of the electric radiator in last years buying guide and covered Economy 7 tariffs and how much it all costs. But in this year’s guide, I want to focus on designer electric rads and towel rails and how they can help to keep fuel costs down and add a sense of designer chic to a room.

Hallway radiatorThe beauty of an electric radiator is that they convert all of the energy they use into heat. They heat up quicker than their gas-powered counterparts – making them more efficient – and still have the amazing looks that you get with standard designer radiators.

Taking their efficiency into consideration, all you have to worry about is the cost of the respective fuels – whether gas is cheaper than electricity or not – something that I covered in this blog earlier in the year.

When all is said and done, an electric radiator is a convenient way of heating a room – you don’t have to worry about ripping up floorboards to lay pipework, so there are no expensive installation costs. You just need to decide where you want to put it, how large you need it to be and how great it’s going to look.

To discover more about electric designer radiators check out the video below and take a look at our amazing range of electric home heating.

How can i heat my home with electric heating

How can i heat my home with electric heating

*NEW* Coloured Radiators!

We couldn’t let you get all the way through this guide without telling you all about the brand new Milano Capri coloured designer radiators.

They have not long since landed in our store, so we thought we’d give this blog a quick update to include a link to them.

a four piece picture of coloured radiators.

They’re a great way to make a striking feature in any room of your home, so click the image above and go and check them out!

Good luck in finding your next radiator.

stay safe and happy heating

And Finally

That’s it!

For more hints and tips, loads of home heating advice and a range of special offers, deals and discounts why not sign up to our mailing list and pay us a visit on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you heat your home and what radiator designs you’d like to see in next year’s buying guide – so make sure you get in touch.

And if you’ve already bought your radiator, make sure you check out our range of videos on YouTube to discover how you can make the most of them and browse our Advice Centre for design tips, competitions and even more heating know-how.

Till next time, Stay Safe and Happy Heating.

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