Electric towel warmer vs. hydronic towel warmer

Bath Accessories

Electric towel warmers may be cheaper to buy up front, but they can cost more in the long term if they break and need replacing and because they are less energy efficient.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Are electric or hydronic towel warmers best? 

There’s nothing better than the cozy feeling of wrapping yourself in a warm towel after a bath or shower. Towel warmers are a great way to achieve this and they also make sure your towels dry quickly. 

There are two main options when it comes to towel warmers: electric and hydronic. Electric towel warmers easily plug in. Hydronic towel warmers, on the other hand, have to be installed into the plumbing system of your home.

What to know about electric towel warmers

Electric towel warmers are either simple plug-in appliances or hardwired into the walls of your bathroom. 

Towel warmers like these are powered by electricity and usually have an on/off switch. Some may include timers. 

Basic, standalone electric towel warmers cost between $100–$500. Custom hardwired models can cost thousands, depending on the size, placement and number of towel warmers.

Electric towel warmer pros

Electric towel warmers require minimal to no installation. A hardwired towel warmer will require installation by a professional to make sure it’s safely fitted.

Standalone electric towel warmers can also be moved around with no hassle. So you can move it between bathrooms or take it with you when you move to a new place. Electric towel warmers also heat up very quickly. 

Electric towel warmer cons

Like any electrical appliance around water sources in the bathroom, standalone electric towel warmers can pose a safety risk. They also don’t look as neat and tidy, since you’ll have a visible cable. But the major con of an electric model is replacement and repairs. If the heating element in an electric towel warmer dies, it can’t be repaired or replaced. Instead, you’ll have to buy a whole new model.

Best product electric towel warmers

ANZZI Eve 8-Bar Stainless Steel Wall Mounted Electric Towel Warmer Rack

ANZZI Eve 8-Bar Stainless Steel Wall Mounted Electric Towel Warmer Rack

This towel warmer must be hardwired and provides eight bars at just under 24 inches in width. It heats up in just 20 minutes.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Amba Radiant Solo 33in Freestanding 10-Bar Plug-in Electric Towel Warmer

Amba Radiant Solo 33in Freestanding 10-Bar Plug-in Electric Towel Warmer

This standalone electric warmer can be plugged into any outlet using the 5 foot cord and heats up in 15 to 20 minutes.

Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Wayfair

Zadro Ultra Large Luxury Bucket-Style Towel Warmer

Zadro Ultra Large Luxury Bucket-Style Towel Warmer

This bucket-style freestanding towel warmer features an auto shut-off safety feature and multiple timer settings. It can heat two large towels at once.

Sold by Amazon 

What to know about hydronic towel warmers

Hydronic towel warmers are essentially mounted radiators with racks for hanging towels. Unlike electric towel heaters, they use hot water rather than electricity.

Although hydronic towel warmers are priced similarly to hardwired electric models, there can be extra costs associated, such as paying a plumber to install them. 

Hydronic towel warmer pros

In general, hydronic towel warmers are more energy efficient.  There are no visible wires when you install hydronic towel warmers. Plus, you don’t have to worry about needing electrical outlets in or near the bathroom. Most importantly, if your hydronic towel warmer breaks, you only need to replace the damaged heating element, rather than buy a whole new model.

Hydronic towel warmer cons

Hydronic towel warmers require more complicated installation and a professional’s assistance. You might also have limited options on where to place or mount your towel warmers. Hydronic towel warmers also generally take longer to heat up and depend on the boiler being switched on. Finally, a hydronic towel warmer can’t be moved after installation or taken with you if you move to a new residence.

Best hydronic towel warmers

Cordivari Lisa 22 Towel Warmer Hydronic

Cordivari Lisa 22 Towel Warmer Hydronic

This sleek white mounted wall towel warmer is 20 inches by 28 inches. The straight rail design makes it highly space efficient.

Sold by Amazon

Avento Hydronic Towel Warmer

Avento Hydronic Towel Warmer

If you need a larger surface area for multiple towels, this towel warmer is 64 inches in length to provide plenty of space. It also comes in a stylish matte, black finish.

Sold by Amazon

Starline Curved Chrome Hydronic Towel Warmer

Starline Curved Chrome Hydronic Towel Warmer 

This chrome towel warmer features a curved design for added style. It reaches a maximum temperature of 230 degrees to keep your towels dry and warm.

Sold by Amazon

Should you get an electric or hydronic towel warmer?

Renters or those with multiple bathrooms who want an affordable towel warming option should opt for a freestanding plug-in towel warmer. If you prefer a mounted option with no wires and a quick-heating function, hardwired towel warmers are a great choice. Those who are going through a home renovation and want a long-lasting, economical solution will find hydronic towel warmers to be the best choice.


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Most Popular