We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Who doesn't enjoy stepping out of the shower and being greeted by a warm, fluffy towel?
We can't help you with the fluffiness, but if you purchase a towel warmer, we predict that you’ll enjoy plenty of toasty towels in your future.
The market offers a dazzling array of towel warmers with different styles, uses, pros, and cons. But you needn’t sift through the jargon, as we’ve performed the research for you. Through a combination of research and data analysis, we’ve created this in-depth buying guide to help you figure out what you need.
At BestReviews, we never accept "free" samples from manufacturers. Our goal is to bring you the fair and unbiased reviews you deserve.
If you want to see our top five picks, please check out the product matrix, above. If you’d like to learn more about how to select the perfect towel warmer, please continue reading this buying guide.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you might appreciate having a towel warmer in your life:
A towel warmer gives you a pleasant, cozy drying experience, especially in the colder months.
Some towel warmers can help dry your towels after use. This aids in the prevention of mold and mildew.
“Rail” style towel warmers can be used to dry hand-washed delicates and other items.
If you want a luxurious, spa-like experience every time you get out of the bath or shower, a towel warmer could be just the thing for you. It also makes for a great gift.
These are essentially heated towel rails for the bathroom that may be powered by outlet electricity, hardwired in, or plumbed in and heated via a central heating system.
Because this style can be freestanding or wall-mounted, it fits most bathrooms — even those with little space.
This type of warmer can dry your towels between uses.
Most can also be used to dry other items.
When switched on, this unit can help heat your bathroom.
Rail towel warmers only touch the towel in certain places, so they may leave cool spots.
Also referred to as “pail” towel warmers, these are cabinet- or pail-shaped boxes that plug into a power outlet with the single purpose of warming towels before use.
Cabinet towel warmers tend to get towels hotter than their rail counterparts.
Towels are more likely to be heated all the way through.
Cabinet towel warmers require only 10 minutes or so to heat your towels. Some even have an automatic shutoff feature.
You can also warm a blanket in some cabinet towel warmers.
Cabinet towel warmers with an automatic shutoff feature tend to be more energy-efficient.
Before choosing a towel warmer, look at its dimensions and how many towels it can hold to make sure it fits your needs. The dimensions are particularly important if you have limited space in your bathroom, as you need to make sure your chosen warmer would fit the floor or wall.
Capacity may be an important consideration for you, especially if you have a large family. Cabinet towel warmers tend to be on the smaller side. For instance, the Elite Hot Towel Cabi-Warmer is designed to fit 24 small facial towels, but it can hold only one large bath towel. That said, you may not need your cabinet warmer to hold more than one towel at a time.
The capacity of rail towel warmers varies greatly, depending on size and how you arrange your towels. When assessing the suitability of a rail warmer, take into account both the number of rails and the unit’s width. For instance, the Warmrails WHC Hyde Park Family Size Floor Standing Towel Warmer has eight rails and is roughly 24 inches wide, whereas the LCM Home Fashion Freestanding Towel Warmer has only six rails and is about 21 inches wide.
Towel warmers are excellent for drying delicates and other smaller/thinner clothing items that can't go in the dryer.
All of the top picks in our matrix, above, are electric. This means they could either be plugged into a power outlet or hardwired in.
However, some other rail towel warmers on the market are hydronic. These radiator-like units must be plumbed into your central heating system.
If you'd like your electric towel warmer to be hardwired into your home, you'll need to hire a professional electrician to do the job.
If you're not much for DIY, you'll probably be interested in how easy or hard your chosen towel warmer is to install.
As mentioned above, a freestanding unit requires no installation. This is a definite benefit in the eyes of some. However, there are other pros and cons to consider for both freestanding and wall-mounted units.
Wall-mounted towel warmers tend to fit nicely in bathrooms with little floor space. They look quite striking on the wall, and they offer a greater deal of permanence. (This could be a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it.) However, they can be tricky to install, and once you’ve installed a wall-mounted towel warmer, it cannot be easily moved.
Freestanding towel warmers are much easier to set up, and you can quickly whisk them out of the way when not you’re not using them. But they do take up precious space and, arguably, they don't look quite as smart as the wall-mounted variety.
The 80-watt Warmrails WHC Hyde Park has the lowest wattage rating on our shortlist. The Brookstone Towel Warmer has the highest at 500 watts.
Towel warmers heat to different temperatures depending on the make and model. Whether you'd prefer a higher or lower temperature comes down to personal preference.
The towel warmer that reaches the highest temperature of all our top picks is the Elite Hot Towel Cabi-Warmer, which warms towels to roughly 160° Fahrenheit.
Top-of-the-line towel warmers don’t come cheap, but there are still some good options for those with a smaller budget.
A rail towel warmer that stands with the best on the market will set you back at least $200 to $300. Our Best of the Best pick, the Amba RWH-CP, currently sells for $219.
Top-notch cabinet towel warmers tend to be a little cheaper. You can expect to pay somewhere between $100 and $150 for a unit of this type.
If you prefer to spend less than $100, you can pick up a passable rail warmer — one that will do the job but is smaller and not quite as effective — for around $70+.
Q. Can I dry clothes using a towel warmer?
A. Cabinet towel warmers shouldn't be used to dry clothes, but the majority of rail towel warmers can be used for this purpose. Just bear in mind that they're designed to warm items, not dry them. So this method wouldn’t work well with anything big and bulky.
Q. Are there any safety concerns with towel warmers?
A. Towel warmers are generally safe, but you do have to exercise some caution, as there can be risks to using electrically powered items around water. Observe these safety tips.
An electric towel warmer should only be plugged into a grounded or GFCI otlet, as using a regular outlet in a wet environment is highly dangerous.
Tell children to be careful around towel warmers. The rail variety are generally safe for kids because the rails get warm but not scalding. However, people have reported getting burned by accidentally touching the inside heating elements of cabinet style towel warmers. It's best to keep youngsters away from this variety.
Make sure any wall-mounted towel rails are properly anchored. Otherwise, the appliance could fall and injure someone.
Q. How much energy do towel warmers use?
A. This depends on which make and model you choose. Power usage is measured in watts; the lower the wattage, the less energy the appliance uses and the cheaper it is to run. Notably, however, it often follows that a towel warmer with a lower wattage won't grow quite as hot as one with a higher wattage.