How to choose the best radiators

horizontal designer radiator in room next to window, under a shelf

It’s surprising how something as simple as fitting new radiators can transform your home’s interior in an instant, and with so many styles and sizes to choose from, you’ll have no problem finding one that suits your exact requirements.

At Big Bathroom Shop there are plenty of radiators for sale which are suitable for use in any room such as the bathroom, kitchen or lounge. Modern radiators provide more than just a way to heat the rooms in your home, they can be used to create a stylish focal point too.

Many are easy to install and maintain, and whether your tastes are contemporary or more classic and traditional, there’s a design to suit any taste.

A radiator can blend into a room’s décor, or you could choose an eye-catching style to make a statement. There is a lot more to radiators than it first appears, so to help you choose the best one, we’ve created this handy guide.

Raw metal lacquered finish column radiator in white traditional room with grey accents

Things to consider before choosing a radiator

Before buying a new radiator, there are a few things to take into consideration first. Take a look at the existing décor in your home, is it modern or traditional? It’s a good idea to look at radiator designs which will enhance your home’s interior, for example, cast iron style column radiators are a great option for creating a classic look, while sleek vertical radiators add designer style to a modern home.

Also, how big is the space you want to heat? Choosing the right radiator with a suitable BTU heat output will ensure your chosen room is heated quickly to a comfortable warmth. So, to help you choose the best one you will need to work out how many BTUs are needed to effectively heat the room.

The heat output of all radiators is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour. There are many BTU calculators available on various websites that you can use to work out the necessary heat output.

All radiators have a BTU rating – this tells you how many BTUs are produced per hour. When you’re choosing a new radiator, make sure to select one that delivers enough heat to warm your room. One radiator may be all that’s required, or you may find that you need to fit a couple of radiators to get the right heat output.

As a guide, multiply the height, width and length of the room in feet, and multiply this figure by 4 to work out the amount of BTUs needed to heat your chosen space.

vertical designer radiator with mirror in entrance hallway near front door

Radiator materials

When shopping for new radiators, you’ll find that in addition to various designs, there’s also a choice of materials too – these include steel, cast iron and aluminium. Most are constructed from mild steel, which is typically the most affordable option.

Aluminium is another option, and this can be formed into various shapes such as flat panels or more elaborate designs. Aluminium radiators also require a lower water volume compared to steel, and is lightweight so they can be mounted on to the majority of walls. It heats up fast, but quickly loses warmth once the heating has been switched off.

For those who prefer an authentic traditional look, cast iron radiators are a great choice. The choice of material for column radiators, cast iron takes longer to heat up, but once the heating has been switched off, it does retain the heat for longer. Cast iron radiators are heavy, so you will need to ensure your wall or floor is strong enough to take the weight. But you can get the look without the associated cost and weight of cast iron with our cast-iron style column radiators. These come in a wide range of sizes and finishes to suit any interior.

Green bathroom with white furnishings and beige-white patterned tiles with a traditional design

Bathroom radiators

When choosing a bathroom radiator, consider the style of the space. A column radiator is ideal for enhancing a traditional bathroom scheme, while a designer radiator will look great in a contemporary or modern bathroom. A column towel radiator is also a fantastic option for a traditional bathroom too.

If you have a small bathroom, opt for a vertical radiator or a compact design to maximise space. Alternatively, you could even fit a heated towel rail to keep your towels toasty warm, as well as underfloor heating to ensure the room is heated effectively.

If you have an all-white bathroom suite, opt for a designer radiator in a bold colour such as red to inject some style into the space.

Anthracite is perfect for working the grey bathroom trend, and chrome is fail-safe option that blends seamlessly in with any décor. For a true classic bathroom look, go for white or black.

Vertical anthracite designer radiator in an olive green kitchen

Kitchen radiators

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s become a space to socialise rather than just somewhere to simply cook and eat. So, to enhance your kitchen space, choose an equally stylish designer radiator to create an eye-catching feature.

Column radiators look great in country farmhouse kitchens, and sleek vertical designer radiators are perfect for contemporary spaces. With the many colours and finishes that are available, you’ll have no trouble finding one that matches your kitchen units.

If you have a small kitchen, it’s a good idea to opt for a compact or tall, space saving design. For larger kitchens, you may need to fit more than one radiator to ensure the room is heated effectively.

Horizontal designer radiator under window ledge

Where is the best place to fit a radiator?

So you’ve decided on a style and worked out the required BTU output, but you will also need to consider the best place to position your new radiator.

The radiator should be fitted in the coldest part of the room, which is usually under or next to a window or on an outside wall; the cold air pushes the heat that’s emitted from the radiator around the room.

If the wall is constructed from brick, blocks or masonry, it will be strong enough to bear the weight of the radiator if it’s made from a heavier material.

If the wall is made from plasterboard with a hollow space, you will need to identify the position of the studs. The radiator should be fitted to the studs, as this is the strongest part of the wall.

Finally, don’t forget to add those all-important finishing touches with radiator valves.

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