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How long does a Heated Towel Rack take to heat up?

A question we often get is how long any given heated towel rack takes to heat up - unfortunately, the answer usually is, it depends.

Each model has an estimated heat-up time listed on their product page, but generally, this applies to the rack itself without any towel, starting at or near room temperature. There are a few other factors that impact these times, especially once you hang a towel up:

Ambient Temperature

Before you turn your heated towel rack on, it will usually settle around the current ambient temperature. So if your bathroom or wherever you have installed your heated towel rack is extra cold, it will have to work longer to get to its peak operating temperature. This additional time is something to remember during the winter, especially in colder climates!

Towel Thickness

From microfiber hand towels to extra plush cotton, all the way to oversized bathsheets, there are a vast variety of towels in all sorts of materials, sizes, and thicknesses. All those factors can impact the heat transfer rate to your towels, especially when you consider folding them for more straightforward hanging. Generally, if you have thicker towels folded multiple times, it can dramatically slow down the heat transfer process, and you might find that only the innermost layers of your towels are warm.


While all the heated towel racks we stock are electric, they usually utilize one of two types of heating systems to actually WARM the bars.

Liquid-Filled System

Not to be confused with hydronic heated towel racks, these racks contain a liquid heated by a rod-like element that runs up one of the vertical bars. As the water/glycol mixture heats, the hotter liquid flows to the top and cooler liquid to the bottom, until the entire unit is at peak operating temperature. Often these systems will power cycle themselves to maintain their heat while conserving electricity.



These racks have a cable that runs through each horizontal and vertical bar, which heats up when a current flows through it. This cable heats up evenly, regardless of the unit size, and is generally faster than the liquid-filled systems. Once power is turned off, the bars will cool down quickly.


HYDRONIC SYSTEMS (Special order items)

Hydronic systems tap into a circulating hot water supply in a home or building to heat and do not involve any electrical components. These systems will heat to the temperature usually set by a central water heater, and that heat setting will dictate how warm your rack will end up being. These systems generally remain on and circulate continuously. Due to these systems being relatively rare in the USA, Amba Products supplies hydronic models as special models only (non-stocked items).


Our heated towel racks are designed, tested, and certified to be powered on 24/7.

If you leave your rack on, you don't need to factor in heating time! Your towel will always be at optimal temperature when you need to use it and will dry your towel quickly after use. 

If you prefer not to leave it on 24/7, we offer different timer options: You can learn more by reading our timers post.