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What is a Towel Warmer?

Holly Collins
Holly Collins

A towel warmer is most commonly used in a bathroom. It is similar to a towel rack, functioning as a place where towels are hung to dry, but also heats the towels. Damp towels hung on a warmer dry faster than those left to air dry on a standard rack.

The more rapid drying process, afforded by a towel warmer, reduces the chances of a damp towel producing mildew. Keeping towels thoroughly dry also helps them stay fresher in between uses. The real luxury of a towel warmer is that a towel left on it will be warm to the touch. Stepping out of a shower and into a warm towel is considered by many to be a wonderful indulgence. This is especially true in colder climates.

Colored cotton towels.
Colored cotton towels.

Sometimes called drying rails, towel warmers come in a variety of designs. They can be built to hold one towel or many. Most are electric and are plugged into a standard electrical wall outlet. When switched on, the racks holding the towels heat up and warm the towel hanging on them.

Some towel warmers are hardwired into a house’s electrical system. They do not need to be plugged in and operate by a switch allowing them to be turned on or off. Various noise levels are associated with a towel warmer. Most are relatively quiet, but many do produce some level of sound. A towel warmer can be mounted on a wall or free-standing.

A towel warmers functions much like a towel rack.
A towel warmers functions much like a towel rack.

Models of are available for both bathroom and kitchen use, and towel warmers can be used for purposes other than heating towels. They are quiet and efficient at drying delicate, hand washable items. Damp winter coats, gloves, and shoes can also be dried on a towel warmer.

Although most towel warmers use electricity, some are powered by a hydronic system. This type of system employs hot water, or steam, to heat the arms of the rack. The hot water, or steam, is circulated through the towel warmer, delivering heat to whatever is hanging on it. Hydronic systems operate in a way similar to an old-fashioned radiator.

Many spas use towel warmers to provide heated towels.
Many spas use towel warmers to provide heated towels.

Originally a luxury in fine hotels and spas, heated towels are becoming more common in personal residences. A towel warmer can be purchased in a variety of price ranges, making them accessible to a wider consumer base. They can be installed during the construction of a home or added later as desired by the homeowner.

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Discussion Comments


@fify-- I could see myself doing that if I didn't have a drier because I have the same issue. But I do have a drier at home and plus, towel warmers are expensive!


@SarahGen-- Actually, some people need one to prevent mildew/mold.

My sister is allergic to mold and lives in a very humid climate. It takes forever for her towel to dry after a shower. Once, her towel started developing mold spores and made her sick.

She bought an electric towel warmer for this reason and it works well. She just plugs it in after a shower and her towel is dry in less than an hour. She will also dry hand towels and kitchen towels on it to prevent mold.


A bathroom towel warmer sounds like an unnecessary product to me. Does anyone really need a warm towel after a hot shower?

It could come in useful for drying hand towels and socks, but most of us wash our clothes in the washing machine and then dry it in the dryer. A towel warmer is a waste of money in my opinion.

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    • Colored cotton towels.
      Colored cotton towels.
    • A towel warmers functions much like a towel rack.
      By: Offscreen
      A towel warmers functions much like a towel rack.
    • Many spas use towel warmers to provide heated towels.
      By: Hemeroskopion
      Many spas use towel warmers to provide heated towels.