Table of contents

A warm introduction to radiators
Best radiators for your room
Best radiator fuel type
BTU rating and heat output
Best place for radiators
Best radiator sizes
Best radiator brands
Best radiator materials
Best radiator colours
Radiator valves

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One thing that can really affect the comfort levels in your home is the central heating and the temperature it sets. I think we’d all agree that the home should be comfortable and a place where you feel relaxed and safe. The exact room temperature which is considered comfortable is debatable although the WHO (World Health Organisation) considers 18°C to be the standard comfortable room temperature for healthy, and appropriately dressed, adults. This comfort zone varies slightly depending on health factors and more.

We’re all different however, and the size of room differs from one to another which can prove choosing the best types of radiators a tough challenge sometimes; especially if it’s your first time buying heating for your home.

That’s why we've put together this helpful guide to choosing the best radiators. It’s designed to enlighten you on best brands, designs, colours, styles, functions and more so that you can easily find the best radiator for any room in the house.

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s strike whilst the irons hot! Ugh, sorry...

A warm introduction to radiators

The huge variety of radiators out there can be totally overwhelming to anybody whether they’re a seasoned pro or a first time buyer. Every year, new styles join the market and instead of replacing older radiator styles - seem to just add to the already bloated list of options.

Although some people with a slightly pessimistic outlook may see this as a negative, those of you in a more optimistic mood will see it as a big positive because it means that you can narrow down your heating search to the perfect radiator for your home. In this best radiators guide we’re going to look at the best radiators for each individual room, the best fuel types, heat outputs, locations, sizes and more - to give you all the knowledge you’ll require to make the most informed decision.

Which radiator is best for which room?

When choosing a radiator for your home the first question you should ask yourself is which room do you want the radiator to be placed in. Not all radiators are suited to every room so answering this question first will help you filter out all of the options which you won’t need. You can then ask yourself what are the best radiators for your chosen space?

Below you’ll find a short paragraph outlining the best type of radiator for your living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and hallway. We know some homes have other rooms like utility rooms and offices, so try to use the closest matching room for an idea of which radiator you can use in a room that we haven’t mentioned.

Living Room Radiators

Choosing a radiator for your living room isn’t always easy because it should be one of, if not, the most comfortable rooms in the home. It’s also one of the most stylish rooms in the home so finding the best radiator for warmth whilst keeping it stylish gives you less options.

Hudson Reed Revive Small Single Panel Designer Radiator - White - HL324 | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Hudson Reed Revive Small Single Panel Designer Radiator - White
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Living rooms tend to be larger rooms in a home so you’ll want a higher BTU Rating. A BTU rating of 5000 or higher should be fine for most living rooms. A stylish option for modern living rooms right now is a flat panel radiator with either vertical or horizontal orientation. In traditional living rooms you’ll find many traditional column radiators which would look stunning.

Bedroom Radiators

Heating a bedroom can be done using a variety of ways. If you want to keep costs down you could choose a convector radiator. These come in a range of Types; Type 11, Type 21 and Type 22. When it comes to the difference between radiator types, it’s essentially the higher the type number the higher the heat output. These radiators might not be the most stylish but they certainly do a great job and where radiators are hidden from view, they make perfect sense.

Metro Vertical Radiator with Mirror - Anthracite - Double Panel - AVT18X499M | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Metro Vertical Radiator with Mirror - Anthracite - Double Panel
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If your looking for stylish bedroom radiators then why not consider vertical radiators with mirrors. These clever radiator designs give you exceptional style, heat and comfort, but they also provide you with a full length mirror which saves space and money. For small to medium bedroom sizes lower BTU ratings such as 1000-3000 can be used whereas larger bedrooms may require a little more.

Bathroom Radiators

If you want practicality, style and warmth then the best radiators for bathrooms are heated towel rails. They come in a huge range of designs so you can choose the perfect look for your bathroom. They also act as a towel dryer, which makes each bath or shower so much better with a warm towel at the end, and somewhere to store the towel when it isn’t in use.

Diamond Heated Towel Rail - W500 x H1200mm - Chrome - COL009 | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Diamond Heated Towel Rail - Chrome
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If heating functionality and style are the only things you desire then you may want to consider a column radiator. These bathroom radiators look stunning against the wall and their unique column design creates a stylish effect. Bathrooms can be cooler rooms in the home due to their contents so aim for a BTU rating that will ensure the room is cosy and comfortable.

Kitchen Radiators

Similar to the bathroom, the kitchen can also be a chilly area of the home if it hasn’t got adequate heating. Obviously when you’re cooking the place will heat up a bit (or a lot in some cases), but when you’re not cooking it can get quite cold. The best kitchen radiators for style are horizontal and vertical designer radiators. Not only do they have excellent heat output but they really look amazing in many modern kitchens.

Premier Ricochet Double Panel Radiator - White - MTY082 | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Premier Ricochet Double Panel Radiator - White
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Smaller kitchens will benefit from slim radiators such as Type 11 convector radiators, as well as slim flat panel radiators like the Nuie Watt Infrared Heating Panel which has a depth of just 25mm! Another option is to make the most of corner space with a corner radiator like this gorgeous Milan Corner White Heated Towel Rail.

Best Radiator Fuel Type

Once you know which room your radiator is going to live in you can start your radiator search. One thing you’ll notice when you look at each radiator is its fuel type. Radiators work by electricity, but central heating radiators use water which is heated via the central heating system. However, there are also dual fuel radiators which use both. The best electric radiators usually feature dual fuel so you can use them in summer. This means that you can use them for tasks like heating and drying towels without having to switch on the central heating.

Cube Heated Towel Rail - KUB516C-EHK | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Cube Heated Towel Rail
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Some radiators used to be oil filled. Modern radiators don’t use the same sort of oil as past examples and instead contain a special gel inside.

BTU Rating and heat output

Choosing the correct BTU rating for your radiator will help you create a comfortable living environment and reduce energy wastage; saving money on bills and the cost of a large radiator when a smaller one would suffice. For more energy and money saving tips, see our Smart Heating Guide.

Generally speaking, the larger the radiator the higher the BTU rating will be although this typically only applies to each individual radiator; whereby you can choose from a variety of sizes in that model. Therefore the best radiators for heat output are large radiators. You can choose from between large vertical radiators and large horizontal radiators depending on your preference or room layout, but if you aren’t looking for a large radiator then which type is the best radiators for heat in general?

The styles of radiator which generally output the best heat are:

Column radiators
Convector radiators
Designer radiators
Cast iron radiators
Aluminium radiators

If heat output is important, but you’d rather know which is the best energy efficient radiator then you’ll want to look at aluminium radiators. They offer great heat output and aluminium makes for a very efficient conductor of heat from source to room.

Best Place For Radiators

So, where is the best place to put radiators? Well, for the most effective results you’ll want your radiator positioned in a centralised area of the room. That way it will evenly distribute the warmth to ensure each corner of the room is heated within a similar time and temperature.

However, if the BTU rating is high enough to heat the room it shouldn’t matter too much about the radiators location. In some cases the best place for radiators can be hidden away behind furniture; although if you’ve bought a designer radiator then you’ll more than likely want to show it off.

If you’re wondering where is the best place to put a radiator in a bedroom then there are several areas which can be most effective. Some people prefer to place radiators on the wall next to the bed. This not only makes for cosy nights under the duvet but also hides the radiator away from sight.

Urban Vertical Radiator - Anthracite - Double Panel - VFP010 | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Urban Vertical Radiator - Anthracite - Double Panel
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A great place for a radiator in any room is under a window; if you have a horizontal radiator or next to a window if it’s a vertical radiator. In some cases the bed will be there so you’ll have covered this already with our first suggestion, but some aren’t. The reason why you’d want it there is that any cold air will be heated quickly and distributed around the room so if there is a draft, it’ll be a warm one which efficiently heats the room.

Best Radiator Sizes

As we’ve learnt, the size of a radiator is usually a good indicator of how much heat it can deliver. So when we’re considering the best radiator sizes for high heat output, a large size will usually be an important factor.

Sometimes a large radiator isn’t always practical and for smaller rooms such as small bedrooms and bathrooms; cloakrooms and ensuites, and small kitchens a small radiator will be a much better option.

120mm radiator

If you’re trying to find the best slim radiator for your money then you’ll be looking for something around 120mm to 300mm. The beauty about a slim radiator is that you may still be able to go high with it which means you’ll still get a pretty big radiator for your space. If this is the case then get a good height as this will usually produce more heat than a shorter slim radiator.

360mm radiator

For a small to medium sized radiator you’ll be looking at widths of 300mm to 400mm. Again you’ll find more vertical radiators in this sizing category and a large height will surely give you more heat. Remember that Aluminum radiators tend to be more efficient which helps when the size of your radiator increases.

420mm radiator

Radiator widths of 400mm to 500mm sit within the medium sized category. Especially when we’re talking vertical radiators. This is quite a sizable radiator and would look best positioned in a medium sized bedroom, living room or kitchen.

560mm radiator

Any vertical radiator above 500mm width is considered to be a large radiator. These radiator sizes will put out exceptionally high heat and would be best suited to large rooms. One of the best sizes in the range is 560mm which is quite popular and shouldn’t look too big in most rooms.

For the best horizontal radiator sizes, simply switch the sizes from width to height from the vertical sizes above!

Which is the Best Radiator Brand?

The answer to this question is certainly debatable, but some of best radiator brands are those that have been around for some time. Depending on the style or purpose of your radiator different brands may well manufacture the best heating solution.

Bayswater Clifford Heated Towel Rail Radiator - BAYR001 | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Bayswater Clifford Heated Towel Rail Radiator
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For traditional radiators, brands like Paladin, Bayswater, and for traditional bathroom radiators Burlington all tend to produce stunning designs and quality radiators.

If you’re looking for something more modern, the likes of Reina, Quinn Radiators and Hudson Reed all create excellent designer radiators with a contemporary twist.

This list of brands is not a definitive list of best radiator brands and there are other good brands out there. If you’ve found another radiator brand to be excellent in the past then it’s always worth considering that brand in your next choice too!

Best Radiator Materials

When you’re deciding on the best radiator material then it can depend on where the radiator is going and what it will be used for.

Paladin Column Radiator| Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Paladin Saint Paul Radiator
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The best material for a traditional radiator is usually cast iron. The best cast iron radiators are very durable and offer excellent heat output which makes them ideal for putting anywhere.

Urban Chrome Vertical Single Panel Radiator - 4 Bars - RAD4B183C | Choosing The Best Radiators To Buy
Urban Chrome Vertical Single Panel Radiator - 4 Bars
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The best material for a modern radiator is aluminium. As we previously mentioned, Aluminium is better for heat transfer which makes Aluminium radiators incredibly efficient. They’re also very stylish right now and would look great in many rooms in the home. The reflective surface also helps in smaller rooms by creating the illusion of more space.

Radiator Colours

If you’re radiator is purely there to provide heat and it’s going to be hidden then the colour won’t matter too much. If, on the other hand, your radiator is going to be a stylish feature of the room then colour may just be as important as the heat that it produces.

Colour me a purist, but I’m a huge fan of a classic white radiator. Sometimes though, a coloured radiator can really transform the room’s characteristics. When it comes to showcasing your personality - each individual item, including your radiator, should tie in with the rest of your decor. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same colour, as a contrasting colour scheme can work just as well; if not sometimes even better!

Reina Neva Vertical Single Panel Designer Radiator Blue
Reina Neva Vertical Single Panel Designer Radiator

If you’d like to know what is the best colour for a radiator then it’s best to look at the colour scheme of the room that it will be put in. Monochrome themes will look great with white radiators, anthracite radiators (also know as grey radiators), black radiators and even mirror finish radiators such as aluminium and chrome radiators.

Blue radiators, like the one pictured above, and other colours work well in bathrooms which share that colour scheme.

If you can’t find a coloured radiator in a shade that you need then why not consider painting your radiator? But, before you go grabbing any old paint to do the job, make sure it’s designed for radiators. Radiator paint is specially made to be used on hot surfaces so make sure you buy the right stuff as this is the best way to paint a radiator.

The best radiator paint will depend on the type of radiator you’re painting. Ronseal do an excellent range of furniture paint and they do special paint for radiators too! The best paint for cast iron radiators tends to be a matt finish. This usually keeps the radiator looking traditional with an authentic finish. The best paint for modern radiators will typically have a gloss finish. This will give it a fresh, clean look and give it a gleaming contemporary feel.

At the end of the day, the best radiator paint is the one you like the most and there is no hard and fast rule to painting a radiator.

Radiator Valves

Most radiators require radiator valves. So, when you’re buying a new radiator it’s useful to check if it comes with or without valves. Most radiators won’t come with radiator valves, but this just means that you can choose the best valves for your radiator. Once you’ve got the correct valves for you’re radiator, all thats left to do is fit them!