Everything You Need To Know About Heated Towel Rails

Posted by Annette Powell in Bathroom Ideas |
Everything You Need To Know About Heated Towel Rails

The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need For Heated Towel Rails

Are you fed up feeling freezing after your shower and reaching around for a cold, damp towel? Well, we have the perfect solution: a heated towel rail!

Heated towel rails add an element of luxury to your bathroom and provide an endless source of warmth, comfort and enjoyment. 

Whether you're a seasoned expert or a DIY novice, installing a heated towel rail is a project you can certainly do yourself with some basic skills and some basic tools. 

In this DIY blog, Wellsons walks you through selecting the right heated towel rail for your bathroom and gives you a step-by-step guide to installing it yourself. 

So, let's get started - and add some comfort and style to your bathroom today!

Which Heated Towel Rail Style Is For You?

Ladder Rail

The ladder rail is the most common type of heated towel rail, which features two vertical rails and several horizontal rails that create a ladder-like shape. They come in various widths and heights to fit any bathroom. They are ideal for bathrooms with limited floor space as they can take the place of conventional towel rails. Take the Fienza Kaya Heated Towel Rail or Thermogroup 8 Bar Round Ladder Heated Towel Rail for example.

Ladder Towel Rail

Individually Heated Rails

On the other hand, the individually heated rails have a connector strip inside the wall, and all you see are the horizontal rails. This minimalist-style rail system is an excellent option for those who want a sleek and modern look. They come in different sizes, shapes and finishes so it can be easily paired with the finish of your own bathroom. You can start by browsing our collection here.

Individually Heated Rails

Radiant Heating Vertical towel rail 


Free-Standing Rails

Lastly, the free-standing type is the traditional heated towel rail system, which provides excellent flexibility in placement and use. Installation is easy, and the unit typically plugs into a standard household outlet. One of our most popular freestanding towel rail is the Thermogroup 8 Bar Straight Flat Freestanding Heated Towel Rail

Free standing rails


Selecting the Perfect Size Heated Towel Rail

To determine the appropriate size for a heated towel rail, buyers should consider three factors: 

  • the size of the bathroom, 
  • the number of users, 
  • the desired number of dry towels. 

It is crucial to avoid choosing a rail that is too big, as this can waste energy. At the same time, one that is too small can result in towels that do not dry effectively or overlap. 

Suppose a large family frequently uses the bathroom. In that case, selecting the largest size available to accommodate multiple towels at once is recommended.

Moreover, a larger heated towel rail can also serve as a means of drying clothes, making it a good choice if there is sufficient space for installation. This is especially preferable to using a dryer, which can cause clothes to shrink. 

As a general guideline, larger heated towel rails are best suited for larger bathrooms, more users require a larger rail, and a greater number of towels necessitate more rungs or broader bars on the rail.

Choosing Your Heated Towel Rail Finish

Heated towel rails are available in various materials and finishes, including chrome, stainless steel, brushed nickel, matte black, brushed gold, gunmetal grey and more. 

Brushed Nickel is an ideal choice for modern and minimalist bathrooms. It is a PVD finish adds to its durability as it offers protection from daily cleaning. Check out the range of Brushed Nickel Heated towel rails availableChoosing Your Heated Towel Rail Finish

Stainless steel is the most efficient and resilient type of rail available, as it holds heat well and is more energy-saving. It is available in brushed and polished finishes, though the latter is more susceptible to fingerprints.

Stainless steel towel rail

In addition to traditional materials, matte black has become increasingly popular in modern bathrooms and among architects who want to stay current with trends. Its neutral matte tone provides a striking contrast with other colours and surfaces in both bathrooms and kitchens.

Matte black towel rail


Explore the 3 Different Types of Heated Towel Rails

Heated towel rails come in three main types: electric, hydronic, and liquid-filled.

Electric Towel Rails

Electric towel rails are designed to operate at the lowest wattage possible while maintaining comfort levels, typically around 35 degrees. The rail heats up quickly, becoming warm in as little as five minutes and reaching optimal temperature in approximately 30 minutes. Towels provide insulation for the rail and absorb some heat, resulting in a temperature of 50-55 degrees beneath the towel. These rails connect directly to the existing electrical circuit and do not require plumbing or filling. They are also energy efficient, with some thermostatic dry element rails costing as little as 1 cent per hour to run. Consider using a heated towel rail with a timer to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Hydronic Towel Rails

Hydronic towel rails are designed not only to warm towels but also to warm up the bathroom. They connect to your hydronic heating system in the home, which pumps hot water through the rail to heat it. As a result, they require a boiler to operate and are usually only practical if the house already uses hydronic heating. The heat-up time depends on whether the boiler is already running and the temperature of the water. Hydronic towel rails heat up to as high as 55 degrees.

Liquid-filled Towel Rails

Liquid-filled towel rails use an electric element to heat the fluid inside. They come pre-filled with anti-corrosion fluid and sealed, ready to be plugged into a power point or hardwired to a switch. It takes about an hour for the rail to reach optimal temperature. These rails are an additional heat source in the room and heat up to 55 degrees. Because they heat the water, not the air, covering the rail with a towel won't cause it to get any hotter.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Your Heated Towel Rail

Installation of Heated Towel Rails is a necessary process that requires careful consideration. Here are the recommended installation steps:

  1. Check if the towel rail is installed in the bathroom's correct zone.
  2. Ensure suitable mounting fixtures are in place before the wall is sheeted. Some towel rails have mandatory/optional wall mounting kits that buyers must install before the wall is sheeted.
  3. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for in-wall mounting systems, if required.
  4. Check for power at the rail location or ensure a draw wire is supplied to accommodate the wiring. It is common to run a draw wire into the roof. This leads to a connection point, timer, or switch location - where power will connect to the towel rail.
  5. Install each leg on the towel rail once the wall is complete. Hold the rail level against the wall to determine where to position the holes before circling the legs to mark the wall.
  6. Mount the towel rail using the method supplied by the supplier. Any capable person can do this.
  7. For the electrical connection, it is essential to hire a qualified electrician to complete the work per relevant electrical regulations unless you are plugging it into a power point (however, this is only an option with some rails).

Additional tips:

  • It is recommended that the electrical connection be made where it can be accessed later if required.
  • Ensure the wiring goes to the correct leg on the towel rail unless your rail comes with universal wiring, which allows connection at any leg.
  • Only attempt to drill the holes after you have the towel rail, as most suppliers have a manufacturing tolerance, meaning your holes may be in the wrong location.

Discover the Ultimate Way to Warm Up Your Bathroom With Wellsons

Some Wellsons customers ask us - are heated towel rails worth it? 

The answer is that as soon as you enjoy the comfort of warm, dry towels every time you step out of the shower, you'll be glad of this stylish new addition to your bathroom décor!

With so many options available, choosing the right one that fits your bathroom's size and style is essential. 

And remember, don't be intimidated by the installation process. With the right tools and our step-by-step guide, you can easily install a heated towel rail yourself! 

If you're unsure about any part of the installation process, check out our helpful blogs and tips or simply contact Wellsons. Our friendly team is always on hand to help DIYers all across Australia. 

So go ahead and give your bathroom a luxurious upgrade with a heated towel rail – you won't regret it!