James Elston

Published April 9, 2024

The best thermostatic radiator valve is the iBathUK Angled Towel Thermostatic Radiator Valve thanks to its affordable price point, attractive 10-year warranty and quality material. 

While the UK government’s deadline for its net-zero carbon emissions goal is 26 years away, there are still many changes that need to be made.

UK residents are being encouraged to do their part in creating a more energy-efficient country – and it all starts right at home.

Thermostatic radiator valves can completely change the way you heat your home – and the fact that you can save up to 40% on your energy bill really sweetens the deal.

When it comes to choosing the best thermostatic valves for your central heating system, the options can seem overwhelming. But there’s no need to fret! Eco Happy will give you all the details you need to choose the best thermostatic radiator valve for your system to help you do your bit in reducing carbon emissions.

How We Chose The Best Thermostatic Radiator Valves 

Not all thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) are considered equal, which is why we considered various factors to determine which ones are actually the best of the best.  

Some of these factors include: 

Price

The prices of the valves on our list range from around £11 to £34, providing an option to fit any budget. 

However, we’ve still ensured that the prices are competitive for the quality of material and that the valves offer good value for money, seeing as each of the radiators in your wet central heating system could require a TRV. 

Material quality 

The valves on our list are made from the highest quality materials, like steel, brass and chrome-plated brass, to ensure they stand the test of time. 

TRVs should last you around 10 to 15 years, and those listed below are all made from durable materials to avoid less-than-stellar performance as they age. This provides peace of mind that you’ll continue to reap the energy efficiency benefits from your valves during their lifespan.  

Brand reputation

The reputation of a brand is extremely important when choosing the best TRVs. That’s why we’ve scoured numerous customer reviews to see how the various brands hold up against each other. 

It’s one thing for a brand to say that it will deliver a quality product, but it’s another whether it actually delivers on its promises. Customer reviews provide unbiased, honest feedback. We used this to determine which brands stood out for their product’s reliability, performance, appearance, value-for-money and ease of installation. 

Warranty period

The warranty period for a TRV is like a brand’s stamp of approval that their product will stand the test of time. If it doesn’t, you will likely be refunded or provided with a replacement. 

All the valves on our list are backed by a decent warranty period, ranging from one year to a whopping 10 years. 

The 5 Best Thermostatic Radiator Valves

Now that we’ve covered some of the more technical aspects, we can get into our list of the best thermostatic radiator valves.

We have made sure that all of the TRVs mentioned in this list will be compatible with your UK heating system.

1. Kartell Thermostatic Radiator Valve

Best for: Cost-effective energy savings

We all know how quickly costs can add up as a homeowner, so you’ll be glad to know that this is one of the more affordable TRV options on the market.

Known for its modern design and powerful performance, Kartel thermostatic radiator valves are a popular choice among homeowners across the UK.

The valve body is made with high-quality, polished steel and has a white finish, ensuring it will blend in with your home’s decor. The Kartell TRV has a liquid sensor, fits a 15 mm pipe, and is one of the easiest units to install – it can be fitted both vertically and horizontally. Each valve also carries a one-year guarantee.

2. HB Signature Thermostatic Brass Chrome Radiator Valves

Best for: A stylish finish

Next on our list of the best thermostatic radiator valves is the HB Signature TRV.

The valve is made from brass and has an anthracite finish, making this an ideal choice for darker radiators. The rest of the TRV has a chrome finish, which is what gives it such a sleek design. It can even be added to a towel rail, lending a warm and toasty finishing touch to your shower routine.

As with most other thermostatic radiator valves, the HB Signature TRV has a standard 15 mm connection.

Unfortunately, you may have a harder time installing these units, so it might be best to get some assistance from a professional. On the plus side, each valve has a five-year guarantee against cracking and flaking.

3. Realm Chrome Corner Thermostatic Radiator Valve

Best for: Replacing side-fitted radiator valves

This solid brass, angled radiator valve is ideal if you need to replace a side-fitted radiator valve that connects to a pipe emerging from the wall. However, straight and corner configurations are also available, giving you more flexibility during installation.

Realm thermostatic radiator valves have an attractive chrome finish and are designed for 15 mm pipework. If you are dealing with 10 mm pipework, a pair of internal reducers will be required.

This is one of the more expensive thermostatic radiator valves on our list, but you can rest easy knowing each one carries a six-year warranty.

4. iBathUK Thermostatic Chrome Angled Towel Radiator Valves

Best for: A long-term investment

iBathUK’s products are known as one of the best thermostatic radiator valves for a good reason. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another brand that is willing to offer a 10-year guarantee. Each valve undergoes a triple-layered manufacturing process and is leak-tested, ensuring you get what you’re paying for.

Surprisingly though, these are not one of the most expensive TRVs on this list, making this a great long-term investment in your home’s heating system.

The iBathUK TRV has a brass core to prevent corrosion and its glossy finish will complement your home’s interior.

This TRV is compatible with both radiators and towel rails and has a standard 15 mm pipe connection.

5. Drayton TRV4 Classic

Best for: Built-in frost protection

The final addition to our list of the best thermostatic radiator valves is the Drayton TRV4 Classic.

This is one of the more basic models on the market, but it certainly does what it says on the tin, making it a top seller in the UK. The Drayton thermostatic valve is also recommended by the Energy Saving Trust. Even the European Valve Manufacturers Association has rated it as class 1 for energy efficiency.

Drayton TRVs are easy to pair with your existing heating system and are one of the few units that have built-in frost protection.

To prevent limescale buildup and sticking, the interior of the valve body is made from specialised materials. Reverse flow is another notable feature. It allows for installation on the return or flow, horizontally and vertically. Ease of installation and a one-year guarantee is a bonus.

Types Of TRVs: Wax, Liquid & Electronic

Wax and liquid-based TRV valves are the two most common. Wax TRVs work with a wax-filled capsule and a sensing element, with the wax expanding and contracting to control the temperature. Liquid-based TRVs have a liquid-filled capsule.

Both wax and liquid TRVs are reliable and operate quietly, but liquid TRVs tend to have faster response times because they’re more sensitive to temperature changes.

There is also the option of purchasing a smart radiator valve. Thanks to its programmable features, an electronic valve is ideal for use with smart thermostat heating systems, making it possible to monitor and control room temperatures from your tablet or phone.

These TRVs work with batteries and use algorithms to adjust heating patterns based on user behaviour and external factors.

Practical Tips And Considerations For Thermostatic Valves

Once you’ve purchased your radiator valves, it’s time to install them. If you’re planning to go the DIY route, we have a few tips and tricks that will help.

TRV positioning

Where you place your TRVs on your radiator will depend on the installation, but in most instances, they are installed on the bottom.

What’s important to keep in mind is that TRVs require a free flow of air. This will ensure it can sense the air temperature correctly. If furniture or other objects are placed too close to the TRV, it can make a room seem warmer than it really is. The result is a lower room temperature.

Placing a TRV too close to a window can also throw off the temperature gauge. Warmer or colder air from the outside will either increase or lower the TRV’s temperature unnecessarily.

Lastly, you also want to consider aesthetics. A TRV at the bottom of a radiator is less noticeable, which is why it’s often the preferred placement option.

TRV orientation

You’ll have the option to install a TRV in a horizontal or vertical orientation, but a horizontal orientation is generally best.

With a vertical orientation, the TRV is closer to the hot water pipe, which can generate an inaccurate temperature reading.

Radiator valve size and pipework

Once you start shopping around for TRVs, you will need to choose between an angled, straight or corner valve.

Angled valves are best for pipes that have a 90-degree angle, while corner valves protrude less and are more discreet. The top faces inward, so it’s parallel to your wall. A straight valve is best for pipework that runs along the wall or floor.

The correct valve size will vary according to the type of valve you choose and what you want to achieve aesthetically.

Most TRVs are compatible with 15 mm pipework – you will need adaptors for any smaller or larger pipework.

What about bi-directional valves?

Bi-directional valves accept water flow in either direction and are marked with a double-headed arrow.

Modern thermostatic radiator valves are typically bi-directional, which means they can fit on either the flow or return pipe of your radiator.

If you have column radiators, it might be best for the flow to be on the opposite side of the air vent bleed valve. However, this will depend on your radiator brand.

Replacing TRV heads

While heating systems are designed to be durable, there may come a time when your TRV head breaks or fails.

The good news is that you won’t need to fork out money for an entire new unit; you can simply replace the head and leave the valve body as is. The best way to find a replacement is to contact your TRV manufacturer.

However, it’s usually easy to find a generic head replacement at a local hardware store. Just keep in mind that it may not necessarily match your valve body.

To replace a TRV head, turn off the heat at your boiler and let the radiator cool. You can now unscrew the old head and pull it off the stem.

Once you screw on the new head, use an adjustable wrench to make sure it’s tight. Just be careful not to overtighten it as this will damage the head.

You can now turn the heating back on and check that your new TRV head is working as it should.

Design and aesthetics

The final consideration when shopping around for TRVs is how well they fit in with your home’s unique style as well as the colour of your radiators.

If you have a classic-style home, traditional brass TRVs add a beautiful finishing touch to every room.

For a more modern look, there are TRVs made of polished chrome that boast a sleek, black finish.

FAQs

Are there any downsides to TRVs?

Not all thermostatic radiator valves are suitable for bathrooms. This is because heat and steam can affect your readings and throw off the temperature of the room. However, there are TRVs that are suitable for towel rails.

Are radiator valves universal?

No, every home and its radiators are different. When looking at TRVs, you need to take the pipe size, angle, and direction into consideration. Larger pipes will require adaptors to make a standard TRV work.

Conclusion

Energy efficiency is going to be a core focus in the UK for years to come, so making gradual changes to your home now will benefit you long into the future.

Fortunately, there are a number of excellent TRVs to choose from based on your budget, heating requirements and your home’s design.

Thermostatic radiator valves are one of the most cost-effective ways to heat your home and save on energy. They’re also easy to install if you’re a fan of a bit of DIY.

If you’re unsure how to change a radiator valve, professional help is always on hand. Contact Eco Happy if you’re looking for expert advice and assistance with the installation of your radiator valves.

James Elston

Boiler Expert


James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

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