Most folks typically let their bath towels air dry after use and then machine wash and dry them weekly. However, this might not be the healthiest practice, as bacteria can quickly breed on towels due to the moisture, warmth, and skin cells that reside on them. The longer towels take to dry, the more time that bacteria has to grow. You could either wash your towels more frequently, which can be pretty inconvenient, or add a heated towel rack to your bathroom.
The following recommendations for the best towel warmers take into consideration design, size, setup, value, heating power, power source, and additional features. Here are the top picks for the best towel warmer for your bathroom.
- BEST OVERALL: INNOKA 2-in-1 Towel Warmer and Drying Rack
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: MIBIHIBI Personal Household Towels Steamer
- BEST LUXURY: Zadro TWB Towel Warmer, X-Large
- BEST RACK: HEATGENE Towel Warmer 8 Bar Plug-in Drying Rack
- BEST COMPACT: Elite Hot Towel CABI-Warmer
- BEST PROFESSIONAL: Salon Sundry Professional Hot Towel Warmer Cabinet
- BEST BUCKET: Keenray Bucket Style Towel Warmers
- BEST FREESTANDING: Tangkula 5-Bar Towel Warmer
- BEST WALL MOUNTED: Tangkula Wall Mounted Towel Warmer
- ALSO CONSIDER: Live Fine Towel Warmer
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Towel Warmer
Towel warmers come in an array of types and sizes, so consider the features you’ll need before you make this luxurious addition to your bathroom. The three general types of towel warmers available are bucket, cabinet, and rack models.
Many models are electric, although hydronic models heat up via hot water from the bathroom’s plumbing. When choosing the best towel warmer for your needs, consider the style, size, capacity, material, setup, and additional features.
Electric vs. Hydronic
The appeal of a towel warmer is having a warm, cozy towel at your fingertips when you hop out of the shower, and towel warmers create their heat using either an electric or hydronic system.
Electric towel warmers consume very little energy and are available as either plug-in or hardwired. Plug-in models are simply plugged into an outlet like other appliances, and most have an on/off switch with a timer. They can be wall-mounted or freestanding and can be placed wherever there is an electrical source.
Much simpler to install, these are the more popular choice to add to an already finished bathroom. Hardwired towel warmers need to be integrated into the home’s electrical system, and therefore require a professional to install them.
Hydronic towel warmers use hot water to heat them. They are connected to the home’s plumbing system, and water runs through the bars to provide even warmth. In most cases, it’s easiest to install hydronic towel warmers during a home’s construction or as part of a remodeling project, as a plumber must connect it to the plumbing. Hydronic racks also make excellent supplemental heaters for the bathroom.
The towel warmer design can affect its look, functionality, and capacity, and some of the styles available include bucket, cabinet, and rack (either freestanding or wall mounted). When choosing the best towel warmer for your needs, consider the following options.
- Bucket: Towel warming buckets resemble large hampers that sit on the floor. An open top (usually with a lid) accepts towels, blankets, and clothing for warming. Items that are placed in a warming bucket need to be completely dry, and it usually takes some time for items placed inside a towel warming bucket to get sufficiently warm.
- Cabinet: A common fixture at spas and hotels, cabinet towel warmers sit on a countertop or on the floor. They have hinged doors and an insulated warming interior, and some offer a sterilizer function. Cabinet warmers usually provide the fastest, most even heating since the towels are kept warm inside an interior chamber.
- Rack: A heated towel rack is the best option for both warming and drying towels, unlike bucket and cabinet warmers, which only warm towels. Their hanging design allows for ample airflow around the towel, while the heat speeds up the drying process. Racks warm and dry clothing, too. However, since they aren’t in an enclosed chamber, they can take longer to heat up and can experience uneven heating depending on the rack and towel size.
Freestanding: A freestanding towel warmer is an easy-to-install stand-alone option for hanging towels. These take up a bit of floor space but move from room to room with ease.
Wall Mounted: For a more compact option, consider a wall-mounted warming rack. These racks require an extra installation step, but they don’t take up any floor space, making them ideal for small bathrooms. They can even replace a standard towel bar. A curved towel warmer design can make it easier to hang towels, blankets, or clothing on the rack.
Size and Capacity
Towel warmers range in size from compact countertop units to tall freestanding racks. Consider the room size, towel size, and how many towels you want to heat at a time, and pick accordingly.
Larger bath towels fit best on towel racks. Most can hold at least two towels at a time. Choose between a wall-mounted rack or a freestanding unit, depending on available space and your preferred style.
Towel warmer buckets, more compact than racks, sit on the floor to hold a couple of towels. Towel warmer cabinets usually sit on a countertop and are best suited to face and hand towels. Some larger cabinets can hold a couple of bath towels.
Buckets and racks usually weigh less than 15 pounds, and cabinets may weigh in at a slightly heavier weight. A lighter weight means the towel warmer will be easier to mount or move around.
Towel warmers are available in different materials depending on the type selected. In most cases, towel warmer racks are made of aluminum, stainless steel, or steel, often with a chrome or powder-coated finish.
Bucket towel warmers are made of a heat-resistant material, and some come with wooden lids. Cabinet-style towel warmers resemble a microwave oven. They’re usually a solid color and are typically made of metal and have a cool-touch exterior. There are some designer options available, too, including towel racks made of copper, some that are gold-plated, and some with a black finish.
When choosing a towel warmer, consider ease of installation, portability, and ease of use. Freestanding, outlet-powered units are the easiest to install. Some may require a handful of steps to assemble the rack or cabinet, but starting the warmer is as easy as plugging it in and switching it on. Wall-mounted towel bars require more setup, but they pay off in saved space.
Installation may vary by power source. Electric towel warmers may plug into a wall outlet or hardwire into the home electrical system. Hardwired warmers take more work to install, but the result is seamless and cord-free.
Hydronic towel warmers, the most complex to install, usually require a professional plumber. Because of their relatively complex setup, which requires connection to the plumbing, hydronic towel rack installation tends to be part of a larger bathroom remodel.
Towel warmers can include a variety of features to save energy and ease use. Consider warm-up time, temperature output, and adjustable power or temperature settings.
- Adjustable temperature: Most electric towel warmers reach a safe maximum temperature ranging from 100 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want more control, consider a unit with multiple temperature settings.
- Timers and schedule settings: Simple timers switch off the warmer after a certain amount of time, while programmable timers allow you to set when the warmer turns on or off. Some warmers can take a while to warm up and to heat through a towel evenly, so make sure to consider heating time, which can range from 10 minutes to upward of 30 minutes.
- Portability: A portable, freestanding warmer allows you to move the unit around the home to suit your needs, such as to a different bathroom, to the bedroom, or even poolside.
Our Top Picks
The models featured below are among the best towel warmers in a variety of designs and sizes to suit different storage needs. Explore our curated list to find the most suitable warmer for your bathroom style and budget:
Innoka’s freestanding electric towel warmer rack makes an excellent option for those looking for a simple and portable towel rack. The six-bar rack requires just an outlet to install. To start warming, simply turn on the switch and the warmer will reach temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 to 40 minutes.
The towel warmer rack can stand on its own or mount to a wall. As a freestanding rack, it measures 21.7 by 14 by 35.3 inches and weighs under 8 pounds, which makes it easy to move about the bathroom or the home.
For those who are fond of a hot, damp towel after a shave or enjoy the feel of a warm washcloth after an at-home facial, the MIBIHIBI Personal Household Towel Steamer might be just the little luxury item you’ve been looking for. It holds up to 15 washcloths for the ultimate home spa experience. The unit is simple to operate: just fill it with water, plug it in, and wait 10 minutes for it to heat up.
This counter-size towel warmer has an auto-off timer for safety and shuts itself off after 60 minutes. Compact at just 10.8 inches by 10.7 inches by 9.3 inches and weighing just 2.55 pounds, it won’t take up much space in your bathroom. Although it’s not big enough to heat up bath-size towels, it’s a nice addition for a home pampering session.
Fans of large, fluffy towels, take note: This extra-large insulated bucket towel warmer holds and heats two oversize 40-by-70-inch bath towels—as well as robes or blankets—for the ultimate in luxury. But the high-capacity towel warmer Zadro electric unit is also lightweight and freestanding, so it moves with ease about the bathroom or the home.
A built-in timer indicates when the towels are warm. The bucket-style warmer heats the entire towel evenly to an optimal temperature with no cold spots. Then the unit automatically shuts off at preprogrammed 15-, 30-, 45-, or 60-minute intervals. Natural bamboo feet help keep the extra-long power cord neatly out of sight when not in use.
This wall-mounted towel warmer is easy to use: Once it’s mounted to the wall (it comes with all the tools and hardware needed and full instructions), just plug it in and arrange two towels or two bathrobes around the eight bars. Within 15 minutes, the items are warm and cozy. Give the towel rack 30 minutes to reach its maximum temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit for an even warmer experience.
The HEATGENE towel warmer is made of a brushed-finish stainless steel and has a power cord with a 6-foot reach. A waterproof safety cover on the switch ensures safe use, and the seamless welding of the bars provides a better bar-to-bar seal for a longer product life. This towel warmer is 33.4 inches by 26.75 inches by 3.5 inches and weighs 10 pounds.
Enjoy spa-style luxury anywhere with the compact, lightweight, and portable Elite towel warmer cabinet. This countertop model won’t take up precious floor or wall space, which makes it ideal for small bathrooms. It holds one full-size towel or up to 24 washcloths on its interior rack.
Elite’s electric insulated cabinet gets its heat from padded elements on the internal walls and not light bulbs that will need to be replaced, as with some cabinet models. It won’t overheat since it uses an internal temperature control that brings it up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit to warm towels in about 20 to 30 minutes and completely dry them in about an hour and a half. An included drip pan keeps everything neat.
Bring the spa experience home with this towel warming cabinet from Salon Sundry. The countertop unit stores up to 72 washcloths or two large bath towels on a removable interior rack. Made for use in spas, gyms, or massage studios, the electric warmer maintains an average interior temperature of 176 degrees Fahrenheit for truly toasty towels.
Installation is simple. It comes fully assembled and plugs into a three-prong outlet. The metal cabinet, which comes in a choice of black or white, has a composite door that remains cool to the touch, even when the chamber is hot inside. A double-sealed door with a magnetic latch keeps heat in and keeps the door safely closed.
Warm oversize bath towels, bathrobes, blankets, and more in a roomy bucket-style towel warmer from Keenray. The extra-large 20-liter bucket holds up to two 40-by-70-inch oversize bath towels at once.
This unit reaches heating temperature in just 6 minutes. Once turned on, the unit offers up to 60 minutes of heating time before it shuts off automatically.
Beyond its stellar performance, the bucket-style warmer also looks stylish and modern. A round shape, white finish, and attractive faux-wood handle and base give it a simple and warm aesthetic that suits most bathrooms.
Tangkula’s five-bar towel rack features a simple white finish and contemporary design to suit modern bathrooms. The sturdy iron rack has a smooth painted finish. Iron retains heat well, quickly heats up, and keeps items warm.
The curved rack can stand alone or mount to a wall. When used as a freestanding rack, it only needs a nearby outlet to set up, which makes it simple to warm towels, blankets, and clothing in a jiffy. A midsize rack, it comfortably holds one oversize towel or a few smaller ones.
A wall-mounted towel warmer makes the perfect solution for bathrooms lacking in floor space or to create a more finished look. Tangkula’s plug-in electric wall-mounted rack offers a good-looking and functional option for warming towels, blankets, and clothing.
When it’s time to warm items, switch on the rack, and within 10 minutes, it reaches a stable temperature up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit. The 10-bar design provides space for two regular towels or an oversize bath sheet. Made of stainless steel, this rack has a simple look and a shiny chrome finish to suit modern bathrooms.
Bucket towel warmers make a great choice to warm towels quickly and evenly, but they take up a lot of space in small bathrooms. This mini bucket towel warmer takes up no more space than a small waste bin but still gets towels toasty warm.
Select from a 15-, 30-, 45-, or 60-minute heating time with the built-in timer. After it’s done, the timer switches the unit off automatically to conserve energy. The insulated compartment keeps towels warm for up to 20 minutes once it’s turned off.
Live Fine’s compact towel warmer measures 12.6 inches across and 13.4 inches tall, which makes it easier to squeeze into crowded bathrooms. It holds one oversize bath towel or several smaller ones.
The Advantages of Owning A Towel Warmer
With the best hot towel warmer, you’ll always have a warm towel at the ready. More practical than a dryer, towel warmers keep towels warm just steps from your shower. These appliances add a luxurious last step to your shower routine, especially during fall and winter. Beyond keeping your towel toasty warm, a heated towel rack also helps towels dry faster, which keeps them cleaner for longer and reduces odor, bacteria, and mildewing that can come with dampness.
Best of all, the right towel warmer aids in a range of tasks. A freestanding warmer can gently dry delicate items or swimwear or warm clothes, bathrobes, and bedding. Use one in a mudroom to heat gloves, socks, or coats; in a laundry room to dry delicate items; or in the bedroom to make blankets extra cozy before bed. In short, a towel warmer is a worthy addition to your home for the following reasons:
- A towel warmer can help dry bath linens more quickly and keep them free of mildew and foul odors, too.
- A quality warmer can go beyond the bath: Use a warmer in the laundry room for delicate items you’d rather not put in the dryer or in the pool house for drying wet swimsuits. You can also use it to warm robes and bedding to a cozy temperature.
- There’s something incredibly posh about using a warm, fresh towel every time you step out of the shower or bath.
FAQs About Towel Warmers
A towel warmer can take your post-shower routine to the next level. Beyond keeping towels and other items cozy and warm, these compact appliances are affordable to run and easy to maintain. Ahead are some frequently asked questions to consider when using your new towel warmer.
Q. How do I keep my towel warmer clean?
Towel warmers require minimal maintenance. An occasional wash with a damp cloth (soaked in mild detergent, if needed) is often enough to keep the warmer clean.
For bucket or cabinet-style warmers, regular wipe-downs with a soft, dry cloth can help reduce moisture buildup. Also, make sure to check and empty the drain tray as recommended by the manufacturer.
Q. Do electric towel warmers consume a lot of energy?
No, towel warmers are generally considered low-energy appliances, with most costing only a few cents per day to operate.
Q. Will a hot towel warmer heat a bathroom?
While it won’t replace a heater, a hot towel rack often radiates heat from both its horizontal and vertical bars, which means it will add some extra heat to a cold bathroom. Towel warmer buckets or cabinets hold their heat inside and contribute less heat to the room.
Q. Is it safe to leave a heated towel rack on?
Most heated towel racks are safe to leave on, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations to be sure.
Q. What else can I use a towel warmer for?
Towel warmers are useful for much more than just warming towels. They can warm up almost any fabric item, including blankets, swimsuits, outerwear, and other clothing. They can also help dry items like swimsuits and delicates.
With a towel warmer, you’ll be treated to warm towels after every bath or shower. A heated towel rack can even help towels dry faster, keeping them mildew-free and fresh. The best towel warmers are easy to use, simple to maintain, and look lovely in your bathroom to add a luxurious step to your post-shower routine.