A home's bathroom is often the seat of luxury. More so than any area in the house, bathroom renovations and upgrades offer more return on investment. A good bathroom renovation, on average, provides a 62 percent return. When overhauling a bathroom with luxury in mind, the shower, tub, and vanity often get top billing, and for good reason – what is more luxurious than a double sink vanity, a walk-in steam shower, and a hydro-massage bathtub?
The luxury need not stop with shower, tub and sink, though. Especially in colder months, stepping from a warm, relaxing shower often results in an unpleasant jolt. A warm body plus a cold towel equals a bad time. For that reason, the most luxurious of bathrooms—those seeking a true spa experience—upgrade from a standard towel bar. Innovations in radiant heating technologies have moved from the floor to the towel bar, upgrading the simple bar to a functional towel warmer.
A number of options now exist for those wishing to upgrade to electric towel warmers. The technology behind it is rather simple: a filament runs through the interior of a towel bar. This filament, once electrified, generates heat. This heat is then transmitted via conduction to the (usually metal) exterior of the towel bar. Various insulations and internal mechanisms prevent the filament from over-heating the towel bar. This makes sure a towel is warm to the touch without any danger of burns—to yourself or your towels.
Companies such as Mr. Steam, Runtal, and Amba produce quality towel warmers to ensure your bathroom has that perfect air of luxury.
Mr. Steam aims to combine superior materials and expert engineering to manufacture the perfect towel warmer for every bathroom. First and foremost, the company offers tailor-made warmers. Mr. Steam hydronic towel warmers are perfect for those with pre-existing hydronic heating systems. For those without hydronic heat, Mr. Steam electric towel warmers simply need to be wired into nearby electrical lines.
Each Mr. Steam towel warmer is constructed with the finest materials. Depending on the model, Mr. Steam uses stainless steel and/or brass construction, two materials renowned for thermal conductivity and efficiency. The Broadway collection, for example, uses all stainless steel in a ladder-like configuration. To ensure the most luxurious possible experience, each Mr. Steam Broadway towel warmer features an aromatherapy well. Adding essential oils into the well causes relaxing scents to emanate throughout the room.
The Mr. Steam Metro collection offers even more options for those wishing for luxurious warm towels. For bathrooms where wall mounts would be impractical, the Metro collection offers a floor-standing model of its towel heater. The unit uses the same radiant heating, except the unit simply plugs into the wall for maximum convenience.
The 5th Avenue Collection from Mr. Steam adds an additional feature—the ability to pivot. The W500 towel warmer can be pulled out or folded into the wall as need dictates. In addition to the stainless steel and brass construction, each Mr. Steam towel warmer is available in a variety of finishes. Polished chrome, brushed nickel, white, and oil-rubbed bronze finishes are available to match any décor.
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Runtal also offers a full line of luxurious electric towel warmers. The company actually helped pioneer the technology, creating one of the first flat panel radiators back in the 1950's. Using the same radiant heating, Runtal towel warmers warm an internal filament which transmits heat out to towels and robes.
The Runtal Omnipanel Towel Warmer takes this concept one step further. Instead of pushing heat out to cylindrical tubes, the Omnipanel heats flat panels. Flat panels allow more surface area for more even heat of towels and clothes. Hung on a bathroom wall, the Omnipanel can even be used to heat the surrounding air.
Available in 16 and 24-inch widths, the Omnipanel towel warmer is rated for up to 2,400 BTU of heat per hour. This heating muscle ensures any towel resting on the Omnipanel during a luxurious shower will be as toasty and warm as if taken fresh from the clothes dryer. An included intensity switch on all Omnipanel towel heaters allows a user to fine tune the amount of heat transferred into their towels.
Runtal manufactures a variety of accessories to further enhance its luxury. One such is a panel insert with protruding knobs. These knobs, available in a variety of finishes, allow a user to hang robes or clothes from the Omnipanel. Another accessory is a telescoping drying rack. When not in use, the rack sits flush to the Omnipanel, but when wet clothes need to be hung to dry, the rack pulls out to accommodate an entire wardrobe.
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Amba towel warmers aim to combine maximum utility with undeniable style. The Italian-made electric towel warmers are available in a breathtaking variety of models. The Amba Jeeves collection uses a traditional ladder-styled construction.
For those seeking ultra-modern styling, Amba offers its Elory Collection of towel warmers. The Elory holds the unique distinction of winning an award for design and engineering at the Batilux Monaco Trade Show. The company was given the award personally by Prince Albert II of Monaco. The award is well-deserved; the Elory features a striking single-piece flat panel design. The large, flat surface area maximizes the amount of radiant heating transferred from towel warmer to towel. This makes the design both beautiful and functional. Made of stainless steel, the Elory towel warmer is available in flat and brushed finishes to make certain it fits seamlessly into a modern bathroom design.
An LED display on the unit's mounting leg features a digital controller which allows a user to select from 9 heat settings. The Elory can additionally be controlled via a 24-hour, 7-day programmable timer. With a few simple keystrokes, the Elory will turn itself on and off to ensure worry free towel and bathroom warming ability.
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Towel warming technology has come a long way in recent years. Advances in technology and material science allow for a wider variety of less expensive electric towel warmers. Amba, Runtal and Mr. Steam represent the forefront of this movement, applying radiant heat for the most luxurious bathroom experience.
NEXT: How to Pick the Perfect Towel Warmer