Best Boilers in 2018

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When researching which boiler will be best for your home in 2018, the most important factors to consider are which type of boiler you need, which boiler brand is best and how much will you save per year with a new efficient energy saving boiler?

Heating accounts for about 55% of your energy bills in a year. A new energy saving boiler could save you up to £305 a year by reducing those energy bills, so an efficient boiler makes a big difference.

Which Type of Boiler is Best for Your Home?

The most important factor that usually determines which type of boiler is best suited for your home is your hot water requirements. That is, do you have 1 or 2 bathrooms, do you have 2 bathrooms and an en-suite?

Another factor is the size of your home, and therefore, your central heating requirements. However, it’s important to note, that even the smallest 24kW output boiler can be set up to heat up to 14 radiators in a typical domestic property.

There are three main types of boiler in the UK:

  • Combi (or Combination) Boiler
  • Conventional Boiler
  • System Boiler

We discuss these options below.

Combi Boilers

A combi boiler provides heating and instantaneous hot water directly from within the boiler – without the need for hot water tanks, cylinders, overflow tanks and otherwise expensive setups.

They are a great choice for those with homes with limited space and normal hot water requirements. Combi boilers are also ideal for those of you wishing to save the most amount of money on energy bills because they are, easily, the most efficient to run.

Combi boilers are usually cheaper to have installed or exchanged because there is no need for additional pipework and hot water tanks and cylinders.

A combi boiler can provide a powerful show because hot water is delivered directly from the boiler, through to your taps at mains pressure – negating the requirement for a pump.

To summarise, the advantages of installing a combi boiler in your home:

  • cheapest to install
  • cheapest to run
  • require the least amount of space
  • can deliver a powerful shower
  • options for oil, electric and gas

Conventional Boilers

A conventional boiler is always sometimes known as a regular boiler. It heats your homes hot water and radiators but uses a separate hot water cylinder to store hot water – rather than deliver it directly from the boiler.

The hot water in conventional or regular boilers must, therefore, be heating in advance and cannot be delivered on demand, which is the case with combi boilers. However, hot water output can be very high, easly running two or three showers simultaneously.

A regular boiler is very efficient at heating the water in the cylinder but loses some of that efficiency gain when heat is lost from the cylinder.

To summarise, the advantages of installing a conventional boiler in your home:

  • cheaper to heat hot water
  • easily run two showers at once
  • best for homes that have a conventional boiler already

System Boilers

A system boiler directly heats your central heating and your hot water which is stored in a cylinder. Many of the key heating and hot water components are built into the system boiler.

Unlike conventional boilers, system boilers do not require a tank in the loft. A distinct disadvantage of this type of system is that hot water is not instant and it can run out.

To summarise, the advantages of installing a system boiler in your home:

  • no requirement for water tank in loft
  • economical to run
  • often easier and neater to install than conventional boilers

Heating accounts for about 55% of your energy bills in a year. A new energy saving boiler could save you up to £305 a year by reducing those energy bills, so an efficient boiler makes a big difference.

Best Combi Boiler in 2018

We questioned 3,100 homeowners on how happy they were with the combi boiler brand they have at home. Specifically, we asked questions about the number of breakdowns in the first 5 years of ownership, value for money and ease of use.

Homeowners were asked 3 questions, the answers were weighted in the order shown and the results were compiled:

  • How many times has your combi boiler broken down in the first 5 years?
  • Do you think £XXX for your combi boiler is good value?
  • Do you find your combi boiler and controls easy to use?
Boiler Type Price Rating
Worcester Combi £1000 9/10
Viessmann Combi £945 9/10
Vaillant Combi £930 9/10
Ideal Combi £720 4/10
Glowworm Combi £780 3/10
Potterton Combi £910 3/10
Ariston Combi £600 2/10
Baxi Combi £730 2/10
Ferroli Combi £630 2/10
Vokera Combi  £479 1/10

NB. Only homeowners who had a new boiler installed more than 5 years ago were included. Price indicated is for the manufacturers basic model. Click here to see all combi boiler prices.

The most important conclusion we came to, in regards to boiler breakdowns in the first 5 years, was that 43% of homeowners experienced a break down in the first 5 years. When comparing the top 3 boilers this dropped to a very respectable 21%.

Best Conventional Boiler in 2018

We questioned homeowners on how happy they were with the conventional boiler brand they have at home. Specifically, we asked questions about the number of breakdowns in the first 5 years of ownership, value for money and ease of use.

Homeowners were asked 3 questions, the answers were weighted in the order shown and the results were compiled:

  • How many times has your conventional boiler broken down in the first 5 years?
  • Do you think £XXX for your conventional boiler is good value?
  • Do you find your conventional boiler and controls easy to use?
Boiler Type Price
Worcester Greenstar 40CDi Conventional £1615
Viessmann Vitodens Conventional £851
Vaillant ecoTECplus 412 Conventional £665
Grant Vortex 21-16 Conventional £2015

NB. Only homeowners who had a new boiler installed more than 5 years ago were included. Price indicated is for the manufacturers basic model.

Best System Boiler in 2018

Again, we questioned homeowners on how happy they were with the system boiler brand they have at home. Specifically, we asked questions about the number of breakdowns in the first 5 years of ownership, value for money and ease of use.

Homeowners were asked 3 questions, the answers were weighted in the order shown and the results were compiled:

  • How many times has your system boiler broken down in the first 5 years?
  • Do you think £XXX for your system boiler is good value?
  • Do you find your system boiler and controls easy to use?
Boiler Type Price
Worcester Greenstar 9i System £795
Worcester 12i System £835
Worcester 15i System £665
Viessmann 100-W System £891

NB. Only homeowners who had a new boiler installed more than 5 years ago were included. Price indicated is for the manufacturers basic model.

Best Boiler for Your House

So what’s the best for your individual needs and what’s suited to your particular home? The best boiler for your house will depend on the size of your house and your particular hot water requirements.

The best boiler for a 1 bedroom flat won’t be the same as the best boiler for a 3 bedroom house – that goes without saying. So below, we’ll examine which boilers are best for small, medium and large houses.

Best Combi Boiler for a 1 Bedroom Flat

If you have a studio flat or a 1 bedroom flat then we only recommend you install a combi boiler. Not only is a system or conventional boiler overkill, but it is unlikely you will have enough space to accommodate or upgrade to this kind of set up.

You will likely only have one bathroom and only 1 to 3 people will be living there – so hot water demands won’t be high. A combi boiler will easily be able to handle heating and hot water requirements.

Our recommendations are as follows:

Boiler Type Price
Worcester 25i Combi £875
Viessmann 100-W Combi £920
Worcester 30i Combi £950
Worcester 25Si Combi £975

Best Combi Boiler for a 2 Bedroom Flat

If you have a 2 bedroom flat then, again, we only recommend you install a combi boiler. Not only is a system or conventional boiler overkill, but it is unlikely you will have enough space to accommodate or upgrade to this kind of set up.

You will likely only have one bathroom and only 1 to 4 people will be living there – so hot water demands won’t be high. A combi boiler will easily be able to handle heating and hot water requirements.

Our recommendations are as follows:

Boiler Type Price
Worcester 25i Combi £875
Viessmann 100-W Combi £920
Vaillant ecoTec 24 Combi £860
Vaillant ecoTec 28 Combi £950

Best Combi Boiler for a 3 Bedroom House

When choosing the best boiler for a 3 bedroom house, care should be taken. It will be best to get tailored individual advice from your installer when considering your options, the setup you currently have, and the setup and options you could have in the future.

The average 3 bedroom house might have 1 or 2 bathrooms (one being an en-suite). You might be considering adding an extension to the back of your house or going up into the loft with an additional bathroom. Your hot water needs could change in future and consideration needs to be given when choosing a boiler that gives more flexibility.

It is, therefore, harder to give recommendations on which boiler is suitable so we have gone for a wide range of boilers. We’ve included combi boilers with high hot water output (litres per minute) and also conventional boilers in case you already have that particular setup.

A medium sized yet powerful boiler28kW to 34kW would most likely be adequate, in the same way, a new energy efficient conventional boiler would also be suitable.

Our recommendations are as follows:

Boiler Type Price
Worcester 29CDi Combi £1050
Worcester 34CDi Combi £1200
Vaillant plus 835 Combi £1250
Vaillant plus 838 Combi £1300
Vaillant ecoFIT 430 System £930
Worcester 30i System £1000
Worcester 30CDi System £1050
Vaillant ecoTEC System £1150

Best Boiler for a 4/5 Bedroom House

What is the best boiler for a 4 or 5 bedroom house? A larger 4 or 5 bedroom house will have a higher heating and hot water demand and therefore require a much more powerful boiler than you would have in a smaller property. You can get away with a very powerful combi boiler and it will be just fine.

The Vaillant ecoTEC plus 938 is able to deliver 20 litres of hot water per minute – which is almost double the hot water output of the smallest combi boilers on the market. It’s not cheap, however.

For the cheapest boilers from the leading manufacturers see our guide on: What are the cheapest boilers?

If you have a larger 4 or 5 bedroom house then you need to consider if you’re ever going to be in a situation where two showers are running at the same time and you also require hot water from the kitchen tap. In smaller households (say 4 or less) that shouldn’t be a problem.

In a household made up or 5 or 6 people where some of the children are grown up then hot water requirements, particularly hot water for showers and baths, will be greater.

Also, there should be some consideration as to how fast you like your bathtub to be filled when you’re in need of a nice relaxing bubble bath after work. A conventional or system boiler will be the best option here.

Our recommendations are as follows:

Boiler Type Price
Viessmann 100-W System £1000
Viessmann 100-W Combi £1100
Viessmann 35kW Conventional £1300
Vaillant 938 Combi £1500
Worcester 40CDi Regular £1600
Worcester 42CDi Regular £1900
Grant Vortex 36-46 Regular £3200

Conclusion

Having installed so many boilers we know and understand that each property is different and that every customer has different needs and budgets. We also know that all of the engineers we employ have their preferred make and model of boiler. So it’s common for an installer to prefer one particular make and model for each type of property they encounter.

We’ve made a list of important things to remember when choosing a boiler for your property. Follow our advice and you’ll end up with a boiler that will serve you well for a very long time:

  • choose the correct size boiler for your property – even if it costs more
  • choose the boiler with the highest guarantee – even if it costs more
  • check your mains pressure to determine how good it is
  • consider doing away with water tanks and cylinders if appropriate
  • always fit a magnetic filter
  • consider TRV’s and smart thermostats
  • always use a Gas Safe registered engineer to install the boiler
  • always use an NICEIC registered engineer for the electrical connection

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