You’re doing up a room and have the paint, wallpaper, fixtures, fittings, furniture and everything you need to sort out ready. But is there one tiny (or big) thing you’ve overlooked? I’ll give you a clue; it’s usually long, white and gets hot.

Yes, I am talking about the humble radiator. When we decide to redecorate, it’s often the last thing on the list or something that is forgotten about until you get the job done and suddenly realise the radiator doesn’t fit in with your aesthetic anymore. Following on from my recent post finding your kitchen style, which you can read here, I thought it would be a good idea to clue you on finding the right type of radiator, where to look and when to do so.

Before you know it, you’ll be getting the toolbox out and taking your dated looking radiators off the wall in no time at all.

What type of radiator do I need?

You don’t have to be an expert to know when you’re looking at a three column double panel convector dual fuel radiator with thermostatic valves. Finding the right radiator can be a minefield if you don’t know the basic lingo and what they look like. Different types suit different rooms as well, but there are essentially four styles of radiators you can buy (before you go looking at wacky designer models). They are:

  • Column Radiators
    • The radiators with a round top (flat tops with gaps are convector), these are contoured with spaces between the columns to get air get through the heat up. They’re a bit dear to have in living rooms, so many people will have tall/vertical column radiators in their kitchens or bathrooms these days.
  • Convector Radiators
    • The humble convector style is the most common we have in the UK. It is the simple white panel radiator that usually has indented lines going along it. They work very well and are usually the cheapest option out there.
  • Cast Iron Radiators
    • The fanciest of the bunch. Cast iron radiators may look old, but these days they’ll use modern technology to perform as best they can. The Victorian style of radiator is becoming popular again for trendy cafés, shops and studio apartments, especially when you install a radiator against a bare brick wall. 
  • Towel Rails
    • The only radiator type that you don’t call a radiator. Towel rails are thin, tall and will go in your bathroom. Some people also have them in kitchens to pop their tea towels on.

Where do I look for a good deal on a radiator?

Walk into a specialist store, and you may as well be saying “please take all my money”. The radiator is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to prices. You can go incredibly cheap and get something that can’t guarantee high performance or that it will live beyond its warranty, or you can go ultra-high-end and shop for a radiator like you’re buying a fancy coffee machine with all the bells and whistles.

Like all our shopping habits these days, you have to go online and do your research. Trade Radiators is one the best UK based online shops for a deal on a radiator. They’re in the middle of relaunching their site but have some cracking deals right now and usually have flash sales on the go. Because they’re an online store without physical shops, they don’t have a middleman, and that brings the price of the radiators down. They have radiators starting as low as £16.

If you’re looking to go all out and want a radiator that is incredibly fancy & looks nothing like a radiator, you’ll want to look at stuff by Bisque or Eskimohi. Both brands do top of the line style stuff that is usually reserved for those of us who wouldn’t have a problem spending £900 on their living room radiator just because it has bamboo features on it.

When is the best time of year to buy a radiator?

I’m writing this in the middle of July which just so happens to be when people are not buying radiators. May to July, according to Google Trends, is when people are searching for radiator sale the least. That’s when stores will have bigger sales on to move stock, especially before new radiators are launched in autumn.

If you are doing your house up in the colder months and thinking about your radiators, I do suggest getting a plumber in first to check your central heating and make sure everything is tickety-boo.

One final thing

Before I wrap things up, just one more point to make. If you are redecorating and have gotten new lovely gold or chrome light switches and plugs, have a look around for radiator pipes and valves that have the same finish. When you’re getting a new radiator, the simple white plastic cover comes as standard and can stick out like a sore thumb if it doesn’t match your décor. Pipes are incredibly cheap and can cover up a bad paint job as well.