Trying to choose new radiators for your home, but struggling to figure out which to get? It can be overwhelming with the huge choice that is available on the market today.
The best starting point is to choose which material you would like. Each different radiator material carries different qualities. In this short guide we will provide you with all the knowledge you need to be able to choose which radiator material is best for you!
What are radiators made from?
Radiators are made from conductive metals, which means that heat travels through it quickly. The most common radiator materials are; steel, stainless steel, aluminium and cast iron.
Read on to discover the pros and cons of each of these different radiator materials.
Mild Steel Radiators
In general, mild steel tends to be the most popular material used to make radiators and heated towel rails. This is because it is cheap, and it can be moulded into many different weird and wonderful shapes, take our Terma ribbon vertical radiator for example, which can be seen below.
Mild steel also has the benefit of being available in various colours, so unique designer radiators can be crafted easily by mild steel. No other metal can compare to mild steel when it comes to the different designs and colours on offer. Because it’s cheaper, if you are on a budget then a mild steel radiator could be the right option for you.
Something to look out for with mild steel radiators is that they can be prone to rusting, so you may find that they come with shorter guarantees. But this can be prevented! Make sure your boiler is regularly serviced and add radiator inhibitor to the system. This will ensure that your mild steel radiators last.
Stainless Steel Radiators
Stainless steel radiators are built to last. They are excellent heat conductors, and they keep warm for a long time even after they have been turned off. They also have the benefit of being able to be crafted into unique shapes for a stunning heating statement piece.
As stainless steel is a more premium metal, the prices will be higher than mild steel radiators, but they are a worthwhile and long-term investment.
A fantastic property of stainless steel is that they do not rust and they are resistant to corrosion, so you can enjoy less maintenance. Because of this, you will also find that stainless steel radiators come with a very long manufactures warranty for peace of mind. All of our stainless-steel radiators come with a 20 to 25-year warranty!
Having said this, anti-rust properties does not mean the radiator will be 100% rust-proof, so it will still be a good idea to keep your system topped up with radiator inhibitor, to be on the safe side. Also, if you tend to hang wet towels over the radiator, regularly wipe it dry to avoid any rust forming on the outside of the radiator. After all, rusting will not be covered by the warranty.
The newest of all radiator materials, aluminium is quickly becoming the most popular choice and its not hard to see why.
Aluminium is a superconductor, this means it produces a lot of heat, the most out of all radiator materials. The result is much higher BTU output; so if you lined up the exact same sized radiator in mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium and cast iron, the aluminium radiator would produce 2-3 times the BTU output compared with the rest. This means you can heat up a bigger space with just the one aluminium radiator, rather than having to get multiple.
Learn more about how many BTU's you need to heat your home.
Aluminium is also resistant to corrosion and rusting, so you can feel assured that they will last.
Aluminium radiators have great environmental benefits. You can enjoy their fast response times, as they heat up and cool down rapidly so are fantastic at regulating the temperature within a room. They also have low water content so they require less hot water from the boiler, this means they do not need to be on for as long to reach their maximum temperature. This will reduce the amount of heat lost, making them a much more energy efficient option.
Plus, at the end of their life they are easily recycled. The process of recycling aluminium takes only 6 weeks.
Because aluminium is lightweight, installation is much quicker and easier, meaning cheaper installation costs. This also makes them ideal for hanging onto walls that cannot take heavy weight. While this carries many benefits, it does mean you have to be much more careful when handling aluminium radiators, to avoid any dents or damages.
Cast Iron Radiators
The original radiator material; cast iron radiators carry a nostalgic feel that for many homeowners, you cannot beat.
And while technology progresses and new options appear on the market, cast iron radiators remain a popular, if not the only choice for many. This is because if you have your heart set on a period-style radiator, any other material will only leave you disappointed.
The way that cast iron radiators heat and cool differs from all other radiator materials. Cast iron radiators take a while to heat up, so if you’re feeling cold don’t expect this radiator to warm you up quickly. You need to be prepared and get them switched on before you start getting cold.
But don’t be alarmed thinking that your money will be wasted while they heat up, because once they reach the desired temperature they can be switched off, because they will hold their heat for hours.
Cast iron radiators are very well built, they are the strongest radiator material and will last you a lifetime. But because of this, they are heavy. Very heavy. So, if you do go for a cast iron radiator, be prepared to pay more for the installation.
The choice is yours…
As you can see depending on which qualities you are looking for, each radiator material carries its own benefits.
I hope that this guide has helped you to choose which material is best suited for your next radiator.
So now the choice is yours!
We have a stunning range of designer radiators and heated towel rails in each of these different materials. Have a browse and use our filter section on the left hand side to look at radiators in your desired material.