Keep your bathroom towels toasty with a towel radiator
Stepping out of the shower or bath into a warm towel or robe is one of life’s little luxuries. Not only does a towel warmer make this a reality in your home, but they’re also a great multi-functional addition to your bathroom. They’re ideal for drying towels – perfect if you’ve a large family – and add extra warmth to your bathroom helping to keep dampness at bay. Contemporary designs can also create an attractive feature that you’ll be happy to have at the centre of your room.
Towel warmers can also be called towel radiators, but it's worth knowing that they work in a slightly different way to conventional radiators. Whilst they can efficiently heat a small en-suite bathroom or cloakroom, you’ll want to keep a radiator as your main source of heat in a larger room.
All B&Q towel radiators are pressure tested and heat output tested to European standards, so you can be confident you’re making the right choice.
Before you begin
Plumbed or electric?
Your home probably already has a hot water or electric heating system installed. However you aren’t limited to using your existing system when installing a new towel radiator. If you have a plumbed hot water system, you can choose either a plumbed or electric version.
If you want to replace an existing plumbed towel warmer or a small radiator, a plumbed radiator can be the best choice as it uses your existing pipework. Turning your central heating on and off will turn your towel warmer on and off too, so you won't need to remember to switch it on.
Dual fuel offers the best of both worlds. These are plumbed towel warmers with an electric heating element installed, making it ‘dual fuel’. This means that the warmer will heat up when your central heating is on in the winter, and also gives you the option to use the heating element independently when the central heating is off. The electric element is controlled with a switch and a thermostat so you can turn it on and off to give a boost of extra warmth when needed - ideal for use during the summer months. Look for heating elements with timer functions so that you can set your towel warmer to run at times when the central heating is not on. Bear in mind that while dual fuel options offer great flexibility you will require both plumbing and a mains electricity supply where you plan to install your radiator.
Electric options are a good solution if you do not want to extend your existing hot water heating system or worry about moving pipework. Electric towel warmers work with your existing mains electric system and are double insulated for safety. They also come pre-filled with a water treatment to protect against corrosion and limescale. Just like a plumbed radiator, they’re mounted onto the wall but will need to be installed by a qualified electrician.
Some electric towel radiators come with thermostatic controls, rather than standard on/off controls. These allow you to set the temperature of your radiator to suit your needs, or pre-set the temperature you would like your room to be heated to. The radiator intelligently controls its heat output to maintain your desired room temperature by cycling on and off, helping to reduce energy usage. Premium options also offer the ability to set a time schedule, so that the radiator comes on a preferred times of day, similar to your central heating system. Thermostatically controlled electric towel radiators also offer anti-freeze functions which will automatically turn on if the temperature in the room drops low enough for the pipes to potentially freeze (usually around 6ºC) helping to prevent damage from frozen pipes. You’ll need to leave the radiator switched on, but it won’t generate any heat until it becomes very cold. It’s ideal for when you’re away from home.
Where are you hanging the radiator?
Take some time to consider the wall where you would like to mount your radiator. If you’re redecorating or refitting your bathroom, paint or tile behind your radiator before you fit it, as you’ll find this easier. For plumbed radiators, think about the existing pipework. If you’re replacing an existing radiator, opting for a towel warmer the same width or wider will help to keep plumbing to a minimum. A narrower towel warmer may require more changes to the existing plumbing, particularly if the pipes rise out of the floor rather than run along the wall. Changes to existing underfloor plumbing will require the floorboards to be lifted so you may want to check with a plumber first.
How much heat will it give out?
British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour are a unit of measurement for the amount of heat a radiator produces. A BTU rating is assigned to all towel warmers, to help you select the right one for your needs.
Use our BTU calculator to work out the heating needs for your bathroom. If you have a smaller bath or shower room you may be able to select a towel radiator with a high enough BTU to heat your room. Otherwise, use a combination of a standard radiator and a towel warmer to meet the BTU needs for your room.
Will I need radiator valves?
Yes, you’ll need a pair of radiator valves to control the heat output of your towel radiator. These are available separately.
As the name suggests, ladder towel radiators are based on a ladder shape with the rungs of the ladder allowing you to hang multiple towels. They’re mounted to the wall, and have either a flat profile or curve slightly into the room. Flat towel warmers are sleek and slimline making them ideal for smaller spaces, curved warmers better suit larger rooms where you’ll find the extra space makes it easier to hang a large number of towels.
Ladder towel radiators are available in a wide range of sizes to suit many bathrooms, and come with either a white or chrome-effect finish. Opt for white to blend in with existing décor, or chrome to make a stylish statement. It’s worth considering that white radiators have a slightly greater heat output, and can be lower maintenance as metallic finishes can get dirty quickly and are harder to clean.
Space saving towel warmers are ideal for smaller rooms, en-suites and cloakrooms and are perfect if you prefer a more discrete radiator. Wall-mounted, there are a range of shapes and sizes to choose from;
A vertical bar with hoops to hang towels from is a great option for narrow spaces. Although it protrudes into the room more, this design comfortably offers more hanging and drying space than ladder towel warmer of the same width. The chrome finish looks stylish too.
Towels and robes hang from a hook at the top of a chrome finish vertical bar. Another good choice for narrow spaces, these towel warmers are best suited for en-suite bathrooms where you might want to hang only one or two bath sheets or a robe rather than many towels. The hook itself doesn’t heat up, but instead hangs items close to the heated bars for optimum drying.
Flat panel with rail
A perfect compromise between heat output and hanging space. A white flat panel offers high heat output, whilst a chrome finish rail – which itself doesn’t heat up – can keep several towels warm and dry.
Traditional towel warmers
Traditional-style towel radiators can be a beautiful feature in your bathroom, capturing all the charm of old-fashioned cast iron radiators but with all the benefits of modern technology. They’re ideal for period homes, with a ball-joint design that complements traditional heating systems and adds character to your home.
Choose from a column design or metal framed model to suit your décor style and heating needs.
Column towel warmers
Incorporate a traditional style column radiator with metal bars to the side and top that can be used as towel rails. The white finish of the radiator optimises heat output whilst the chrome finish rails above and to the side add classic style.
Metal-framed towel warmers
A grid of chrome finish pipes offers plenty of hanging space. Bear in mind that these tend to have a lower heat output than a column radiator due to the metallic finish.
Contemporary towel warmers
Contemporary towel warmers are the ideal option if you’re looking to make your radiator a standout feature of your bathroom. They’re available in a greater range of colours, shapes and sizes than most other towel radiators.
Consider a flat profile if you’d like to use as little space as possible – square rungs and rails give a bold, contemporary look, or choose circular rails and rungs for a more traditional and streamlined finish. If you’ve got a bigger space, a curved rail can be a good choice as they’re easier to hang towels on – great if you’ve got a large family. Alongside white and chrome finishes, luxury towel radiators are also available in on-trend grey and stainless steel finishes which look stunning in modern settings.