Combining style, practicality and energy-efficient operation, electric towel rails have become a must-have addition to a range of bathroom refurbishments. Shaun Hurworth, product manager at Dimplex, looks at the latest design developments and considers the benefits for hospitality venues.

With a wide range of products constantly being updated to reflect the latest bathroom trends, towel rails can provide a luxurious finishing touch for any venue looking to stand out with an eye-catching bathroom design.

The first decision to make when considering towel rails is whether to choose electric or ‘wet’ products - and for many venues there is no contest. Electric towel rails are simple, cheap and quick to install, offering low running costs and no need for maintenance. And with just an electrical connection required, they can be operated independently of any main heating system to prevent energy wastage in unoccupied rooms.

Running costs are already low, but electric towel rails can also be combined with a range of timers, run-back controls and other progammers to get bills down even further. Controls such as these improve the functionality and can reduce costs by closely matching operation to room occupancy. Of course, for venues looking to keep down the cost of rising energy bills, extra controls can be a wise investment.

Dimplex, for example, offers a radio frequency controller, which is easy to install and gives advanced thermostatic and timer control so that the towel rail is only on when it’s needed.

Suited to small spaces
Another consideration for venues is what available space there is. With such a wide range of designs available there is something to suit every room, including a growing number of compact products which make the most of available space without sacrificing drying power or incurring high running costs.

However, with stringent regulations dictating the fitting and location of electrical products in bathrooms, limited space can pose a challenge in bathrooms and wet rooms.

In a wet room, where the shower tray is considered to extend across the whole floor, Zone 1 extends 1.2m from the centre of the fixed water outlet – or further if you factor in the additional reach given by a detachable shower head. This means it is not unusual for a wet room to have little or no wall space which falls outside of Zone 1.

More importantly, it often means the whole room can be exposed to water jets from the shower so electrical equipment, including towel rails, should be IPX5 rated.

With this in mind, installers have traditionally been unable to fit electric towel rails in smaller wet rooms, but innovations from leading manufacturers such as Dimplex have seen the introduction of IPX5 rated towel rails – which are more watertight than previous IPX4 rated models. This means that they can be safely fitted in most bathrooms – providing a cost-effective and attractive solution for towel drying in even the smallest of spaces.