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Modern cast iron radiators: Yay or nay?

Do new cast iron rads stand up to classic models?

There’s no secrets or doubts surrounding what sort of style cast iron radiators are most readily associated with. From Victorian era models to more contemporary versions, all in all the overriding aesthetic remains the same – traditional.

But with a wave of fresh cast iron radiators now sweeping the home heating landscape, do the new kids on the block stand up to the old, battle-hardened antique cast iron rad warriors of yesteryear?

Will newer cast iron radiators heat up quicker, retain heat for longer and prove as durable and robust as the components that paved the way?

Or, much like any A-Team reboot, can we chalk them up as ‘Fancy Dans’ of the new era that will never amount to their predecessors?

In this blog, we’ll explore all the merits and potential drawbacks presented by modern cast iron radiators, and discuss the elements that can prove more or less favourable in comparison with retro designs.

Milano Tamara Antique Oval Column Cast Iron Radiator

The evolution of cast iron radiators

Ok, so a march through time exploring the changing styles of cast iron radiators might not necessarily be worthy of a David Attenborough-style narration. Or maybe it would, especially if you are familiar with our latest TV ad. Either way, the manner in which cast iron radiators have evolved over the years with regards to construction and appearance is definitely worth scrutinizing.

As detailed in our blog, Old But Gold: Could You Be Sitting On A Cast Iron Radiator Fortune, older antique cast iron rads can still fetch very hefty sums, even if they’re not necessarily in tip-top shape and full working order.

One key factor in classic cast iron radiators’ retention of value is the level of integrity associated with their makeup. Famed more than any other type of radiators for their durability, classic cast iron radiators count a rigidly robust manufacturing process amongst their hallmarks.

Of course, cast iron is the predominant material used for the construction of cast iron radiators. And water is wet, by the way, as well. However, various supplementary metals also feature in the design of these rads, depending on their style and aesthetic.

Many older cast iron radiators are punctuated by gold, bronze and silver elements, though in reality the choices of finish were fairly scarce in comparison to the options available to would-be buyers today.

Indeed, nowhere near as much variance existed in terms of the shades on offer today, so it would be fair to chalk that up as a plus one for the modern cast iron radiator crop.

Milano Beatrix Antique Brass Ornate Cast Iron Radiator

Cast iron radiators for modern homes

Cast iron radiators always have, and always will have a traditional aura attached to them, no matter what their origin or when they were made. But that doesn’t mean they need to be exclusively housed in older properties, and can’t serve as an excellent home heating upgrade for modern homes.

As referenced earlier, there’s now such a wide array of cast iron radiator designs available with so many subtle finish differentials, you can be sure to scope out an ideal option to upgrade any interior.

Take BestHeating’s cast iron radiator collection, for instance.

Antique brass, copper and pewter are amongst the most popular colour cast iron rads on offer, with models ranging from short to tall, diminutively compact to bulky, and all sorts of other sizes in between.

There’s also the beautifully well rounded design features of oval column cast iron rads to consider in comparison with more classic styles. Plus, the often-minute unique details that can set apart some components from those that could be described as a touch more generic.

One such example can be summised by our ornate cast iron rads, which boast beautiful floral etchings to provide a thoroughly distinctive aesthetic.

Our blog, Meet Alice, Beatrix & Tamara, zones in on the virtues of some of the newest additions to our cast iron radiator offerings in impressive detail.

Close up shot of copper cast iron radiator details

Are modern cast iron radiators as well made as older versions?

For a heating solution so readily associated with traditional, classic authenticity, modern cast iron radiators are always likely to be perceived to be left wanting in the construction stakes when compared against older models.

But is that a fair assessment of the manufacturing practices involved in creating contemporary cast iron radiators?

Put simply, it is not. And furthermore, the accompanying guarantees provided with new cast iron radiator purchases should also provide a great deal of peace of mind to potential buyers too. There’s often no such guarantees afforded when shopping for antique radiators in second-hand shops, and even in some cases when perusing online marketplaces for older models.

In fact, that point itself is one of the key factors that can influence buying decisions, but there’s no need to worry whatsoever with regards to the making of modern cast iron radiators anyway.

New cast iron radiators incorporate the same properties as older designs. They are excellent retainers of heat, even if taking a while longer to initially warm up than most other types of modern designer radiators.

Modern cast iron radiators are also born of the same custom hand-built manufacturing techniques that were used to create classic versions, whilst the quality of the main cast iron material used remains at a premium.

Meanwhile, there’s a touch more scope for creativity in terms of the shape of new cast iron radiators, with rounded designer style regularly coming into play in the form of oval columns. Such an effortlessly elegant design feature would be far rarer among antique or retro cast iron radiators.

Furthermore, the makeup of contemporary cast iron rads would typically tend to offer a wider choice of radiator valves, and crucially from an aesthetic perspective, radiator feet. Classic traditional options such as clawfeet could be substituted for ornate patterned alternatives, for instance, for a uniform look with a rad of the same style.

Upgrading your home with new cast iron radiators

So, hopefully this article will have allayed any fears or concerns you might have had about upgrading your home with new cast iron radiators.

Of course, if you do prefer the originality and classic authenticity of a classic cast iron rad design, by all means don’t let us deter you.

But you should have no worries at all with regards to the construction quality, aesthetics, or heat output of modern cast iron radiator models, and if we can be allowed to enter humblebrag mode for a minute, we believe the BestHeating cast iron radiator range would prove as much.

Shop cast iron radiators online with us today, or if you would like any further information on any of our home heating products at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

You can leave your thoughts in the comments section below, or contact us via FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although they are widely considered to be a traditional heating option overall, some cast iron radiators can be thought of as modern radiator replacements, and will suit contemporary settings equally as well as they will classic or retro spaces.

To find out more about these and any other modern radiator replacement styles, explore our dedicated blog, Obeying the rules of cool: a modern radiator replacement guide.

Black cast iron radiators can be considered a trendy home heating choice for 2022 and beyond. As with their modern counterparts, black cast iron radiators or other traditional designs are very well suited to almost any interior scheme.

A black cast iron radiator will make for a good addition to both classic and contemporary properties, and bring a great sense of authenticity to your home heating whatever the setting.

For further information, take a look at our blog, How To Use Black Radiators In Your Home.

Cast iron radiators are proven to work in an energy efficient manner, with cast iron actually boasting a higher level of conductivity than steel.

As a material, cast iron may take longer to heat up than steel, but it also retains its heat better, for much longer.

A cast iron radiator will remain warm for a long while after being switched off, so it can be argued that cast iron radiators are more efficient than modern designer radiators.

Based on their properties, you might prefer to use cast iron models as opposed to bathroom radiators or use them as kitchen or lounge radiators, dependent on your specific home heating preferences.

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