The 9 Best Towel Warmers
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Not many things are as unpleasant as stepping out of a nice warm tub or shower and into a frigid bathroom. But one of these towel warmers can add a touch of luxury and comfort to your morning routine, regardless of the ambient temperature. Our selections for this category include a variety of wall-mountable heated racks, as well as cabinets designed for home and/or salon and spa use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 20, 2021:
We removed the Warmrails RTS, LCL Beauty 2-in-1 and Spa Luxe SL18, all due to availability issues. We also replaced the Dermalogic Steamer 120, which we’d previously included at the top of our list as an option for spas, with the Dermalogic Steamer 480 — which is essentially the same model, only with 400% of our previous pick’s capacity.
Our first new addition this time around, the Roadview Intelligent, stands out in this category as one of the few models that rely on heated air-drying techniques to warm your towels, compared to radiant methods. It might not be the most effective model for full-size towels – as it’s questionable whether the hot air it emits will be enough to reach the furthest, soggy corners of your linens – but it scored points for being compact, including a germicidal lamp to help eliminate the bacteria growing on your face cloths, and offering convenient app control via Wi-Fi.
Our second new addition, the StateRiver Mini, is far too tiny for families with bath towels, but it’s a nice pick for people interested in doing a bit of personal pampering with heated hand towels. It comes with a built-in, one-hour timer, and can have your cloths properly warmed in as little as eight minutes. It should be noted, however, that its 180-day warranty doesn’t inspire as much confidence as a longer guarantee would, and it offers no thermostatic control.
If the installation process associated with the wall-mounted options on this list is an intimidating prospect for you, then you might find that you’ll have better luck with our specialized rankings for freestanding towel warmers.
April 02, 2020:
During this round of updates, while the Paragon HC78 and Super Deal Cabinet were removed due to availability issues, we also decided to eliminate the WarmlyYours Riviera, Elite HC-X, Brookstone 647156 and Tangkula Towel Rack, noting that our rankings already contained similar offerings with either better prices or features. This also allowed us the room we needed to incorporate new inclusions that better reflected the variety of options available on the market today. Some of our new additions include the Artist Hand Hot Cabinet – a triple-door model that’s suitable for use in salons, the Warmrails RTS – a freestanding option that gets around installation headaches, and the WarmlyYours Maui – a smart-looking hardwired model with seven heated bars and an unheated shelf.
A few things to think about for this category:
Capacity: Of course, all cabinet warmers are restricted by their size. So, while the LCL Beauty 2-in-1 can accommodate 12 facial towels, the Dermalogic Steamer 120 can hold 120 – and the company actually offers a larger model that can hold 360, as well.
Similarly, wall-mounted and freestanding bar-based racks are restricted by their footprint – or wall-print, as the case may be – which is worth mentioning because some people make the assumption that a rack with more bars can dry more towels. But in practice, in order to to effectively and evenly warm your towels, you want them draped over several bars. So, while the Amba Radiant has 10 bars and the WarmlyYours The Elements only has four bars, their designs suggest that they’re both intended for a maximum of two towels – though we can assume that the Amba would do a much nicer job.
Installation: It seems like the vast majority of cabinet-style options out there – like the StateRiver Spa and Zadro Bucket-Style TWB2C – are simple plug-and-play units with no assembly required. Rack-style options are more of a mixed bag. Though freestanding, corded options like the Warmrails RTS are certainly out there, most offerings are wall-mounted. Within the sub-category of wall-mounted racks, there are both corded selections – like the WarmlyYours The Elements – and hardwired models – like the Amba Radiant.
I’m biased, but I don't think anything beats a nice, clean hardwired install. However, such things require costly professional installation that many users would like to avoid. So, if you’re a reasonably confident DIYer, don’t be afraid to take on a corded wall-mounted option. Or, if you’re not a fan of DIY projects and you’re terrified of tools, go ahead and grab a freestanding plug-and-play model. What’s really important here is that your towels are going to wind up warm, at the end of the day.
Control: This consideration is twofold:
Temperature Control: Surprisingly, most options in this category do not feature any thermostatic controls, and are designed to run at one, predetermined temperature that’s set at the factory. One exception to this rule is the Dermalogic Steamer 120, which has a temperature range of 90 Fahrenheit to 200 Fahrenheit.
Timer Control Given the increasing appeal and popularity of energy efficient appliances and fixtures over recent years, I was surprised to see how sparse this category was in terms of timed options. A couple of notable exceptions are the Zadro Bucket-Style TWB2C – which has an integrated timer with four interval options, and the Amba Radiant – which comes with a digital timer, but one that requires further hardwiring.
If timer functionality is an important feature to you, but you can’t find a model you like that offers it, and your budget isn’t your biggest concern, you could enlist the help of an electrician to install a programmable timer switch. Or, if that sounds too costly and complicated for your liking, you could look into controlling your warmer with a simple outlet timer.
Only Towel Warmers This company offers a variety of freestanding and wall-mountable warmers that will look great in just about any home. They also offer a variety of accessories and hardware for luxury bathrooms that, despite the website's title, extends well beyond towel warmers. onlytowelwarmers.com
Hudson Reed Users with big budgets who are in the process of building a home or renovating a bathroom should definitely consider perusing the well-designed selections this company has available. Not only do their top-end models have significantly better capacities than some comparable models on the market, but they also feature attractive aesthetics. hudsonreed.com
Pedicure Spa Salon For owners of spas and salons who are looking for industrial-sized models to service their businesses, this online store offers various sizes of cabinet-style warmers, the largest of which can heat as many as 600 facial towels at a time. pedicurespasalon.com
Affordable Luxury: The Towel Warmer
The benefit of such units is that they ensure the whole towel is quickly evenly warmed and they are not affected by changes in the ambient temperature of the room.
At first blush, a towel warmer might seem like a slightly superfluous item. But consider the simple pleasure you can derive from putting on a robe, shirt, or pair of pajamas that has just been freshly-warmed by a dryer and you will start to see the allure of these items. Each and every time you step out of the bathtub or shower (or even from the pool) and reach for a towel, you could enjoy the same soothing warmth as your heated towel wraps around you.
After an initial investment, most towel warmers consume about as much electricity as a single traditional lightbulb, so they are highly affordable and, to most consumers, well worth the minor cost of their electricity consumption.
There are two distinct types of towel warmers, and it's likely that only one variety will suit your preferences and/or the space in your home, spa, gym, or other business. The first variety uses heated metal bars over which towels are draped; the heat radiates out from the metal and is absorbed by the cloth. The second type is a container designed to store and warm several towels at the same time. They function either like a cabinet (picture a miniature refrigerator's shape and size) or else approximate the top-loading design of a laundry bin.
Each approach has its benefits and limitations. The rack-style towel warmer requires initial installation (some rest on the floor; most are wall mounted) but is subsequently out of the way and convenient. These warmers can speed the drying of damp towels hung over them, meaning your towel is dried, warmed, and ready for use again quickly. However, towels hung over these units are not always evenly warmed. For example, those towels hung on the bottom few rungs will often be partially heated, though partial heat is still welcome and comforting.
One of the primary drawbacks of the enclosed towel warmer is that you cannot put damp towels into it; they will dry unevenly if at all, while the moist, warm environment within the units can promote the growth of unwanted mold or mildew. Only towels that are thoroughly dry should be placed in these units. The benefit of such units is that they ensure the whole towel is quickly evenly warmed and they are not affected by changes in the ambient temperature of the room. These units can keep towels warm even in chilly environments, making them great for use after a person exits an outdoor hot tub or leaves a sauna on a cold day.
Who Needs A Towel Warmer Anyway?
Towel warmers range considerably in price. Most homeowners or long-term renters will shrink from the price tag of high end models, but can easily afford a moderately priced towel warmer. (And as noted, after initial purchase, the cost of running a towel warmer is minimal.) For a business such as a massage parlor, a health and beauty spa, or a fitness center, a towel warmer is not a luxury item, however, but a savvy business expense.
And then of course there is the pleasure one can derive from home use of a towel warmer.
In fact, in a spa or massage facility in particular, the absence of warmed towels would be more conspicuous than their presence. Anyone who frequents such businesses can attest to these items as being staple fixtures. But the beneficial use of a towel warmer can extend to other businesses with a focus beyond beauty and relaxation.
A warmed towel can bring comfort to a patient convalescing after surgery, illness, or an accident, for example. Heat is therapeutic when applied to sore muscles, stiff joints, a sore lower back, and taught ligaments and tendons, so a warmed towel offers a basic but welcome bit of assistance to a thermotherapy rehabilitation regimen.
And then of course there is the pleasure one can derive from home use of a towel warmer. You will be amazed at how quickly a towel warmer transforms from an ostensible luxury to an essential necessity. Your daily ablutions will be ever enhanced when accompanied by a soft, dry, and warmed towel.
Extending The Life Of Your Towels
Great bath towels can be surprisingly expensive. Very good bath towels, however, can usually be found at an affordable price tag. And with proper use and care, a towel can last for quite some time.
Towels absorb detergent and can easily experience an unwanted buildup of soapy residue that reduces softness and absorbance.
A bath towel is not a lifetime purchase and even the finest towel handled with the most caution will need to be discarded (or converted into a rag) and replaced from time to time. To enjoy ideal softness and absorption and to keep your towel looking as good as possible before that happens, follow a few basic steps.
First, wash new towels before you use them. This helps to remove the layer of silicone usually coating a new towel and helps to remove excess dyes and residual chemicals left over after the manufacturing process. Then continue to wash your towels an average of twice a week if you use them daily.
When you wash a towel, use only half the detergent you would apply to a load of laundry of the same size. Towels absorb detergent and can easily experience an unwanted buildup of soapy residue that reduces softness and absorbance. Every fourth or fifth wash, add a cup of white vinegar to a load of towels; this will help cut through any such residue.
When drying towels after a washing, throw in some tennis balls or dedicated dryer balls to help with even drying and fluffing. When towels are drying over a towel warmer, flip them over after half hour to keep the drying consistent.