How to choose which brand of towel warmer?

jacobseApril 12, 2010

I previously posted a question about whether to put a towel warmer in our master bath remodel, and we're now pretty well sold on the idea -- providing we don't have to go for one of the ones which cost upwards of $2,500!. Which brings me to today's question: which brand of towel warmer?

We'll be looking for an electric model, hardwired, ideally not much wider than 20". I've seen a number of positive comments here about Runtal. Doing a broad search for electric towel warmers, I've also looked at Mr. Steam, Amba, Myson, Warmrails, and others. Some similar-looking models -- approx. 20" wide, 18-24" hight, curved rails -- range in price from the low $300's to well above $1,000. What more do you get with a significantly more expensive towel warmer? Are there brands which are particularly good, or ones to stay away from? If you have purchased a towel warmer, aside from choosing a look (curved vs. straight, flat rails vs. tubes, finish, etc.), how did you choose among the various brands on the market?

Thanks!

-- Eric

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wi-sailorgirl

Great questions and I'm looking forward to the answers! It's strange that there's such a huge range of prices.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:08PM
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busybee3

eric--after much debating, i think i'm going with the amba antus 28x60..... the cheapest i've seen it on-line is about $1600. i e-mailed amba asking what the difference was between the jeeves models(i was looking at the ~ 20x54" which i could get for ~ 700) and the antus models....basically the wattage is significantly higher on the more expensive models, so they also act more like space heaters in addition to towel warmers which is appealing to me....they also warm up about twice as fast as the lower watt models. the jeeves model has a water and glycol solution that runs through it to warm the rails and the antus unit does not...antus also has thicker grade of steel. i looked into the runtal---particularly the versus model, but decided that the extra $500 or so that it would cost wouldn't be worth it. that's basically what i know...i didn't really look into other brands( myson seemed much too expensive and too limiting size wise and mr.steam models all seemed to be lower wattages.) amba seemed to offer the most for the dollar---i liked the curved rails of the jeeves, but think i'm going with the higher watts and the wider width of the antus.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:45PM
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wa8b

I've used Runtal in my homes for years. Originally when I lived in Europe (where Runtal is practically ubiquitous), then again during the last 15 years since I've returned to N. America. They're a quality product and have stood the test of time. I really wouldn't consider any other brand.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 1:39AM
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jacobse

Thanks busybee and wa8b. Just bumping this to see if I can get any additional input.

-- Eric

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:38AM
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mongoct

Warmers produce heat, then they have to transfer that heat to the towels.

So a starting point is to compare watts or BTUs from one model to another to ascertain heat output. Output-wise, the more BTUs the heater can generate the faster it'll be able to heat the towels. The more surface area that is in contact with the towel, the faster the heat will be transferred.

If you want to leave it on 24/7 then a low-BTU model might suffice, or a model with round rails might provide adequate heat transfer to the towels. If you want it on a programmed timer or if you just turn it on when you get into the shower, or if you need to batch heat towels one after another, then a high-BTU model with flat rails might be better.

A nice touch is that the higher BTU models can serve as room warmers too.

Personally if you want a true towel warmer I'm a fan of Runtal or Myson. From the towel warmer perspective the Runtal Omnipanel is a great warmer. Myson has a similar design with their Interlude series.

I'm not familiar with Amba. My experiences with Mr. Steam and Warmrails is that they are fairly low-BTU units and thus suited for more casual use than serious warming. They work mind you, and they have their fans. Nothing wrong with that. But they are not as versatile as the higher BTU units.

If you see some outputs listed in watts and others in BTUs, multiply watts by 3.41 to get BTUs. Example, 100 watts equates to 341 BTUs.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 12:38PM
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wi-sailorgirl

Thanks, Mongoct ... that's the kind of information I was hoping to see in reply to this post. I know that some people are loyal to specific brands, and that's great, but it's nice to know what differentiates one model/brand from another other than which has the most loyal following.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 12:49PM
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jacobse

bump

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 9:48PM
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pepperidge_farm

We had a warmrails from a previous owner left in the bathroom. I would concur with what Mongo said about at least the one I had. It just didn't do it for me, nor the towels.

Our current setup uses our home heating, a Runtal, but that's a different system, but it's wonderful nonetheless.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 10:35AM
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gingert63

Thanks for all this help. I have the same question, and your information (especially mongoct) is very helpful.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 2:55PM
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lsandler

"A nice touch is that the higher BTU models can serve as room warmers too."

What BTU amount is considered "higher" ?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:37AM
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mgabriel

Amba manufactures several models that can act as a space heater as well. One model that comes to mind is the Amba Sirio (approx 790 BTUs).

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:23AM
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Kim-Trish

From what I've seen, Runtal, Myson, and Amba all make high quality and high value towel warmers. Other brands provide more design and some comfort but not the real functionality of a towel warmer and radiator. I personally like the programmable timers that allow you to have a warm towel ready at any time of day. After that, the decision is about budget and design. Runtal makes nice painted warmers while Myson and Amba offer finishes that are consistent with bathroom fixtures.

Here is a link that might be useful: Example of Amba towel warmers

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:42PM
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patricc

It looks like there is a concensus that the best towel warmer is made by Amba and I will agree. What I would especially recommend are Amba Radiant series that offer a wide range of desing and finish options as well as hardwired and plug-in models. They get quite hot, definitely enough to get the towels warm and perhaps to heat the bathroom, too. And most importantly, the price is just great when you compare them to some high-end brands such as Thermique. With prices under $200, Amba is a bargain.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:02AM
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