Radiator Valves

Types Of Radiator Valves

What is a radiator valve?


Radiator valves are the small attachments at the bottom of your radiator which control the temperature of your radiator. They don’t tend to come with the radiator, they are supplied separately, and for a good reason. You need to choose the exact valves you want depending on the pipework in your home. Everyone's pipes are different, so they cannot be supplied with radiators. By having valves sold separately, you can ensure you get the correct valves for your home whilst also being able to pick the style you wish to have in your home. Therefore, you are able to pick which valves match your pipes, décor, and radiator.

Radiator valves usually go unnoticed by the average consumer until a problem occurs with their radiator. However, radiator valves are a vital part in a functioning radiator. The main reason a person may need the radiator valve is when their radiator starts experiencing problems, as the valve is an important part in not just the radiator but the central heating system. When buying a new radiator, you must understand exactly what parts you need. This guide will tell you exactly which valve you need for your radiator and pipework!


What types of radiator valves are there?

Radiator valves come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and styles. You can get either straight, angled, or corner valves and they are all for different types of radiators and pipework.


How do I know which radiator valve I need?

Selecting your radiator valves depends on where the pipes in your house are, and your style of the radiator.


What is the purpose of radiator valves?

The radiator valve's main purpose is to control the amount of hot water that enters the radiator and leaves it. Thermostats are also used to control and monitor the heat of your radiator. Radiator valves come in pairs, one valve adjusts the water entering the radiator, to control the heat coming in, and the other valve is help balance out the system, by controlling the amount of hot water exiting the radiator.


Where Is the radiator valve?

Most radiator valves are located at the bottom of a radiator, attached to where the water pipes enter and exit the radiator. They are mostly situated around the bottom left and bottom right of the radiator, although some radiators have valves positioned in the centre at the bottom of the radiator. There are several different types of valves that are currently available on the market. These are typically referred to as thermostatic, lock shield and manual, whilst also coming in a few different styles, depending on how accessible the pipe and radiator are. The different types of configurations are typically straight, angled, corner and H block valves.


How to choose which radiator valve I need:


Bottom inlets

Side inlets

Pipes through floor



Pipes through wall



Pipes along wall




The valves needed for your radiator depend on your radiator type, valve position and where the pipes exit your interior wall. With there being various options available on the market at the moment, it can get extremely confusing to figure out which one you need. If you are pro-actively on the search a specific valve, or just wish to learn and understand more in regard to pipework and radiators, then our guide will show you the way. All the valves available on the market are all not the same, as there are many different types of radiator valves and choosing a set depends on the positioning of your plumbing system and radiators. To guide you on how to pick the right valve for your radiator and home, we have listed every type of radiator vale below and when purchasing any of your radiators, we give you a clear guide on which valve you need to fit.


What are the main two types of valves?

Each radiator valve is different; therefore, it is essential you know which one you need. The most used and known types of radiator valves are manual and thermostatic.


What is a thermostatic valve?

Whilst searching for a thermostatic radiator valve, you may see they are frequently referred to as “TRVs”. This type of radiator valve is connected to the hot water system in your home and then begins to control the water flowing in and out of the unit, allowing you to maintain your desired room/house temperature. In essence, the valve similarly controls the heat that a room thermostat would. Allowing you to pick your desired room/home temperature whilst programming the TRV system. Once set up, if the room temperature rises above or below the desired temperature, which you want, then the TRV system will raise or lower the hot water flow to your radiator. The major benefit being your home will not get uncomfortably cold or warm.


The TRV system is very energy efficient, which means it will save you lots of money on your energy bills. This is because the TRV system automatically stops the hot water from entering your radiator as soon the room/house reaches the desired temperature, resulting in saving energy and money. The TRV ensure you are constantly at optimum heat, and you will never have to go through the experience of discomfort due to your home is either too hot or too cold due to the TRV system keeping the temperatures exactly how you desire them to be, even when you are not at home. 


One con with the TRV system is, you have less direct control over how much water is in your pipes and radiators, you may wish to have a manual valve, which will enable you to control the flow by yourself. 

Another negative of Thermostatic radiator valves, are that they are unreliable to use in bathrooms, as the heat and steam from baths or showers, can offset the valves readings, resulting in inaccurate and inconsistent home temperatures.


What is a manual valve?

Manual valves, as you may already have guessed, work differently from the Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV). The manual valve enables you to have complete control over your radiator temperatures and central heating by simply adjusting the valve. They are also compatible with most radiators, including towel rails, copper pipes and cast-iron radiators. You can change the amount of hot water travelling through the pipes and the heat which radiates from the central heating system.


A manual valve enables you to have full control of your radiator temperatures by allowing you to switch your water supply on and off precisely when you choose so that you can have a more hands-on approach to your heating temperatures. It is brilliant for those whose temperature needs to change a lot or who reside in an older house, which often fluctuates in temperatures.


Although full control is a pro of manual valves, it also has cons. They need to be manually operated at all times. If your valve is on and your heating is on, the radiator will warm up whether your home is already warm enough or not. When using manual valves, it is always best to put a timer on your heating to avoid extra, unnecessary heat from the radiator, which would also mean unnecessary extra costs.


Different shapes of radiator valve

All valves come in different shapes to suit every radiator and inlet type/position. The most common are angled, straight and corner.

Angled radiator valves:

The Angle radiator valve is mostly used when the pipe runs through the floorboard, whilst the connector for the radiator is at the side. Angled radiator valves are also needed when the pipe travels out of the wall and bends upwards, whilst the radiator connector is on the side.  However, there are still instances in which angled valves can be used. For example, when the pipe exits the wall, and the radiator connection is at the bottom, and the valve itself will stick out in front of the radiator, in this instance however, it may be better to use corner radiator valves.

Straight radiator valves:

Straight radiator valves are the perfect valve for older houses, which were built differently from modern homes today. The straight radiator valve can modernise your house if it is an older home.

You should use a straight radiator valve in the following instances:

When the pipes are placed in the floorboards up to the radiator, and at the bottom of the radiator is the radiator connection.

If the pipes are placed alongside the skirting board and the radiator connector is at the side

When your pipes come down from the ceiling, twist around to meet the radiator on the side.

When the pipe exits the wall and twists around to meet the radiator on the side

When the pipes exit the wall and curve up to meet the radiator connector at the bottom

Corner radiator valve:

The Corner radiator valve is the best valve for pipes which come out of the wall, as they can fit nicely onto your radiator. They are best for radiators:

When the pipes are coming through the floor, the inlets are at the side of the radiator.

If the pipes are through the wall, the radiator connector is at the side or the bottom.

When your pipes come along the wall and inlets are at the bottom of the radiator.


Materials used in radiator valves:

Radiator valves come in a range of styles and materials, so there will always be one to match your radiator and interior style.

These are the most common materials used for radiator valves

  • Brass
  • Polished Nickel
  • Antique Brass
  • Chrome
  • Satin Nickel
  • Antique Copper
  • Pewter

At Chelsea supplies, we have a wide range of valves available to fit all our radiators and pipe fixings. When purchasing one of our radiators, we also give you a guide to finding the right valve for your radiator.