Choosing a home radiator is a headache - every radiator website has its own “simple” BTU calculator, buying guides, and a thousand radiators to choose from. Fear not. This guide will help you choose the best radiator for you and your family in just 4 simple steps.
Let’s start with a PLUMBER’S WARNING: choosing the wrong home radiator is a lot more expensive than choosing the right one.
Making the right choice first-time means:
No buyer’s remorse
No desire to replace it - EVER
Pay installation costs ONCE
No stress (your health is priceless afterall)
Your home value leaps up
Heating your home for pennies
Your home LOOKS better
You and your family are happier
So, to be captain obvious: choosing wrong is bad.
Step 1: Shape - What Room Is It For?
Doesn’t matter if you’re in an apartment or a mansion, kitchen space is priceless.
So, choosing a vertical radiator makes the most sense. Look out for one with a rail to pop a towel on too, for quickly drying up used teatowels and washcloths.
A good pair of radiator valves will be very useful in this room because of all the rooms in your home, the temperature of a kitchen sees both very hot and very cold temperatures across the year.
Again, a room where floor-space is a prized resource. A room where wet towels roam, begging for mildew and mould.
The obvious choice is a ladder style towel rail, which is somewhere in between a vertical radiator and a dedicated towel rail in both heat and function. Plenty of space to hang multiple towels, with enough power to keep you warm. For a more impressive bathroom, you could always choose a designer towel rail to make a real display.
Alternatively, for a bathroom that might need a bit more heat output (see step 2) you could also choose a dedicated towel rail and a separate vertical radiator to provide the necessary heat.
There is nothing worse than a cold bedroom. Imagine bringing a special someone back to your bedroom and having to pause to check you didn’t take a wrong turn and end up in the freezer.
Since it’s likely going beneath the window, treat yourself and choose a decent horizontal radiator and forever laugh in Winter’s face.
Main Room / Dining Room
As the room your guests will spend the most time in, you may want to put more thought into the looks of this radiator more than others. In order to make the best impression, choose a designer radiator - some look so amazing that your guests will assume they’re looking at a metalwork sculpture.
Just choose this awesome designer towel rail which doubles as a towel shelf. Honestly, it’s my personal favourite - you're welcome.
Hallways, corridors, and joining spaces are ideal for choosing a horizontal radiator, not just because it makes sense, but because a long radiator will suit the space better and make your home seem larger.
Are there stairs next to where the radiator will go - a large open space for the heat to rise? Are there doors that can trap heat in the most used rooms, or is it all just one large open space?
This is where a BTU calculator really shines...
Step 2: BTU Output - How Big Is the Room?
BTU (British thermal units) are the way radiators are judged. There are a number of calculators on the internet that can help you out, with there only being a bit of work on your part.
However, since this is a quick guide aimed at the novice, we recommend contacting a Gas Safe Registered plumber or heating engineer - this way, you can be sure the BTU you’re recommended for each room is completely accurate, saving you a lot of effort and money in the long run since you’ll be heating your home as efficiently as possible.
Step 3: Iron, Steel, Stainless, Aluminium - What Material Best Fits Your Need?
Radiators are made from 4 different materials - Cast iron, mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminium. There’s a lot of crossover between them in terms of both design and function, but each material shines in a different way.
Powerful-looking and deservedly so. Often found shaped into more traditional styles of radiator, choose a cast iron radiator if you want a gorgeous period statement piece that holds heat long after turned off.
The perfect choice for the budget conscious. Mild steel is a cheap material and can be shaped into all sorts of designs. It doesn’t shine in any particular area, but it does everything a radiator should at an amazing price.
Stainless steel needs no introduction really. It’s durable, long-lasting, and looks great. Stainless steel radiators are the easy-choice for any home because they heat up relatively quick, hold their heat for a while, and don’t require much (to any) maintenance.
They’re slightly pricier than mild steel, but the extra price is worth it if your budget allows.
The price is the first thing to mention and usually the first thing to put people off, but aluminium radiators are incredible.
As a super-conductor, aluminium heats up extremely quickly and cools just as fast (which just means the heat spreads through your home quicker). The big benefit, besides their quality being immediately visible to all, is that their conductivity enables you to get quite precise with your temperatures - saving you a whole lot of money in the long run.
No overheating, no under-heating, just always an ideal temperature. If your budget can cover the initial investment, you’ll get your money back in the long run due to them being so efficient.
Step 4: Personal taste and Finishing Touches - What Takes Your Fancy?
Aesthetics are a big part of the home. Radiators are available for both traditional and modern designs, with designs to match the most conservative or adventurous of interior designs.
The previous steps cover the basics and now it’s just about choosing what appeals to your eye and the shape of the space you’re putting it in. Also, valves.
Important: You need to purchase valves for your radiator, but most valves fit most radiators. There are plenty of exceptions, just pay attention to valve sizes and you’ll be fine.
Besides that, it’s just about accessorising the style of your radiator and choosing valves that fit the way your radiator is going to be installed. If it’s not immediately clear to you what you need - just ask any decent plumber.
A Final Word...
We hope this guide will ultimately help you choose the perfect radiator for yourself and your family. lf you have any feedback or questions, please comment on this article or our Facebook page and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Although we offer some of the best rated kitchen sinks, we also offer an extensive range of kitchen taps and home kitchen accessories that we hope may tickle your fancy. If you need any further advice, please call us on 01202 556655 or email email@example.com and our customer service staff will be there to help.