Buying A Heated Towel Rail @ BestHeating
We may have covered buying a towel radiator before and we’ve done the rounds on dual fuel towel rails too, but in this ultimate buying guide we’re ramping things up, showcasing some new products and ideas and giving you the who, what, where, when, why and how of all things heated towel rail.
So, whether you’re revamping a bathroom, remodelling an ensuite, or you’ve just got a bit bored of your bathroom heating and fancy browsing around for a change, hold on to your shower cap as we head through our ultimate guide to buying heated towel rails.
Oh, and if you’re heating a kitchen, you might find this useful too.
How To Buy A Heated Towel Radiator
There was a time (long ago) when a heated towel rail – or towel radiator – was considered something of a luxury in the average British home – and normally reserved for the more ‘well-to-do’s’ of the world.
You know, the type of folk that have monogrammed towels and dressing gowns (sorry if that’s you, but come on, really?).
Joking aside, thanks to modern technology, better materials and more intelligent design, heated towel rails are now affordable, must-have items that can provide a vital heating and drying function in every bathroom suite in the land.
So how do you go about selecting the perfect towel radiator for your home and how should you spend your hard-earned money and make the best choice?
How Will You Use Your Heated Towel Rail?
Before you put your hand in your pocket, count your pennies and buy a new heated towel rail, you need to be sure just how you intend to make use of it.
Of course, the ‘usual’ place you think of when picturing a heated towel rail on the wall is the bathroom, but you aren’t limited to that space at all.
It’s not uncommon for a towel radiator to be installed in a kitchen or utility room, for example – and of course, there is the ensuite or cloakroom suite (if you’re lucky enough to have one or both of those), as I’ve already mentioned.
But, wherever you intend to install it, generally speaking, there are three main ways of using a towel radiator at home and three ways to power it up –
1 – Central Heating Towel Rail
Most UK households have a central heating system in place. With this method, you can simply plumb your new towel rail into your existing central heating system with a pair of existing or new radiator valves.
This is the most common way to use towel radiators to keep your towels warm and dry – it also means that your heated towel rail will work in the same way that a conventional radiator does.
Though it’s important to remember that it won’t provide as much of a heat output as a standard convector radiator will – but, more of that in a moment.
2 – Electric Only Towel Rail
An electric-only towel radiator is usually best suited to flats or high-rise buildings – where the pressure required for central heating may be difficult to achieve – or in properties where there is no gas or central heating at all.
Really easy to set up and to have installed (by a qualified electrician), an electric-only heated towel radiator can be a cost-effective way of keeping your towels warm and dry – and the more modern models are a joy to look at.
You don’t have to live in a high-rise building to benefit from electric only towel rails, though.
For example, if you are looking to heat a conservatory, it can be more cost-effective to opt for an electric variation instead of plumbed as you won’t need to extend your plumbing system – and in the vast majority of cases (if not all of them), adding a new radiator to an existing central heating system WILL require planning permission.
3 – Dual Fuel Towel Rail
An increasingly popular way for people to get the best of both worlds – electric and central heating – a dual fuel heated towel rail is plumbed into your central heating system and features an electric heating element too.
It works by isolating the appliance from your central heating, using a T-Piece fitting, allowing it to be used independently of your standard heating system.
Having both electric and plumbed heating at your disposal will mean that you can have warm towels available all year round – even in the summer months when you may have switched your main central heating system off.
Where Should I Install A Heated Towel Rail?
Just where you install your new heated towel rail will depend greatly on a few different factors, including, but not limited to –
- The shape of your bathroom, cloakroom or ensuite.
- The dimensions of that space.
- Your existing pipework.
- Doors, pipes and existing bathroom fittings (bath, sink, toilet, etc).
- Whether it is plumbed or electric, or dual fuel.
- The size of the appliance that you require.
It’s important to take some time to consider exactly where you want to place your new towel radiator for convenience, ease of use and how it looks in relation to the rest of your room.
If you are completely redecorating the room or perhaps refitting your entire bathroom space, it will be much easier to paint or tile behind your new towel rail BEFORE you fit it.
Don’t worry if you haven’t taken the time to do this, though, because we have a guide that can help you to remove it and decorate behind it, right here.
If you already have a plumbed radiator or towel rail in your bathroom – and you’re not thinking about moving its location – be sure to get the correct dimensions and distance between the pipe inlets, that way you can use those same measurements when you purchase your new appliance.
Provided you take accurate measurements, it should allow you to do a straight old-to-new swap without much trouble, and this will help to save you a bit of cash too, as your plumber probably won’t have to move pipework around.
A towel radiator with a slim-line profile may require a few changes to existing pipework and plumbing – especially if the pipework comes from the floor rather than running along the wall.
And any additional changes to underfloor plumbing will require floorboards to be lifted, so keep that in mind if you have already laid new flooring, as costs could soon escalate and headaches could be on the menu.
It is also worth noting that if you are swapping out an old ‘plumbed’ radiator or towel rail for a new ‘electric’ towel radiator, you won’t benefit from the same cost savings you would if you were just replacing an electric heater – so be sure to take advice from your electrician or plumber as to where the most sensible place to install your new appliance is likely to be and whether it’s worth it.
Where Is The Best Place To Hang My Towel Rail?
Thanks to improved insulation in modern homes you can install your heated towel rail on virtually any wall you like, but ideally, you want it to be on the coldest wall of the room.
This is often the external wall of your space – so where you can, try to fix your new radiator or towel rail to the wall with a window, or on any other external wall.
Doing this will help to ensure that heat is distributed throughout the room effectively, improving efficiency and guaranteeing you always have a warm and cosy space to look forward to spending time in.
It’s also important to consider where your towel rail will be in relation to your bath or shower.
The last thing you want is to get out of either of those and walk across a cold bathroom floor to get your hands on a warm towel; so be sure to think about the process of having a shower or a bath – and how and where you can get your hands on a towel or robe – before you commit to putting the appliance on the wall.
REMEMBER – There are a range of ratings that can determine how close certain appliances can be in relation to a water source, so be sure to check specifications of all appliances BEFORE you make a purchase. If you’re still unsure, check with a registered tradesperson.
Can A Heated Towel Rail Heat My Bathroom?
Whether or not a towel radiator can warm your bathroom enough to not require an additional source of heat will depend upon a number of factors.
Every bathroom is different and, unlike other rooms of the home, they have different requirements when it comes to getting them to (and keeping them at) their optimum temperature.
Bathrooms are usually warm and humid, we’re often completely starkers when we’re in them, they’re normally the first place we visit in the morning and often the last place we see at night – so, as you would expect, they have some pretty unusual and specific heating requirements.
Though in the main, heated towel rails are designed to keep towels warm and dry, in the case of small to medium-sized bathrooms, cloakrooms or ensuites, it is entirely plausible for a towel radiator to be sufficiently powerful enough to heat the space as well.
Of course, you can always look to purchase a couple of separate heaters – but that will depend on if you have enough space to accommodate two heating appliances alongside your bath, shower, sink and toilet.
If you don’t – and you want a warm bathroom with somewhere to hang your towels – you’ve got a couple of options that may be suitable.
Something like this Milano Trent traditional heated towel rail could be the answer, as it has an impressive heat output for such a diminutive appliance and still features a space to hang towels or other garments to dry – which is pretty handy.
The downside (for some) to this type of towel radiator, is that the style may not be suitable. As nice as it is, perhaps it is less well-suited to a modern space than say a sleek ladder-style towel rail may be.
So, if you are a little averse – as I am – to the traditional and period styles of a bygone era, you could opt for a designer radiator that has a towel rail attachment or two.
Something like the Ischia – from the Lazzarini Way collection – could be a suitable alternative that provides plenty of heat output (3467 BTUs @ Delta 60) and somewhere to hang a towel or two.
Going for a radiator with a towel rail attachment is certainly the way to go if you have a large bathroom space and your heat requirements are on the high side.
And thanks to a range of accessories, you can opt for a style like this and still have somewhere to hang a towel or a bathrobe and have it to hand for when you need it.
John loves reading design blogs and bringing those ideas to the Advice Centre in his own inimitable style. When he isn’t writing copy, you’ll find him reaching out to industry experts to get the latest on all the heating news.