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Taking a hot bath or shower is an excellent way to relax and warm up on chilly days. Yet without a warm towel at the ready, all this coziness may just slip away the second you step out. Of course, you can always toss your towels in the dryer, but unless it's located in your bathroom, this isn't the most practical solution. And that's where a towel warmer comes in.
Rack-style towel warmers typically use radiant heat to keep your bath sheets toasty, though you'll find some hydronic options too. There are also free-standing racks and bucket warmers for those who don't want to mount theirs to a wall. In addition to heating your towels, a warmer can be used to dry bath linens and other textiles, reducing your energy use, preventing mildew growth, and minimizing musty odors.
When browsing towel warmers, you'll want to consider the overall dimensions, capacity, warm-up-time, and heating source. "It's also important that a towel warmer fits in with the rest of the design of the space so that it doesn't feel like an afterthought," says Decorist designer Linzie Merchant.
Here, the best towel warmers.
Best Overall: Amba RWH-CP Radiant Hardwired Curved Towel Warmer
Dimensions: 31.9 x 5.75 x 24.4 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Warm-Up Time: 10 minutes | Temperature Range: Up to 149 °F | Voltage: 110 V
Minimizes energy use
The best option overall is the Amba Radiant 10-Bar Towel Warmer, on account of its reasonable price tag, modern design, and undeniably sleek appearance.
"It's hardwired directly, so you don't have any ugly cords hanging down," says Merchant. Once installed, you can turn the towel warmer on with the flip of a switch and enjoy toasty textiles in as little as 10 minutes.
In addition to heating your bath sheets, the Amba Warmer prevents fabrics from developing that dreaded musty smell and ultimately reduces how often you have to wash your bath linens. You can also use it to dry bathing suits, delicates, and outerwear. This warmer is made of high-quality, rust-resistant stainless steel and comes in either a polished or brushed finish..
"Amba's The Radiant Hardwired Curved towel warmer only takes about five minutes to warm up. This means that I don’t have to think ahead or do anything other than turn it on before getting into the shower."—Katie Begley, Product Tester
Best Budget: INNOKA 2-in-1 Heated Towel Warmer & Drying Rack
Dimensions: 27.1 x 35.2 x 14 inches | Material: Aluminum | Warm-Up Time: 30-40 minutes | Temperature Range: 110°F - 122°F | Voltage: 110 -120 V
No auto-shutoff feature
Takes 30 minutes to heat
For households on a budget, consider the Innoka 2-in-1 Towel Warmer. This affordable electric rack can be placed in a free-standing position or mounted to the wall to save floor space.
The multifunctional design allows you to heat towels and dry clothes, all while saving energy and keeping your linens fresh. Though it's easy to operate using the on/off switch, one thing to note is that this towel warmer takes about a half-hour to heat up.
Best Splurge: Pottery Barn Classic Towel Warmer
Dimensions: 18 x 4 x 40 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Warm-Up Time: Not listed | Temperature Range: Not listed | Voltage: 110 V
Multiple colors and sizes
Installation hardware included
One heat setting
If you're open to splurging on a high-end towel warmer, consider this beauty from Pottery Barn. A perfect addition to a luxury walk-in shower, it comes in four sizes and your choice of classic chrome, sleek brushed nickel, or modern matte black. Made of stainless steel with a moisture-resistant finish, you can count on the Classic Towel Warmer to resist rust and keep mildew at bay.
Best Electric: WarmlyYours Tahoe Electric Hardwired Stainless Steel Towel Warmer
Dimensions: 26.7 x 4.3 x 29.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Warm-Up Time: 10 minutes | Temperature Range: 256 BTUs per hour | Voltage: 120 V
Mounting hardware included
Merchant is a big fan of the Tahoe Electric Warmer by WarmlyYours, which boasts square bars and a modern aesthetic. "This one is hardwired, so I love that no cords are shown, which can feel messy and distract from a beautifully designed bathroom," she says.
It's also integrated with overheat protection, shutting off automatically if the temperature reaches 150 °F. The Tahoe comes in shiny gold, polished and matte black.
Best Wall-Mounted: Anzzi Gown Plug In Stainless Steel Towel Warmer
Dimensions: 23.6 x 4.3 x 36.25 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Warm-Up Time: Not listed | Temperature Range: 120 °F | Voltage: 120 V
Multiple finishes available
Mounting hardware included
No auto-shutoff feature
Merchant prefers wall-mounted warmers like the Anzzi Gown because they free up valuable floor space and offer a more custom appearance. This stainless steel towel warmer comes with all the mounting hardware you need to set it up and is designed with concealed screws for a more seamless aesthetic.
One thing to note, though, is that it doesn't hardwire. "Because this is a plug-in option, I would make sure an outlet is near to minimize the amount of cord shown," says Merchant.
"The available finish options can work with many different styled bathrooms. The matte black option is my personal favorite because it hides finger marks really well." — Linzie Merchant, designer at Decorist
Best Small: Jerdon Warmrails Regent Wall Mount Towel Warmer With Five Bars
Dimensions: 18.15 x 5.25 x 25.25 inches | Material: Chrome | Warm-Up Time: 2-3 hours | Temperature Range: Not listed | Voltage: 125 V
Can be hardwired or soft-wired
Only fits one bath towel
Interested in a smaller model? Your best bet is the Jerdon Warmrails Regent, a relatively compact towel warmer with just five bars. Since it runs on a lower wattage, you can keep it on 24 hours a day without worrying about it overheating or causing an electrical hazard. We also like that the Regent can be plugged into the wall or hardwired.
Best Large-Capacity: Acona Svelte 13-Bar Electric Towel Warmer and Drying Rack
Dimensions: 18 x 4.75 x 40 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Warm-Up Time: 15 minutes | Temperature Range: 131 °F | Voltage: 120 V
Multiple finishes available
Humidity-protected on/off switch
Difficult to tell when it's off/on
Measuring 40 inches tall and 18 inches wide with 13 horizontal bars, the Acona Svelte is designed to hold multiple towels at once, even the largest bath sheets. This premium stainless steel towel warmer mounts to a wall and conceals all cords through hardwire installation. It also helps dry linens in moisture-prone spaces and has a humidity-protected on/off switch.
Best Hydronic: ICO Bath Tuzio Savoy Hydronic Steel Towel Warmer
Dimensions: 19 x 3.25 x 31 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Warm-Up Time: Not listed | Temperature Range: Not listed | Voltage: Not listed
Heats with water
Installation kit not included
Valves not included
As a hydronic towel warmer, the ICO Tuzio Savoy calls on hot water from your home's existing plumbing system to heat the 14 bars. It's made of durable steel and comes in your choice of shiny silver or contemporary white.
You'll need to buy hydronic valves and installation hardware separately. However, you can expect more efficient heating than an electric model and have peace of mind about your purchase, thanks to the limited lifetime warranty.
Best Bucket: Zadro Luxury Ultra Large Towel Warmer
Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 21.25 inches | Material: Plastic, metal | Warm-Up Time: 15 minutes | Temperature Range: Varies | Voltage: 110 V
Built-in cord storage
Inside gets hot to the touch
If you're interested in a bucket-style model, go with the Zadro Luxury Towel Warmer, which flaunts a slim profile and an extra-long power cord. Unlike heated racks, the free-standing container can be placed nearly anywhere on the floor. It even has preset timer settings and an automatic shutoff feature to prevent electrical hazards.
Our best overall pick is the Amba Radiant Straight 10-Bar Electric Towel Warmer, a sleek stainless steel option that warms quickly without using too much energy (view at Bed Bath & Beyond). However, if you want something a little more wallet-friendly, your best bet is the Innoka 2-in-1 Towel Warmer and Drying Rack (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Towel Warmer
There are several different styles of towel warmers. Rack-style options are great for larger bath-size towels, while cabinet-style versions are perfect for hand towels and washcloths. Some rack-style warmers offer the advantage of being wall-mounted, freeing up floor space, but free-standing models are also common. There are also barrel-shaped warmers that can also hold robes, slippers, and more.
"I prefer towel warmers that are attached to the wall instead of free-standing so that they don't take up valuable floor space," says Merchant. Additionally, she recommends considering the finish of the product and how it will look in your space. "For instance, if you have matte black faucets, pulls, etc., opt for the matte black towel warmer."
Whether you get a rack or a cabinet-style version, there are both larger and smaller units to choose from.
"When purchasing a towel warmer, you should consider how many towels you actually want to warm at one time," says Merchant. You'll save space and minimize energy usage with a smaller warmer, but it may not be ideal for a large household.
Electric vs. Hydronic
Most towel warmers on the market are electric. This type of warmer is either hardwired or plugged into the wall and uses electrical energy to create radiant heat. Then there are hydronic towel warmers, which use hot water from your home's plumbing system to generate heat. Generally speaking, hydronic models offer more efficient heating than electric warmers, though it depends on the design.
You'll also want to take note of the warm-up time, as some models heat up faster than others. The average warm-up time is around 15 to 20 minutes, but you'll find models that take as little as 10 minutes or as long as 40 minutes to heat up.
"If you take short showers, you'd want to consider purchasing a towel that heats up quicker," says Merchant. Additionally, just like a conventional oven, the time it takes to reach the desired temperature (preheat) is different than the time it takes to heat what's inside.
How long can you leave a towel warmer on?
It's best to turn your towel warmer off after a few hours and avoid leaving it on overnight to prevent electrical hazards. Having said that, some low-wattage models are designed to be left on indefinitely, similar to radiant floor heating. Many of today's towel warmers also have auto-shutoff features, automatically powering down if the temperature reaches a certain degree.
What are the ways you can use a towel warmer?
Most towel warmers are multifunctional, allowing you to use them for more than simply heating your bath linens. Rack-style models help dry your towels and bath sheets, which keeps them smelling fresh and prevents mildew from harboring within the damp material.
You can also hang-dry swimsuits, pool towels, delicates, wet shoes, and outerwear on the bars. Depending on how you use your towel warmer, you might consider placing it in your bathroom, laundry room, mudroom, or entryway.
Can a towel warmer heat up your bathroom?
Similar to space heaters and radiant flooring, a large towel warmer can effectively heat a bathroom. Bear in mind, though, that smaller rack-style models and warming buckets typically don't generate enough heat to warm up even a small room.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer with a background in home improvement, HVAC, interior decorating, and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed an interior designer and researched the various types and styles of towel warmers. She considered dozens of models from various retailers, checked user reviews, combed through the specs, and studied the key features and prices before making her final selections. Theresa has been writing for The Spruce since 2019, where she covers home goods, decor, furniture, and household linens.