We have probably all visited homes where the heating is off in the middle of winter, or even the house does not have a central heating system or radiators at all. There is more to a radiator than something just stuck on the wall. In this article, we look at the types of radiators available to buy and some of the key functions and purposes of these.


We can broadly split radiator composition into two parts:

1) The properties of the radiator (how it is made to transfer heat as a source.)

2) The design of the radiator (which is more focused on the shape, the purpose it is used for etc.)

the different types of radiators

Above: Old fashioned radiator examples.

From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mellydoll/4317103974/


Like most equipment in the home there has been a phase of modernisation over the years which has transformed the effectiveness and quality of the output – radiators are no exception.

Single panel and double panel radiators were amongst the first to be fitted in homes. These tended to be quite tight to the wall but were large in shape so took up a lot of room and wall space. As these radiators were basic because scientific principles hadn’t advanced, they only tended to ‘push’ the heat out and do little more.

Now most modern homes have convector radiators, and as the picture below shows, these are easily identifiable by the inside pattern which is housed behind the main unit. Convector radiators come in a variety of types and these include single panel, double panel and double panel double convector. Warm air can be distributed above and below the moulded ‘fins’ allowing for better circulation and distribution of heat.

a convector radiator

Above: A birds-eye view of the ‘moulded fins’ – convector radiators.

From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mlinksva/2988241480/

Of these three types of convector radiators each have a greater and better output of heat energy, with double panel double convector being the best of the three. However, as the double panel double convector is so good at providing heat, it does also take up a lot of room on the wall and can stick out from the wall much further than others. The challenge for the future will be to keep the effectiveness of the double panel double convector but reduce the depth!


Whilst the above are standard radiators you will find in many shops or home, today styles and trends have developed to suit modern needs and you may discover the following different designs of radiator also.

* Compact radiators: As the name suggests these are slimmer in style and look, and are more aesthetically pleasing because they have ‘grills’ on the top which hide the fins inside /behind the convector models.

* Ladder or towel radiators: These are very popular now in many bathrooms and have a dual purpose. Firstly, they provide heat to the room, but secondly their height (or ladder status) allow for towels to be dried on them at the same time.

* ‘Stylish’ radiators: These radiators are more bespoke and are big on design and attention to detail to aid to making a status or focal point to a room. The compromise here is that the quality of heat isn’t so good compared to the conventional designs.

If you are looking to buy new radiators, then we hope our simple guide has made your decision a little easier and got you familiar with the different types.

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