Buying Guide for Compact Radiators

Published on: 08/09/2018 Last Updated: 27/08/2019
Single Panel

Single Panel

As the name hints, a single-panel compact model makes use of one panel, an area where the water will circulate to provide heat. Although not very efficient as other models, single-panel radiators are used when there is an extremely limited amount of space (they are quite thin). These are also aesthetically pleasing as opposed to the bulkier double panel models.

The Double Panel

Double Panel

A double-panel version makes use of two heating panels that face one another. The primary benefit associated with this type is the surface area involved, and therefore, much more heat will be generated while the space required is only slightly more. This is obviously beneficial should you desire to heat a larger room. The storage tanks will also hold double the amount of water to be circulated. It is much quicker to allow the feel of warmth that is emitted.

Understanding the Working

Both single and double-panel radiators will make use of surfaces commonly known as convector fins. It was found that a larger surface area would allow the appliance to heat a room more efficiently (and therefore reduce energy costs). Convector fins are simply a set of convoluted metal fins that are welded to the heating panels (the tanks). They will heat up uniformly, and due to the increased surface provided by these fins, the heat will escape more rapidly into the surrounding area.

Which Size Radiator is best?

Radiator Sizes

This is a tricky question, and the answer (besides aesthetics) will involve the amount of BTUs that the compact radiator supplies. A BTU is also known as a British thermal unit. All technicalities aside, this is simply a measurement of how much heat is given off. So, it is clear that larger rooms will require more heat to remain comfortable and products at our on-line store are supplied with this rating. It is then a good idea to consult with a heating professional to determine if this figure can accommodate the needs of a given room.

Why Compact Radiators?

Easier fits

Compact Radiators are easier to fit into modern rooms. Now that the average new build is only 76 square metres, space is at a premium, and the old designs that sacrificed wall space indiscriminately to increase exposed surface area are inappropriate. While featuring modern space-saving designs, these also increase surface area by providing another double-sided panel and have more heat-maximising tricks available.


The double panel design encourages a column of warm air to form in the middle of the appliance, which drives convection currents and heats the room much more quickly. Many designs also feature convector fins in this space, further increasing the amount of heat that can be transferred into the room over a short space of time. This means that this type emits more than double the British Thermal Units (BTUs) of comparable single radiators, making it measurably cosier.

Which Model to Choose? Round Tops or Traditional Models?

Radiator Models

It is common for many compact radiators to offer you the option of a unit equipped with what is known as a rounded top. Rounded tops do not contain any grilles across the sides, or the upper surface and the convector fins may be slightly more visible.

Moreover, it is common for compact versions to be offered in standard white to suit most existing decors. However, manufacturers also provide other hues such as in beige and off-white. As the bulk of these units can be fitted into an existing central heating system, installation is quite simple.

The only downside to a compact radiator is the Dust. It gets collected on the inside of the unit (as there is a grille to hide the convector fins in most models besides rounded tops). This can be slightly difficult to clean and thus adding a radiator cover, will prevent the dust from settling down inside the grille. However, the dust will not detract from the heating capabilities of the compact radiator itself.

All building and DIY projects tend to go over time and budget, but with a little careful planning, you can avoid the most common pitfalls. Remember to calculate labour costs if you are paying a professional to install your new radiator. Know more about the range we offer on Compact Radiators.

Sarabeth Asaff

Reviewed By: Sarabeth Asaff
Sarabeth Asaff is a former kitchen and bathroom designer who now works as a home and garden industry writer and expert. She has a working knowledge of all areas of the home improvement industry, and specializes in functional design and material advice.

Posted by Kylie Wall

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