Passing on the pros and cons of our towel warmer

tracey63August 13, 2010

Hi all

When looking for a towel warmer several months ago I only found limited info on the forum. Some models sounded great but were not in my budget range and some models in my budget range had been discontinued. I ended up going with my gut that was influenced by a sale going on at Grab Bar Specialists. The sale price magically appeared after the item was placed in the cart. I bought a Jeeves Model H straight bar towel warmer.

My decision was influenced by budget (less than $250), depth (I didn't want it to protrude into the room), width and length (our wall was small), needed to be hardwired and could be placed on a timer.

It has been a learning experience that I wanted to pass on.

  1. the towels do not feel as if they come out of a hot dryer. They do feel fluffed and warm. We had a morning temperature in the mid 50s this week and it felt great using that towel. Even on a more usual summer morning in the 70s/80s the towel still feels nice off the warmer.

2) As both my husband and I use the warmer it helps to have towels that are less then 30 inches wide. Our towel warmer is 20 1/2 inches wide. Our towels are 27 inches wide. We can fold our towels and both of them fit on the warmer.

3) Don't buy thin towels - a thicker towel warms better.

4) Laying the towels is important. We put our hand towels over our bath towels at night. Keeps the warmth in.

5) For maximum warmth intertwine the towel between the rungs of the bar. It sounds like a pain but it takes a second before bed and the benefit is great. The towel has to touch the bar to get really warm.

6) The programmable timer that I bought with the warmer did not come with an outlet cover (Cheap) but I like the idea of a timer. We hid the programmable timer in the closet. It is a nice way to do it so it is out of view. The timer is easy to program. Our timer comes on at 2 AM and goes off at 8AM. My husband showers at 5AM and my shower varies between 6 and 8. The towels are warm. If I wait til 9AM the towel has little warmth left in it just as a warning. Also when we had the timer set at 4AM the towel wasn't warm enough for my husband.

9) Yes the bars are warm to the touch particularly the side bars. My kids are older so it is not a concern.

Do I love my towel bar and would I buy it again. Yes and Yes. We love it and know when winter comes we will love it even more. It feels nice to pamper one's self.

I hope this helps anyone thinking of buying a towel bar. Many thanks to all of you for the info you provided during our bathroom remodel.

TAJ

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wi-sailorgirl

Thank you so much for posting this. As a soon-to-be towel warmer shopper I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:52PM
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dianalo

One thing you may consider is a heater for the bathroom that doubles as a towel bar. Runtal makes baseboard type hydronic heater that is designed to also do double duty and hold towels. This way, you would not need to set a time as it would work when the heat kicks on in the house and will be warm all the time in cool weather. It seems less energy would be wasted since the heat was needed for the room.

We are re-doing our master half bath and are unsure if we will do the simpler baseboard or the towel warmer kind. I like the idea of not having a baseboard along the floor because those are always a challenge to keep looking nice, yet since it is a half bath, there will be no showering or bathing, so it might be a waste to spend the extra. If it were our family bath, there'd be no doubt to go with one.
I like their designs for regular baseboards and will probably put one in our den extension as well as the half bath.
For our kitchen, the contractor said he planned on using toe kick heaters, so that will function to keep the tile a little warm too (which is something that could be done in a bathroom as well).
I like the idea of getting a dual purpose out of a necessity such a heating.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 11:50PM
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jacobse

One of the things I found in shopping for a towel warmer earlier this summer is that there is a wide range of costs but also of power among towel warmers. For an electric towel warmer, although there are variations in design and materials, the more power a towel warmer draws, the more heat it puts out, for the most part. It's definitely worth checking the electrical specs when comparing models.

The Jeeves Model H Tracey bought is one I looked at; it draws only 60 or 80 watts (depending on the finish) -- about the same as a typical light bulb. That one was at the very low end of the scale of the towel warmers I looked at.

The one we decided we wanted, primarily for its looks, was the Runtal Solea. That puppy draws 450 watts of power -- so it has roughly 7 times the heating capacity of the Jeeves H. That's why Runtal warmers can help warm a room, wheres the Jeeves can just barely warm towels.

In the end, we decided the Runtal was too expensive for us, so we settled on the Warmly Your Infinity. That model draws 150 watts, so it's more like the Jeeves than the Runtal, but still more than twice as powerful as the Jeeves.

Others iI've seen mentioned in thread son this forum include the Myson Pearl (185 watts) and WarmRails Kensington (105 watts).

I wish I could give you a review of ours, but it's getting hooked up Monday -- the last piece of electrical work to be done in our nearly-complete bathroom (because the programmable switch that came with it didn't work the way our room was wired, and I needed to order one on my own once the electrician realized the problem). But I promise I'll share information on the Warmly Yours once we're operational!

-- Eric

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 2:19AM
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wi-sailorgirl

Two more excellent posts. Thanks to both of you for sharing that. This is one of those areas that frankly I'm having a hard time finding practical information about when choosing a towel warmer so this is all welcome information.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 9:16AM
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tracey63

Glad to see folks sharing information. The Warmly yours was our second choice but alas it was a little too big for the wall. Myson Pearl was another contender but hardwire was not available.
Glad to hear everyone is happy with their towel warmer

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 9:51PM
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wi-sailorgirl

I hope I'm not highjacking this thread, but this has put my butt in gear on getting serious about figuring out which towel warmer we'll get. It seems to me that beyond the obvious issues of aesthetics, hard-wiring vs. soft-wiring and the able to put it on a timer, the next factor people are considering is wattage.

I was looking at the Mr. Steam 200 series. This series is significantly less expensive than the 500 series. The 200 series is constructed of steel, the 500 series from brass. But the wattage on the 200 series is 400 and the wattage on the 500 (the vastly more expensive series) is just 150. Based on what Eric posted above, 400 sounds like a really good wattage, but am I missing something here?

Also, did anyone find any place other than here or Amazon that had reviews on multiple models of towel warmers?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 10:56PM
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jacobse

I had a hard time finding much information and user feedback on towel warmers. If you search past threads here, you'll find a few comments... but not much. I would have liked more information to base my decision on too, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be happy with the one we chose.

In terms of power, the wattage doesn't necessarily correlate precisely with the amount of heat the unit puts out. As you noted, different materials can make a difference -- as can different tube thickness, different tube spacing, different heating elements, etc. So take the power comparisons as a rough guide, but not an absolute when comparing models. As for of Mr. Steam's two different product lines, I'm not sure why the 200's jump from 200 watts for the 20" tall model to 400 watts for the 28" and taller models. I'd just call the company and ask them to explain.

-- Eric

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 11:47PM
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sevrm

I think it's more a matter of surface area of the towel warmer. The more bars it has, or the wider the bars are, the better it will warm your towels.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 9:11AM
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jacobse

I think it's more a matter of surface area of the towel warmer. The more bars it has, or the wider the bars are, the better it will warm your towels.

That's definitely one of the factors. But if the surface tubes or bars of model A gets twice as hot as model B, that will make most of the difference.

(And if you look at a line like Mr. Steam, they have models with 4 bars and 8 bars in their high-priced lines of brass warmers, while some of the ones in the lower-priced line have as many as 22 bars. If it was just about surface area, why would anyone get the higher-priced model with fewer bars?)

-- Eric

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 3:18PM
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jillalameda

What I'd be interested in is the most heat for the least energy at the best price. Any recommendations with those criteria?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 6:13PM
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wi-sailorgirl

Here's the not-entirely helpful answer I got to an e-mail send to Mr. Steam. I am impressed that they replied first thing this morning to an e-mail sent over the weekend.

The difference is usually determined by the materials. Steel is generally tougher to heat up and requires a higher wattage to accomplish it. The 500 series and up towel warmers are made of brass and brass requires less energy to heat the towel warmer up.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 11:21AM
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momtonic

Anyone have any info on the Anaconda towel warmers that Costco is selling? $179. Anyone ever hear of that brand?

Here is a link that might be useful: Costco Anaconda

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 9:59AM
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sayde

We have a hydronic towel warmer that doubles as a radiator. It comes in sizes -- you buy the size that is correct for the size of the room. We had to have one of these because we had to take out the original big radiator to make room for the bath tub. We used the water inlets for the radiator, moving them up (behind the tile) to service the new towel warmer/radiator. It heats the room adequately but we also put in in-floor heating and an overhead heat lamp. With all three of these things we can generate lots of heat when we want to. The towel warmer was expensive but looks great and is a functional luxury. I think that if you are relying on the towel warmer to be a room heater you probably should be looking at one of the hydronic ones.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 4:08PM
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ktmast

The link to the Costco warmer seems to be broken (at least it didn't work for me). I have included a link to the Ancona Comfort 8. Price $229.99

Features (cut and pasted):
Freestanding or wall hung towel warmer and drying rack that can be located in your bathroom, laundry room or other convenient areas
Carbon steel construction with Chrome finish
Sleek Mediterranean styling
All parts and instructions included
Reaches its preset ideal temperature in 15 minutes
Engineered with dry-lined electric power to be safe and energy efficient, so it can remain on for convenient daily use
110 volts, 150 Watts, with on/off switch; cUL certified
Dimensions: 37" (93 cm) height; 24" (60 cm) width; depth 12" (30 cm)
Weight: 11 Lbs (5.0 KG)
1 year limited warranty

Costco also has the Comfort 9S, currently priced $199.99 (after instant rebate).

Features (cut and pasted):
Features:

304 Grade Stainless Steel
Towel warmer and drying rack that is wall mounted
Sleek Mediterranean styling
All parts and instructions included
6 feet (1,8m) power chord to plug into a standard grounded 3-pin electrical outlet
Reaches its preset ideal temperature in 15 minutes
Engineered with dry-lined electric power to be safe and energy efficient, so it can remain on for convenient daily use
110 volts, 150 Watts, with on/off switch, UL certified
Dimensions: 30" (76 cm) height; 24" (60 cm) width
Weight: 11 Lbs (5.0 KG)
1 year limited warranty

Here is a link that might be useful: Ancona Comfort 8

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 4:09PM
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melissastar

Just a note on the Runtal "radiator" that doubles as a towel warmer. I used it in the new master bath of my last home and loved it. It was slim, close to the wall and heated my towels nicely. But keep in mind that it only heats the towels when the heat is on in the house...so no warm towels in summer.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 8:28PM
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wi-sailorgirl

I just thought I'd come back to this post a couple years later. We ended up buying a Runtal Neptune towel warmer and I love it ... when it's working. Ours lasted 6 months before it broke (no power to the unit). Runtal was very nice about it and sent us a postage-paid box to mail it to them, but keep in mind it's no small project to get the thing disconnected and off the wall. We had it back in a couple weeks. I'm not sure if they fixed it or sent us a new one. It's now 6 months later and this morning I woke up to find it not working again. I'll call Runtal in the morning and I hope they are as good about it as they were the first time, but if I recall it's only a 1-year warranty, which is now up. Still, for a $700+ product, it should last longer than 6 months. And of course I have to stick with the one I have because it is hardwired and half mounted on tile, so I'm not cutting more holes in my wall/tile. Hopefully Runtal will stand by their product and replace this one (I'm sort of suspecting the fixed the last one rather than replacing it), but I think it's worth mentioning that at least in my case there may be some reliability issues with this particular towel warmer.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:16AM
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