Designer Radiator Buying Guide

designer radiators buying guide

If you want to make a statement in a room, then a designer radiator might be exactly what you're looking for.

Designer radiators go further than functionality, they add style and can be fitted in various rooms throughout your home. Available in a range of styles, colours, and sizes all allowing you to choose the perfect design and fit for your home, no matter it's size or decor.

To help you out, here at Plumbworld we have written this complete guide to designer radiators. We’ll discuss how they’re different from standard models, the design types, how to install them, and answer some important questions you may have before buying.

Read on to find out more about designer radiators and what they can offer your home…

What are designer radiators?

what are designer radiators?

Radiators have always been a household item that performs a vital purpose - heating your home - but rarely make any other impact. They are very much function over form, meaning that, aesthetically, they can often be plain to look at and not blend with your decor.

However, in recent years the radiator market has introduced a variety of designer radiators that not only do an amazing job of heating your home but can also create a stunning design feature.

Believe it or not, if you choose the right radiator it can look like a stylish piece of artwork on any wall in your home.

However, there's more to them than just good looks - these radiators are not a case of style over substance. Designer radiators also provide a fantastic heating outlet that will help keep you warm during the colder months, working just as efficiently as other types of radiators.

The majority of radiators come in a limited number of colours - white and cream being the most common options. The easiest way around dressing up standard radiators is to use a radiator cover, however, the alternative and more permanent solution to this is a designer radiator.

Read more: Radiator Covers Buying Guide

What are the types of designer radiators?

what are the types of designer radiator?

Designer radiators come in both traditional and contemporary designs all creating incredibly eye-catching centrepieces, perfect for any room.

Our collection of designer radiators are available in horizontal and vertical styles as well as a range of sizes. This ensures you can get the right size for the space you’re trying to heat. Too large, and you are paying excessive money to heat, too small and you aren’t getting a return on the heat you’re paying for.

Designer Radiators don't only come in standard vertical or horizontal panel designs. If you're looking for something truly unique and unusual take a look at our range of stylish Terma radiators. Available in a variety of styles, from innovative hexagonal designs to mirrored options, all in a wide range of colours from bright blue to classic copper.

When we think of a radiator, we tend to think of central heating but what if your home doesn't have central heating? An electric radiator is an excellent choice, still available in stylish designs and in most cases they provide the same heating qualities as a radiator that runs on central heating.

If you're looking for a simple designer radiator, however, that blends seamlessly into your home both standard flat panel or oval designer radiators are brilliant choices. If you choose a flat panel radiator, the sleek appearance is the perfect complement for any modern home and gives you the flexibility of fitting them in any room. Oval designer radiators, however, add eye-catching style however, you will need to allow for more space.

Smart controlled radiators


With technology constantly updating, over the last couple of years smart controlled radiators have come onto the scene. With the same heating abilities as a standard radiator, smart controlled options are not only perfect for controlling your heating remotely and automatically but are also ideal for bringing your heating bills down.

Some smart controlled radiators provide the ability to control your heating automatically with clever timer functions and an automatic shut off, making them perfect for a busy family home.

Column designer radiators

column designer radiators

If you’re looking to add or retain some period charm in your home, a column radiator can give a traditional feel to your home. 

Similar in style to old cast-iron radiators that came from the Victorian era, these modern models keep the look but provide much better heat efficiency than their predecessors. With finishes in crisp white or dark anthracite, you can match your decor with ease, while the low-carbon steel ensures they are durable and long-lasting.

Vertical designer radiators

Vertical radiators are designed specifically for vertical hanging and are built to an extremely high-standard using low-carbon steel for added durability and strength.

Vertical flat panel radiators are great as the slender projection means they can be fitted into the smallest of spaces, providing you and your family with an effective heating solution that still looks great. Vertical radiators are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens where you will often have limited wall space available.

Where should I fit designer radiators?

As we’ve said, due to their often vertical shape, designer radiators are ideal for bathrooms because they often have limited wall space. Due to their vertical reach, they will provide efficient heating for the entire room space, taking less time to eat the room.

Designer radiators aren’t just for the bathroom, they’re suitable for living rooms, dining rooms, landings, kitchens, and even hallways. They are perfect for anywhere that you might consider fitting a standard radiator but has limited space.

Somd designer radiators can even function as an alternative to a heated towel rail. Those with unique designs such as those with hexagonal or diamond shapes have perfect spaces for drying your towels, making them perfect for use in the bathroom or kitchen.

Are designer radiators efficient?

are designer radiators efficient?

Designer radiators are efficient, however, as some or many don’t feature convection fins, as you would see in a standard radiator, they aren’t always as efficient.

Aside from the lack of convection fins, designer radiators are also limited by their colour - grey or chrome finishes aren’t as efficient as white radiators when it comes to emitting heat. Though they aren’t as efficient as standard radiators, designer radiators are still an effective heat source, depending on where you use them. You can find a designer radiator that has a high BTU rating and is made from high-performance materials.

You should also be aware that due to the nature of some designs, they might require a bit more maintenance to make sure they look their best. This is because it's easier for dust to become trapped within the grooves. While it may not be a huge issue, this will slightly spoil the look of darker radiator finishes if it's allowed to build up, so it's a good idea to give them a regular clean.

Calculating the BTU

Before purchasing your new radiator it's essential to calculate the BTU (British Thermal Units) needed to heat your chosen room. This can be easily calculated with our handy heating calculator.

Our BTU heating calculator can be viewed here.

Installing a designer radiator

Installation is easy and direct, allowing you to plumb them straight into your central heating system. This ensures you are provided with something that’s powerful, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.

how to fit a designer radiator

Most designer radiators will fit into your existing central heating system making them straight forward to install. Read our step-by-step installation guide below.

You can find out how to remove and replace a radiator in our full guide.

  1. Switch off your heating system - your water supply - this ensures safety while installing the radiator. You should allow the water in the system to cool.
  2. Choose where you want to place your radiator - close to current pipework and away from doors. Make sure you’ve checked what’s behind it with a digital detector. This will let you know whether there are any pipes, cables, or studs.
  3. Check the bracket distance by marking the distance between them. This will show the distance to the centre of the radiator. Then drill where the brackets will go.
  4. Fit your brackets, ensure they are in position, and can support the radiator before attaching it to the wall. This will allow you to fit your radiator to the wall but always do so in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Fit the radiator valves nearest to where your current pipework is, or pipework will be; wrap the valves in PTFE tape. It's always best to install your valves before attaching your radiator to the wall to make the job easier.
  6. Tip: An extra pair of hands will help with marking the position to install the radiator and the actual fitting.
  7. Check the radiator's level using a spirit level and mark where the centre is on the wall with a pencil - then mark the top and bottom of the radiator.
  8. Connect your vertical radiator valves to your heating pipework, making sure that everything is secured and tight. Make sure the manual control and bleed valves are fully open and open the bleed valve to allow water into the radiator.
  9. Once the radiator has stopped ‘gurgling’ and is full, open the lockshield valve by the same amount of turns as you needed to close it earlier.
  10. Check all the joints and sealings are dry and waterproof, tightening them if necessary. Now, you can turn your heating back on and fill the system, making sure to check it works and for any leaks and that the radiator is evenly getting hot.

If you're looking for further information on radiators and heating, take a look at the following suggested posts. Single vs Double Radiators: Which One Do You Need? - Choosing the Best Radiator for Your Home - Heating Advice: How to check your radiators.

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