How to Use a Towel Warmer: A Complete Guide

A towel warmer is a fantastic addition to your bathroom, bringing extra coziness and luxury. But are you sure how to use it right? This guide will help you understand how to use both electric and hydronic towel warmers properly.

We’ll explain how to use towel warmers safely and effectively. You’ll learn tips on preheating towels, recommended heating times, maintenance, and safety precautions. Follow this guide to become skilled at using your towel warmer!

What is a Towel Warmer?

A towel warmer is a device designed to heat towels, commonly found in bathrooms. It serves the dual purpose of drying and warming towels before use. These warmers can be made from various metals like steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, or copper. They come in different finishes, such as chrome plating, polished steel, or lacquer.

Using a towel warmer gives your bathroom a spa-like feeling and provides the luxury of having fresh, heated towels ready when needed.

towel warmer in a bathroom

Different Types of Towel Warmers

There are two main types – electric and hydronic.

Electric Towel Warmers

Electric warmers use internal electric heating elements to warm towels. They can be plugged into a standard wall outlet.

Easy plug-in models require no special wiringLimited sizes compared to hydronic warmers
Lower upfront cost than hydronic modelsNot energy efficient for continuous use
Quick to heat up, with most models reaching temperature in 10-20 minutes
Temperature is adjustable on most models
Can use timers to have warmth ready when needed

Hydronic Towel Warmers

Hydronic warmers use hot water circulating through internal pipes to warm the unit. They connect to a home’s hot water supply and require professional installation.

Broader range of sizes, styles, and finishesMore expensive initial purchase and installation cost
Energy efficient since they use existing hot waterDon’t work without hot water supply
Provide ambient heat in a bathroom
Towels stay warm as long as hot water flows

Most electric and hydronic models come in freestanding or wall-mounted styles. Freestanding units take up floor space but allow towels to be warmed from all sides. Wall-mounted warmers conserve space but will only heat the side of the towel facing the unit.

Choosing the Right One for Your Bathroom

When selecting a towel warmer, consider your bathroom size, decor style, budget, and energy efficiency needs.

First decide whether you want an electric or hydronic warmer. Hydronic models are best for large bathrooms where you’ll use heated towels frequently. Electric warmers provide more flexibility for smaller spaces or occasional use.

Next consider the size, shape, and finish. Opt for chrome or brushed metal finishes for a good look. For small bathrooms, choose a compact wall-mounted unit. Larger or freestanding warmers work well in spacious bathrooms.

You’ll also need an open, accessible electrical outlet if choosing an electric plug-in model. For hardwired electric or hydronic installations, hire a professional to ensure proper wiring and connections.

Ideal Placement for a Towel Warmer

When installing a towel warmer, consider placing it:

  • Near bathtubs or showers for convenient access when bathing.
  • On a wall with sufficient space so towels can be easily removed.
  • In a location where you can easily reach for a warm towel.
  • Away from sinks, toilets and direct sources of water to prevent leaks.

Mounting a warmer on a wall adjacent to the shower or tub provides the most convenient access. For freestanding models, position the unit near bathroom entries or vanity areas with available space.

How to Use an Electric Towel Warmer

Using an electric towel warmer is very simple:

Someone putting towels in electric towel warmer

  1. Connect the towel warmer to a power source.
  2. Turn on the power switch according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Place dry towels neatly folded inside the warmer.
  4. Use the LED timer setting to choose the desired heating duration. Example: 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes.
  5. Allow 15-30 minutes for the towels to become fully heated through.
  6. Once the selected time has passed, the warmer will automatically shut off. Retrieve your now warm and cozy towels.

How to Use a Hydronic Towel Warmer

Using a hydronic towel warmer involves connecting it to your home’s hot water system:

Someone hanging towel on a towel warmer

  1. Make sure your towel warmer is properly installed and connected to your hot water system by a qualified plumber. This is crucial for safety and proper operation.
  2. Open the valve to allow hot water to start flowing through the towel warmer unit.
  3. Wait for the towel warmer to heat up. It may take 5-20 minutes for the towel warmer to reach its full temperature.
  4. Hang your towels over the bars of the towel warmer. Thinner towels will dry faster than thicker ones.
  5. Wait for 15-30 minutes to let the towels get warm from the hot water flowing through the coils.
  6. When finished using the heated towels, close the valve to stop the flow of hot water to the towel warmer.

Remember: Always consult the user manual for your specific towel warmer model for detailed instructions and safety information.

Tips for Using a Towel Warmer

Follow these tips when using your towel warmer:

  • Preheat towels before showering or bathing so they are ready when you need them.
  • Only heat dry towels – do not put damp towels into a towel warmer.
  • Fold towels neatly before placing inside to maximize warming and allow air circulation.
  • For electric models, set a timer or use auto shut-off features for safety and energy savings.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your towel warmer looking and working its best:

  • Wipe down the exterior as needed with a soft dry cloth to remove dust.
  • Clean the interior periodically with a damp cloth and avoid harsh cleaners.
  • Check and clean any air vents or filters.
  • If there’s a buildup of mineral deposits from hard water, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove it from interior.

Safety Tips

Be sure to follow these precautions when using your warmer:

  • Keep children away from a hot towel warmer to avoid burns.
  • Avoid direct contact with the electric heating element inside an electric towel warmer.
  • Never plug an electric towel warmer into an outlet without sufficient wattage.


With this comprehensive guide, you should now have an in-depth understanding of how to use a towel warmer properly. Heated towel racks make a luxurious addition to any bathroom. Just follow the usage, care and safety tips outlined to get the most convenience and enjoyment out of your towel warmer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are towel warmers worth it?

Yes, towel warmers are worth it for many people. They not only provide cozy warm towels after a shower but also help towels dry faster, reducing dampness and smells. Some models can also heat bathrooms, making them more comfortable in cold weather.

Can you put a wet towel in a towel warmer?

It is not recommended to put a wet towel into a heated towel warmer. The moisture can damage the unit over time. The ideal practice is to completely dry towels first before placing them in a towel warmer. However, if a towel is just slightly damp, that should not cause any major issues in the short-term. Just avoid putting soaked towels directly from the shower/bath into a heated towel warmer.

Do towel warmers use a lot of electricity?

No, towel warmers are energy-efficient appliances, typically consuming between 100 to 200 watts of electricity per hour. This makes them low-cost to run. Using a towel warmer is an efficient way to enjoy warm towels without increasing your electricity bill much.

Can you leave a towel warmer on overnight?

It is not recommended to leave electric towel warmers on all night. Doing so may increase fire risk, waste energy, and potentially shorten the life of the appliance. For safety and saving energy, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and turn off the warmer when not using it or for long periods like overnight.


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