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Electric Boiler vs Gas Boiler: Pros, Cons and Running Costs

Adam Cherry
By: Adam Cherry
Updated: 4th April 2022

Electric Boiler vs Gas Boiler

An electric boiler can be a more efficient and environmentally-friendly alternative to gas and oil.

However, electric boiler running costs can add up when you consider that electricity is much more expensive than natural gas.

Our electric boiler vs gas boiler guide will help you to find the most suitable heating system for your home.

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Electric vs Gas boilers

What is a gas boiler?

Blaze: Best Gas Boilers
A gas boiler burns natural gas to generate heat for the central heating and domestic hot water. The natural gas is delivered to the property by an energy supplier on demand as and when needed.

Properties that aren't connected to the gas network can still have a gas boiler installed. However, rather than natural gas, it will need to run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). LPG is a natural gas alternative which is a liquid. It is stored onsite in a tank, rather than being supplied to the property from the grid. Read more about LPG boilers here.

Natural gas boilers are the most commonly installed heating system in the UK. As of 2020, around 80% of homes in the UK rely on gas central heating.

What is an electric boiler?

All modern boilers need a supply of electricity to operate, but electric boilers turn the electricity into heat rather than burning fossil fuels.

An electric boiler is ideal for properties that aren't connected to the gas network or for smaller homes and flats with a low demand for heating and hot water.

Electric vs gas

Natural gas has proven to be a great fuel for home heating, but there's no hiding the fact that it isn't kind to the environment.

As a fossil fuel, natural gas releases carbon into the atmosphere when burned. That means every time your gas boiler fires up, the level of carbon in the atmosphere goes up. This is a leading cause of climate change and home heating makes up around 14% of all UK emissions.

One way to combat the impact of home heating on the environment is to turn to electric heating.

For smaller 1 bedroom homes and flats, an electric boiler is the ideal low-carbon heating system. However, they're unable to meet the higher demands for heating and hot water in larger homes and in this respect, natural gas holds the upper hand.

Despite this, electric boilers do have many advantages over gas boilers.


Electric boiler advantages Gas boiler advantages
Quiet as they heat the home Cheaper than electricity
Zero risk of a carbon monoxide leak Can meet higher demands for heating and hot water
Fewer moving parts so there’s less chance of any problems More gas boilers on the market means more choice
No emissions as they heat the home A like-for-like gas boiler replacement is a simple job for a Gas Safe registered engineer
Flexible installation as there’s no need for a flue pipe Most afforable option for homes connected to the gas grid

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As well as the benefits, there are some important considerations to make when installing either boiler type. A key point being that electric boilers are more expensive to run.

Electric cons Gas cons
Electricity is more expensive than natural gas An annual boiler service is highly recommend and essential if installed in a rental property or to keep the warranty valid
Can’t meet the heating demands of larger properties More moving parts can lead to more issues
Will take up most of the energy usage (e.g. 48 amps of a 60 amp fuse) Gas boilers are larger than electric boilers
Most electricity is made by burning fossil fuels (renewables are on the rise though) Risk of a carbon monoxide leak if there’s a serious fault

How much do they cost to run?

Natural gas is the cheapest way to heat your home and that’s why gas boilers are the heating system of choice for UK homeowners. Electricity, on the other hand, is rather expensive.

Fuel Average Cost in England, Scotland and Wales (pence/kilowatt-hour)
Electricity (standard rate) 20.06
Electricity (off-peak economy 7) 11.81
Electricity (on-peak economy 7) 24.16
Gas 4.65
LPG 7.70
Oil 4.82
Wood Pellets 6.06

*Fuel prices as per latest update in November 2021. Energy Saving Trust (2022).

When it comes to electricity, you don't always have to rely on a supplier. Instead, you could turn to renewables to generate your own electricity.

Solar PV panels turn solar energy into electricity. This electricity can then be used to power the appliances around the home – including an electric boiler. So, during daylight hours, you could be heating your home for free.

In the evening or during the night, solar panels aren't able to generate energy. This could mean having to turn back to your supplier. However, a solar battery could take your energy savings even further.

Costs to install

Blink Boiler Replacement Costs
When it comes to the installation of any boiler type, there are many variables that can impact the final cost. Firstly, there's the cost of the boiler itself. Electric and gas boilers are similarly priced but with more gas boilers on the market, it's possible to find a cheaper gas boiler than electric.

On top of the price of the boiler are the installation costs. Those costs can be affected by a number of things, including the location of the boiler, boiler size, and the rates of the installer. New boiler prices can vary from around £500 to upwards of £2,000.

As they don't need a flue, condensate pipe or gas line, electric boilers are the quickest, easiest and cheapest to install. However, because installers all set different prices for installation it's important to get multiple quotes and compare them.

Which boiler is the most efficient?

Electric boilers have an efficiency rating of 99-100%, while the maximum efficiency of gas boilers is rarely more than 93%.

So with a boiler that’s 93% efficient, for every £1 spent on heating a property, 7p is wasted on lost energy. On the other hand, there's little to no energy lost with electric boilers.

While some electric boilers boast a 100% efficiency rating, you'll notice that they have an ErP D-rating. This is compared to the A-rating awarded to gas boilers, making it hard to compare boilers of different fuel types.

Most electricity is made by burning fossil fuels, and as a result, is considered carbon-intensive and not very efficient. Having said this, energy generation is changing. Renewable energy generation has increased massively in recent years. So there are times when electricity has a lower carbon intensity than natural gas. Eventually, this could see the ErP rating given to electric boilers increase sooner rather than later.

Comparing the efficiency of electric, gas and oil boilers side-by-side can be challenging because, despite being 99-100% efficient, electric boilers tend to have an ErP rating of D. On the other hand, all condensing gas and oil boilers must reach a minimum efficiency level of 92%, yet this is enough to award them an ErP A-rating.

Manufacturer Boiler model Fuel type Output Energy efficiency ErP rating
Ferroli LEB TS Electric 12 kW 99.5% D
Worcester Bosch Greenstar 9i Gas 9 kW 93% A

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Which works out cheaper?

Electric boiler running costs are higher than gas boilers, but there are many benefits of an electric boiler that could save you money over the years.

Before you choose a gas boiler over an electric boiler, based on the running costs alone, consider the savings you could be making elsewhere with an electric boiler. To work out and compare the total costs of electric and gas boilers, you will need to consider:

  • Price of the boiler: Typically, electric boiler cost starts from around £1,000, whereas gas boiler prices vary from £500 to over £2,000.
  • Installation: This can vary, but for either boiler type, will start from £500 – £2,000
  • Running costs: Electricity can be 3 times more expensive than gas, however, an electric boiler will consume half as much energy as a gas boiler.
  • Annual service: It's highly recommended to have your gas boiler serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure it's running safely. They're also essential to keep the warranty valid. Electric boilers don't need the same level of servicing, but it’s still recommended.A gas boiler service should take at least 30 minutes and could cost between £50 to £160, with those living in London being charged more than rural areas. So, if you had your gas boiler for 10 years and were charged £100 for each service, that's a total of £1,000 in boiler services during its lifetime.
  • Repairs: Electric boilers don't have any moving parts which make them less likely to need repairs than a gas boiler. The price of repairing or replacing parts on a gas boiler can vary from £150 for minor work to £400 for something more serious. There's no guarantee you will need a boiler repair, however, it's something to keep in mind.

Which is right for your home?

Gas combi boiler running costs make them the cheapest option, but for small homes, flats or properties off the gas network, an electric boiler is worth considering. The installation is much simpler, the unit can be installed just about anywhere and no carbon is emitted by electric boilers. Properties with more than a single bathroom would be better suited to a gas boiler as they can deliver more power.

Renewable alternatives to gas and electric boilers

Replacing a gas boiler with an electric boiler is a great way to lower the carbon footprint of a property. However, as electric boilers are only able to meet the heating and hot water demands of smaller properties, how can larger homes become more environmentally friendly?

Renewable heating systems such as heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal panels all convert natural resources into usable energy.

Heat pumps

Air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps extract heat from the air or ground. The air contains heat that can be used to heat a property even in temperatures below 0°C while underground temperatures sit at a constant 10-15°C.

Biomass boilers

Biomass boilers operate much like conventional boilers. They burn plant-based organisms such as wood pellets, chips and logs. The heat produced when burning the material warms up the water is then used to provide central heating and domestic hot water. If you have access to an outdoor area then you could potentially fuel the biomass boiler for free. Some biomass boilers need to be fed the fuel manually while others do this automatically.

Solar thermal

Solar thermal panels use solar energy to heat the water stored in a hot water cylinder via an immersion heater. The water within is then circulated to hot water outlets around the home when needed. So while solar thermal panels could provide you with free domestic hot water, a separate heating system will be needed for central heating. This could either be a boiler, heat pump or infrared panels.

Infrared panels

Infrared panels are a recent development in home heating. While traditional radiators use convection to heat the space in a room, infrared directly heats the people and objects. This means that you could sit in a cold room but feel comfortably warm. Infrared heat is a very safe way to heat your home and is even used in baby incubators.

More alternatives to gas

Alternatives to gas boilers don't have to be renewable. LPG is another gaseous fuel, but rather than being delivered through a pipe network, it's stored on-site – similar to oil. For properties that aren't connected to the gas network, LPG and oil are effective alternatives to natural gas.

Conventional heating systems, such as gas and oil boilers, are the most affordable.

Heating System Potential Cost
Infrared Panels £150 – £500+ (per panel)
Air Source Heat Pump £4,000 – £11,000
Ground Source Heat Pump £8,000 – £12,000
Solar Thermal £3,000 – £7,000
Biomass Boiler £4,000 – £21,000
LPG Boiler £500 – £2,000

While renewable heating systems tend to be more expensive than electric and gas boilers, you may be able to earn payments through government grant schemes to support the cost of switching to a renewable system. Find out about the latest available grants and schemes here.

You can further explore your renewable heating options in Types of Renewable Energy.

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*, Our Data (2022)

Adam Cherry

About the author

Adam Cherry

Adam is our resident home heating expert. His experience and advice has helped millions of customers improve the efficiency of their homes and save money.

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