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How to Buy the Right Radiator

Learn about the different types of radiators available for your home and which variety would work best for a safe and efficient central heating system. 

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How to buy the right radiator

Radiators are a huge source of comfort in all of our homes and can even be a lifeline when keeping us warm and well through spells of illness. They truly make a house a home and so choosing the right one is important business.

You may call a spade a spade, and assume a radiator is just well...a radiator. But surprisingly, there is more than just one type of radiator and different types are best suited to certain homes. Don’t just pick the first one you see as it might be less effective or indeed more costly than another option. 

Consult this guide before purchasing yours to ensure you have a high-performing central heating system in your home.  You can keep your system running smoothly by opting for one of our Boiler Plus care plans, where for as little as £6 a month, you can receive an annual boiler service, carbon monoxide test and more.

Is the rest of your central heating working well?

Before worrying about radiators, ensure that the very heart of your central heating system, your boiler, is doing its job. If it isn’t working well or is more than 10 years old, it may be worth upgrading to a new boiler.

We have payment plans to make this purchase more manageable as well as a guide to buying a new boiler to ensure you pick the right one for your household.

Boiler on the Blink? 

Get a brand-new boiler from only £1,549!

While a boiler leak could be due to a number of minor faults, there is the chance that it could also be a sign that your system is ready to be replaced.

No one wants the unexpected cost of a new boiler, but at Boiler Plan it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

With finance options available, enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a brand-new energy efficient boiler.

Just a few clicks and you could be getting:

  • Lower Energy Bills
  • Up to 10 years Manufacturer Warranty
  • A Free Smart Thermostat
  • Flue Kit worth £100 rrp
  • Magnetic Filter worth up to £100 rrp
Get a fixed price quote today

How many radiators do I need in my home?

The number of radiators you require is dependent on the number of rooms in your house, as well as their size and your preferred room temperature.

To gain a better idea, you should measure every room in the house (cubic feet), then enter these measurements into a British Thermal Units (BTU) calculator for a clear and calculated answer.

Electric, Central and Duo Radiators

The two main types of radiator are electric and central heating; you should have one of these two types fitted within your home.

Electric Radiators

These are filled with thermo fluid, which is warmed up via electrical energy from your mains using a plug socket.

Central Heating Radiators

This type fills up with water that is heated up by the boiler, which in turn emits this heat out and into your home. This is the most common radiator type in the UK.

Do I have a convector radiator?

A standard radiator and a convector have very different methods of warming your home. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference and know which is best for your needs. 


With this type, hot water travels through all of the parts of the radiator to warm them, with the heat generated eventually travelling through the air. These are less costly than convectors and last longer, although they take more time to warm a room.


The hot water moves through a tube encased in a layer/s of small convector fins. Convectors heat up a room much faster than their standard counterparts and use 10% less energy to do so. However, they are more expensive and tend not to last as long.

Do I opt for a horizontal or vertical radiator?

The most common type is horizontal and, as a result, are the cheapest available with the widest choice in design and size. Verticals are better for smaller spaces given their design. Small bathrooms could also benefit from the fitting of a heated towel rail; a compact unit that will provide necessary warmth without becoming an eyesore.

Is a single or double panel radiator better?

The panels in a radiator store the supply of hot water which eventually travels around your home generating heat. Single panels, (also called type 11 or flat) have just one layer of convection fins and are better suited to small spaces as they are less clunky.

Double panels or ‘type 22’ are great for larger spaces that require more heating power. Those with double panels also have a double layer of convection fins. 

How do I care for my radiators after purchase?

If you encounter issues with your central heating and your radiators aren’t getting as warm as they should be, you may need to bleed them.

The best way to check if it needs doing is if the top of the unit has cold spots but the bottom is warm. Additionally, you should aim to bleed them once a year just to keep them running well.

We have a full guide on how to bleed radiators correctly if you are unsure.