What is a Towel Rail?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2020
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Sometimes referred to as a towel bar, the tower rail is a simple rail or bar that is installed in a horizontal position on a wall. The rail is normally attached to supports that hold the bar a short distance from the wall. This makes it possible to fold the body of one or two towels over the rail, keeping the towels within easy reach of anyone taking a shower or washing up at a lavatory.

While the towel rail is the most common means of arranging towels for use in a bathroom or near a sink, there are other options. A simple towel hook can be screwed into a wall, making it possible to have a single towel within easy reach. In some homes, a open-faced towel shelf makes it possible to quickly pull down a single hand towel for use, then place the soiled towel in a laundry bin. Towel rings, usually composed of metal, are also common choices when something more decorative than the basic towel rack or rail is desired.


There are several different types of towel rails in use today. Some of the designs differ mainly in the choice of materials or the addition of decorative elements. It is possible to purchase a towel rail made from heavy duty plastic or some type of metal. There are even some companies that offer acrylic or glass rails. As with many household items, it is possible to purchase a towel rail that is extremely inexpensive or spend a great deal of money for elaborate or oversized designs.

In addition to the single towel rail design, there are units constructed with multiple rails. These can be practical for large families, or as a means of adding towel storage to a bathroom in an older home. It is also possible to purchase a towel rack or rail that is equipped with a towel warmer; this device gently warms towels while they hang on the rail, which can be a plus when the bathroom is chilly.

Depending on the type of towel rail desired, the unit can be purchased at a wide range of retail outlets. Prices for the rails will run from budget models that are very inexpensive to designer models that cost a great deal of money. Simple designs using plastic for the rail are found at just about any discount retail store. Metal versions are usually found at high-end retail shops and department stores. Home stores or decorating boutiques usually offer the widest range of options with the design and choice of materials.


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