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Heated towel rail, Heated towel warmer, Radiators

Are heated towel rails as efficient as radiators?

Heated towel rails and radiators on the surface may seem like totally different beasts, particularly if you’re used to the traditional ladder-style towel rails and rather austere wall radiators. But go behind the look and they share a pretty similar DNA. Let’s take a closer look at what we mean and try to answer the question on which is more efficient, the heated towel rail or the radiator?

Two main types of heated towel rails and radiators

Firstly, it’s important to point out that there are two main types of heating methods for towel rails and radiators. This ensures we’re comparing apples with apples.

Most of today’s heated towel rails and many radiators are electric. They have a heating element inside that generally heats up to a set temperature. Some heated towel rails and many radiators are liquid filled. They also have an element that is used to heat up the liquid inside.

In this article we’ll focus mainly on the fully electric, rather than liquid filled versions.

Two main types of heated towel rails and radiators

Heated towel rails vs radiators

When we’re looking at which is more efficient and comparing heated towels rails with radiators, essentially we want to know which has a greater heat output and is more effective in dispersing heat to where it’s needed. Because in terms price, a heated towel rail with the same output as a radiator will cost the same to run.

For heat output, if we compare a standard ladder-style heated towel rail with an electric radiator of the same dimensions, the radiator is going to win. It will generate more heat and be more efficient in heating your room because the radiator has more surface area.

Note that we did say standard ladder-style heated towel rails. More on this later.

So, which is more efficient? The obvious answer is that it depends on what you want your appliance to do. If it’s to heat a room, a radiator is going to be your best bet. But if it’s to warm and dry your towels while providing some heat, a heated towel rail is a great investment.

Heated towel rails vs radiators

Why not do both?

If you’re reading this blog, you are possibly hoping you can buy an appliance that can be both a towel warmer and effectively heat your room.

As implied above, while most heated towel rails will dry and heat your towels, you’ll still need another heat source in your bathroom in the cold weather if you don’t want to freeze your toes (and other body parts). On the other hand, it’s not wise to drape towels, clothing or other cloth items over most electric radiators. It can cause a fire hazard and it’s really not efficient. Your towel may dry but your room won’t be as warm as it could be. It can also be a health hazard as mould can be produced.

We mentioned above that most ladder-style heated towels rails aren’t particularly good at heating your room, but Eskimo’s towel rails aren’t ladder-style and they do a good job of heating any room they’re installed in. Particularly a bathroom.

Our Gordon heated towel rail for example, which comes in two different sizes and three colours, features vertical rails instead of ladder rungs. This provides more surface area, which is part of the reason why double Gordon is excellent at heating your bathroom. It’s also very energy-efficient, which is why it can dry towels three time quicker than standard heated ladder-style rails, while using no more electricity.

Plus, we should mention that Gordon is stylish and, dare we say, pretty sexy looking. You may want to install a Gordon in your bathroom just for its looks, but you’ll soon fall in love with the way it can dry and warm your towels.

Why not both?

Find out more about Gordon Heated Towel Rail on the Eskimo website.

We also mentioned that most radiators shouldn’t be used to dry and warm towels, but the Holy Rail is not most radiators.

Like the Gordon, it’s style means it will look good in any room. It even comes in a wide range of colours or you can choose two colours, to blend into your home’s interior design.

The Holy Rail delivers a high heat output using its hidden modular aluminium radiator ‘engine’. This is covered by a powder coated steel front fascia panel, that includes towel slots, making The Holy Rail a dual purpose radiator and heated towel rail in one. Perfect for bathrooms and in kitchens to keep your towels and tea-towels dry respectively, or in any room to provide heat and help dry clothes.

It’s available in six standard sizes and there’s hydronic and electric models to choose from. When it comes to heated towel rails and radiators in one, The Holy Rail is certainly the holy grail!


Penny Evans

My passion for interior design and architecture can be traced back to my pre-professional days. Always on the look out for new and innovative products which take the project to a whole new and unexpected level. I like getting people excited about things I'm excited about right now, and that's anything that brings some flair and colour to what may otherwise be a mundane solution.

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