I am surprised that towel warmers are not more common. Towel warmers are useful and enjoyable appliances but not many people buy them. If you need a way to warm up a bathroom or dry towels more quickly or just to enjoy a little luxury a towel warmer is worth considering.
Generally speaking towel warmers are either electric or hydronic. Classic towel warmers were hydronic, using hot water flowing through the home water system to provide heat. Later electrical models were introduced. These types still have fluid in a channel system but use electricity to product the heat.
Today it appears that the electric models are much more popular and this may be due in part to the wide range of electric models available. This is convenient but also confusing as there is a wide range of pricing available. Here are a few things to know.
Electric towel warmers are generally made of brass, stainless steel or steel. Brass construction is the top of the line choice. Brass construction offers the best choice for durability of finish and strength and is a better conductor of heat than steel. You can find brass towel warmers in many designs (traditional, contemporary) and sizes. For many years Myson has been a leader in towel warmers and feature the classic styles. While these are beautiful we have found that most people are looking for something a bit more transitional or even contemporary in style. Mr. Steam’s 500 and 600 series offer excellent choices (both electric and hydronic). These units, in addition to brass construction, have stainless steel heaters for controlled quite heat. Finishes include chrome, polished and brushed nickel and oil rubbed bronze. Price-wise brass units will be at the top of the range starting at about $900 with larger multi-rail units priced around $2500.00 – $3500.00.
If you are interested in having a towel warmer but don’t want to spend quite so much consider a stainless steel unit. Mr. Steam’s 300 series offers three sizes of wall mount models as well as a floor standing unit. Stainless steel, while not as conductive as brass, is still an effective conductor of heat and these units use a stacked rail system to create an excellent warming surface. Stainless steel does not allow the same range of finishes but can be ordered in either polished or brushed finish (stainless steel will be close in color to polished or brushed nickel). These units range in price from $800.00 – $1200.00. Amba is another manufacturer of stainless steel warmers. Their units are available in a wide range of size, style and finish.
If you need other finishes you can consider a steel towel warmer. Steel is the least heat conductive of the three but still produces a good warming surface. Most competitively priced warmers are of steel construction and can be found in chrome, white, oil rubbed bronze and other finishes. Mr. Steam’s 200 series is available in four sizes of wall mount units and range in price from $600.00 – $1000.00. The 200 series also offers valet package that allows you to expand the usefulness of your unit.
All the products described above use what I will call a rail system in designing their warmers. Runtal also uses a rail system for some models but is best known for the Omnipanel model. The Omnipanel began life as a radiator, not just a towel warmer. The design of the rails flattens them into individual panels and finishes each panel and frame in a painted surface that conducts heat effectively. Thus an Omnipanel not only warms towels but really acts as a room heater. Omnipanels have a sleek 2” profile and can be fit into a variety of places; corners, under windows, even ceilings. Omnipanels also offer shelf and hook accessories making them a great choice for a mud room coat rack or spa area. For more on Runtal click here.
As cold weather approaches now is a good time to think about adding a towel warmer to your bathroom, mudroom or pool area. A towel warmer can even be a great Christmas present. It does take a couple of weeks to arrive so now is the time to start thinking about it. Is a towel warmer right for your home?