One of the best things about towel radiators (also known as heated towel rails ) in bathrooms is that they are dual function bathroom accessories providing a source of heat for the room and somewhere to hang and warm your towels. Bathrooms are the one place where the radiator can be a useful and practical piece of furniture. Elsewhere, they just take up valuable wall space.
Despite their usefulness (or perhaps because of it) radiators can be very difficult to purchase. Size and practicality can sometimes become more important than design and you will be left with a radiator which performs well as a towel rail, but doesn’t really look all that great. Or the opposite can happen. Finding a balance is tricky.
Central heating or electric?
In fact electrical radiators are more often called heated towel rails as they don’t perform in the same way as a true radiator. Essentially the metal tubes heat up due to an electrical current, but they can be designed to look very much like a standard radiator. You can still hang your towels from them. Most often they will come in stainless steel or chrome and the heating capacity can be perfect for a bathroom.
One of the drawbacks to this type of heating can be the cost. Electric heating is usually more expensive, unless it is provided by some sort of renewable energy source such as solar or a heat pump.
However for those people who do not have access to gas, electric can be the perfect compromise. It is also useful for new bathrooms and en-suites, where extending the radiator pipe work may be difficult or even impossible.
Central heating radiators are often cheaper to buy and to run. Of course all you are purchasing is the metal tubing rather than the entire self contained unit required with electric heating. As already mentioned, central heating, if run by gas, is usually cheaper and more reliable. It can be left on all day, making the bathroom always ready for use.
Because a bathroom is often quite small, the size radiator you choose will be smaller than in other rooms. You can work out the size radiator you will require based on the square footage of your room, but for the most part, you will be hampered by the available space.
A bathroom requires and bath, shower, sink and toilet – all of which will take up wall space, which could house your radiator. So you may find that the only wall space you have left is small in any case. Thankfully you won’t need to add in a towel rail as well.
Whether you are traditional or modern, there are plenty of radiator designs which will suit the space you have. The standard horizontal bar design in chrome are pleasing to the eye and will fit in with most bathroom designs. They are practical as you can use them for towel hanging, but it is worth bearing in mind that the towels will prevent the heat from being released into the room.
For this reason, rails which have designated hanging space are a great idea. They have a bent over section at the top to allow the free hanging of towels without affecting the flow of heat too much.
If you are into designer heated towel rails like the two pictured above, you can get radiators which are in all kinds of shapes, heights and materials. You can opt for a mirrored radiator, a vertical radiator or one in brushed stainless steel or even powder coated.
Once you have made the above choices, all you have to do is work out what your budget is. Thankfully, you can buy great radiators and heated towel rails for any budget starting from as little as £26.