Can You Fit An Electric Towel Rail Yourself?

Comfortable warmth, toasty towels and intuitive control – it’s easy to see why electric towel rails are fast becoming a bathroom staple. Supplying robust heat whilst keeping your towels dry, they make a practical and effective heating solution for any property. Better yet, with a such a versatile selection to choose from, finding a heater that best matches your space is a breeze. But when it comes to fitting towel rails, how easy are they to install? Do they require lengthy callouts or are they DIY-friendly? If you’re thinking about upgrading your bathroom heating but not sure how much fuss is involved, we have all the answers.

Are electric towel rails DIY-friendly?

The short answer is no, but that doesn’t mean fitting a towel rail isn’t a quick and easy task. All electric towel rails and bathroom heaters must be hardwired by a qualified electrician which is usually a speedy task for a pro and one that doesn’t involve lengthy callouts or expensive fees. As standalone heating solutions, there’s no plumbing involved with electric towel rails. In fact, the whole job shouldn’t take too long and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either – so you’ll be enjoying ambient warmth in no time.   

Things to consider – IP ratings & bathroom zones

So, you’ve decided that you want an electric towel rail fitted in your bathroom. Before you start browsing through the different ranges, it’s worth considering some of the safety regulations that come with putting electrics in rooms exposed to water. Here are a number of factors worth thinking about before you choose your electric towel rail.

IP ratings

Put simply, an IP rating measures the degree of ingress protection an electric appliance has against solid and liquid particles. If you quickly check your kitchen light or your bathroom radiator, you’ll be able to spot it – that’s because any electrical appliance installed in an area with moisture must have one, and a suitable one at that. You must check that any towel rail you wish to purchase has a safe IP rating, otherwise you won’t be able to have it installed in your property.

IP ratings explained

An IP rating has two numbers. The first indicates the appliance’s protection against any solid, whether that’s something as big as your hand or as tiny as dust particles. The second number is how much the appliance is protected against water. In the case of electric towel rails, the second number is the one you should pay more attention to. The range of numbers begins with “0” which means no protection whatsoever. The highest number, “8”, indicates that the appliance would be OK immersed under pressurised water for long periods of time. If you spot an “X”, the manufacturer hasn’t tested protection levels in that category, probably because it’s not relevant for that particular product.

Bathroom zones

Each bathroom is split into four safety zones which dictate where you can and cannot install an electric towel rail. These zones are defined by their IP rating and are as follows:

Zone Where is it? IP rating
0 Occupied by your bath and shower (probably not the best place to install an electric towel rail!) IPX7 and above
1 The area directly above your bath and shower IPX4 and above
2 Surrounding the outside of your bath and shower – an ideal place to install an electric towel rail IPX4 and above
3 (outside zone) All areas in your bathroom that do not fit into zones 0, 1 or 2

As long as they’re not in arms reach of the shower or bath, any electric towel rail can be fitted in this zone. We always recommend, however, choosing a towel rail with an IPX4 rating for bathroom installation

So, there you have it. For safe heating, any electric towel rail you choose must come with an IP rating of at least IPX4, as well as being suitable for installation in zones 2 and 3 of your bathroom. All of these specifications will be in the product manual or product website if you’re shopping online. Remember, safety first!

Which electric towel rail should I choose for my bathroom?

Electric towel rails are available in a wide range of sizes and wattages so, if you want to get the most out of your heater, it’s important you choose a version that best suits your space. We’ve outlined some of the key factors to think about whilst picking your perfect towel rail.

Size & wattage – towel warming or room heating?

A useful question to ask is why you want the heater in the first place; is it solely for drying towels, or do you want it to warm your bathroom as well? If the answer is the latter, it’s worth considering purchasing an electric towel rail with a higher heat output to ensure your entire room feels the benefit, especially if your room is large. This is where size and wattage comes in. All of our towel rails come with a maximum ‘heats up’ area, so you can easily match that to your room dimensions. To make the process even quicker, why not use our handy online calculator which will tell you exactly what size and wattage is needed for you space.

Safe LST function

Another factor to consider is whether you’re looking for a heater with an added safety guarantee. Some electric towel rails come with an LST (low surface temperature) function that automatically restricts the temperature of the towel rail, preventing the chance of overheating and risk of fire whilst maximising protection against hot surfaces. The Fina-E LST is the perfect example of this – with a surface temperature limited to 43 °C, it's the ideal heating solution for family bathrooms with young children, whilst also being NHS compliant. The LST function is an extra safety function that you might want to consider when searching for your next electric towel rail. 

Spotlighted Product: Ecostrad Scala iQ

Best Features

  • IPX4 splashproof rating
  • Low surface temperature setting
  • Generous 5 year manufacturer’s warranty

Safe, smart and convenient – the Scala iQ is one of the latest additions to Ecostrad’s bestselling line of electric towel rails. Once you’ve had the Scala iQ safely installed by a professional electrician in bathroom zones 2 or 3, you can start enjoying ambient warmth, toasty towels and advanced control in no time. This cutting-edge heater also comes with an Ecostrad iQ WiFi element which lets you program bathroom warmth on a 24/7 basis, all from an app on your smartphone, even when you’re away from home. Besides smart control, the Scala iQ is complete with a splashproof IPX4 rating and an LST function which limits the temperature of the appliance to 30 °C, for safe heating you can rely on.

Heat your bathroom with total peace of mind

All of our electric towels come with a suitable IP rating and are completely safe to be fitted in zones 2 or 3 by a professional. Now it’s just a case of finding a size and wattage, style of control and design that will integrate seamlessly into your space. With the vast array of heaters available, it won’t take long before you find an electric towel rail perfect for your property. Browse our full versatile collection today.