Can You Put a Panel Heater in a Bathroom?

Panel heaters are known for providing quick and effective warmth. They make for a great heating solution that you can rely on for a range of spaces, especially when it comes to temporary heating. However, they aren’t exactly the ideal choice when it comes to keeping your bathroom warm and we’re going to explain why.


Is it safe to use a panel heater in the bathroom?

The short answer is no. Although in some cases you can place a panel heater in the bathroom, it is generally not recommended. A panel heater may be an effective solution when it comes to convenient, back-up warmth, but it does not make for a safe choice in the bathroom. There are three main reasons for this: 

1.Fire risk

Bathroom heating is often used for two functions: as a source of heat and for drying towels. When it comes to panel heaters, using them for drying purposes is a big no-no. As a general rule you should never cover a panel heater because this can block the thermostat and cause the appliance to overheat, creating a major fire risk. Water can also drop down into the heater damaging the appliance and corroding the components inside, stopping the heater from working.

2. Incompatible IP ratings

An IP rating indicates the level of ingress protection that is offered with an appliance. For example, if a heater comes with an IP20 rating, the ‘2’ indicates some protection against solid objects but the ‘0’ indicates no protection whatsoever against liquids. Panel heaters often have zero protection against water ingress because of the nature of their design. They’re open appliances that need air to flow through them to create heat which is why they’re not safe to install in a bathroom. You should always check the IP rating of your chosen heater because it indicates where it can be installed according to bathroom safety guidelines outlined by the IET. These guidelines split bathrooms up into zones to identify where you can and cannot install certain electrical appliances, for example, zone 1 is the space directly above your bath or shower to a height of 2.25m and zone 2 is the area that covers 0.6m outside that perimeter. If you choose to install a heater within zone 1 or 2 of your bathroom, it will need to be IPX4 rated at the very least. To find out more on this topic, you can read our blog on how to choose the right IP rating for your bathroom heater here.

Bathroom Heating Zones

3. It’s an electrical hazard

Panel heaters are often used as a portable heating solution which is great for your home office or spare bedroom but not ideal for your bathroom. In fact, there aren’t many electrical appliances that can be used in a bathroom, which is why your bathroom probably doesn’t have a normal plug socket, if any at all. There are even regulations in place specifically to prevent electrical sockets from being fitted in bathrooms or shower rooms unless the socket is placed at least three metres away from the shower or the bath. This is a safety standard put in place to help avoid potential dangers such as electric shocks. As a result, you might be tempted to plug your portable panel heater into a socket outside your bathroom and place the appliance inside. This is not recommended, as exposing your heater to water can create a number of electrical hazards. There is the possibility to hardwire a panel heater into certain zones of a bathroom, but it really isn’t worth the risk, especially when there are better and ultimately safer bathroom heating options for you to choose from.

What are the alternatives?

Ecostrad Fina-E Electric Towel Rail

Towel rails

Electric towel rails have been specifically manufactured with efficient and safe bathroom heating in mind, making them ideal for keeping you warm whilst also drying your towels. Many of our towel rails, like those in the Ecostrad Fina-E range, have a streamlined appearance with a classic ladder design, allowing you to hang multiple towels up at once, ready for when you need them. Unlike panel heaters, all of our towel rails come with at least an IPX4 splashproof rating or higher, so they’re more than suitable for installation in your bathroom. 

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Bathroom radiatorsEcostrad Adesso White

Another alternative to panel heaters is a bathroom electric radiator. This more conventional heating solution is a great option for bigger bathrooms that might need a higher output to keep the entire space warm. It will fit in perfectly with the rest of your system, providing effective warmth in an efficient way. Many come with a range of energy-saving features including smart programming, precise thermostatic control and adaptive start offering intuitive management over your bathroom heating. Just like electric towel rails, these radiators also have a high enough IP rating to be installed safely in your bathroom.

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Infrared panels

Herschel Select XLS MirrorFinally, we have infrared panels, which are one of the most modern bathroom heating solutions on the market. They provide a deeper level of gentle radiant warmth that heats people and objects directly, making them ideal for heating your bathroom. Mirror panels are particularly great because they provide warmth whilst also working as mirror, and because of the effective heat they produce, the surface will remain clear even in the steamiest of bathrooms. These heaters also help to prevent damp and mould by keeping surfaces warm, so condensation doesn’t settle. Ultra-slim in design, infrared panels are perfect for smaller bathrooms where they can provide discreet yet stylish heating.     

Shop Electric Towel Rails

We have many bathroom heating solutions for you to choose from, all of which make for a better alternative than a panel heater. So, if you’re in need of a reliable and safe source of warmth, be sure to check out our range of electric towel rails and bathroom electric radiators today.