Old Style Radiators : The Best Modern Radiators For Your Heating


Radiators have come a long way since the bulky, old-fashioned models of the past. Today’s slimline and vertical radiators offer sleek, minimalist styling perfect for contemporary homes. But are new radiators really better than the old style? This guide compares traditional and modern radiator designs, examining the pros and cons of each.

Old Style Radiators

Old style radiators, also known as double panel radiators, have been around for decades. They are the archetypal radiator design, featuring two large rectangular panels connected by pipes at the top and bottom.


  • Classic, nostalgic appearance
  • Very durable and long lasting
  • Provide excellent heat output
  • Relatively affordable


  • Very bulky and intrusive
  • Can obstruct furniture placement
  • Prone to collecting dust
  • Limited style options
  • Not as energy efficient

These chunky radiators were commonplace in years past. However, their substantial size makes them an impediment in modern, compact homes. They are far from sleek and certainly won’t win any style awards. But old style radiators have their merits too. They possess a certain vintage charm and provide robust heat output.

Modern Radiator Designs

Modern radiators aim to fix the limitations of old style models. Contemporary radiator designs emphasize efficiency, minimalism and flexibility. Popular types include:

Slimline Radiators

Slimline radiators are thin, flat panels that sit flush to walls. They take up far less space than old style radiators.


  • Very slim and streamlined
  • Discreet, minimalist appearance
  • Allow furniture to be placed against walls
  • Available in different heights
  • Energy efficient


  • Less heat output than old style radiators
  • Can be more expensive

Vertical Radiators

As the name suggests, vertical radiators are tall and slim with multiple columns. They free up more floor space.


  • Extremely compact and space saving
  • Visually light and minimalist
  • Good heat output for size
  • Available in many heights


  • Not as discreet as slimline radiators
  • Limited width options
  • Can be costly

Designer Radiators

Designer radiators come in all shapes and sizes from columns to ladders, waves to cubes. They act as stylish focal points.


  • Massive range of designs
  • Radiator as art piece
  • Can match any interior design
  • Often dual purpose (towel warmer)


  • Very expensive
  • Heat output not always efficient
  • Niche appeal

Comparing Old and New Radiator Designs

When weighing up old vs new radiators, you need to consider your priorities. Here’s how they stack up:

FactorOld Style RadiatorModern Radiator
SizeVery bulky and intrusiveCompact and slimline
AppearanceBasic, purely functionalStreamlined and aesthetic
Style OptionsVery limitedMassive range
EfficiencyNot very efficientMuch better efficiency
CostRelatively affordableCan be more expensive
Heat OutputExcellentGood, but less than old style
DurabilityExtremely durableLess durable than old style

Ultimately, old and new radiators both have advantages. Old style win on vintage appeal and heat output. Modern radiators are more compact, efficient and stylish. Select the type that aligns with your home decor and heating needs.

Leading Modern Radiator Brands

Some of the top brands for contemporary radiators include:

Kudox Radiators

Kudox offer an extensive range of vertical and slimline radiators. Their fuss-free, minimalist designs come in different heights. Kudox radiators provide excellent heat output without dominating a room.

Stelrad Radiators

Stelrad are radiator specialists with a wide selection of models including slimline, vertical and designer. Their products combine style and efficiency.

Hudson Reed

Hudson Reed are known for their vast range of designer radiators in all shapes and finishes. They have radiators to suit bathrooms and living areas.

Jaga Radiators

Jaga create bespoke radiators including compact vertical models. Their cutting edge designs are ultra slim and integrate seamlessly into modern spaces.

Choosing the Right Radiator

There are some key factors to consider when selecting a radiator:

  • Room size – Choose a radiator with adequate heat output capacity for the room. As a rule of thumb, opt for a radiator with 1.5 times the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating of the room area.
  • Placement – Consider the best positioning in the room for even heat distribution. Wall space and proximity to windows are factors.
  • Style – Match the radiator style to your interior design scheme. Think about size, finish color and general aesthetics.
  • Energy efficiency – Ensure the radiator you choose is energy efficient with little heat loss. Thermostatic models help control temperature.
  • Budget – Radiator prices can vary enormously. Set a realistic budget and stick to it.

Getting the right radiator for your space is key to creating a comfortable, energy efficient heating solution.


What are the main differences between old and modern radiators?

The main differences are size, appearance, efficiency and cost. Old style radiators are much larger but cheaper. Modern radiators are more compact, slimline and efficient but can be more expensive.

Are old style radiators better than new ones?

There is no definitive ‘better’ option. Old radiators provide excellent heat output. But their bulky design is intrusive. New radiators are more efficient and blend in discretely. Choose based on your needs.

What modern radiator is best?

The ‘best’ radiator depends on your priorities. Slimline models are compact and affordable. Vertical radiators are space saving. Designer radiators make bold style statements. Assess your space, budget and aesthetic preferences.

Should I replace my old radiator?

If your old radiator functions well, replacement may not be needed. But for small spaces, improved efficiency and a contemporary look, upgrading makes sense. Newer radiators will likely save on energy costs too.

How do I choose the correct radiator?

To select the right radiator, calculate your room BTU requirements and find a model that matches or exceeds it. Also consider placement, dimensions, style and efficiency rating. Aim for 1.5x your room BTU.

Takeaway Tips

  • Old style radiators provide substantial heat output but their bulky design is intrusive.
  • Modern radiators are slim, efficient and blend in discreetly. Popular types are slimline, vertical and designer.
  • Key factors when selecting a radiator are room size, placement, style, efficiency and budget.
  • To determine the correct radiator, calculate your room’s BTU heating needs and aim for a model with 1.5x this rating.
  • While more expensive initially, new radiators can pay off through improved aesthetics and energy savings.