Double panel vs. single panel electric radiators - what’s the difference?

Last updated: May 2023

When choosing an electric radiator, there’s a few steps to consider. There’s the technical side, like choosing the right size, the logistical side, like arranging installation, and the design side, like choosing colourways, styles and orientations. Another decision you may need to make is whether or not to opt for a single or double panelled model, a variation common amongst designer electric radiators. In this blog, we’re running down what makes single and double electric radiators different, how they compare cost-wise, and how to choose which option is right for you.

What’s the difference between double and single panel electric radiators?

Single panel electric radiators

It’s rather self-explanatory - single panel electric radiators have one long panel that sits flush against a wall. Single panel radiators emit less heat than double panelled ones, as there’s less space within the radiator to distribute heat. This isn’t always a bad thing - if your room is on the smaller side, a larger radiator with a greater heat output can be unnecessary. Single panel electric radiators are of course smaller, and so in more confined quarters, occupy less space in the room and provide heat outputs more in-line with its size, avoiding overheating.

Pros Cons
Slimline and space-saving, these models are the perfect fit for smaller rooms As they have less internal surface area than double panelled models, they emit less heat
Smaller heat outputs can avoid unnecessarily overheating more confined areas  
They’re lighter, so will bear less weight on walls - making them a more versatile option  

Ideal for:

Small bedrooms, en suites, hallways, staircases and home offices.

Double panel electric radiators

With double panelled electric radiators, you’re getting a whole extra panel to really maximise warmth distribution. The two sit in parallel - one in front of the other. As, of course, there’s two panels instead of one, these heaters are a little bulkier, and should not be installed on stud walls as a general rule. Ideal for mid-size and larger rooms, double panelled electric radiators emit more heat without significantly intruding into a space - the height and width are usually the same as single panelled options, with the only difference being in its depth. For example, the Ecostrad Allora iQ Vertical Designer Electric Radiator comes in at a depth of 57mm for the single model and 79mm for the double. Some electric radiators, like the Ecostrad Allerton range, also offer a triple column option - an ideal choice for especially lofty, hard-to-heat interiors.

Pros Cons
A greater surface area means a greater heat output - perfect for rooms that need it They’re heavier and so need to be installed on solid walls. Always consult a professional to make sure your intended wall can take their weight
Occupying a similar amount of space as single panel options, they’re a way to heat larger rooms without needing an excessive number of heaters  
With lots of design options on offer, double panelled electric radiators can look just as modern and sleek as their single panelled counterparts  

Ideal for:

Large living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, and open plan spaces. Properties with poor insulation or large, high ceilings may also benefit from double panelled models.

Do double panelled electric radiators cost more to run?

Double panelled electric radiators have double the amount of internal space to heat up, so generally speaking, they consume more energy when in use. In the case of our designer electric radiators, their panels are filled with thermodynamic oil which is heated up by an electrical element. This fluid then warms the outer steel of the radiator, which then emits heat to the surrounding space. As double panelled models essentially have double the amount of fluid to heat up, naturally this takes more electrical power.

It’s not as cut-and-dry as single panel = cheap and double panel = expensive, though. Double panelled electric radiators suit larger spaces, so it’s expected that these spaces need a higher heat output to bring them up to temperature, as there’s simply more volume of space to heat. This is the case for any heating solution situated in larger rooms. Choosing a smaller heat output than necessary in order to save money will result in the unit working especially hard to maintain temperatures - extending the amount of time it is likely to be actively drawing power - as such, you’re unlikely to see a substantial saving.

Want to know more about oil filled radiators? Watch our handy video to explore what exactly sets them apart from other heating systems.

Do double panelled electric radiators need to be installed differently?

Both double panelled and single panelled radiators must be professionally installed by an electrician, who will have to hardwire them to the mains electric. A simple job for someone in-the-know, it can generally be completed within the day and requires zero need for any new plumbing networks.

Double panelled electric radiators are the heavier option of the two, but both single and double panelled units should only be installed on walls that can bear their weight. Your electrician, in their installation process, will be able to determine whether your intended wall can safely mount your heater. If you’re unsure, it’s worth checking with a professional prior to purchase. That being said, with the help of our Bullfix Universal Plasterboard Fixings, installing heavier radiators on plasterboard is achievable - it just needs some extra consideration.

What are radiator feet?

Some electric radiators, like the Ecostrad Allerton and iQ Ceramic, come with attachable feet. In the case of the iQ Ceramic, this is to allow the radiator to (literally) stand on its own two feet. They create a freestanding installation choice, ideal for centring the heater in the middle of the room, away from a wall.

In the case of the Allerton, which is wall-mountable only, their feet are to stabilise the unit and take pressure off the wall. They’re a purchasable extra and not an essential, but if you’d like some additional peace of mind, they’re a worthwhile add-on.

Ecostrad Allora iQ: Designer flair with a choice of single or double panels

Featuring soft rounded curves and a modern, flat front facade, the Ecostrad Allora iQ range offers both single and double panelled options. Coming in both horizontal and vertical orientations, white and anthracite colourways, and  a selection of widths and heights - there’s truly an Allora for every location.

Heating spaces between 3.5 - 11.5m², whichever panel option you go for is set to deliver an enhanced heating experience from start-to-finish. All our designer radiators, including the Allora, use Fast-Flo technology – meaning our radiators have wider channels and gaps between their pipe joints to allow heat to distribute to all parts of the radiator.

Packed with energy-saving features like a precision room thermostat accurate to ± 0.5 °C, WiFi control that lets you manage your unit from your smartphone, and 24/7 programming for a bespoke schedule that matches your lifestyle - the Allora epitomises modern-day heating control. All of these features work in tandem to ensure your electric radiator never over or under heats a space - keeping a lid on energy usage without ever sacrificing on comfort.

Check out the range:

The Allora iQ Horizontal Single Panel in classic white

The Allora iQ Vertical Single Panel in sleek anthracite

The Allora iQ Vertical Double Panel in crisp white

Check out our video on how to install electric radiators, where we answer pressing questions such as when to opt for professional hardwiring and how to DIY-install a wall mounted vs. freestanding electric radiator.

Heat rooms to perfection with our range of electric radiators

Choosing between a single or double panelled electric radiator mainly comes down to room size. If your room is of a smaller size and generally well-insulated, a single-panelled option is likely to be your best bet. If your room is larger, more difficult to heat, or particularly prone to heat loss, a double panelled option is a better fit. Input your room’s dimensions into our handy electric radiator calculator today, and match your results with the ‘heats from’ info on any product page. If you’d like a helping hand with this process, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Sales team.

Key learnings

  • Single panel electric radiators are slimline, sit flush against walls, and best suit smaller areas of your home - like a hallway or office.
  • Double panels emit a higher heat output than single ones, and so specifically suit larger, airier spaces that are more prone to heat loss. Think large bedrooms and living rooms.
  • Double panelled electric radiators, on the whole, do cost more to run. As they’re designed for larger spots, this is to be expected as there’s more volume to heat.
  • Our doubled panelled electric radiators do not need special treatment when it comes to installation, but they do need to be installed by a professional on a suitable wall.