What’s the Best Boiler? Find out in the The Great British Boiler Survey

There are some things that in Great Britain that we just love to do! Queuing, moaning about the weather, discussing the state of politics and having a look at what our neighbours have just bought home from the shops. Further down the list is a good old fashioned survey and this is definitely related to the neighbourly competition on cars and sheds. We often use a survey to help us decide what to buy or what to book. Often in the results we find what relates to our expectations and it helps us to decide.

In Great Britain there is a thriving market for boilers and this has remained pretty constant for a few years now. With this market which is in excess of 1.5 million boilers sold, there is obviously quite a few boiler manufacturers vying for the share. At Mr Central Heating we have always sold on the premise of quality items at the best prices. Supplying a one off market that does not always have the experience to decide what is required.

The idea for a Great British Boiler Survey was perceived because questions arose from a market dominated by brands that although talk a good game, do they actually give value for money? Are the brands with the best marketing campaigns the best options to go for? Does in reality or in real life working situations the brands stand up to the task?

We have always not necessarily offered the most expensive boilers as this is not always what our customers want, and hopefully we understand our customers. In most cases people just want a good boiler that is going to last, does not go wrong and does not break the bank. You may say that this is pretty standard for all products but there is often disappointment in what you get and an amount of, “I wish had done a bit more research”.

We have been saving customers money for years by offering quality comparable boilers, that might not be the leading brand, but do just a good job at a much better value. So we wanted to highlight and show, in a good old fashioned survey what you thought and what it was like in the life of a boiler in real life. We have tried to capture a good cross section of the boiler market and without being biased to one manufacturer, offer a compressed look at the state of the nation’s boilers. It has been interesting and over the next few months we will be posting additional details on each brand in particular to help you make a decision on your next boiler.

Here are some of the top rated boiler brands that we looked at overall

Baxi boilers

Home user recommendation / reliability rating / cost to manage (lower is better for cost) – 85% / 8.1 / 5.5

Trade user recommendation / reliability rating – 71% / 5

Home users were happy with this choice, with an 85% chance of it being recommended to someone else. There was also some level of loyalty here, as those who used Baxi usually stuck with Baxi when it came to recommending a brand.  Generally a stable choice in the list overall, many home users either had a new Baxi or claimed to have had the same boiler for a long time, often over 10 if not 20 years, in a couple of cases close to 40.  Trade users were a little more critical about Baxi, but cited the durability and lifespan regardless, making this a good choice for many.

View our range of Baxi Boilers

Glow-worm boilers

Home user recommendation / reliability rating / cost to manage – 88% / 8.1 / 5.8

Trade user recommendation / reliability rating – NA

Glow-worm was another “home” led choice that worked well for home users, with most entries having the same boiler for many years, often ranging in the 20s and 30s (a couple of entries in fact just stated it was very old!) so there does look to be a level of endurance for these owners. Most people were very satisfied with their boiler, but a few found it expensive to run. It however was not a frequent choice of trade customers, in fact for trade owners, it was the least selected brand.

View all Glow-Worm Boilers

Ideal boilers

Home user recommendation / reliability rating / cost to manage – 73% / 7.9 / 6.1

Trade user recommendation / reliability rating – 64% / 4.4

Ideal did relatively well with “home” users.  People often commented that it was a bit expensive to manage but yet were satisfied enough to recommend it to other “home” users.  Several home users liked the brand and gave it a 9 or a 10 rating, which made it one of the stronger brands for home users.  Overall, it was one of the most popular brands too for home users and is a good option for its lower starting price.  There was some critique for its reliability amongst trade users, but this was the case for several brands, and with it being one of the more popular brands for trade and home users, there is at least a good amount of support when needed.

View all Ideal Boilers

Potterton boilers

Home user recommendation / reliability rating / cost to manage – 88% / 8.8 / 4.4

Trade user recommendation / reliability rating – NA / 8.8

Like Baxi, most of the data for Potterton is from “home users” though the few trade users surveyed did find Potterton reliable overall. Potterton and Vokera were two of the most reliable boilers on the list.  It also was one of the cheaper brands to run, so the value here is quite positive for most of the users surveyed and many home users liked this.  The Potterton Suprima and Titanium Combi boilers were amongst the most popular.

Trade users liked Potterton boilers overall too, though one commented that Potterton works best as a “heat only” solution, which may be something to consider.  Overall though, home users found it a good balance of price and reliance.

View all Potterton Boilers

Vaillant boilers

Vaillant ecotec pro24

Home user recommendation / reliability rating / cost to manage – 82% / 8.3 / 3.9

Trade user recommendation / reliability rating – 94% / 7.4

Vaillant was the top choice for trade users in our survey. It also fared well for home users too, with many users giving it a 10 for reliability. It was a mix of new and old boilers on the list here, such as the eco plus and eco tec boilers.

Most users would recommend Vaillant also, though a few also recommended Ideal boilers.  This is interesting because a similar trend was seen amongst Ideal boiler replies in trade (recommending Vaillant for instance).  Beyond that, it was also the lowest “cost to manage” overall.   And last but not least, this was the highest rated boiler overall from our survey.

View all Vaillant Boilers

Vokera boilers

Home user recommendation / reliability rating / cost to manage – 83% / 8.8 / 7

Trade user recommendation / reliability rating – NA

Home users like their Vokera boilers, as it is one of the lower price boilers on the list and a good starting option for many.  Most users who had Vokera boilers would recommend the boiler to someone else.  On the other hand, while Vokera are one of the cheaper boilers when it comes to price, if not the cheapest price brand on the list here, some of the entries graded it slightly worse when it came down to management costs.  Still, even those who rated it a bit higher in the “cost to manage” category were very satisfied with their results, scoring one of the highest “reliability ratings” overall.

View all Vokera Boilers

Worcester Bosch Boilers

Home user recommendation / reliability rating / cost to manage – 95% / 7.3 / 4.4

Trade user recommendation / reliability rating – 77% / 5.2

Like Vaillant and Ideal, Worcester Bosch are one of the more popular brand names for boilers.  That’s despite being less reliable than most brands on the list (it got by far the lowest reliability rating despite being mainly users who would still recommend the brand anyway) and almost half the trade users recommending a different brand.

On the other hand, it did get a low “cost to manage” score which makes up for the higher initial purchase price.  It is also a newer boiler for most users, with those reporting on boiler age – showing a much lower average boiler age out there (under 20 years) than a couple of the other brands on the list.

View all Worcester Bosch Boilers

Final Scores for the Great British Boiler Survey

Baxi boilers – A good balance overall - 6.9

Glowworm boilers – Good for the long haul - 7

Ideal boilers – Brand loyalty for home users, well known in trade – 5.9

Potterton boilers – Reliable for all at a good price too - 7.9

Vaillant boilers – Trade approved, customer friendly and overall this was the best rated boiler in the survey – 8

Vokera boilers – Good for new users with a low entry cost – 6.7

Worcester Bosch Boilers – Can cost a lot starting out, but lasts over time – 7.1

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