Which is the Best Cheap Boiler?
Sometimes we all need to keep to a budget, it’s a fact of life. So when it comes to replacing a broken boiler, how can you find that magic balance between quality and value for money? We’ve compared two of the cheapest boilers on the market to give you a helping hand,
About the Brands
Neither Vokèra or Glow-worm can claim the top spot when it comes to either consumer or engineer recommendations. For example, in the 2016 Best Boiler survey conducted by Which?, of the 14 brands reviewed, they took 11th and 12th positions with Vokèra scoring just 43% and Glow-worm 52%.
From our research it seems that these brands fall down when it comes to overall reliability and the quality of their components when compared the high end models like Worcester Bosch or Vaillant. They are not, however, as heavily criticised as some other brands and seem to be generally considered as ‘average’. Where they come together is their offering of ‘cost conscious’ or ‘value for money’ boilers. So, if you’re on a budget and looking for a no frills boiler to get the job done, they could be the right move for you.
Both brands hold a respectable position in the UK domestic boiler industry. Vokèra have been producing heating solutions for 30 years while Glow-worm have been on the scene for over 80 years. In addition, both are backed by global parent companies the Riello Group (Vokèra) and Vaillant (Glow-worm) so have a solid financial foundation and established customer support procedures.
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Comparing a boiler
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular budget boiler from each brand to find out.
Both these boilers are recommended for 1-2 bedroom homes with 1 bathroom and up to 10 radiators. As with all Combi boilers, they do not require a storage cylinder or tank as they heat water on demand. For that reason they are not suitable for homes with multiple bathrooms and a high demand for hot water.
|Boiler Make / Model||Vokera Compact A Combi 29kW||Glow-worm Ultimate2 Combi 30 kW|
|Other outputs available (kW)||25 kW||35 kW|
|ErP Rating (efficiency)||A (89%)||A (89.3%)|
|Size (HxWxD)||72 x 41 x 25cm||74 x 42 x 30cm|
|Hot water flow rate (litres per min)||11.9||12.5|
|LPG compatible model available||Yes, with conversion kit||No|
|Standard warranty||2 years||5 years|
|User display||Digital||Bright LCD|
|Flexible flue options||Yes||Yes|
|*Boiler needs to be installed by an accredited installer,
and serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
These Vokèra and Glow-worm boilers are at the lower end of the price scale and both tend to fall somewhere between £550 – £650 (on average), so there is very little daylight between them. This Vokèra boiler is usually a little cheaper at around £550 while the Glow-worm averages around £650. The installation costs of each boiler will vary depending on the installer you choose so be sure to get quotes from at least 2 different companies.
Remember, there may be other costs to consider such as accessories like TRVs or new controls so you will need a professional to carry out a survey of your home to be sure of exactly what’s needed.
If you already have a Vokèra boiler in place, it’s worth knowing that all Vokèra’s boilers include standard pipework fittings. This means that replacing an older Vokèra with a new Vokèra could simplify and lower the cost of installation.
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Alternatively you can compare up to 4 different boiler models via our Comparison Tool.
Repairs and Warranties
Both companies have a team of Gas Safe registered service engineers on hand to support you if anything goes wrong, but it’s worth noting that Glow-worm offer a considerably longer standard warranty of 5 years. When compared to Vokèra’s 2 year warranty, this offers considerably more peace of mind.
As with most Combi boilers, both these brands claim that their boiler offers compact, cupboard fit. The Vokèra boiler, however, is slightly smaller in terms of dimensions and weighs just 27 kg which is 6 kg less than the Glow-worm boiler. Of course, the lift weight won’t matter to you as a homeowner but an easier installation for the engineer can mean reduced labour costs.
In addition to the standard thermostats and wireless controls that both brands offer, each of these boilers is compatible with smart controls that enable you to control your heating from anywhere via a smartphone or tablet app. Vokèra is compatible with BeSmart which can manage up to 8 different heating zones from anywhere in the world, includes weather compensation and pre-programmable comfort levels. It also features automatic alerts for both the customer and Vokèra Service Centre if something goes wrong with the boiler.
Glow-worm have their own app based control system called MiGo which delivers all the same functions as BeSmart. It’s also a self-learning system that adapts to the energy requirements of your home and monitors and adjusts energy consumption.
There’s no arguing with numbers and, if saving money is top of your priorities then the smaller, lightweight Vokèra is the cheaper option. However, when it comes to boilers you really do get what you pay for. For a little more money the Glow-worm offers 3 years longer in warranty and comes with higher recommendations and reviews from both homeowners and engineers.
So the winner of the Battle of the Budget Boilers is clear to see: the Glow-worm Ultimate2 takes the day.
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