Would you like warm fluffy towels on a cold winter's morning? Is your current bathroom cold when you hop out of the shower? Heated towel rails are mainstream and one of the most sought after fixtures for the bathroom these days. A heated towel rail will not only warm up your towels but can warm up the bathroom temperature, reduce condensation and add an element of style to any bathroom. This indulgence is now an affordable option for any bathroom.
These days electric heated towel rails are the way to go. They are energy efficient and an easy to install alternative to towel rails connected to a gas central heating or hydronic heating system. In the old days, heated towel rails were often connected to the central heating system and only worked if that system was turned on. Electric heated towel rails are independent operating systems and can be connected to thermostats and switches to only heat up when you require it.
There are three main types of heated towel rails.
Ladder rail - This is the most common type of heated towel rail having 2 vertical rails with several horizontal rails creating the ladder. They come in a variety of widths and heights to fit any bathroom. Wall mounted units are fantastic for bathrooms with limited floor space and can take the place of conventional towel rails.
Individual heated rails - Instead of having vertical rails, the have a connector strip inside the wall and all you see are the horizontal rails. This is a minimalist style rail system.
Free standing - These are the traditional type of heated towel rail systems providing great flexibility in placement and use. Installation is easy and the unit typically just plugs into a standard household outlet to operate.
Heated towel rails can come in a range of materials and finishes from chrome, stainless steel, nickel, brass and copper. The most common are stainless steel or chrome plated brass.
Chrome is perfect for modern and minimalist style bathrooms. Chrome is also hard wearing, however it can peel or bubble off over time.
Stainless steel is the most efficient and resilient rail on the market. It is more energy saving as stainless steel holds heat very well. Stainless steel comes in brushed and polished finishes. The polished finish will show fingermarks more easily.
Matte Black is highly popular with new modern bathrooms and architects specifying the latest in trends. It has a real appeal because of its neutral matte tone and its contrast with other colours and surfaces in the bathroom or kitchen.
This will depend on the size of the bathroom and the number of people using the bathroom and how many towels you want to keep dry and warm.
Too big a rail can be a waste of energy and too small can mean your towels overlap and don't dry effectively. For busy family bathrooms I would opt for the largest size available so several towels can be hung at any time.
Heated towel rails can also be used to keep clothes dry so bigger is often better if you have the room to install one. Hanging bathers over the towel rail is far better than putting them in the dryer which could cause them to shrink.
Heated towel rails come in all kinds of styles these days. There are traditional designs for older, period style homes and modern, sleek design towel rails in chrome, white or matt black finishes.
Other features to consider in a heated towel rail are whether you want curved or straight rails, arched or straight tops.
There are several options when installing a heated towel rail.
A plug-in unit is like any other electrical appliance and plugs into the power socket. A plug-in unit is not as safe as the hard-wired system and you need ensure proper precautions are taken to keep the environment safe. A heated towel rail should never be installed inside a shower or directly above a bathtub as can increase the chance of electrical shock.
Hard-wired units will need to be integrated into the house's electrical system and require a licensed electrician to install. Hard wire conceals the wiring to a wall switch or smart timer.
Both systems can be operated with an on-/off switch or with a timer. A timer will allow you to turn on your towel rail before you bath and shower each day so its warm and toasty when you get out.
This feature allows users to keep the temperature at a particular level.
Other benefits of heated towel rails is they can help prevent the musty smell when towels are damp for too long. They are more hygienic and minimise damp-loving bacteria which can form on damp towels. They also provide more comfort when drying yourself versus a cold wet towel.
So what are you waiting for - invest in a heated towel rail to add some style to your bathroom and dry your wet towels quickly and conveniently.