What are the advantages and disadvantages of the three different types of radiator in the UK?

Published on by designerradiators

In the UK, we can say that there are many different types of radiator, for example, there are anthracite radiators, bathroom radiators, central heating radiators, etc. In this article, we are going to explore the different types of radiators in terms of the way that they obtain the energy. 


In the UK, there are two key types of radiator in terms of their energy source. These are:


  1. central heating radiators,  also known as plumbed radiators
  2. Electric radiators,  sometimes called Economy 7 radiators


Today, we are going to explore the advantages and disadvantages of each of these different types. Understanding the differences can help you to make a more informed decision when you buy radiators.


Each have their own advantages and disadvantages and are suitable for different situations. By understanding these, you can make better decisions when you're buying your new radiators.


Central heating radiators

Here, you have a group of radiators connected by hot water pipes to a boiler. The boiler heats the water, which then moves through the system warming each radiator, which then emits their heat through the room in a process called convection.


The initial cost of the central heating is around £10,000. That is expensive, but once the system is up and running, the cost is often less than with electric radiators. People also feel that the heat is better distributed from a central heating system. 


So the disadvantages are that it's expensive initially, and gas prices have been increasing in recent years, so it might actually become more expensive to run in the near future.  However, the advantages are that it is currently cheaper than electricity and the heat distributes better through the property.


Another disadvantage with central heating is that the pipes can occasionally burst, leading to expensive clean-up operations.


Electric Radiators

In the UK, the electric radiators are generally Economy 7 radiators. These have special heat bricks that are heated using electricity. They are usually heated at night and the bricks store the heat, which it then releases throughout the day. This means that you only need your radiators on overnight and they can be off during the day, but still emit heat.  The advantage here is that you are given a special night rate on your electricity. This means they cost you much less to heat your home than it would if you were heating it during the day.


The main advantage of economy seven heaters is that you do not have any pipework or central heating. If one radiator goes down, you don't lose heat throughout the house, but only in the room where the radiator is located. The major disadvantage is that it can be more expensive than gas central heating and sometimes the bricks require a booster during colder weather so you may have to use the day rate of electricity, which obviously makes the more expensive to run.


However, with gas prices increasing, this might end up being an advantage in the not too distant future.




When you buy radiators, it's important that you understand the options available and make the correct choice for your situation. In most instances, the best choice remains central heating radiators.

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