The Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Heating

The Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Heating blog banner

Who doesn’t love a toasty warm bathroom?

In the colder winter months especially, there’s fewer things more satisfying than stepping out of the shower or bath to be greeted by the comforting wrap of a soft warm towel.

But what means should you adopt to heat your bathroom space?

Of course, on an ever-evolving home heating landscape, there’s now more bathroom heating choices than ever before.

In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into all available bathroom heating options, from radiators to heated towel rails, electric underfloor heating and everything in between.

You’ll be well versed in the pros and cons of every bathroom heating device on the market by the time we’re done, so you can make an informed decision on the best way to heat your bathroom.

The importance of bathroom heating

In the way it is used and the heating requirements it possesses, the bathroom really is unique in comparison with any other rooms in the home.

Obviously, a relatively high level of heat and humidity travel throughout the room on account of the bath or shower system. However, whilst areas like the kitchen might also feature high humidity levels, the bathroom will typically be a lot smaller and damper.

All in all, these circumstances combine to create a specific set of heating requirements for the bathroom. So an entirely different bathroom heater could be needed for the bathroom, to be powered via the mains electricity supply or the home’s central heating system.

It’s imperative that you don’t allow your bathroom to become too cold, because those conditions in a humid environment are to dampness what a summer day in Barbados are to us – paradise.

Dampness can be the catalyst for a build-up of bathroom mould, with tiling and wall spaces especially susceptible, particularly so if the space isn’t properly heated or ventilated.

Therefore, it’s vitally important to make the right choice regarding your bathroom heater, selecting a device that delivers an efficient performance and an excellent level of heat retention.

The component needs to suit your space and fall in line with your budget of course, but by taking the above factors into account, you can tackle a potential bathroom mould issue before it even surfaces.

Will the size of the space impact my heating options?

Indeed it will. The size of a bathroom is of the utmost importance when you come to select your bathroom heating.

You’ll have to pay especially close attention to the layout of the space, and consider how your heating choice will fit nearby common bathroom fixtures and fittings.

Think about the way that mirrors, sinks and doors will be affected by the presence of your chosen heating device, in addition to the shower enclosure and/or bathtub.

Mainly though, the heat output has to be the primary attribute taken into account when upgrading your bathroom heating.

You have to be confident that whichever radiator, towel rail or any other heating component you choose offers an adequate level of warmth to heat the bathroom to a comfortable temperature.

BTU Calculator can be used to assess whether the device you have your eye on will provide a strong enough dispensation of heat to cover the entire bathroom.

The chart below will help you ascertain how much heat is required.

And to further aid your search, the bathroom can be divided into separate zones based on the risk factor posed by an electrical supply coming into contact with water.

This is a major safety concern, so be sure to split the bathroom into four specific zones, then you can decide what sort of equipment or devices, if any, can be installed in each section.

A chart showing heat output calculations for room size

Zone A

The part of the bathroom within a bath or shower enclosure that directly holds water. Essentially, the shower tray or bathtub itself.

Zone B

The area positioned immediately above Zone A – the shower enclosure or bathtub – up to and including a 2.25m distance above the foot of the bath or shower. Zone B does not include Zone A.

Zone C

Incorporates the same height as Zone B – 2.25m – which is extended to 0.6m both horizontally and vertically around the shower or bath.

Zone D

The area of the bathroom where it is unlikely that any water will be used.

What are my bathroom heating options?

There are three main types of bathroom heating options to introduce – you should think about the specific area of the bathroom you want to heat before coming to a decision.

If freezing cold bathroom tiles are the bane of your life in the colder winter months, for example, you should opt for a style of heating that represents a solution to this problem.

The three standout styles of bathroom heating solutions come in the form of heated towel rails, radiators and underfloor heating…

Heated Towel Rails

Heated towel rails represent a stylish and effective means to heat a bathroom, and are especially popular in compact bathroom areas.

Perfect for keeping towels toasty warm and dry as their moniker would suggest, these devices are ideal if the satisfyingly snug comfort of a warm towel is important to you as you exit the bath or shower.

As alluded to, the only drawback could be that a towel rail wouldn’t provide the necessary level of heat to properly warm up a larger family bathroom. But this can be checked via a BTU Calculator prior to purchase.

a modern heated towel rail in an en-suite bathroom


Radiators are typically the most expensive of the available bathroom heating options. That said, the stylish aesthetic and supreme performance quality typically makes them worthy of the extra outlay.

Usually featuring a wall-mounted profile, designer radiators can add a touch of modern class to the bathroom area. Essentially, they’ll distribute heat evenly throughout the space to ensure a comfortably warm space.

Milano Aruba slim horizontal radiator

Underfloor Heating

An option that might be dismissed at first glance as an overly expensive, unattainable luxury.

In actual fact though, electric underfloor heating can now be introduced to the home, and more specifically the bathroom, in a variety of cost-effective ways.

The major benefit of underfloor heating is its propensity to warm up your flooring to the preferred temperature, providing lovely underfoot conditions in colder climes.

By contrast, a major drawback is that the entire floor would need to be stripped for the installation of underfloor heating to occur. Therefore, it’s an excellent option to consider when committing to a full bathroom renovation.

electric underfloor heating mat

Should I choose manual or thermostatic heating?

Manual Heating

The simplest form of home heating control. A heater with a manual valve operates in the same manner as a standard water tap. You control the bathroom temperature by switching the valve on and off.

One of the biggest disadvantages associated with manual heating is that you will need to keep a close check on the bathroom temperature yourself, making sure it’s neither too hot nor too cold.

The best environment to opt for manual heating is a bathroom that perhaps isn’t used all too regularly. Or a space in which the temperature doesn’t drop significantly during the colder winter months.

Thermostatic Heating

With heaters incorporating a thermostatic radiator valve, or TRV, these boast an in-built sensor to keep the bathroom temperature to a consistent set degree.

Thermostatic heating is an ideal selection for the main bathroom in a family household. And for bathroom areas susceptible to big temperature shifts throughout the winter season.

How much will bathroom heating cost to install?

Prices will vary significantly depending on which type of bathroom heating you choose to install.

As you would probably expect though, underfloor heating would tend to be the type to cause the biggest strain on a bathroom heating budget.

The installation process is a lot more involved than with radiators or towel rails, and requires disruption to far more elements, fixtures and fittings. Indeed, it calls for the entire bathroom flooring to be ripped up and re-laid.

Fluctuation in underfloor heating installation prices can occur based on a number of variables.

These include the type of underfloor heating system, the type of floor cover, and the current state of the bathroom. I.e. whether the fitting is for a new bathroom, or a part of some extensive renovation work.

Usually, heating engineers or plumbers will charge between £200 and £300 a day for underfloor heating installation work, dependent on the projected length of the task at hand.

In addition to this, the cost of materials should also be factored in.

For any of heated towel rails, electric towel rails, towel warmers or designer radiators, the cost of fitting is absolutely minimal.

Typically, it’s a straightforward job to fit these devices and can usually be completed by anyone with a hint of DIY nous.

a plumber installing underfloor heating pipework

What will the running costs of my bathroom heating be?

It is admittedly difficult to offer an accurate prediction of bathroom heating costs, as so many different factors need to be taken into account.

For example, affecting variables include the outdoor weather conditions, thermostat settings, how long the heating will be switched on for each day, and the local electricity tariff should you opt for an electric heating solution.

We’ll get onto electric heating options in more detail later, but they are widely renowned for the levels of energy efficiency they provide.

So it might just be that these technologically advanced devices can prove a viable, budget-friendly means to heat your bathroom over time.

a large chrome heated towel rail in a bathroom space

How much space do I need to accommodate bathroom heating solutions?

Take it as read that we’re not referring to the all-encompassing underfloor heating option in this section.

But if you are planning to populate your bathroom with a designer radiator or a heated towel rail, the layout of your space, its dimensions and the wall size will influence which types of device are suitable.

As an example, compact bathroom areas with narrow walls won’t prove the best habitat for wide horizontal radiator models.

Thin wall spaces are much more likely to benefit from the addition of a heated towel rail or smaller vertical radiator design instead.

You are open to a wider world of heating choices with a larger bathroom surface area. Essentially, bigger bathrooms will usually mean more wall space, so you can practically take your pick from an immense variety of designer radiators and towel warmers in any shape or size.

Milano Solis vertical radiator

Selecting the right bathroom heating options for my bathroom

There’s all sorts of different factors that will influence what constitutes the right bathroom heating solution for your space.

And whilst we can’t take every variable into consideration in this guide, we can provide an overview of the best typical options for bathrooms of a certain size or style.

Below, we’ve listed some of the more favourable designs for small, medium-sized and large bathrooms with both modern and traditional themes.

You might even find a component fit to become the centrepiece of your bathroom – offering excellence both visually and performance-wise.

Heating options for a small bathroom

Milano Pendle – Chrome Heated Towel Rail with Heated Shelf

milano pendle heated towel rail
Milano Pendle – Chrome Heated Towel Rail with Heated Shelf – 494mm x 532mm

For a small bathroom or en-suite area, it makes sense to begin with one of the most compact heating options available, in the form of the Milano Pendle chrome heated towel rail.

Packing gorgeous aesthetics and an impressive heat output into a very diminutive frame, the towel rail incorporates an attractive chrome finish that will mesh well with literally any décor.

It’s an absolute fail-safe option for bathroom areas where space is at a particular premium, offering adequate warmth and the perfect means for keeping towels toasty warm and dry.

The featured storage shelf is an added bonus.

Lazzarini Way Onetube – White Vertical Designer Radiator

lazzarini way onetube designer radiator
Lazzarini Way Onetube – White Vertical Designer Radiator – 1800mm x 100mm

This number wouldn’t look out of place in a modern art deco exhibition.

Boasting a beautifully streamlined, lengthy vertical profile, this featherweight radiator design can make for a stunning focal point in a compact bathroom, despite taking up such minimal wall space.

With a width and projection of 100mm and 140mm respectively, the radiator’s 1700-plus BTU output is pleasantly surprising. It proves that it’s not just a pretty face so to speak. There’s a proper power-packed heating device under the bonnet as well.

Milano Aruba Electric – Black Horizontal Designer Radiator

black radiator
Milano Aruba Electric – Black Horizontal Designer Radiator – 635mm x 595mm

If it makes sense for you to opt for an electric heating device for your smaller bathroom, you need not look further than this stylish Aruba component, finished in beautiful matte black.

Effortlessly exuding a luxe designer aura, the radiator can be controlled remotely via an app – so it’s extremely easy to manage your energy usage, and expend heat only when necessary.

Supplied pre-filled with glycol which assists in the prevention of rusting and corrosion, the radiator can be programmed to provide a variety of pre-set heating cycles to make your home heating management even simpler.

And crucially, this Aruba device falls into the ‘safe’ category of electrical bathroom heating. The golden rule when going electric in the bathroom is to choose a radiator or towel rail that doesn’t require an exposed wire being plugged into an external socket.

You’ll need a plumber to help with the initial installation, but can be assured of a safe and efficient performance thereafter.

Heating options for medium-sized bathrooms

Milano Icon – Anthracite Vertical Designer Radiator with Mirror

Milano Icon mirror radiator
Milano Icon – Anthracite Vertical Designer Radiator with Mirror – 1800mm x 385mm

Talk about killing two birds with one stone – this stunning vertical radiator incorporates a full-length mirror!

Although standing tall, it spans only 385mm in width, so still occupies minimal wall space in the grand scheme of things within a medium-sized bathroom.

Incorporating a lovely anthracite finish either side of the reflective panel, it’s a radiator best suited to contemporary bathrooms.

It’s easy to imagine the Icon radiator meshing beautifully with similarly coloured flooring tiles, or further complementing the sophisticated style of a clean white wall.

Milano Windsor – Traditional Column Electric Radiator Cast Iron Style

Milano Windsor – Traditional 13 x 2 Column Electric Radiator Cast Iron Style White – 300mm x 605mm (Horizontal) – with Choice of Wi-Fi Thermostat

Whilst oozing with traditional appeal, this Windsor cast iron style electric radiator is actually an extremely versatile heating option, that won’t look out of place in modern or classic settings.

Supplied complete with a stylish element masking cover, the radiator offers a smooth, well-rounded aesthetic, and could be the ideal component to occupy otherwise wasted space beneath a bathroom window.

The radiator is controllable via an external timer or WiFi thermostat (sold separately) so you can make sure your bathroom is being heated as efficiently as possible at all times, and not wasting unnecessary energy.

Packing a fair punch in terms of BTU output, the included 600W heating element provides an impressive degree of ingress moisture protection, especially prevalent for bathroom heating devices.

Milano Lustro – Chrome Flat Panel Designer Heated Towel Rail

Milano Lustro chrome towel rail
Milano Lustro – Chrome Flat Panel Designer Heated Towel Rail – 1213mm x 450mm

Another heating device that will suit modern and traditional settings equally as well, this Milano Lustro towel rail incorporates a beautiful flat-panel ladder profile.

A premium quality steel construction guarantees excellent durability, with the glimmering chrome finish fit to enhance any and all sorts of surroundings.

However, it might just be the case that this Lustro heated towel rail is the perfect component to complete a uniform bathroom appearance. For instance, it will complement a nearby contemporary chrome shower system, and other fixtures and fittings of the same finish, ideally.

Heating options for a large bathroom

Milano Bow – Anthracite D-Bar Central Connection Heated Towel Rail

Milano Bow – Anthracite D-Bar Central Connection Heated Towel Rail – 1533mm x 600mm

There’s plenty more scope to be a lot more carefree with your heating choice in a large bathroom, but this Milano Bow heated towel rail is doubtless an excellent starting point.

With a slightly bulkier profile than some other towel rail designs, this component features trendy D-shaped bars and an attractive anthracite finish, perfect to enhance a modern bathroom setting.

And whilst you might have extra room available in a bigger bathroom, it’s always good to save space wherever possible for other fittings, furniture and decorative elements.

The towel rail’s central connection valve inlets ensures you are able to do this.

Milano Aruba – Light Grey Vertical Designer Radiator

Milano Aruba light grey vertical radiator
Milano Aruba – Light Grey Vertical Designer Radiator – 1780mm x 590mm (Double Panel)

A simply lovely light grey finish makes certain that this Aruba designer radiator can represent a standout heating feature in contemporary and traditional bathrooms alike.

Manufactured from premium quality steel to guarantee a supremely durable performance, the beautifully designed radiator emits an excellent hourly heat output, comfortably sufficient to warm a large bathroom area.

Ultra-stylish oval columns account for the makeup of the radiator, which is another device that catches the eye as much aesthetically as it does impress from a performance perspective.

Milano – Electric Underfloor Heating and WiFi Thermostat

under floor heating
Milano – Electric Underfloor Heating – Choice of Sizes and Wi-Fi Thermostat

Whilst oozing with traditional appeal, this Windsor cast iron style electric radiator is actually an extremely versatile heating option, that won’t look out of place in modern or classic settings.

Supplied complete with a stylish element masking cover, the radiator offers a smooth, well-rounded aesthetic, and could be the ideal component to occupy otherwise wasted space beneath a bathroom window.

The radiator is controllable via an external timer or WiFi thermostat (sold separately) so you can make sure your bathroom is being heated as efficiently as possible at all times, and not wasting unnecessary energy.

Packing a fair punch in terms of BTU output, the included 600W heating element provides an impressive degree of ingress moisture protection, especially prevalent for bathroom heating devices.

Completing your bathroom heating upgrade

Of course, your personal preferences with regards to style will play a massive part in the decision-making process as you upgrade your bathroom heating.

We’re here to steer you in the right direction and help you find a suitable solution for your specific space. But use your own discretion to identify a bathroom heating option that matches your taste aesthetically, whilst performing to the level that you need it to.

If you would like any further help or advice regarding bathroom heating inspiration, or have any other bathroom queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

You can leave your thoughts in the comments section below, or contact us via FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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