Underfloor Heating vs Radiators: Which One is Better for Your Home?

If you are looking for a new heating system for your home, you might be wondering whether to choose underfloor heating or radiators. Both options have their pros and cons, and the best one for you depends on your personal preferences, budget, and home design. In this article, we will compare underfloor heating and radiators in terms of comfort, efficiency, aesthetics, cost, practicality, and environmental impact. We hope this will help you make an informed decision and find the perfect heating solution for your home!

What is Underfloor Heating and How Does it Work?

Underfloor heating is a type of heating system that uses pipes or cables embedded in the floor to distribute heat evenly throughout the room. There are two main types of underfloor heating: electric and wet.

Electric underfloor heating uses electric cables or mats to generate heat, while wet underfloor heating uses hot water from a boiler or a heat pump to circulate through the pipes. Underfloor heating can be installed under any type of flooring following the manufacturer’s instructions, such as tiles, wood, laminate, lino, vinyl, or carpet, and can be controlled by a thermostat or a smart device.

What are Radiators and How Do They Work?

Radiators are the most common type of heating system in the UK. They can be made of different materials, such as steel, aluminium, or cast iron, and can have different shapes and sizes. Radiators work by transferring heat from hot water or steam that flows through them to the surrounding air.

Pros and Cons of Underfloor Heating

Pros and Cons of Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating has many advantages over radiators, but it also has some drawbacks. Here are some of the main pros and cons of underfloor heating:


  • Improved comfort: Underfloor heating provides a more comfortable and consistent temperature throughout the room, as it heats the floor and the air from below. This eliminates cold spots and draughts and creates a cosy and pleasant atmosphere. Underfloor heating also reduces dust and allergens, as it does not rely on air circulation as radiators do. For more in-depth information on What Temperature Should Underfloor Heating Be Set At? Check out our related article here.
  • Energy Efficiency: Underfloor heating is at least 25% more energy-efficient than radiators and up to 40% more efficient when paired with a heat pump, as it operates at a lower temperature and distributes heat more evenly. Underfloor heating also works well with renewable energy sources, such as heat pumps or solar panels, which can further increase its efficiency and sustainability.
  • Aesthetics: Underfloor heating is invisible and does not take up any space in the room, unlike radiators, which can be bulky and unsightly. This gives you more freedom and flexibility to design your home according to your taste and style.
  • Compatibility: Underfloor heating systems can be used with various flooring types, including tile, stone, laminate, and engineered wood. And it can be paired with a range of heat sources, such as boilers, heat pumps, and solar thermal systems.
  • Smart control: Underfloor heating can be controlled by a variety of devices, such as thermostats or smart devices. You can adjust the temperature and schedule of each zone or control the whole system remotely via an app or a voice assistant. Radiators can also be controlled by similar devices, but they may not offer as much flexibility and convenience as underfloor heating.


  • Installation cost: Some underfloor heating systems can be more expensive to purchase and install than radiators, as they may require more labour and materials, especially if you need to raise the floor level or replace the entire floor. The installation cost of UFH depends on many factors, such as the size and type of the system, the type and condition of the floor, and the complexity of the project. Underfloor heating also involves laying pipes or cables under the floor, which can be a complex and time-consuming process. The pipework needs to be carefully planned and installed to ensure even heat distribution and avoid any damage or leaks. You can learn more about the Cost of Underfloor Heating here.
  • Floor height: Underfloor heating can raise the floor height from 2mm to a few centimetres, depending on the type and thickness of the system and the insulation. This can affect the doors, skirting boards, furniture, and fittings in the room, and may require some adjustments or modifications. Radiators do not affect the floor height, but they do take up some wall space, which can limit your options for placing your furniture and fittings.

Pros and Cons of Radiators

Pros and Cons of Radiators

Radiators also have their pros and cons, and some of them are the opposite of underfloor heating. Here are some of the main pros and cons of radiators:


  • Easy installation: Installing radiators is typically a straightforward process that causes minimal disruption to your home as radiators use existing pipework that connects to the central heating system, which can be easier and faster to install. However, the pipework may need to be replaced or extended if it is old, damaged, or insufficient.
  • Affordability: Radiators are cheaper to install than underfloor heating, as they require less labour and materials. The installation cost depends on the number and type of radiators, the size and layout of the room, and the condition of the existing pipework.


  • Heat distribution: Radiators heat the room unevenly, as they create hot and cold zones depending on the distance from the radiator. This can cause discomfort and inefficiency, as you may need to adjust the thermostat or use more radiators to achieve the desired temperature. Radiators also heat the air from above, which can cause convection currents and draughts, and can make the ceiling warmer than the floor.
  • Energy consumption: Radiators consume more energy than underfloor heating, as they operate at a higher temperature and pressure and lose heat through radiation and convection. This means that you can spend more money on your heating bills and increase your carbon footprint. Radiators also depend on a central heating system, which can be affected by external factors, such as power cuts, boiler breakdowns, or gas prices.
  • Warranty: Underfloor heating usually comes with a long warranty, as it is designed to last for decades. The warranty can cover the pipes, cables, mats, thermostats, and other components of the system, and can range from 10 years to a lifetime, depending on the manufacturer and the installer. Radiators also come with a warranty, but it may be shorter and less comprehensive than underfloor heating. The warranty can cover the radiator itself, the valves, and the fittings.
  • Limited placement: Radiators must be installed along walls or in specific locations, which can limit your design options and take up valuable wall space.

Cost Comparison of Underfloor Heating and Radiators

Installation Costs:

  • Underfloor Heating: Generally more expensive due to the complex process of laying pipes or mats beneath the floor. Costs vary based on system type and home size.
  • Radiators: Relatively simple to install, requiring wall mounting and pipework connection to the boiler. Costs depend on the number and size of radiators needed.

Running Costs:

  • Underfloor Heating: Electric Systems are generally more expensive to run than both water-based UFH and radiators due to higher electricity costs. While water-based Systems are initially more expensive to install than electric UFH, they offer lower running costs due to using less energy.
  • Radiators: Electric Radiators are more expensive to run than gas-powered radiators due to higher electricity costs. Gas radiators may offer lower running costs compared to electric UFH and electric radiators.

Overall, underfloor heating may have a higher initial installation cost, but efficient water-based systems in well-insulated homes can lead to long-term savings. Electric underfloor heating and electric radiators generally have higher running costs compared to water-based UFH and gas radiators.

Both underfloor heating and radiators have their advantages and disadvantages. The right choice for your home will depend on factors like your budget, living space, energy efficiency goals, and personal preferences. While underfloor heating can offer improved comfort, energy efficiency, and a sleek, minimalist look, radiators may be a more affordable and easier option for quick heating and design flexibility.

Whether you choose underfloor heating or radiators, it's essential to work with a reputable installer who can guide you through the process and ensure that your heating system is installed correctly and efficiently.

We provide expert advice and easy-to-install Fastwarm underfloor heating systems. If you want to learn more about which underfloor heating system to choose, read our article Electric vs. Water Underfloor Heating. Our high-quality products and professional services can help you plan and execute your underfloor heating project with confidence. Contact us today and get started on your journey to a more comfortable and energy-efficient home.