Radiator or heaters for an apartment - how to choose? Which radiators are the best?

Gone are the days when radiators hung in the house were a deterrent with their not very original and sophisticated appearance.

Currently, the manufacturers' offer is so wide and attractive that the radiators can not only serve as heating but also become a decoration of the apartment. Nevertheless, it is worth knowing what criteria to follow when choosing them, what their types are, and what power they should have. You should decide on a specific model of radiators before installing the central heating, which affects the proper functioning and allows for an aesthetic connection.

Types of heaters  you can find:

Panel radiators - they are perfect for rooms where there is little space to hang the radiators. They can differ in the shape of the faceplate and their power depends on the size. Thanks to the low water capacity, they increase savings in energy consumption.

  • Sectional heaters - these are most often steel and cast iron heaters, consisting of individual ribs, members joined together.
  • Convector heaters - they are made of copper pipes on which aluminum sheets are placed, additionally enclosed in a housing.
  • Towel radiators (bathroom heaters) - most often used in the bathroom, as their design is perfect for drying towels or linen. They are made of horizontal tubes connected to vertical collectors.
  • Decorative radiators - these are special types of radiators, most often used in bathrooms, although they can also be found in other rooms, such as the living room or hall. They are characterized by fanciful shapes and colors.
  • Electric heaters (oil radiators) 
  • Sanitary heaters

What to pay attention to when you buy radiators?

Material of radiators

There are several types of radiators distinguished on the basis of the material from which they are made:

Steel radiators - are the most popular due to the variety of available models. Panel radiators are the most popular ones, which are characterized by small dimensions and relatively high power. The disadvantage of steel devices is, unfortunately, high susceptibility to poor-quality water. Moreover, the service life of steel radiators is shortened by the presence of oxygen in the system. Therefore, they should not be used in open installations.

Aluminum radiators - characterized by a sectional structure, low weight, and they work well with modern boilers that use temperature regulation. However, they are not as popular as steel radiators.

Cast iron radiators - currently found in older installations. Due to high corrosion resistance and low susceptibility to poor water quality, their durability is up to several dozen years. Due to thick walls, the radiator heats up for a long time, but at the same time loses heat much slower. This has its advantages and disadvantages - the furnace works economically, but the heaters themselves do not react very quickly to temperature changes.

What power should be for heaters?

This is one of the most important parameters taken into account when buying radiators. The power must be adequate to the function of the radiator (heating, drying, or only additional heating) as well as the size of the room and its intended use. One of the simplest methods, but giving results approximately to a large extent, is to assume that for 1 m2 of a living room or kitchen, you need:

  • a) 60 W, when the one-story building is very well insulated, i.e. 10 cm of polystyrene was used for a multi-layer wall
  • b) 100 W, when the single-story building has limited insulation, i.e. 5 cm of polystyrene is used
  • c) 140 W, when thermal insulation is not used in the building

It should also be remembered that the power is given for specific parameters, i.e. the temperature of water flowing into the radiators, returning water, and the temperature achieved in the room. However, before buying radiators, it is worth consulting a specialist who will take into account all the necessary information and select the appropriate power, adequate for specific rooms.

Very often, the necessary power of radiators is given in ready projects by investors or designers.

Dimension of heaters

Although the dimensions of the radiator affect its power, they should be selected correctly. The best place to connect is the wall under the window, where the greatest heat losses are recorded. Manufacturers offer a specific model of different lengths and heights so that visually similar radiators can be adapted to rooms of different dimensions.


Although most people opt for traditional solutions, manufacturers add interesting structures to their offer that can add a unique character. The radiator can be arranged horizontally or vertically, have an unusual shape and color.

Bathroom heaters

A radiator installed in the bathroom can not only be used as a heating element, but also for drying purposes. In addition, it can be equipped with additional, functional elements such as hangers, mirrors, or handles.

Bathroom radiators can be powered in various ways. Currently, three solutions are used:

  • Water - power supply from central heating
  • Electric - with an electric heater
  • Water-electric - bathroom heaters of this type are used more and more often due to their versatility. During the heating season, the radiator is powered by the central heating, and after the season from the electricity network.
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