The Dual Fuel Towel Rail: Why You Should Buy One and How to Use It

Posted by Dominic Lees-Bell

"What is a dual fuel towel rail?" you might ask. Or even, "what is dual fuel?" Well, first you need to understand that dual fuel radiators exist because your bathroom involves a rather lot of nakedness. Nakedness and wet towels.

Nakedness and wet towels aren't a problem for most of the year. Your central heating keeps your entire home at a comfortable temperature. You have a warm bathroom in which to keep your bare skin warm and your towels completely dry. But, in the warmer months, such as summer, or even just a particularly warm day, you can still find yourself in a rather chilly bathroom with no way of drying your wet towel.

A centrally heated towel rail is a modern necessity. An electric towel rail is always there when you need it. But a DUAL fuel heated towel rail will transform your bathroom for the better (and slash your heating bills as a bonus). So, what is a dual fuel towel rail exactly?

What is a Dual Fuel Towel Rail?

Dual fuel heated towel rails use a combination of both types of heated towel rail: electric powered (mains electric) and gas powered (central heating).

Central Heating Towel Rails...

  • Part of your regular central heating system
  • Only heats your towels when your heating is on
  • Cheap to run
  • Great for winter

Electric Heated Towel Rails...

  • Switched on independently
  • Connected to your mains electric
  • Not quite as cheap as gas
  • Great for summer

Dual Fuel Towel Rails...

  • Connected to both your central heating and your mains electric
  • Able to run alongside the rest of your home heating
  • Can also heat independently of central heating (such as in summer)
  • Efficient
  • Useful all year round

Let's take a look at a few of our best sellers below.

How to Buy a Dual Fuel Towel Rail

Buying a heated towel rail for your bathroom is almost exactly the same as buying a normal home radiator.

Note: Before buying any radiator or heated towel rail, you should use a BTU calculator to work out what BTU you need in order to heat your bathroom. This is less important for a dedicated bathroom towel rail, but critical if you want it to also comfortably heat the room.

How to Choose a Dual Fuel Towel Rail

  1. Choose an empty (non-electric) towel rail from our range of dual-fuel ready heated towel rails
  2. Divide that radiator's Output in Watts by 1.81 and keep hold of that number
  3. Round up the previously calculated number (achieving by dividing your new rad's Watts by 1.81) to the nearest available element wattage
  4. Choose a dual fuel heating element for your radiator.
    Note: Most radiator manufacturers have, and recommend using, their own proprietary electrical heating elements designed especially for their radiators. You are able to use elements of another brand with your own, but if you are buying everything new, we’d definitely recommend using parts from the same supplier. You can sleep sound at night knowing that the parts are designed to work together and as a bonus, their overall appearance should compliment each other.

Browse our range of dual fuel heating packs and kit by clicking here

How to Install a Dual Fuel Towel Rail

We definitely recommend getting a professional to install a dual fuel towel rail.

When you're working with both electricity and hot water in one place there are lots of regulations. Remember, these professionals make money by saving you a ton of time and effort. The whole point they exist is because it makes sense.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth article on the subject of installing dual fuel bathroom towel rails.

What's in Our Dual Fuel Kits/Packs?

Our dual fuel towel rail packs come with everything you need to start enjoying the revolution that is dual fuel heating. We'll also give you the option of some extremely helpful extras during your shop. And we always let you know which bits are essential and which bits are optional.


A dual fuel radiator T-piece is a T-shaped connector. Instead of your radiator only having 1 input, the t-piece - sometimes spelled 'tee-piece' - turns it into a dual input radiator. One of these inputs connects to your radiator; another connects to a heating element, which is connected to your mains electric and the third input connects to the radiator valve used when in central heating mode. A t-piece is usually included in the purchase of the element, the only exception is Reina. You can buy their T-Piece separately here.

Radiator Valve Pair

Valves control the flow of water as it circulates through your radiator. Radiator valves come in a variety of types; with plenty of choices for different angles of installation, as well as many different looks for your bathroom.

In our kits you have the choice of the below valves:

  • Manual angled valves
  • Manual corner (flat front) valves
  • Thermostatic angled valves
  • Thermostatic corner (flat front) valves

Read our guide on valves for more information about radiator valves, and check out a few of our greatest hits below.

Dual Fuel Element 

The electrical half of your towel rail's dual fuel nature. Dual fuel elements slot into your radiator and heat it using mains electric. But only when you want it to.

There are two types of element available in our packs:

  • Standard (Single heat) elements which heat to 65°C and maintain that single temperature until switched off. Simple.
  • Thermostatic (Variable heat) elements which provide you with multiple temperature options ranging from 20°C to 70°C in 10°C increments. Adjust for weather, preference, or for a lower surface temperature when children are present.

Take a look at a few of our selection below, and be sure to shop all of our elements here, to find the right one for you.

Blank Plugs

For blocking one of the empty outputs when using two t-pieces. Which you may do in order to maintain a symmetrical look.

Extension Pipes and Shrouds

Optional extras which complete the look of your dual fuel radiator. Remember, aesthetics are still an important part of your home.

How Do I Use a Dual Fuel Towel Rail?

A dual fuel towel rail isn't complicated at all. Essentially it's just a normal central heating radiator with an extra switch connected to it (outside of the bathroom so nobody gets a nasty shock).

Swapping a Dual Fuel Towel Rail Between Central Heating and Electric Input

Central heating mode is activated by turning the input valve (flow) anti-clockwise until it stops turning. This allows hot water from your central heating, when turned on, to flow into the radiator. (The electrical element should be completely switched off.)

Electric heating is activated by turning the central heating input valve completely clockwise until it stops turning; preventing hot water from flowing into the radiator. Then you can turn on your electric element which will begin to rapidly heat the towel rail.

Safety note: you really must ensure that, on the other end of the radiator, that the lockshield valve is left open so that pressure can be released. It could lead to a ruptured heated towel rail - or worse.


A dual fuel towel rail is one of the few upgrades you can add to a bathroom which will genuinely improve your bathroom by a drastic amount. Having a radiator with a helpful rail design that can be separated from the main system and heated solo in mere minutes is incredibly useful. From simply drying your towels all year round, to warming the bathroom on mild summer days, and even drying items of clothing in a hurry. There's a lot to know about a dual fuel towel rail, but luckily none of it is complicated.

  • Dual fuel towel rails are connected to, and powered by, both gas central heating and your mains electric
  • Switching between inputs takes seconds
  • You are always using the most efficient heating method for any given season
  • Heated towel rails hang & dry your towels while heating your bathroom (or laundry room!)
  • We sell everything you need in helpful kits, with clearly labelled optional extras
  • Electric elements can be either single heat or variable heat
  • Installing them yourself isn't recommended, so call the professionals
  • There really is no catch. A dual fuel towel rail will make your life better and reduce your heating bills. Enjoy it!