Buyers Guide: Heated Towel Rails

There was a time when heated towel rails were something found only in nice hotels and the homes of the very wealthy. Today, though, modern technology has made heated towel rails more accessible, and they are becoming ever more popular. After all, isn’t it a lovely feeling to step out of the shower directly into the embrace of a nice, warm towel? What you may not realize is that heated towel rails offer quite a lot more than just a toasty after-bath experience.

Heated Towel Rails

What are the Benefits of a Heated Towel Rail?

Obviously, towel heaters heat towels. But by warming them all the way through, heated towel rails also dry towels thoroughly in between uses, eliminating dampness and the spread of bacteria. This also reduces the dampness in your bathroom environment, reducing the risk of mould and mildew growth. In addition to improving the conditions in your bathroom, heated towel rails improve your hygiene by keeping your towels from becoming musty and harbouring harmful bacteria. Heated towel racks come in a variety of styles and materials, which means they can beautifully match the aesthetic of your bathroom, and some towel heaters are actually heated towel radiators, designed to heat the entire bathroom. There are different options for towel radiators, just as there are for heated towel rails, and we will discuss them here, to help you make the right choice for your home.

What Factors Should I Consider?

There are many different factors to consider when choosing a heated towel rail. Some are functional and some aesthetic, but all should be carefully assessed before you make the investment. Here, to help you with selecting the right heated towel rail, we offer this useful guide.

How will your towel rail be heated?

The towel rail can be connected to your central heating system, or it can run on a heated element.

  • Central heating: The primary difference between these two heating methods is that a rail connected to the central heating system will only work when the system is on, which would typically be in the winter. To use it when during the warmer months, it is necessary to turn on the entire system and close the valves on all the radiators except the heated towel rail.
  • Electric heating: An electric-only towel rail is often used in flats and high-rise buildings where it may be difficult to achieve the pressure required for central heating, but it’s also beneficial in a house because it doesn’t require extending your plumbing system. It can be a cost-effective solution but will require planning permission.
  • Dual fuel heating: Dual fuel offers the best of both worlds, attached to the central heating system but also featuring an electric heating element. This allows you to have warm towels all year, even in the summer, when the central heating system is not running.
Heated Towel Rail
Towel Rail Size

What size towel rail do you need?

Think about how you will use your heated towel rail. Is it for a family bathroom, where multiple towels will need to be hung? Is it for a small ensuite bathroom, where you will hang only one or two towels? The number of towels factors into the size of the towel rail. If you’re purchasing a towel rail for a family, you may be best served by a large ladder-style towel rail with several horizontal bars. A curved profile will allow you a little bit of extra space for towels, also. The heat output matters, and you will need to look for a towel rail with a higher BTU if you plan to hang a number of towels or use it to heat your room.

Where should the towel rail be installed?

The best place to install a heated towel rail is on the coldest wall of the bathroom. This could be an outside wall with a window, or it may just be an external wall of the room. Putting it on an external wall will help the towel rail more efficiently provide heat to the bathroom. However, modern homes are designed with sufficient insulation that you really have some leeway as far as which wall you use for your towel rail. Ultimately, the best place for a heated towel rail is within easy reach when you’re getting out of the tub or shower.

Best Place to Install a Heated Towel Rail
Wall-Mounted or Freestanding Towel Rail

Do you want a wall-mounted or freestanding towel rail?

This choice will largely depend on your available space. Wall mounted models are better in smaller bathrooms, as long as the wall can handle the load. If floor space is not at a premium, a floor standing model is a good option.

How much room is there for the towel rail to project?

When choosing your towel rail, think about how far it will project into the room, to make sure it won’t obstruct anything already in the bathroom. Consider, while you’re calculating, that towels on the rail will add an extra 20 to 40mm, depending on how thick they are.

Choosing Your Towel Rail
Modern Towel Rails

What colour and finish do you prefer?

Modern towel rails come in a wide range of finishes, including the traditional chrome or white. If you want something a little more unusual, consider an unusual metallic finish like brushed brass, or an anthracite grey towel rail. Painted towel radiators are a bit better at heat transference than chrome rails, but chrome towel rails are resistant to rusting and corrosion. There are also silver towel rails, an understated option that doesn’t show finger marks like chrome does, and mineral quartz heated towel rails, which are a statement-making departure from the expected. The finish you choose is a subjective choice, but look for towel rails that comply with BS EN 442, the British Standard for heating.

What’s involved in the installation?

If you are renovating your bathroom, it’s good to install your towel rail during the renovation. It may require repainting of the wall, or changes to the underfloor plumbing that necessitate lifting floorboards. Waiting until the wall has been painted and new flooring has been laid can cause a significant increase in costs and stress.

Towel Rail Installation
Heated Towel Rails Come in Many Different Styles

Heated Towel Rails Come in Many Different Styles

It is easy enough, then, to find one that fits with your bathroom aesthetic. If you want a modern take on the towel rail, look for white painted or contemporary chrome plated. If you lean more toward classic chic, you might want a more traditional style.

  • Contemporary towel rails work in any modern bathroom. Typically, they have a number of rungs on which to hang towels, and come in finishes that include chrome, black, grey, or white.
  • Traditional towel rails work in a traditional or period home. You might want to opt for a towel rail designed to look like an old style radiator, with enamelled columns, to go with a classical style bathroom.
  • Towel rails for small spaces are designed with efficiency in mind. If you are installing one in a small ensuite, for example, you might want to find an option with a built in shelf for additional functionality.

Visit our showroom to view our range

Whether you want a towel rail installed or you need a complete bathroom renovation, call the bathroom installation professionals at Bathroom Inspirations. Founded in 2004, Bathroom Inspirations is a Dorchester-based company owned and managed by Bridport-born brothers Patrick and Paul Ackerman. Today, the business has one of Dorset’s largest showrooms, presenting stunning, innovative bathroom designs in real life settings. We’ll even help you design your bathroom, with free design services that use state-of-the-art 3D design technology, for visualizing the finished bathroom before committing to the work. To learn more, feel free to explore some of our work or schedule an appointment to visit our showroom in Dorchester.