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A guide to heated towel racks


A guide to heated towel racks

Hearing the words “heated towel rack” dreams up an image of something luxurious and spa-like. That is where these wonderful things have been hiding all these years of hanging up damp towels in the hope they will be dry enough the next time you shower. Anyone who has stayed at a hotel with one in the bathroom will know just how great it feels to wrap up in a warm, fluffy towel when you’re dripping wet. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until the next time you go on a trip to enjoy one.

How it works

Heated towel racks come in many shapes and styles, but are essentially separated into two kinds: wet or dry. Basically that means that some will use a fluid, like water or oil, to heat the towel rack, while others use dry element technology to warm your towels. An electric towel rack is the easiest way to enjoy warm towels as it can be plugged into any available outlet. This kind of towel heater is filled with oil that is then heated by the filament inside.

While you may think an item like this may waste energy being plugged in, they actually use low power so they are quite efficient. They are also safe to use as they are tightly sealed to prevent oil leaking and, while they do get quite hot, no towel will ever catch on fire.

Hydronic towel heaters circulate hot water that is connected to the central heating. A pump is used to circulate the water and thereby evenly heating your towels. These can be fitted with a dual fuel option for when central heating isn’t on, such as during the summer. Timers can be added as well, so that you are not using it all the time. The down side to these wet kinds is that it can take a while for them to warm up. Dry element heaters will be at optimal heat in 10 to 15 minutes. It does this with a special purpose heating wire that is inserted in the tubes of a towel rack. It’s the same kind of stuff they use for heated floors. When compared to water and oil heated models, dry element heaters perform better, are lighter and easier to install.


You may be thinking that if you really want warm, fluffy towels, you can just toss them in the dryer. Having a heated towel rack does more than that. It actually promotes a healthier environment in your bathroom. Mildew and bacteria thrive in damp conditions. You take that away when you install a heated towel rack. It also helps in really humid months when it takes forever for a towel to dry. You will especially love it in the winter because it keeps your bathroom nice and warm. Installing a heated towel rack is less messy than putting in heated floors. You can also use it for drying wet mittens and boots during the long winter months and less costly to dry your towels on them than in a dryer.


Depending on the one you choose, heated towel racks can be either free standing or mounted. Some electric models, both dry and oil heated, will need to be installed by a professional. You can install a hydronic heated towel rack yourself, as long as you aren’t including a dual fuel option. That too will require hiring a professional. Otherwise, just make sure you have all the tools and parts needed for the process. Take into consideration the scope of your project because some models are mounted into the floor. That will require removing tiles and patching it up after everything is in place. Keep electrical towel heaters well away from sources of water, as well.

Believe it or not, these fancy heated towel racks are affordable. You can find some models for under $100. When it comes to comfort and practicality, a good heated towel rack can be a worthwhile investment.

By Meagan Dieroff

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