Radiators are a bit of a rarity when you consider how infrequently you have to shop for them. Most people will buy one every decade or so, just like a new TV or car. Yet, it is surprising how hard it can be to know if you’re buying a good radiator. That goes doubly for towel rails, which are a whole world unto themselves. I could confidently bet most people can tell me which TV I should get for my living room but ask them about towel rails, and you might rightly be met with blank stares. Find how to buy a good towel.
How would someone know if they’re buying a good towel rail or not? What even makes for a good towel rail? And what problems would someone want to avoid? Well, they can start by reading what I have to say here. Follow this advice and all of a sudden you’ll become an expert in knowing how to buy a good towel rail.
Firstly, let’s start by separating towel rails from radiators. Yes, they’re the same thing, but rails have an entire eco-system of styles to work with. You need to know what ladder sections are, when you’re looking at offset rails, whether towel bars are needed, and what brands are the trendiest. When it comes to brand, some of these rails by Reina are the trendiest you’ll find online without having to compare dozens of brands.
The main towel rail styles to know about would be:
Ladder, curved & straight are three variations of the common rail you get in most homes. Traditional towel rails are an old-school design where the rail has a central radiator unit with a protruding towel rail on top. Horizontal is the odd one of the bunch. Most people wouldn’t usually opt for a rail that is the same dimension as a normal radiator on the wall, but it can work in some instances.
Now that we know what we’re looking at, we need to focus on performance. Towel rails can’t match radiator on a like for like basis, i.e. a 600mm tall radiator will have a stronger heat output than a 600mm towel rail. When swapping a radiator for rail, the latter will usually need to be bigger to match heat output. If you haven’t a clue about the heat output your room needs, use a heating calculator online (don’t worry, all you need is a tape measure). Luckily, rooms tend to have more free vertical space than horizontal space, letting you get away with taller radiators to match heat requirements.
Lastly, I want to highlight an obvious issue most people overlook when shopping for rails; the finish. Almost all towel rails are made from steel or stainless steel. Some are made from aluminium, but that’s another story for another day. Steel is a great conductor of heat and has a good degree of heat retention. The finish you go for will almost always not be an indication of the material. For example, if you’re buying a chrome or copper towel rail, it will be painted in that colour rather than having a chrome or copper layer on top. I can only imagine what price people think silver towel rails are.
And when choosing your finish, determine if you want the rail to look shiny on the wall or blend in. If you want shiny and bright, opt for polished. If you want subdued, satin, or brushed is the way to go.
That covers the basics of how to buy a good towel rail. Just remember that while rails can look better, you need to be careful with the heat output and the rail style. Follow that path, and you shouldn’t go wrong.