We have 150+ radiators on display. Call us 023 9269 6622 to make an appointment.
We have 150+ radiators on display. Call us 023 9269 6622 to make an appointment.

Designer radiators - fact or fiction?

Cutting to the chase, there are no such thing as designer radiators. Don't get me wrong, we have traded for many years as a business using this phrase, but in reality, what does it mean?

The dictionary definition is as follows:

made by a famous or fashionable designer:


Whilst there has been a few people putting their name to models and styles of radiators, none of these designers have been in the dictionary sense, a famous or fashionable designer (although I think Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen once tried to put his name to radiators, as maybe Anthea Turner? Either way, there isn't a pantheon of radiator designers. Most have just lent their name to a product range.).

In reality, designer radiators are essentially a radiator that isn't a conventional panel radiator, or a cast iron radiator. There are many alternative styles of radiator, whilst being conventional in other parts of the world, are different from our understanding of what a radiator is and fall under the designer category. Contemporary radiators would arguably be a better description. The 80s phrase designer stubble just sprang to mind. That's just as nonsensical a term. Can you smell horses?  

Aluminium radiators have been one of those that has had the good fortune to have its status elevated by this linguistic misnomer. Aluminium cast radiators are assembled in much the same way as cast iron sections, but are designed to create air channels, or chimneys which allow the air inside the radiator to heat and create natural convection, meaning the simple process of heat rising and cool air being drawn in generates high amounts of heat with low water content. Aluminium has the added benefit of having excellent heat transfer, meaning they take very little time to reach temperature. In other words, good radiators. They function well and are very efficient. When we say efficient, we don't mean they chuck out tons of heat. They perform well for the amount of water they require to operate. Think Smart Car. Sensible and cheaper to run. if this radiator was a girl, you'd happily bring her home to mum. 

Column radiators, whilst very similar in construction to cast iron radiators have also taken advantage of the designer radiator branding. One advantage over cast iron is that column radiators are made from mild steel tubes that are joined at header and footer (technical terms for top and bottom bits) to create a section. Again, like the cast iron these are joined together, but unlike the aluminium, column radiators and cast iron are reliant on radiant heat leaving the surface of the radiator. The big advantage of steel column radiators is that they can be manufactured in heights way past the height limits of cast products, which is approximately 1 metre. Using the girl analogy, column radiators are pretty sexy and can flash a bit of leg from an output point of view, but is higher maintenance from a water content perspective.

This is the reason column radiators can be determined as designer radiators. They are often mounted vertically. Whilst these are borderline traditional having been designed in the 1930s, their ability to be made tall and skinny gives them a modern / designer look.  

Cast iron radiators. Basically, you're dating a stripper. Ha!!! Just kidding. Cast iron are high output due to their water content, are usually limited by restricted heights an a lack of sizes options, but they are cast iron radiators. They can't be replicated. They are things of beauty and in many properties, anything else would be a disservice to the overall design and aesthetic. You do need to understand what you're getting with cast iron radiators. They are imported into the UK (none are made here. Companies that claim they are made in the UK basically mean the sections are assembled in the UK. Others like to deceive by using words like foundry or factory. Nope. No one makes cast iron radiators here.) where they go through a number of processes to achieve the kind of look and finish you're looking for.

Primer is one option. Painting in colours (Farrow and Ball, Dulux and RAL are usually available. Antiqued finishes and highlighted finishes are available and finally polishing. As there are so many price points, we don't price on our website and we don't want to sell them on there as its too easy for the end user to make an error, which can prove a problem when a 250kg pallet arrives with the wrong thing on it. We'd rather make sure you order the right thing at the outset than deal with problems later.  Ring us up to arrange a visit. 023 9269 6622

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