Bathroom Radiators

The bathroom may well be ‘the smallest room’ in the house, but it still needs to be properly heated. Bear in mind that you are likely to be nipping in and out of the bathroom in various stages of undress, so it should be a warm and comfortable room at all times. Consider that towels will need to be dried and aired, and extremes of temperature do not help the condensation and misty mirrors situations. There are lots of bathroom radiators available, to suit all sizes and layouts of bathroom, so have fun choosing and being creative.

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BATHROOM RADIATORS


A ladder-type bathroom radiator, usually described as a heated towel rail, will do the job of warming the room and being a convenient way of airing/drying towels too. Happily, such designs come in lots of colours and finishes, at a wide range of price points too.  If you’re updating an existing bathroom, a standard radiator could be painted to match the new colour scheme. If you need an extra boost of heat, consider a plinth heater or a wall-mounted radiant heater, although these are considered to be quite old-fashioned choices today.

 

TYPES OF BATHROOM RADIATOR

Heated Towel Rail

The perfect choice, offering a focal point design feature, somewhere to hang towels and it heats the room too. Most run off the usual central heating system. Other types are dual-circuit models, which have an electric element as well, to allow the radiator to be used during the summer months when the  central heating system can be switched off. There are also electric-only models – a good choice if you’re updating rather than completely replacing the bathroom, as there’s no plumbing involved.

Flat Panel Radiator

These are often very decorative designs, with unusual metallic colours and finishes. They are installed and operate in the same way as a standard central heating radiator, but are very different in shape, colour and design. Often used for kitchens and kitchen-dining areas, as well as bathrooms.

Standard central-heating style radiator

Choose a standard radiator as well as a heated towel rail if you are kitting out a large bathroom. The main disadvantage of a standard radiator is that it takes up a fair amount of wall space; however, it makes up for that by providing a very decent amount of heat. And of course, a standard radiator can be used on a lower setting to keep towels aired and dry during the summer.

Also Consider: Underfloor Heating

There are two main types, wet and dry. Wet UFH systems use a series of linked plastic pipes carrying warm water supplied via the central heating system. The pipes run under the floor (which can be tiles, timber, vinyl or carpet) and the temperature is controlled by a timer-thermostat. These systems are fairly economical to run but expensive to install; usually seen in new builds, fairly disruptive and costly to retro-fit into an existing bathroom. Dry systems are electrical, and consist of a series of mesh mats which are installed under the floor, and can have a timer-thermostat operation.

 

STYLES OF BATHROOM RADIATOR

Traditional Radiators

There are two main types to look at, the classic column versions, originally seen in cast iron, and the classic chrome plated tubular towel rail designs, which often have a column radiator in the middle as well. Look in salvage and reclamation yards for original versions, but be sure that the item can be restored and used with modern plumbing connections. Details matter – look for models that have attractive, period-style controls or valves.

Modern Radiators

Contemporary styles are available in every colour and finish imaginable, and can make a dramatic design statement if used within a simple white bathroom scheme.  Many companies offer bespoke colours, which are generally matched to Pantone shades, so your new towel rail/radiator could blend in with the rest of your colour scheme. Chrome, steel and mirrored finishes are particularly appealing, don’t date, and will survive any potential change of colour scheme. 

 

BATHROOM RADIATORS: OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Heat Output

The heat output of a radiator is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Your builder, plumber, heating engineer or bathroom specialist can advise on the output needed for the size of the bathroom. Remember, considerations such as the number of windows, whether they are double-glazed or not, the number of outside walls and levels of insulation will all contribute to the effectiveness of the chosen radiators.

Radiator Valves

The valve (the operating wheel) may be a small part of the overall look, but there are lots of different options. Modern radiators can be teamed with perfectly plain valves; traditional designs can have hand-wheel designs (perhaps to match the basin taps), and of course, for complete temperature control look at thermostatic radiator valves as well.