The Best Electric Boilers 2019
In the world of heating, there’s no denying that the gas network is the dominant force. But for those of us on the other side, what can we turn to? The electric boiler, of course.
The electric boiler has, shall we say, a mixed reputation. The main criticism of them as a home heating system is that electricity is more expensive, so in terms of running costs they just aren’t winners. However, for millions of homes across the UK without access to the gas network they are a viable heating alternative and bring with them several other less talked about benefits.
To help you decide if an electric boiler could be a realistic option for your home, we reached out to our network of registered boiler installers across the UK and asked them for their thoughts on the subject and, importantly, which brands are the most popular and reliable (in their experience).
What is an Electric Boiler?
An electric boiler can be installed in most small to medium sized homes to produce the hot water for both your heating and domestic use. While the most commonly installed boiler will use gas or oil to heat the water, an electric boiler will pass the water via an electric element. They are a popular alternative for homes where gas is not an option and oil is either impractical or too expensive. They are often limited as to the amount of hot water they can produce at any one time and so aren’t recommended for larger homes.
The Best Electric Boilers
|Manufacturer||Boiler Model||Floor-standing or Wall-mounted?||Available Outputs (kW)||Dimensions (H x W x D)||Energy Rating||Average Price (excluding installation)||Standard Warranty|
|Electric Heating Company||Comet Combi Boiler||Floor-standing||9 / 12 / 14.4||1745 x 580 x 630mm||Hot Water: C
|£2,571||2 years (10 years on cylinder)|
|Heatrae Sadia||Electromax||Floor-standing||6 /9||1476 x 550 x 600mm||Hot Water: C
|£1,800 – £2,000||2 years (10 years on cylinder)|
|Elnur||Mattira MAC15||Wall-mounted||3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15||830 x 555 x 450mm||Hot Water: D
|£1,750 – £2,000||2 years (5 years on cylinder)|
|THERMAflow||THERMAflow Electric Combi Boiler||Floor-standing||10 / 11 / 13 / 14 / 16 / 18||From 1590 x 550 x 690mm up to 1920 x 710 x 850mm||Unknown||£2,360 – £4,050||1 year (25 years on cylinder)|
|Electric Combi Boilers Co.||Elektra EK.C Combi Boiler||Wall-mounted||12kW (modulates from 2-12kW)||875 x 400 x 300mm||Unknown||£1,190||2 years|
Types of Electric Boiler
There are a few different types of electric boiler, some of which may be more suited to your home and lifestyle than others.
This boiler is the most similar to a gas Combi boiler i.e. it uses a heating element to heat water on demand. While it is the simplest and cheapest to install it doesn’t have any way of storing hot water so you can’t take advantage of Economy 7 tariffs by heating water overnight for use during the day.
A storage electric boiler includes a hot water tank either within the unit or separately. This enables you to heat water overnight, when energy costs are lower, and store it for use the next day. They are more expensive than direct acting boilers and the tank will take up more space in your home.
A Combined Primary Storage Unit, or CPSU, stores lots of hot water within the boiler so it can meet demand much quicker and at higher pressure. However, they tend to be quite large and as such are more suited to commercial installations.
Dry Core Storage
Dry core boilers are similar to storage heaters as they use cheaper nighttime tariffs to heat bricks overnight, but the heat is then released into water to be used in central heating and hot water, rather than being released directly into the home.
If you have a storage tank with an immersion heater you can use free energy from solar panels to heat your water during the day.
Note: Electric boilers are not electric storage heaters. While the boiler will use electricity to heat water for your taps and radiators, a storage heater will heat bricks in your home over night (when energy costs are lower) so you can then use this stored heat throughout the following day.
How Much do Electric Boilers Cost?
The smaller the boiler, the smaller the cost both to install and to run. On average the smallest size of boiler costs approximately £1,500 and the largest could be up to £2,500. However, installation costs will vary depending on the installer you choose.
It’s important to compare multiple quotes when making your choice. Boiler Guide can provide you with up to 3 quotes from registered and reputable installers, with no fee and no obligation.
Advantages of Electric Boilers
No gas or oil needed
If you live in one of the 2 million homes homes in the UK that is not connected to the gas network, your home has gas boiler restrictions e.g. listed buildings or you don’t have space for an oil tank, an electric boiler is a great alternative.
As electric boilers don’t need to burn fuel to produce heat they don’t lose energy through waste gases or flues. In many cases this results in efficiency rates of 99% compared to 89 – 95% for most gas boilers.
Electric boilers don’t release waste gases and so are considered a much ‘greener’ option than burning gas or oil.
Cheaper to install
As there are no waste gases an electric boiler doesn’t need pipes, flue or chimney so the installation of the boiler will cost you less.
Light and compact
The lack of a flue and waste gases also means the unit is much more compact and you have more flexibility about where in the home you have it installed.
As there are no moving elements in an electric boiler there is almost no noise.
Easier to maintain
Unlike gas and oil boilers which have more mechanics included, electric boilers don’t need annual servicing to keep them functioning. Usually it is only in the event of a breakdown that repairs are needed. Also, while gas boilers can become blocked when not used e.g. during the summer, an electric circulation pump will continue to work even when it is inactive.
Solar panels can be incorporated with some electric boilers which means you can partially power them with free energy and reduce your energy bills.
Disadvantages of Electric Boilers
Higher running costs
Electricity is more expensive than gas which means monthly bills will be higher.
Less hot water
As electric boilers heat water on demand they are limited in the amount of hot water they can produce, so possibly not the best choice for larger homes.
If there’s a power cut you may lose access to both heating and hot water as well as all your other appliances.
Interested in an electric boiler?
Boiler Guide can provide you with up to 3 quotes from local and national installers. Compare the most competitive quotes on the market and choose the best. No obligation, no hassle, no fee.