The world of natural gas boilers is full of all different shapes, sizes and power ratings, as well as a variety of system types and efficiency levels. Perhaps the only thing they all have in common is their colour.
Many of these differences are essential to ensure that exactly the right specification of boiler can be recommended for your home, and new specialist models are coming onto the market all the time to serve the wide variety of properties across the UK.
But there’s one choice that tends to be very much down to the customer - the brand and manufacturer of the boiler. It’s often not clear why you should choose one brand over the other.
Here, we outline some of the more popular brands on the market and explain why people choose them.
Boiler brands we recommend
Probably the most popular brand in the market, Worcester Bosch are something of a household name in the boiler world. Their curved design looks great on a kitchen wall, but it’s their renowned aftercare package that is most appealing, with great customer service on the 10-year manufacturer guarantees that come with all their boilers. The reviews of their boilers are some of the best in the market, with many highlighting their customer service. They are also a top rated brand on Which?, and a 'Best Buy' for 2018. We'd recommend them based on their generous guarantee and great customer service.
Viessmann boilers provide the latest engineering from a company with roots in Germany, but an increasing presence in the UK. They're known for their best-in-class quiet operation and reliability, with a corrosion-resistant stainless steel heat exchanger (the component that heats water), rather than the typical aluminium. They’re also among the most cost-effective boilers out there for smaller homes, with the new 050-W model. They’ve also got an excellent score for service on Reviews.co.uk, and come with a 10-year warranty as standard. Their Vitodens range has been rated Which? Boiler of the year on a number of occasions. We'd recommend them for reliability and quiet operation.
With a history spanning 140 years, Vaillant are another market-leading brand. They’ve traditionally been popular and reliable, but have tended not to offer the longest guarantees (though this is now changing). They have a loyal base of customers and engineers that don't hesitate to recommend Vaillant, and engineers typically speak highly of Vaillant boilers. We'd recommend them as a well-made boiler.
Ideal have historically been a better choice for those with a lower budget, and had a number of design problems with their previous Icos range. However, since the launch of their new Logic range, they perform well and have shown to be reliable in recent years. They score slightly lower on review sites, but this tends to be down to the performance of previous boiler ranges, along with shorter guarantee periods and patchy customer service, something they have now recently tried to bring in line with the rest of the market. That said, we'd still recommend them for those on a budget, for those looking for a well-made boiler but looking for a slightly cheaper option without the premium support of some of the more established brands.
Other boiler brands
Another British manufacturer and one-time household name, Baxi's sales numbers have suffered a bit recently with reviews detailing unreliability and lower-than-average customer service. Engineers often say that Baxi boilers are well-made, however.
Other smaller brands, such as Potterton, Vokera, and Ferroli
There are a number of other manufacturers on the market. We typically advice customers to choose a larger well-known brand, due to the availability of manufacturer breakdown engineers and parts, so you have the best chance of getting back up and running if things go wrong. While you may save a few hundred pounds by choosing a cheaper brand, this can often cause headaches down the line. These niche and budget brands often have mixed reliability ratings and less good customer service, but can still be good for a limited budget and certain property setups. We advise you to do your research and read reviews if you're considering these.
What's the ‘right’ boiler brand for me?
Overall, boiler owners seem to judge a brand on the responsiveness of the company to problems (including warranty call-outs), and the overall reliability of the boilers themselves. There are some clear winners and losers here. There's also the question of price. But it’s also worth bearing in mind your own engineer’s opinion. A good engineer will have installed hundreds of boilers, and will have seen first hand which ones perform best, along with what might work best in your unique situation (for example, some brands have unusual flue options). They'll also be trained in how to install specific types of boilers to ensure the work goes smoothly. In addition, they will also have local knowledge of the types of property in the area, the mains water pressure and calcium carbonate content, and which boilers perform best under these conditions. Their recommendations are worth considering alongside customer reviews and research, as they may recommend a brand that may well be best for your home’s unique needs.