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All the Various Radiator Types Explained

Radiators have become so much more than white rectangle boxes that keep our home warm and cosy in winter! While their function stays the same, the design, style and types of radiators has evolved to give us so much choice! 

Radiators will keep your home warm through the cold winter months, so getting the right type is vital. There's a huge range of different radiator types to choose from, all with different factors to consider. In this guide we will take you through these radiator types so you can make the right choice.

Radiator Fuel Types

The first consideration when choosing your radiator is how you want it to be fuelled. Although this decision will largely be made based on the type already installed in your home, it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives.

Central Heating Radiators

Central heating radiators are the most common radiator type and will be found in the majority of homes in the UK. With these radiators, the heat is generated through water that's heated up by your boiler. 

As central heating radiators are very popular, you'll have a huge variety of different styles and finishes to choose from.

Electric Radiators

Electric radiators are ideal for anyone who doesn't have a central heating system in their home, or wants to add a radiator to an area which isn't already connected to it. Electric radiators simply plug into your mains supply, so are very easy to install. 

Many people, due to the inefficiency of electric fan heaters, believe electric radiators are expensive to run. However, as they are easy to turn on and off and can warm up very quickly, they can be more efficient than central heating. Maintenance of electric radiators is also much simpler than central heating as there's no bleeding involved.

Dual Fuel Radiators

If you have a cold spot in your home, or you want to dry your towels in the summer, turning on your entire central heating system just to heat one radiator is inefficient. That's where dual fuel radiators and towel rails come in.

These are standard radiators which also include a 'summer' dual fuel heating element. This means you can turn one radiator on electrically, without needing to turn on the entire central heating system. 

Radiator Types:

There's a wide range of different radiator styles on offer, so you're sure to find one which is perfect for your home. Below we take you through the main radiator types alongside some of our favourite products.

Horizontal Radiators

Horizontal radiators are the most common radiator type in the UK. As the name suggests, they will stretch horizontally across your wall and will often be found under windows.

As horizontal radiators are popular, you'll find a wide selection of styles and finishes to choose from.

Vertical Radiators

Vertical radiators are perfect for anyone who lacks horizontal wall space. They stretch from the floor up towards the ceiling and are relatively narrow. This means they are able to produce great heat outputs from a smaller horizontal footprint.

Vertical radiators are also ideal for anyone who wants to make a statement. Not as common as horizontal radiators, an upright radiator can become an integral part of the style of your living space, rather than something you want to fade into the background.

Column Radiators

Also known as traditional, Victorian or old fashioned radiators, these are perfect for anyone looking to add some classic features to their home. 

Column radiators consist of tubes arranged in a row. These tubes connect from the bottom to the top to form a single section. 

Traditional radiators are able to produce high heat outputs for their size and will retain heat for longer than other radiator styles. You can also choose how many columns your radiator has. This that once you've used our BTU calculator, you can easily find a column radiator to suit your heat output requirements.

Designer Radiators

Radiators were traditionally something that only served the purpose of producing heat. However, there's now a huge range of designer radiators available that will make a striking centrepiece for your home.

Whether it's a stunning mirror radiator or a modern flat panel radiator, this is the place to look if you want to add a real touch of style to your home.

Heated Towel Rails

Heated towel rails are designed to do exactly what their name suggests, keep your towels warm & dry. They are a bathroom essential and once you install one, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Heated towel rails are available in both central heated and electric fuel types but if you want the best of both worlds, go for dual fuel. These will run off your central heating system in the winter but will have an electric summer heating element, which will heat up the towel rail without central heating in the summer.

Although traditionally found in bathrooms, heated towel rails can also be used in kitchens to dry tea towels.

Traditional Heated Towel Rails

Like standard radiators, heated towel rails are also available in traditional styles. Featuring column designs and stunning chrome finishes, these are ideal for anyone who wants to create a classic bathroom space.

Designer Heated Towel Rails

If you want to add something different to your bathroom, this is the radiator type for you. With striking finishes and abstract styles, with a bathroom radiator that looks this good, you won't want to cover it up with your towel!

Picking The Right Radiator Type For You

When you're choosing your radiator, there are a couple of important things for you to consider.


The amount of space you have will affect your radiator choice. If you have a lot of space, you might want to opt for a horizontal radiator. If you are looking to save space, it's likely a compact vertical radiator will be more appropriate. 

When choosing your radiator size, you'll also need to take into account your required heat output. Using our BTU calculator you can enter a few details about your room to find out what heat output you need.


Within each radiator type you'll find a variety of different price levels. When choosing how much you want to spend on a radiator it's important to remember it will probably be in your home for many years to come.

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