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Underfloor Heating Systems or Radiators?

When it comes to renovating a home, choosing a suitable home heating system can be one of the least glamorous parts of the job! We all love shopping for fancy new cushions, futuristic light installations and candy coloured paints for the kid’s bedrooms. But heating? It’s something that we take for granted when we have it- and something that seems too complicated to think about when we don’t!

If you have started researching the options available to you, chances are you’re trying to choose between conventional radiators or underfloor heating. These are easily the most common options, and for good reason too! The benefits for choosing either of these systems are endless and that’s precisely why it’s so difficult to choose. Here at Only Radiators, we want to make these decisions easy, which is why we’re going to take you over all of the pros and cons of each system and help you find the perfect home heating solution for you.

Different Heating Options

So, you know that you want either underfloor heating or a traditional radiator? I’m sorry to break this to you, but the decisions don’t end there! Radiators come in all shapes and sizes. Space saving vertical radiators are perfect for compact spaces, and gorgeous designer radiators are guaranteed to never look out of place, even in the most elegant of homes.

Even underfloor heating systems come in a variety of ranges. With underfloor heating mats gaining popularity, you don’t need to worry about complicated installation processes. You can choose from a traditional wet underfloor heating system or electric underfloor heating. It all depends on your own needs and, of course, your budget.

Underfloor Heating Systems

Once considered a luxury, underfloor heating systems are becoming an extremely common choice. Once placed under your flooring, you can completely forget that it exists until you feel your beautifully warm feet, a warm and cosy room, plus not to mention the reduced heating bills! If you’re interested to learn more about this, then have a read of this article: Underfloor Heating Clearly Explained.

Let's take a peek at some of our greatest hits when it comes to underfloor heating.

Benefits of Underfloor Heating Systems

Cost effective and energy efficient to run

Lots of people are put off of underfloor heating because of its high installation price. However since underfloor heating gives the same heat output as radiators at a lower temperature, running costs are often much lower. This can actually make it cheaper in the long run. Because of this, a lot of people also regard underfloor heating as a more green way to heat the home.

Underfloor heating heats the room perfectly

Underfloor heating systems have practicality and effectiveness on its side. Since heat rises upwards, naturally, an underfloor heating system is going to be extremely effective, with you being able to feel instant results. Every single corner of the room will be warm and toasty from floor to ceiling.

Discreet design

If you’re short on space, or can’t shake the fact that your current radiator is just getting in the way of your perfectly styled room, then getting underfloor heating is the perfect fix. There’s no need to set eyes on your home heating system again since it will be buried underneath your flooring.

Better air circulation

Since heat continuously rises up through the room, the air flow from underfloor heating is much cleaner and often more pleasant. Radiators, on the other hand, circulate the same air and heat throughout the room, often giving off a stale and stuffy feeling.

Disadvantages of Underfloor Heating

Difficult to install

Installing underfloor heating systems is one of the biggest battlefields in home improvement. DIY shortcuts will only end in tears. Leave this job to the professionals and put that toolbox back in the cupboard! The cost to buy underfloor heating is reasonably cheap, however the installation process takes a long time and could be quite costly. However, if your flooring is yet to go down, we really recommend seizing the opportunity and getting underfloor heating installed at the same time. Particularly electric underfloor heating which is much easier to install.

Can’t be used with all flooring

Choosing the best flooring for underfloor heating is vital! Typically, it works best with hard floorings, such as tiles, marble and solid wood. However, thanks to advancements in technology, new underfloor heating systems can be used with wide range of flooring, just make sure you read the specification before you buy. Thin carpets, under 2.5 togs, and certain types of laminate are often compatible, too. You should speak to your flooring manufacturer to ensure your choice is suitable.

Likely to only use in certain rooms

Due to the limitations when it comes to flooring, it’s very unlikely that you’ll use underfloor heating in every room. Most people have underfloor heating systems installed in rooms that traditionally use hard flooring and don’t have much wall space like the kitchen, bathroom and conservatory.

Effective insulation is essential

You can have the best heating system in the world but it will be completely pointless unless your house in insulated properly. Since underfloor heating promotes an upward flow of heat, proper insulation is key unless you want that heat to fly up the chimney!

Takes a long time to heat up

While radiators give off an instant heat before warming the room, wet underfloor heating takes a bit of time to get itself started. If you need instant heat, you might be waiting for a while! A good fix for this is to try electric underfloor heating as opposed to wet. Electric underfloor heating can heat up the room just as quick as a radiator!


Radiators are, undoubtedly, the most common heating source across homes in the UK. Traditionally, we use radiators in conjunction with a central heating system, meaning that they operate using boiling hot water that travels through the pipes and produces heat. These days, however, more people are turning to electric radiators as they don’t have mains gas in their homes.

If you are considering adding a heated towel rail to your bathroom, then it may be worth considering a dual fuel heated towel rail. A dual fuel towel rail will be connected to both your central heating system and your mains electric, making it one of the most efficient heating methods. If you’re interested to learn more about this, then have a read of this article: Dual Fuel Towel Rail: Why you should buy one and how to use it.

You’ll need to work out what size your radiator needs to be before you start shopping. You can find this out by using our handy BTU calculator.

Benefits of Radiators

Easy to Install

Since radiators can be simply placed on your wall, there’s no need to worry about any scary installation processes. It’s even possible to fit your own radiator, if you’re feeling handy, providing the pipes are there ready to go!

There’s a huge range of styles to choose from

Worried about your radiator taking up too much room or being an eyesore? There really is no need for it to be! You can choose a design that suits the aesthetic style of your room and a shape that fits seamlessly with your wall space. You can find unusual radiators, fancy radiators, and slim radiators, all at the click of a button.

Radiators can be placed in all rooms

Radiators are so versatile that they’re perfect in every room . It doesn’t matter if you have solid real oak flooring or thick fluffy carpets- good old, efficient radiators are compatible with absolutely any type of flooring!

Easy to turn off in unused rooms

Have the luxury of a guest room but absolutely no one who wants to stay with you? Join the club! Fortunately, if you have radiators, you don’t need to spend any money heating unused space as you can simply switch them off in unused rooms.

Disadvantages of Radiators

Radiators can take up a lot of space

Even if you have a pretty or slimline radiator, the same will inevitably stand true: a radiator takes up a lot more precious home space than other heating methods.

They can make decorating difficult

Is there an easy way to decorate your home when you have a radiator? In short, not really. Getting into those awkward, tight, little corners might seem like a job best suited for Elves. Plus, their presence can attract dust which can make cleaning a real chore.

You’ll need to find the optimum position in your room for the best heat

With underfloor heating systems, the heat rises up from beneath you and heats every single corner of the room. By nature, the same can’t be said for radiators. The heat will rise up, but not from the floor, and might not circulate the whole room without proper ventilation encouraging it to do so.

Radiators can be noisy

By now we know that radiators aren’t exactly discreet by nature. However, not only are they indiscreet to look it,  noisy radiators can be a real nuisance, too!

The Options Available to You

There are a whole host of options available to you depending on your specific needs.

Want a contemporary piece for your kitchen? Chrome vertical radiators or brushed steel radiators can add a touch of modernity to any room.

Short on space, but set on radiators? There are so many space saving radiators on the market that will be perfect for you! We love single panel radiators in designs that can fit into the tiniest nooks and crannies.

Set on underfloor heating but not so sold on the high-stress installation? Underfloor heating mats really help cut down on the time and labour costs that usually go into installing underfloor heating systems.

So, What Should you Choose?

It all comes down you. Underfloor heating systems are really the perfect home heating source for most, but it’s painful installation can be off-putting. However, if you’ve yet to get your flooring put down, definitely consider this option as you will not be disappointed!

Otherwise, radiators are still a great choice for heating your home. With their easy installation and new sleek, space saving radiator designs, we know they’ll be a favourite for years to come.

Plus, there’s nothing stopping you from choosing from a combination of show stopping or low profile radiators in some rooms, and discreet underfloor heating in the others!

If you need more inspiration, have a look at our huge range of home heating systems. We’re sure you’ll find the perfect fit for you.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment and one of our team will get straight back to you. Want to join the conversation? Let us know which you prefer: radiators or underfloor heating?

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