Both panel radiators and Convector radiators are convection heaters, as they heat by convection. Hot metal elements inside the heater body warm the air as it circulates around the room. The warm air then transfers its heat to the people in the room. While both operate on similar principles, there are some key distinctions that set them apart.

In this blog, we will discuss the differences between a traditional convector radiator and a regular panel radiator, in terms of:

  • Structure
  • Compatible heat source
  • Energy efficiency
  • Overall cost
  • Aesthetics

Differences Between a Traditional Convector Radiator and a Regular Panel Radiator

panel radiator vs convector radiatorStructural Differences 

The main difference between a regular panel radiator and convector radiator is the added bonus of a layer of metal radiator fins that are all heated evenly to produce more heat.  

 zig-zag metal fins in convector radiators


The zig-zag layers of metal fins behind the radiator creates a considerable amount of surface area to your metal tank, so more heat is pulled away from the radiator by air currents. Many convector radiators can also be fan-assisted (an exclusive feature of convector radiators), which can help circulate the air. The Sovereign range is available in  fan-assisted models to heat large spaces efficiently.  

Compatible Heat Source 

Typically, convection radiators are the better choice when it comes to using sustainable heat sources, such as heat pumps. This means that, usually, convector radiators are designed to run at lower flow temperatures, making them a lower carbon alternative.  

Panel radiators, on the other hand, are best used with gas boilers. This is due to their compact nature that needs higher flow rates for maximum efficiency. However, panel radiators can still be used with low carbon heat sources in some cases when sized accordingly to achieve the best possible output on lower flow temperatures.  

New call-to-action

Energy Efficiency 

Convector radiators heat the room more efficiently than a regular panel heater due to structural differences.  

The fins act to increase the contact surface with the surrounding air, so it can heat up the room at a faster rate. When fan-assisted, it could speed up the process of warm air circulation in the room even more. 

The effective heat dispersion allows convector radiators to run at a lower temperature while still delivering optimal heat without sacrificing comfort. That makes convector radiators more energy efficient than panel radiators.  

Overall Cost 

We can break down the cost into purchase cost and running cost.  

The price of a typical panel radiator is normally lower than a convector radiator. But with an average life span of between fifteen and twenty years, the running cost is what will inherently impact the cost overall.  

Convector radiators being more energy efficient, means a reduction in running time and the amount of energy it takes to heat up the space. This translates into lower energy cost, making convector radiators more cost efficient in the long term.  


Traditional convectors are usually bulkier compared to the slimmer looking panel radiators. Panel radiator’s slimmer design allows it to fit in the room without being too prominent.   


Comparison of convector radiator and panel radiator 

The Ultimate Solution To The Dilemma Of “Aesthetic Or Performance?” 

Contour’s Sovereign LST range is where aesthetic and quality meets.  

They are designer convector radiators with a lamella heat exchanger – a modern heating element commonly used for heating in commercial and public spaces.  

The Sovereign range only needs a small water content for controlled rapid heating. It reduces thermal inertia when heating and allows a rapid reaction to ambient temperature fluctuations caused by accidental heat gains, e.g., by sunlight, people staying over, electrical appliances etc.  Apart from all the benefits of a traditional convector radiator, the sleek and stylish designs add extra aesthetic value to the range. A diminutive size allows them to blend in with the surroundings in perfect harmony and perform their function effectively without compromising quality. 

New call-to-action

The Sovereign LST range offers a wide selection of designs that can be incorporated into a variety of locations, from commercial spaces like shopping centre, showrooms and hotels, to public spaces and education premises such as libraries, schools, post office buildings etc. If you’re considering installing a new heating system for your school or business, get in touch with our experts today To discuss any projects you have, and how a sovereign radiator could suit you.