Radiator Buying Guide


When choosing a new radiator for your home, it can be hard to know where to start. Planning ahead is key, and knowing what to look for will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Luckily, PlumbNation has put together the Radiator Buying Guide to help you make the right choice for your home.

Plumbed or Electric?

It is always best to choose a radiator that is compatible with your existing electric or hot water system. Plumbed-in radiators come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings that allow for easy installation and versatile design. However, electric radiators are easier to install in locations where your plumbed central heating doesn't currently run. Electric radiators make great additions to conservatories, extensions or loft conversions.

What size radiator should I get?

It's highly important to choose the right sized radiator for your room. Too large a radiator will use more energy than necessary, and too small a radiator will always be running at maximum without providing enough heat. You can use our BTU Calculator to ensure your room will be heated comfortably. Larger spaces may require more than one radiator to evenly distribute the heat.

Where will it hang?

Your choice of radiator style and size are dependent on the type of wall you intend to hang it from.

  • A solid masonry, brickwork or blockwork wall will give you the greatest choice of radiators. Larger radiators can usually be hung from any part of these walls.
  • A studwork wall will limit your radiator options. Your radiator will need to be hung from the studs as they are the strongest part of your wall. Depending on the location of the studs, you may have to compromise on the shape or size of the radiator you want.

It is also important to consider where the pipework runs inside your walls when thinking about how to remove a radiator.

  • If it runs along the wall, a new radiator the same width or wider than the existing one can be easily fitted with the pipework trimmed. Alternatively, choosing a narrower model will require the pipework to be extended and exposed. Your plumber will be able to talk you through the options.
  • If it runs upwards from the floor, opting for a similar size replacement shouldn't be a problem. If you are looking to change your radiator in size or style, you may have to lift the floorboards in order to move the pipes.

Consider the style you want

The main types of plumbed-in radiators are column radiators, steel panel radiators and designer radiators.

Column radiators

Column radiators exude period charm for a more traditional decor. As versatile as they are beautiful, their robust design adds character to any room and makes them a great decorative alternative to the standard panel radiator.

Column radiators are made from steel tubular columns that are welded together at the top and bottom. The greater number of columns, the more amount of space the radiator will need. Column radiators are available in tall and slender models as well as short tubular designs.

Panel radiators

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Panel radiators offer unbeatable heat output and exceptional efficiency. Heat is emitted through the convector fins and a small amount of heat radiates directly from the steel panel. With grooved front panelling and a white finish, they complement rooms of any style and decor. Panel radiators are constructed with steel panels and convectors and are available in single, double, double plus and triple panel models.

For a more minimalist design aesthetic, flat panel radiators are also available at PlumbNation. These are flat-fronted radiators that are clean and neat in design. They sit close to the wall and have a plain flat top rather than a grille top, or come as standard-style corrugated steel radiators with flat panels fitted to the front.

Designer radiators

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Designer radiators make a stunning addition to the contemporary home and come in a wide range of colours, materials, shapes and sizes. Depending on the style, plumbed designer radiators may require the pipes to be in a different place to traditional models. Learn how to fit and change a radiator or contact a plumber to rearrange the pipework to help you complete the look.

Click here to find your perfect radiator today.