A Beginners Guide to Buying Radiator Valves

If you have never bought a radiator valve before, fear not! We have put together a handy Buyer's Guide to explain the commonly used terms and help you in choosing the perfect valves and accessories for your radiator.

What is a Radiator Valve?

A radiator valve is effectively a tap, used to control the flow of water in and out of the radiator and thus controlling the amount of heat that radiates from the heater into the room.

Wheel head & Lockshield Valves

The wheel-head valve is generally fitted to the hot water flow-in on a radiator. By opening and closing the valve controls the amount of water that enters the radiator and the heat that is produced. The lockshield is generally fitted to the return (flow-out) and should be used to help balance the system. Both valves can be used to isolate a radiator, if the radiator needs to be removed for maintenance or decoration.

Manual or Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV)

Manual valves are controlled by the user and thermostatic valves are set to a required room temperature and automatically adjust to maintain a balanced room temperature. Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) are very common these days and popular as they offer built-in automated control over a room's temperature. As well as balanced heat control they save money by closing down the radiator when the room is warm enough and thus reducing energy consumption, eco-friendly! If a room thermostat is used in the main room of the house, or perhaps in a hall way, manual valves are often fitted in that room, so the room thermostat controls the temperature, as well as being the master control to turn the boiler on and off. If a wireless room thermostat is used and moves from room to room (with you), then thermostatic valves are generally used in all rooms. For bathroom heated towel rails, manual valves are often used, so that the towel rail stays hot and dries out wet towels, rather than cutting out when the room warms up.

Valve Orientation

There are three main types of valves: angled, straight and corner. The type best suited to your installation will depend upon the radiator being installed and whether the inlet pipes are coming up from the floor, out of a wall, or running along the wall. This is easy to relate to by viewing the examples below. If we don't show an installation that matches yours or you'd like to double-check, please feel free to call us for advise, or you could email us a picture of your installation.

Style & Finish

In reality the first thing most customers consider when buying radiators valves is style, what will match their radiator and home. We simply split this into two styles, modern and traditional. As well as a vast array of styles we also offer a variety of finishes to choose from. For many years chrome has been the most popular finish for radiator valves in the UK, but with the advent of designer radiators and resurgence of classic column and Victorian cast iron radiators, we sell lots of valves in finishes such as brushed satin nickel, black nickel, antique brass and pewter.


As well as the radiator valves most customers are now choosing to install pipe shrouds. These are pipe sleeves that cover the inlet pipe between the floor or wall and the radiator valve, they match the finish of the valve to hide the copper or plastic pipe going into the radiator. As well as the pipe cover, pipe shrouds come with a cover plate, this is ideal for covering the gaps in the floor or wall where the pipe comes out. Radiator valve extensions are used to extend the fitting range of a radiator valve. If you're replacing a radiator and there is a gap between your new radiator and the valves, an extension in a suitable length can be used to bridge this gap. We offer both rigid extensions and extendable, telescopic extensions.