Designer radiators are interesting things; striking shapes, exciting colours and the warmth needed to keep you comfy. But today we’ve got a neat infographic for you with 7 fantastic facts about designer radiators which will keep you on your toes.

For more information, read on below for expanded descriptions of each of the 7 facts!


In the early 1900s, Zehnder was a manufacturer of light motorcycles with a reputation for quality built up over several decades. Because they already manufactured steel tubes fort their motorcycles, they had the opportunity at that time in 1930 to make the Zehnder Charleston column radiator and expand into an emerging radiator market which at that time was populated by heavy, unwieldy and in some cases unsightly cast-iron heaters.

We are coming close now to a century on since that point and Zehnder have since revolutionised the way we think about our heating, and to this day sell the one and only Zehnder Charleston as one of the most flexible and popular designer radiators in the world.


The ‘Radiator Revolution’ is the industry drive to help the world understand that the monotony of white compact radiators is no longer a problem you must cover up or resign yourself to.

Through the 70s and 80s the moment started to gain traction, and through the 90s and naughties modern hotels and the luxury homes of celebrities and socialites became the starting point for the nation-wide allure and fascination with the designer radiator, which today has become a the standard in at least one or two rooms in each modern home.


Most designer radiators are manufactured from steel; it’s cheap, strong, convects thermal energy satisfactorily and can be finished in hundreds of ways which also protect it from corrosion. Aluminium however is more costly to manufacture for heating, and it’s softer too, but it is an excellent convector of heat.

Cast Iron goes the other way and takes a long time to heat up, but looks absolutely tremendous in a contemporary setting, but especially in a period home. Stainless steel is step up from your run-of-the-mill steel, and typically lasts 4-5 times longer, but you can’t finish it with paint, you can only treat the metal itself and polish it or brush it to a satin finish.

Brass is used for the super high-quality traditional towel rails you see in classical bathrooms, the kind of elaborate rails you might see in Buckingham Palace and Chatsworth House. It is a long lasting, high quality metal which is suitable for any heating system, making it a brilliant luxury product.

Chrome is the last conventional finish on the market. Chrome radiators are in fact made from steel, and then chromium is electro-plated to the outside of the steel. The finish is a bright, reflective surface which is visually similar to polished stainless steel, but at a considerably better price.

Glass and mirrors are used in a lot of cases on designer radiators to pushing the boundaries of what is possible with heating, and while this might just sound like attaching a mirror to a normal radiator, it’s often more complex than that. Glass designer radiators can be made in vivid colours which often can’t quite be pulled off with paint, and additionally on glass you can print high-resolution images and create picture radiators!

By making specific fascia for a basic radiator, a lot of manufacturers can make efficient gorgeous radiators without having to extrude metals into hundreds of different shapes. Using marble and natural stone, wood, brass, copper and even the aforementioned glass, mirrors, stainless steel and aluminium, amazing covers can be made which create visual effects which would otherwise be completely unattainable.


Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but genuinely… Radiators… aren’t.

That is to say radiators don’t actually warm your rooms through radiation, it’s all an elaborate ruse! Depending on the radiator model, thermal radiation can make up as little as 20% of its overall heat output.

Convection is what actually does most of the work, in other words your radiators hold hot water, heat is passed through to the metal which heats up the surrounding air (which is why the surface area of a radiator is a big factor in how much heat it can produce) and then that air begins to circulate around the room.

The air heats up and begins to rise, and when it does that cool air is drawn in at the bottom of the radiator to replace it, this new air is heated and push upwards as more cool air is pulled upwards to take its place. As this happens, the hot air is being pushed further and further towards the centre of the room and reaches the furthest parts it can before beginning to cool and fall.

With enough time the air is warmed more and more quickly, and the result is that the whole room has become warm, nearly entirely by the convection of heat through the particles in the air.

The 20% radiation that we talked about before? That is direct-type heating. If on November 5th you stand 50 feet from a roaring bonfire you can feel thermal radiation making your face, your eyes and fingertips hot, even while the cool winter air whips around you, that’s because this type of direct heating warms surfaces directly.

So in your living room your walls, coffee table, sofas, paintings and curtain will all be directly heated to different degrees, and from there those surfaces raise the temperature of the air slightly, but with nowhere near the efficiency of the bulk convection.


While we are on the topic of heating up the air efficiently, aluminium does a terrific job of just that. So much so that it can be designed not only to hold much less water than a steel counterpart, but also in a way which actively promotes the hot air currents we just talked about.

Aluminium designer radiators are now commonly manufactured so that they feature a large cavity inside, and only a small chamber for hot water to flow through. This means that in addition to the air surrounding the radiator being heated, the air inside the radiator is being heated, nearly doubling the surface area.

Two-fold, the air inside the radiator is heated up more quickly and is shot out the top of the radiator’s cavity, more quickly drawing the cool air in from beneath.


Doing a complete 180°, Chrome radiators are essentially a normal steel model, but with a layer of insulation on the outside. The chrome on the outside serves to look gorgeous, but sadly traps in nearly all of the radiation type heating, and even prevents some of the convection as well. You both need to pick a larger size if ordering chrome, and over the years it will cost you more as it needs to hold a good amount of hot water too, especially when put side-by-side next an aluminium model.


The amazing thing about designer radiators is that they are only limited by imagination. We have products which can be sat on comfortably in bench form, perfect for spa or taking the chill out of a cold boot room.

How about a radiator entrenched under your feet, into the floor? Trench heating is completely unique, offering warmth in a discrete way that saves you valuable space by burying your heating under the floor, with only a hyper-stylish grille (available in a range of finish options) on show.

They can be shaped to fit gently curving walls as well as angled ones, like the Zehnder Charleston which we talked about earlier, meaning that no part of the home is off limits for heating. Most commonly this is used under bay windows which either curve or angle inwards, but they can even be used on outer angles.

Most mind-bogglingly, there are now designer radiators which can move! The Vogue Stendy is a sturdy towel rail which can be used as standard like any other gorgeous rail to dry your cosy towels on, but then like transformers-in-disguise can spring open to give you hot shelves to resting your folded towels or bath robes!

As interesting as these facts all are about designer radiators, the most exciting thing is that all of our brilliant and innovative designs are right at your fingertips, more affordable than you think and ready for delivery on the next day, so take a few minutes to imagine what you might fit into your dream interior today;

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Your perfect radiator is here! We are dedicated to keeping our prices competitive! Call our dedicated customer service team and we will be happy to help. 01257 452879

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