Aluminium vs Steel Radiators

When it comes to buying radiators, there are a couple of options available to you. You can either buy aluminium radiators to warm your home, or try steel radiators to heat it up. But which is better? What are the advantages of aluminium radiators? And what are the advantages of stainless steel radiators?

In our guide, we answer those very questions so that you can be certain of making the right choice for you, your family and your home.

Advantages of Aluminium Radiators

Carisa Play Aluminium Horizontal Radiator

The biggest advantage of aluminium radiators is the fact that they are quick to heat up. And, importantly, they are comparatively quicker to heat up than a stainless steel radiator. As a result, they are more energy efficient as it takes less gas heating from a home's boiler to get the radiator working and warming up a room.

However, that can cause problems. An aluminium radiator is also quicker to cool down, which for some may be an issue. If a room is very hot and you want to turn the heating off to cool it down quickly, then it's a good thing that aluminium loses its heat fast. However, if you want to keep a room warm for longer (which in UK winters is often the case) a slow to cool down radiator may be a better option.

The fact that aluminium radiators heat up quickly does make them better for the environment. Plus, aluminium itself is better for the wider environment too in many ways. Firstly, it can be recycled in a way that steel cannot. Many radiators are, in fact, made from recycled aluminium already improving a person's green footprint.

Aluminium radiators are also much lighter than steel radiators. As a consequence, they are physically much easier to install, which can be a big consideration depending on where you are installing radiators and how many. Despite how light the metal is, it is durable and also does not rust which is a key consideration. They will stay looking pristine for a long time due to these properties.

Advantages of Stainless Steel Radiators

Carisa Zigzag Stainless Steel Radiator

The aforementioned ability to hold on to heat is a big advantage to steel radiators. While it does not make them as energy efficient (and it costs more to get them to the right temperature to heat a room), it does mean that once hot, they can continue to do the job of an aluminium radiator even with the heating turned off for a certain amount of time.

One of the main advantages of stainless steel is also how strong it is. The high amount of carbon in it makes it very durable and long-lasting - which is key given that many of us only ever want to install a heating system once.

Plus, steel is cheaper than aluminium. The metal is made through mixing iron and carbon together and has long been used and manufactured. When it comes to radiators, it means that many steel radiators are made, often making them cheaper to purchase.

Additionally, as they are more common, there are many different types of steel radiator too. The result is you may find it easier to locate a radiator that suits your aesthetic needs or logistical requirements in a home. For example, a different colour to tie in with your interior or a radiator that fits into a small space. Plus, finding the radiator you want and need can be that much quicker too - ensuring that you can buy and install a radiator without it taking too long. That cannot be said of niche aluminium radiators.

Aluminium radiators are the least common out of aluminium or steel radiators. For that reason alone, many people will simply opt for stainless steel radiators as they are easier to get hold of and install. It also helps keep costs low, so if you are totally refitting a heating system in a home, it will by and large be the cheaper option.

However, getting the right model of radiator is crucial. Determining whether aluminium vs steel radiators are better can have serious ramifications on how your home heats up - which can affect your heating bill over the next few years. That in itself can add up to the cost difference in installation anyway. Given that aluminium radiators do not hold on to heat for very long, it means that a room needs to have good insulation properties. If your home does, aluminium radiators may be an option for you. However, if your room is draughty, like many homes are after a few years, it may be better to go for steel.

The selection of either radiator is extensive at GreatRads, check us out to see which one is most suitable to you.

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