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Created on October 16, 2023

Updated on February 5, 2024

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Underfloor Heating vs Radiators – Which is the Best Option?

“I don’t know why we put up with radiators for so long – I’ll never go back!”

We frequently hear from individuals who have underfloor heating.

In the past, radiators were the typical choice for room heating, but underfloor heating has become so versatile that it can now be installed and enjoyed in nearly any home. This leads to a couple of questions: underfloor heating or radiators? Which is the best option for me, and can underfloor heating entirely replace radiators?

Underfloor heating can be utilized in any room of your property. Whether it’s water or electric underfloor heating, or low profile to screed UFH systems, you can find the perfect solution for your heating requirements. Nonetheless, we recognize that there may be situations where you may prefer to retain existing radiators in certain areas of your home.

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Underfloor heating vs radiators: Pros and cons

Understanding the functionality of these heating systems will provide you with a clearer grasp of which one to select for your home. Each heating system offers distinct features and advantages.


  • No cold spots or draughts: The way UFH works, heating from the floor up (giving an even heating profile free from draughts and cold spots), and the controllability of UFH, means that UFH heats rooms perfectly. Warm water is pumped through the pipework, from the manifold(s), gently warming the floor, creating a comfortable environment.
  • UFH is controlled by thermostats: You would have a thermostat per room or zone to set your preferred temperature. UFH is split into zones, making it more controllable than radiators.
  • At least 25% more energy efficient: UFH will heat your home without the need for any additional heating. UFH covers a large surface area, it uses lower water temperatures than a radiator and is more efficient – up to 40% more efficient when paired with a heat pump than radiators.
  • Warm heated floor: One of the biggest benefits of UFH is the feel of the warmth underfoot. It adds a luxurious feel to the home. No more cold tiles or hard flooring.
  • Frees up wall space: Because strong and flexible plastic pipework is buried within the floor, it is a practically invisible heating system. The heart of the system, which is the manifold, is stored away in a cupboard.
  • No exposed hot surfaces or sharp corners: Being hidden also means that UFH is safer than radiators. No exposed hot or sharp surfaces or pipework that can cause injury.
  • Complete interior design freedom: As UFH is hidden away and no space is taken up by radiators in the home, you have more wall space to play with. There are no restrictions on where you can place furniture. No big white radiators to spoil decor.

    UFH can be installed in all types of property. Even during renovations. They can be installed on ground and upper floors, and work with boilers and heat pumps. There is no need to change your current boiler.


  • Initial purchasing cost can be higher: Some UFH systems can have a higher initial purchasing cost. This can be because UFH can require more parts and has a longer installation process than radiators. Though, you will generally save money in the long run with an UFH system.
  • May be new to you: Everyone is familiar with radiators and knows how to use them. An underfloor heating system may require a bit of time to understand and get used to.

Radiators pros and cons


  • Already installed in most homes: You can easily upgrade your existing radiators with newer ones, add extra ones or move them without much disruption. This can make keeping radiators a good choice if you are renovating on a budget or only undertaking minor renovation works.

    They come in a range of sizes and styles to suit the heat output required and your decor.

  • Everyone is familiar and used to radiators: This often means you’re familiar with their limitations and know how they behave. Your plumber will also know how to install them as they probably have fitted hundreds.
  • Quick blasts of focused heat: High heat outputs mean that you can have radiators in a renovation without necessarily having to upgrade insulation (although you should always look to minimise heat losses to create a more efficient system).


  • Uneven heat, draughts and cold spots: Radiator systems are usually controlled with one single thermostat along with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) which adjust the amount of hot water that enters the radiator they are attached to.
  • Takes up wall space: Most radiators are metal heat emitters that are fixed to your wall.
  • Can’t be paired with heat pumps: Standard radiators are compatible with boilers but are not recommended for heat pumps (this is because of the higher water temperatures required by radiators to work efficiently). You can buy low-temperature radiators specifically for heat pump systems, or oversize your radiators to heat the home with lower water temperatures.
  • Not very energy efficient: Radiators only heat a small area of the house. The heat emitted from radiators may not directly reach the couch across the room so you may not be able to feel the warmth as strongly as you should. Because of this, there may be a tendency to turn the radiators up higher, using more energy to heat the full room.
  • Sharp corners and exposed hot surfaces make it unsafe: Exposed radiators can be dangerous to touch if they are turned on. You must be aware of when it’s turned on as the exposed hot surfaces could easily burn your skin.

Can you use radiators and underfloor heating together?

It doesn’t always have to be a matter of underfloor heating versus radiators; it is feasible to combine the two. You might not be prepared to reconsider the heating for your entire home, or you may simply wish to retain some of your existing radiators. The two systems can collaborate to effectively warm your home.

Whether you aim to avoid the upheaval of replacing your current radiators or are constrained by budget limitations for replacing your entire heating system, the array of adaptable retrofit underfloor heating (UFH) systems available is expanding. These advancements eliminate the necessity to select one system for your entire property. Underfloor heating and radiators can both be effectively installed in different areas of a property to establish a versatile and efficient heating system. Through the installation of a radiator manifold, you can manage your entire home’s heating system, encompassing both radiators and underfloor heating, from a single app.

Adding underfloor heating alongside an existing radiator system

Installing underfloor heating alongside an existing radiator system is a straightforward process. Underfloor heating can be installed across all floor areas or in specific rooms like a bathroom or extension.

However, the method of controlling underfloor heating alongside an existing radiator system depends on the type of underfloor heating system you select, whether it’s a standard screed system or a retrofit system.

  • If the UFH is a standard screed or floating floor system it will work at its best with independent control from the radiators. This caters to the difference in heat-up time.

Underfloor heating or radiators: Which is the best heating for my home?

Selecting the ideal heating system for your home can be a complex task, with various factors to weigh when choosing between underfloor heating (UFH) and radiators. We’ll explore six different scenarios commonly encountered during renovations to assist you in determining the most suitable heating option for your needs.

The cost of running underfloor heating vs radiators

If you seek an economical heating solution, underfloor heating might be the ideal choice for you. It is environmentally friendlier than radiators and consumes less energy, resulting in significantly lower long-term costs. When installed correctly, it has the potential to save approximately 25% of the energy compared to a radiator, and up to 40% when operated with a heat pump.

Underfloor heating is best for renewables and environmentally-friendly homes

Eager to establish a property that is both energy-efficient and environmentally conscious?

Traditional radiators face limitations in their compatibility with renewable heat sources like air source heat pumps. To effectively heat a room using the lower flow temperatures of a heat pump, a radiator would need to be oversized, occupying more wall space.

In such cases, underfloor heating (UFH) consistently emerges as the superior heating choice. When coupled with a heat pump, UFH demonstrates about 40% higher efficiency compared to radiators, thanks to its ability to operate with significantly lower water temperatures.

Installing UFH is simple and straightforward

Another significant advantage of underfloor heating is its straightforward installation process facilitated by a clear and comprehensive instruction manual. In fact, some installers have noted that installing underfloor heating is even easier than installing radiators.

Moreover, underfloor heating necessitates less supply pipework from the boiler compared to a radiator system. Instead of running pipes to the entire radiator system, you only need to connect a flow and return to the manifold/s, simplifying the installation process.

Underfloor heating vs radiators: Installing in an existing build

The decision between underfloor heating (UFH) and radiators in an existing building hinges on the extent of the ongoing renovation.

Undertaking the installation of certain UFH systems may involve significant work, particularly if it requires lifting floors. If floor renovation was not initially part of your renovation plans, you might conclude that underfloor heating isn’t the most suitable choice.

For those seeking minimal disruption, operating on a tight budget, or making only minor modifications to their home, opting to replace existing radiators or incorporate new ones, especially in an extension, could be the more practical heating solution.

In cases where property expansion is on the horizon and the current heating system involves radiators, you can choose between retaining the existing radiators or implementing a forward-looking UFH system. The latter allows for extra ports on the manifold, accommodating potential underfloor heating installation in the extension. Regardless of the choice, upgrading insulation levels in older buildings may be necessary to ensure optimal warmth.

Underfloor heating vs radiators: Installing in new build properties

When constructing a new building, the question arises as to whether installing radiators is a worthwhile consideration.

The incorporation of screed underfloor heating seamlessly fits into the construction schedule, especially when screed is already part of the process. Beyond its convenience, it proves to be a highly cost-effective heating alternative, providing numerous advantages over a radiator system with comparable operating costs.

Additionally, the potential for savings on energy bills becomes evident, as underfloor heating is known to be up to 25% more cost-effective than radiators. Given the prevalent feature of open-plan living in new build designs, underfloor heating emerges as the more desirable and practical solution.

Underfloor heating vs radiators: renovating a single room

When considering the renovation of an individual room, the decision between underfloor heating and radiators is contingent upon the intended use of the space.

Dispelling the misconception that, if a property already features radiators, opting for another radiator is likely the more cost-effective and simpler choice, underfloor heating (UFH) proves to be an advantageous option for various rooms. It has the potential to yield cost savings.

Renovations in areas like kitchens and living spaces find underfloor heating especially fitting, as it not only opens up wall space but also adds a touch of luxury, particularly when tiles or wood flooring are part of the plan.

Underfloor heating vs radiators: A new extension

Instead of causing disturbances throughout your entire home, you might consider incorporating underfloor heating (UFH) exclusively in a new extension, while retaining radiators in the rest of your residence. Given that extensions must adhere to current building regulation standards, adequate insulation is already in place, making it compatible with most underfloor heating systems, depending on the sub-floor.

In such a scenario, the installation of UFH can seamlessly occur without the need to replace or disrupt the existing radiator system. It can even operate off the existing radiator circuit, proving particularly advantageous for new kitchens or living spaces.

Whether you are engaged in new construction, extending your home, or renovating, underfloor heating offers a multitude of advantages over radiators. The option of installing UFH makes it challenging to justify choosing radiators in such circumstances.

Furthermore, if you are incorporating a heat pump into your heating system, underfloor heating becomes essential. It not only optimizes the efficiency of your new renewable system but also ensures a consistently warm home throughout the year with minimal running costs.

Making the Most of Your Space with UFH

The way we heat our homes significantly influences our daily lives. If you’re tired of avoiding your chilly kitchen, constantly competing for the warm spot next to the radiator, and resorting to extra blankets, it’s time to break free from inefficient heating.

Don’t let radiators dictate your comfort. Reclaim your living space by opting for underfloor heating (UFH).

Warm water underfloor heating empowers you to fully enjoy every corner of your home, allowing you the flexibility to arrange furniture and decor as you please. We firmly believe that underfloor heating stands out as the superior heating solution, and here’s why.

1. Unrestricted Style: UFH liberates your walls, eliminating the need to awkwardly position furniture or compromise on your interior design. You can even conceal thermostats and manage the entire system conveniently from your smartphone or tablet. With only one standard dial thermostat required in each zone, it’s far less intrusive than having radiators in every room. This flexibility makes UFH particularly well-suited for open-plan living.

2. Space Reclamation: Say goodbye to chilly kitchens and embrace the perfect entertaining space. Underfloor heating ensures every part of the room stays warm, eliminating draughts, cold spots, and the need for socks!

3. Remarkable Efficiency: Underfloor heating not only provides a delightful warmth but also maximizes efficiency while freeing up your living space. It’s up to 25% more efficient than an equivalent radiator system*, as per EURay 2005.

Cast aside your fluffy slippers and get ready to celebrate – with underfloor heating, your once-cold spaces have transformed into cozy, efficient, and stylish areas to enjoy.

Next steps

Although the upfront expenses and installation efforts associated with underfloor heating may deter some, the enduring advantages make it a worthwhile investment.

Furthermore, when you integrate underfloor heating with a heat pump, you not only significantly diminish your carbon emissions but also decrease your dependence on the gas grid.

Get FREE Underfloor Heating
Find out how much an Underfloor Heating System would cost you

Step 1 of 6

Complete A Short Form – Receive Free Quotes – Compare & Save

Get FREE Underfloor Heating Quotes
Find out how much an Underfloor Heating System would cost you

Step 1 of 6

Complete A Short Form – Receive Free Quotes – Compare & Save

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