Functions of A Heated Towel Rack

Practical, luxurious, and more affordable than ever, the heated towel rack is a must-have for the modern home.

What is the Main Purpose of a Heated Towel Rack?

By design, heated towel racks operate to dry hanging towels. They may also provide some warmth. Often found in luxury hotels and spas, heated towel racks have shifted from a product for the privileged few to a common appliance adored in any home.

Types of Heated Towel Racks

Heated towel racks come in many different options, varying in their models, heat source, and wiring. Each towel rack tends to provide similar warmth and comfort,
but the model you choose might depend on the space you have and your personal preferences.


Free-standing heated towel racks are great for areas with plenty of floor space or in residences that may not be permanent, such as apartments. If you expect that you might want to relocate in the future, a free-standing rack is likely a better option than a wall-mounted one.


Most heated towel racks available are wall-mounted. These models are ideally compact and space-saving, freeing up floor space and providing exceptional functionality.

Mounting a heated towel rack on your wall provides you with easy access to warm, dry towels whenever you need them, and the sleek design of wall-mounted racks will accentuate the rest of your room design.


A hardwired heated towel rack offers optimal convenience and design. Hardwiring your towel rack makes sure that the wires are hidden, leaving just the sleek towel rack on display.

With a hardwired heated towel rack, you don’t need to bother checking if everything is connected; a proper installation will guarantee it.


If you do not want to hardwire your heated towel rack, many models offer a plug-in variety. A plug-in model allows you to more easily relocate your rack if you need to. Free-standing heated towel racks are typically made for plug-in use only.


A majority of available heated towel rack models are powered by electricity. Electric heated towel racks are relatively easy to install and consume low amounts of energy.

Compared to the hydronic model, electric heated towel racks heat up more quickly and can be relocated if necessary.


Like a radiator, a hydronic heated towel rack uses hot water to generate heat. Hydronic models may be more energy efficient than electric racks as they utilize existing plumbing.

A hydronic heated towel rack may take longer to heat up than an electric model, and your options for installation location may be limited by existing plumbing routes.

Common Heated Towel Rack Applications

By design, heated towel racks endeavor to dry hanging towels. However, there are plenty of other applications that you can consider, as well.


The bathroom is the most common location for a heated towel rack. Having a nice, dry towel ready for you after your shower is a unique luxury, and installing a heated towel rack in your bathroom can also provide extra warmth to make the space cozier.

Mud Rooms

Mud rooms are another great location for heated towel racks. Rather than dragging damp clothing or equipment through your home, you can instead use your heated towel rack to keep your house clean and help dry your belongings. This application is especially beneficial when it rains or snows.

Pools and Hot Tubs

Anyone with a pool or hot tub could easily benefit from installing a heated towel rack nearby. You can dry off swimwear, towels, and more.

An outdoor heated towel rack for your hot tub could improve your experience; as you emerge from the warm water, you can grab a dry towel and stay cozy and comfortable. If you want to install your heated towel rack outside, make sure that the model you choose is compatible with outdoor elements, as many models are for indoor use only.


Yachts are already the image of luxury and success, so why not enhance that experience with a heated towel rack?

Having a nice, dry towel on the deck as you sunbathe or sit in the moonlight could easily improve your comfort level. Similarly, a heated towel rack in the bathroom can make your yacht feel even more luxurious by offering additional warmth and comfort.

Tiny Homes

With the rising popularity of tiny homes, the idea of installing a heated towel rack in these spaces has also become more common. Heated towel racks are more affordable than ever, and their potential for energy efficiency and comfort make them worthwhile for tiny home owners.

The radiant heat from a heated towel rack can help provide extra warmth to a small bathroom or kitchen. The compact design of most heated towel racks also lends itself well to condensed spaces, so they are sure to fit well in a tiny home.

Additional Functions of a Heated Towel Rack

Beyond providing comfort in the form of a dry towel, heated towel racks can also provide additional benefits.

Prevent Mold Growth

Using your heated towel rack often can help prevent towels and small damp spaces from growing mold. Preventing mold through radiant heat makes for a cleaner, healthier living environment.

Warm Rooms

While heated towel racks are not designed to provide enough heat to warm rooms, the radiant heat is often enough to make the space they’re in warmer and more comfortable. In a bathroom, for example, a heated towel rack can keep the room from getting so cold it is unpleasant.

Dry Sports Equipment

In a mudroom or sunroom, a heated towel rack can be used to dry sports equipment, such as:

  • Swimsuits
  • Sports towels
  • Sweat bands
  • Athletic apparel
  • Ski clothes

Save Energy

The more you use your heated towel rack, the more energy efficient it will be. By using the rack to dry your towels you can reduce the amount of laundry you have to do, saving you time, money, water, and even detergent.

Heated towel racks can be a green investment that also adds a little luxury to your everyday life.

How to Install A Heated Towel Rack

When installing a heated towel rack, it is important to plan ahead. Choosing the right location and contacting the right specialists will ensure your heated towel rack is properly installed for optimal function and safety.

Decide Where The Rack Will Go

Hardwired electric heated towel racks are installed directly into your wall.  They come in a variety of styles and finishes, so you can find the perfect one to match your existing bathroom decor. You can also choose from different sizes and mounting options, depending on where you want it to go.

With hardwired electric heated towel racks, there’s no need for a power outlet nearby. Each fixture is normally equipped with a built-in on/off switch, so you can simply plug it in and let the heat begin. You can also choose to get a hardwired rack with a timer so you can set it to shut off after 10 or 15 minutes

Acquire Essential Hardware

The right tools are essential for any installation job. For a wall-mounted heated towel rack, the use of a header or wooden backing is advised to ensure that the rack is secure.

You should be able to mount the towel rack without needing to use specialized tools or contact a professional.

Integrate Any Programmable Features

Many heated towel rack manufacturers offer optional features that can be integrated into your rack. These options include:

  • Timers
  • Switches
  • Controllers
  • Plates
  • Hangers

Contact an Electrician

For a hardwired heated towel rack, you will need to consult an electrician to ensure the appliance is properly installed to meet regulations. This step is critical for your heated towel rack to perform safely and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Heated towel racks primarily exist to dry towels before and after bathing. However, the applications of a heated towel rack are numerous, including: 

  • Warm rooms
  • Prevent mold
  • Eliminate musty smells
  • Dry sports apparel and equipment
  • Dry delicates

Heated towel racks use electricity or hot water to provide consistent heat throughout the design, warming and drying the items placed upon them. Different heated towel rack models achieve this in various ways, including:

  • Hydronics
  • Liquid-filled technology
  • Dry-element technology

Hydronic heated towel racks pump hot water throughout the rack directly from a boiler in your home, requiring the existing use of hydronics.

Liquid-filled heated towel racks use electricity to heat liquid contained within the rack. This design is especially durable and low-maintenance because the heating technology is self-contained.

Heated towel racks with dry-element technology distribute heat by using wires that run through the bars. Models with this technology tend to heat up more quickly than alternative heated towel rack options.

Towels made with natural materials are often ideal for heated towel rack use. You may not want to use a heated towel rack with synthetic or microfiber towels.

The thickness of heated towel rack pipes will vary depending on the manufacturer, model, and style of towel rack you choose. For the most part, you can assume that the pipes on a heated towel rack will be relatively thin to promote even heating and optimal towel hanging.

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