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Heated towel rail

Should heated towel rails be left on?

It’s been one of the coldest starts to winter that many of us can remember, so it’s tempting to leave your heated towel rail on to enjoy the luxury of a warm towel when you step out of the bath. However, with energy prices skyrocketing and many facing cost of living pressures, most of us are looking for ways to save. So, the question is, should heated towel rails be left on?

How much do heated towel rails cost to run?

Whether you should leave your heated towel rail turned on really boils down to how much it’s costing you to run it.

When looking at the cost to run any electrical item, power output is key. This is measured in wattage. Heated towel rails can vary significantly in the wattage they consume – from 100 watts for small models right up to 500 watts and more for larger rails. 

For the sake of our costings, we’ll look at a 200-watt unit, which is about average. And we’ll use an average electricity cost per kilowatt-hour of 36 cents. That’s the average across all states according to finder.com.au.

If you left your 200-watt heated towel rail on all day and were paying 36 cents per kilowatt-hour, it would cost you $1.73 a day. To put this in perspective, that’s less than half what most people are paying for the coffees at their local cafes. 

How much does your heated towel rail cost to run? Not a lot! Test out our consumption calculator below.

    Do you really need your heated towel rails on all day?

    While heated towel rails don’t cost a lot to run, every cent you save can be important. So, it’s worth asking the question, do you really need to run your heated towel rail all day?

    Generally, the answer is no, however, this does depend on the efficiency of your unit and whether you overload it with towels and bath mats.

    Eskimo Heat has run tests to show that its 200-watt Gordon heated towel rail can dry towels in as little as 84 minutes, or less than 1 and a half hours. During the same testing, a 350-watt competitor’s model took 27 minutes longer. While this raises an interesting question (how does the Gordon dry towels so quickly?) it still means that many heated towel rails will dry towels and bath mats within a couple of hours.

    What happens in a lot of bathrooms, however, is that heated towel rails are overloaded with items. Towels are folded twice or even three times to fit or are stuffed onto the rails, which is inefficient and will increase the drying time significantly. This is one of the Achilles heels of a standard heated towel rail. Even large models can only fit two or three towels.

    Invest in a timer for your heated towel rail

    If you don’t overcrowd your heated towel rail, however, you certainly don’t need to run it all day to ensure you have dry, warm towels. 

    While you could turn your heated towel rail on and off at the wall manually every day, most people aren’t going to remember to do this. Most heated towel rails can be controlled by a timer switch, which you can program to come on and turn off when it suits you and your family. For example, you might program yours to come on for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, to suit the times when most of your family members shower. We recommend using the Clipsal app programmable switch or the manual programmable timer switch.

    Going back to our previous calculations, providing you have a 200-watt heated towel rail and are paying 36 cents per kilowatt-hour and have it on for four hours a day, running costs would only be 29 cents. That’s a little over $2 a week, again, much less than a coffee at a café.

    invest in a timer for your heated towel rail

    Can heated towel rails safely be left to run all the time?

    While we’ve hopefully answered your questions on cost, some people are concerned about the safety of leaving heated towel rails on all the time. However, they needn’t be. Heated towel rails are designed to be left on and there are no safety issues to consider. 

    Therefore, it only comes down to balancing running costs with the luxury of wrapping yourself up in a dry, warm towel when you hop out of the bath or shower. 

    How does Gordon dry towels so quickly?

    This has, hopefully, answered most people’s questions about whether heated towel rails can and should be left on all day. Which leaves only one question left to answer: how does Eskimo’s Gordon rail dry towels so quickly?

    It’s partly to do with the materials used (aluminium, which is an excellent and efficient conductor of heat) and partly to do with the innovative design, which promotes airflow, exhausts humid air and allows Gordon to dry towels up to three times quicker than some models. Plus, it can hold up to four large towels and bath mats without folding or overcrowding.  Overall, by using a Gordon towel warmer in conjunction with a programmable timer switch results in cost savings of around 50%-60% when compared with other traditional towel rails. Over time, the cost savings of using a Gordon towel warmer means he will not only keep your household toasty and happy, but he’ll pay for himself over a year or two.

    Learn more about our vertical heated towel rail.


    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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