Electric radiators are the perfect solution where it isn’t possible to install a traditional hot water heating system.
This might be because of where you live, the style of house you live in, a flat or maisonette maybe or just because you have a concrete floor.
Whatever the situation if you want to warm your bathroom and dry towels easily an electric towel rail could be the solution. We take a look at 3 of the best on the market today (Updated October 2017).
As well as the specification and price we’re basing this information on the numbers sold. Furthermore as important is the fact that these 3 wall mounted models haven’t resulted in any significant numbers of returns or guarantee claims. This is real world retail experience of the goods discussed below.
For bathrooms we’re specifically reviewing fluid filled ladder rails that deliver radiant heat as opposed to convected heat. These electric radiators are filled with a water based glycol solution that sometimes contains a rust inhibitor and also anti freeze.
When heated by 1 or sometimes 2 heating elements the metal surface conducts to create a comfortable ambient heat. All radiators of this type enjoy the following benefits;
- No plumbing is required
- Easy and quick to install with just an electrical switched fused spur connection required
- Cheap to install in comparison to plumbed central heating systems
- Efficient and relatively cheap to run
- If the product develops a fault it only effects that product not the entire heating system as with central heating
Without further delay in reverse order here’s our list of the best electric radiators at the moment (Sept17).
Phoenix Flavia 300mm, 500mm & 600mm Wide Models
Phoenix have a solid reputation for their radiator quality across the range. The Flavia model is no exception. It’s clear to see from the rail joints that the finishing is relatively high considering the price. The chrome too is bright and consistent with no black chips or flecks on the example reviewed.
The range is offered in white or chrome finishes. There are 3 widths the narrow 300mm, standard 500mm and oversized 600mm. The heights offered are 800mm, 1200mm, 1400 and the whopping tall1800mm great for adding maximum warmth to a space.
As these models are pre-filled they weigh a little more than a standard radiator would do. It’s worth noting too that you can hear the radiator fluid sloshing around when handling. We’ve had customers question whether these have been filled correctly. The fact is that there needs to be a void for the fluid to expand once heated by the element.
The element on the Flavia by the way is pre-fitted to the bottom of the towel rail. The fluid always covers the full length of the element. You just need an electrician to connect this up safely for you.
The Phoenix Flavia is one of the cheapest electric radiators on the market that is of a reputable quality with a decent 5 year guarantee. Full retail prices for the smallest white 300mm wide model starts at just £129 (Sept 15) with many retailers offering 20-25% discount on this.
In summary the Flavia looks great especially in chrome and can add instant warmth to almost any space. It’s perfect for drying towels during the summer months when plumbed in systems are usually off. The fact that it is pre-filled with the element fitted also means less costs for installation.
Hudson Reed Eton Electric Towel Rail
It’s fair to say the Eton isn’t the cheapest electric towel warmer on the market with an RRP of £361 but in terms of it’s designer appeal it’s one of the best. The majority of the market is all about the price and getting more for less. The Eton brief was to produce a great performing product that oozes style and will be at home in more upmarket bathrooms.
Hudson Reed, part of the Ultra Finishing group of brands, has done so using quality materials and workmanship. Forming square profiled rails is always going to be more expensive than the round counterparts. Welding these with neat burrs and joints also adds to the price tag. Finally a thick chrome plate that you can see your reflection in adds to the appeal and to the cost.
The Hudson Reed Eton comes in 2 sizes 450x1200mm which kicks out 528 Btu/hr and 600x1200mm with a slightly higher output of 634 Btu/hr. Both sizes and heat outputs should guarantee wide appeal -find out whether this suits your space with our dedicated BTU Calculator. This electric model is for premium bathroom spaces, the square angular look will suit contemporary tastes.
In use the Eton performs as expected. It heats up relatively quickly with the built in 250w heating element which on it’s own retails for over £100. The same element is present in both sizes. Both models have a fluid that also contains an inhibitor solution to protect the internal walls of the radiator. Heat is consistent across the surface.
For it’s beautiful designer looks and long 20 year guarantee the Eton gets second spot in our round-up.
Phoenix Athena Pre-Filled Electric Radiator
We’ve long been fans of the Phoenix Athena. For the price the stainless steel construction and finish is to die for. The standard plumbed version of this rail is our best selling radiator.
In 2 years of retailing this product we’ve only ever had 1 return. That was for a customer who didn’t appreciate the beautiful almost brushed surface quality. It’s this random hand finished quality that elevates the Athena to top spot. Joints too are exemplary a design feature themselves.
Like the standard version the electric model is available in 350mm, 500mm and 600mm widths. The 500mm is hands down the best seller, specifically the 500x1200mm model. Likewise the Athena is offered in heights from the small 430mm right up to 1800mm.
Heat output is great and the rails heat quickly, quicker than with plumbed in solutions. As with the Flavia and Eton the heating element has a higher wattage for taller models. Both the Flavia and Athena models can be paired with Phoenix’s own digital thermostat allowing fine and safe control over temperature. Older electric only radiators with a simple on/off could be guilty of scalding when touched, not ideal in a family environment.
The Athena more than justifies it’s slight price hike over the Flavia. The stainless steel finish, oversized 22mm tubing and choice on size makes it the product to beat.
The Flavia, Eton and Athena represent some of the best electric radiators on the market which to be fair is fairly buoyant at the moment. No doubt these will be superseded but for now they’re our top picks and can be chosen with confidence.