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Do I need a single or double radiator?
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Do I need a single or double radiator?

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying Guides | 4 months ago 7 min read

What is the difference between a single and double radiator? And which do I need? We answer all your questions…

A radiator will help to keep every room in your home perfectly warm and cosy. Depending on the size of your room or house, you may need different sized radiators. In this expert guide, we've split the choices down to the name of each radiator, so you can get all the information you need quickly and easily. Simply click on any of the links below to head straight to the most relevant section.

The Heating Co. Corso white 2 column radiator


Panel radiators

From a single panel to a double panel radiator, the type of radiator you select will affect heat output, energy use and more.

When choosing a unit, you'll need to consider your home heating requirements, including the building size and the number of people who live there.

Before we get into it, let's learn more about the different aspects of these different types of radiators.

Single panel

A single panel convector radiator emits less heat than a double panel. This type has one long panel that sits back against the wall.

They have less surface area to emit heat, but a single panel convector radiator is most useful if the room is small and doesn't need a large heat output. These are sometimes known as Type 11 radiators.

Double panel

It may seem obvious, but double panel radiators can emit more heat than a single panel. The main difference, as you may have already guessed, is that they have a second heating panel incorporated into the design of the radiator. Also known as type 22 radiators, these units have 2 steel panels and 2 connectors. Otherwise known as convector fins, these are what emit more heat. The addition of the 2 sets of convector fins increases the surface area of the radiator. They maximise output, helping to generate lots of heat.

If your room size is average to large, then the double panel radiators may be best. The other radiator type emits less heat as the surface area is smaller. The convector fins inside a double panel radiator look like zigzag metal strips between the panels. They increase the surface area further.

The fins mean double units emit more than double the amount of heat compared to single panel radiators, without considerably expanding the size. The design provides excellent value for money when it comes to home heating. Type 21 convector radiators are also available—they feature 2 panels that encase one layer of fins (see the diagram below).

Differences between Type 11, Type 21 and Type 22 radiators

Designer radiators

You can also get a designer radiator, most of which come in a choice of single or double panels. The standard type of double panel radiators may be the most efficient, but they aren't the most pleasing on the eye when it comes to central heating appliances. Designer radiators are continuing to rise in popularity because they are both efficient and attractive. Along with style considerations, they may also offer practical benefits, like space-saving efficiency, doubling up as mirrors and providing space to warm towels.


Do double radiators cost more to run?

If you are considering purchasing a new heating system and wondering which option to choose, it's worth looking into pricing and efficiency.

In terms of the space and size of your property, double panel radiators are extremely useful as they have double the space for hot water inside their tanks. If your property has airy spaces but large windows and little insulation, then a double convector radiator would be more efficient.

In terms of large properties, they need more extensive heating, which means larger radiators. Although this may be slightly more expensive, it will save you money over the years.

The radiator you choose is totally up to you as a homeowner. If you live in a large house which isn’t particularly warm and cosy, you’re going to need a greater heat output. Conversely, if you’re thinking about wall space and economy, a single panel radiator is probably the best option.

The Heating Co. Bonaire white double vertical flat panel radiator


Can I replace a single radiator with a double?

If you have your eye on a double panel radiator with the same height and width dimensions as the existing single panel radiator you’re replacing, you should have no problems swapping these around.

Larger convector radiators will affect how your plumbing and boilers work, so you must consider the impact a new radiator will have on your central heating system.

Purchasing a panel double convector with the same width and height as your current one will provide you with more heat. However, it does mean that your boiler will have to work harder to make sure there is enough power available for it to reach its optimum temperature.

Call on a heating engineer

If you are swapping out a single panel radiator for a double, we’d highly recommend hiring someone with experience to do the job. This kind of work requires draining water by turning off the radiator valves and bleeding the radiator until it is empty. Whilst we can show you how to swap out a radiator, it's best to leave it to the professionals.


Which radiator is best for heating?

When it comes to deciding which types of radiators are best for heating, it's worth understanding the types of room you want to heat.

Single and double panel heating systems both have their benefits, and one may be better than the other in certain situations. For example, single panel convector radiators are better in smaller rooms where wall space is limited. It's possible to purchase single panel radiators that have added convection fins. They are more efficient and reduce heat loss. However, the unit won't be able to fit against cavity walls, so if your space is smaller, you might need to opt for another option. Doubles are great for heating large and medium-sized rooms because the 2 convector fins will increase the surface area and heat the room quicker.

Both types are panel convector radiator units. However, the use of the double panel allows the heat output to generate faster. The convection currents make the warm air circulate around a room, which is how a radiator works. The convection fins are vital, as they increase the size of the radiator and offer more surface area for the air to come into contact with as it warms. This type of heating is way more effective than it would be without the convector fins.

The Heating Co. Corso anthracite grey 2 column radiator


What radiator do I need?

Many customers often come to us with this question. When it comes to the different types of radiators out there and deciding which type of heating you need, the most crucial elements to take into account are how much space you have and how large your rooms are. Some people may even need a single and double panel if they have spaces that have a difference in size.

As previously mentioned, if your home has large spacious areas, the double panel radiators may be your best option as they can generate heat quickly and effectively.

A single panel radiator is ideal if you have limited space. The compact unit will give people space to move around, and it will prove to be cheaper depending on the size of your space.

When it comes to the main difference between the 2, remember that the larger the area, the likelier you are to need double panel radiators, and with a smaller space, a single panel radiator will likely do the trick.


Like this article?

If you need help selecting the best radiator for your home, check out all the handy articles in our advice section, including our comprehensive radiators buying guide. Whether you need both a single and double panel or only need the one, we can help you with every aspect of the process, from wapping radiator valves to working out your BTU.

Of course, we’re not just here for the practicalities of heating your home, we’ll provide you with plenty of inspiration too. Check out all our heating ideas, including beautiful column radiators, the top designer radiator styles and the best Edwardian radiators for your home.


Shop radiators

Whether you need a single or a double radiator, at Victoria Plum you’ll find a comprehensive range at affordable prices. Browse our fabulous selection of contemporary and traditional designs today by clicking on the image below.

Shop radiators

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in Buying Guides | 4 months ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 8 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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