Cozy Up Key Spaces with European-Style Towel Radiators

Add comfort to your bathroom, entry, or laundry area with towel-cozying, space-warming radiator heat.

By Donna Boyle Schwartz | Updated Jul 29, 2017 3:00 PM

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You’re stepping daintily out of the shower when—bam!—you’re hit with a shock of cold air that makes you want to scamper back to bed and jump under the covers. If that scenario sounds too, too familiar, then it may be time to install a towel radiator. While these appliances have been a staple in European homes and hotels for years, they’ve gained popularity here only recently. You may know a similar entity—the towel warmer—but towel radiators are a little different, and a lot better!

Yes, as you might expect, towel radiators keep your bath linens quite toasty, but they also provide a perhaps vastly more valuable ancillary benefit. In the course of their regular operation, towel radiators give off gentle, quiet, room-warming heat. “Towel radiators are an attractive and practical means of adding heating capacity to a bathroom,” notes Daniel O’Brian, a technical specialist with online retailer You can imagine how the supplementary heat provided by a towel radiator in a bathroom could, on a daily basis, mean the difference between complete contentment and nagging post-shower discomfort.


There are two types of towel radiators—hydronic and electric. O’Brian explains, “Hydronic models are a good choice if the heat in your home originates at the boiler, because the towel radiator can simply connect to the closed-loop system.” If you have another type of home heating—forced-air, for example—you can install a self-contained electric unit. One advantage of an electric unit, O’Brian notes, is that “you can use it throughout the year, even when your main heating system is turned off.” Of course, when it comes to running—and enjoying the benefits of—a towel radiator, it doesn’t much matter how exactly it’s hooked up to the house. For the user, it’s all about cozy towels and spaces.

Industry leader Runtal has been designing and manufacturing towel radiators for well over 50 years. Today, the company offers a wide variety of models, and though its many products put out different levels of heat, they all share a compact, wall-hugging profile. Extending only three to five inches from the wall, Runtal towel radiators are unobtrusive and eminently versatile. They’re most commonly placed in bathrooms, but the radiators might also be used in entryways or laundry rooms.

Owing to their clean lines and timeless design characteristics, Runtal units look at home in both traditional and contemporary environments. Plus, customers are spoiled for choice when it comes to customization options. For the radiator panels, you can select from 10 standard and 99 custom colors. You can even specify the finish desired for the metal components of the unit. In other words, it’s easy to ensure that a new Runtal towel radiator will smoothly integrate with the look of an established room.

What about installation? Mounting a towel radiator is a DIY-friendly project, according to O’Brian at When it comes to completing the hookup, however, he explains, “Some electric units are furnished with a simple wall plug, but others must be hardwired, and hardwiring may be beyond the capabilities of a typical DIYer.” Similarly, to a install a hydronic unit, “you would either need to tap into existing lines or run a new line. Either could be daunting for someone without experience.”

Runtal products are manufactured of high-quality cold-rolled steel or stainless steel. The company operates a state-of-the-art factory in Massachusetts to serve the North American market. All products are designed to meet American building requirements and carry a limited five-year warranty.

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