Heated towel rails: the ultimate guide

Nowadays the bathroom isn’t just a functional place where we wash and go. Especially as autumn advances, your bathroom becomes a place to escape, relax and recharge. So it needs to be a warm, welcoming space, whether you’re a fan of speedy showers or long, lingering baths. But it’s hard to enjoy quality me-time if your bathroom is cold, damp and draped with soggy towels. All of which explains why heated towel rails have fast become the latest bathroom must-have. Our commercial director, Jody, explains all their benefits and how to make the right choice:

Pictured here in the Infinity Steel finish with Oak veneered shelves, our Tesoro mild steel towel rail complements both classic and contemporary bathroom settings. It’s also available in both central heating and electric versions

What do heated towel rails do?

Big or small, bathrooms get a lot of use and tend to be wet, steamy environments. So hanging used towels and wet mats over the bath or on the back of the door isn’t a good idea. Heated towel rails are designed specifically to keep your towels warm and dry. This makes them feel fabulously fluffy to use – especially after an indulgent soak in the tub. But it’s far more hygienic, too. That’s because excess moisture encourages the growth of mould and bacteria and can produce an unpleasant ‘stale’ smell.

Simple yet oh-so-stylish, our Liana towel rail, showcased here in a Brushed Stainless Steel finish, incorporates multiple ‘ladder’ rails for plentiful towel heating and is ideal for busy family bathrooms

Evaluate all the options

Just like radiators, heated towel rails have evolved. Traditional stainless steel options are still available. But nowadays there are hundreds of other different styles, shapes and colours to choose from. So however much – or little – space you have available, and whatever your personal tastes, there are heated towel rail options to suit.

Assess your space

If you’re considering updating your bathroom with heated towel rails, your first priority should be to assess your space. Where will your towel rail go? If you have a big bathroom, perhaps consider installing more than one. If you’re strapped for space, think hard about height. A small towel rail, or one that’s sited at waist height, might free up more space for storage. Some of our models even incorporate clever storage shelves! And do assess every inch of the space available. The area behind your door is often overlooked, but could be perfect for a narrow heated towel rail.

Ideal for compact bathrooms or awkward wall spaces, our chic, slimline Oakham towel rail is a versatile choice that’s offered with additional shelving options in Beech, Oak or Teak

It’s also a good idea to think about how many towels you/your family use. Do you need to keep just a small en-suite hand towel nice and dry, or will there be lots of big bath sheets to keep soft and fluffy? Choose a model that incorporates enough space between each rail to do what you need it to do.

Shape, size and style

The primary purpose of your heated towel rails is functional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful to look at. Think of them as a key part of your bathroom’s design scheme.

Just like radiators, contemporary towel rails can really revamp a room and make a serious style statement. Vertical models are enduringly popular. On a practical level, they are perfect for tall but narrow walls, and can free up more space than a horizontal option.

Our curved Hilborough handmade brass traditional towel rail can be manufactured in any size or shape and is available in a variety of metallic finishes including Antique Brass (pictured), Chrome, Brushed Nickel and Polished Gold

We also offer a wide range of interesting shapes and styles. Slim-line models and flat panel heated towel rails work really well in contemporary bathroom settings. Ladder styles, with lots of rails to hold multiple towels, are an excellent choice for a busy bathroom. Curved profiles add interest and impact.

Colourful heated towel rails

White and/or metallics are the traditional colours of heated towel rails. While these still look wonderful, especially in classic bathroom settings, nowadays bright and beautiful are popular options too.

Going green: Our Tornado T mild steel towel rail, shown here in an eye-catching emerald shade, is perfect for a pop of bold, bright colour. It’s available in both central heating and electric versions too

There are lots of ways to incorporate coloured heated towel rails into your decor. Choose a shade that matches the rest of your room scheme, or make things pop with a contrasting accent colour. We even have a state-of-the-art powder coating plant that allows us to create customised colour options for your heated towel rails.

If bold, bright palettes aren’t your thing, why not explore our different metallic options instead? Many of our models are available in a range of striking finishes, including chrome, copper, polished nickel, black nickel, antique brass and polished gold.

The electric option

The other key criterion to consider when buying heated towel rails is which type to choose. We offer both central heating and electric versions, with the latter enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to their versatility and energy efficiency.

A classic choice: Our Lambourne mild steel traditional towel rail is now available in central heating, dual fuel and electric only versions, for maximum versatility

The main advantage of electric towel rails is the control they give you. Because they work independently, you can decide exactly when (or when not!) to use them, without having to turn your central heating system on and off. This sort of curated use can deliver significant cost savings. And because it usually involves reducing the amount of energy used, it’s better for the environment as well as your pocket.

The other big benefit of electric heated towel rails is that they are easy to install. No pipes need to be laid, which is perfect if you’re adding to an existing bathroom setting. Installation tends to be fast, simple and comparatively cheap. Electric options also tend to be maintenance-free.

Keen to learn more about the various material options for your radiators and heated towel rails? Click here to discover the different qualities of stainless steel and aluminium.