What are the different types of boilers available in the UK?
Choosing the right type of boiler for your home is paramount to a warm and cosy home all year round.
When choosing the type of boilers for your home, it’s important to understand all of the boiler options that are out there before making a final decision.
With so many types of boiler systems, you need to understand what each one can bring to the table in terms of its pros and cons.
That’s how you’ll find the best type of boiler that’s able to serve your home and your family adequately for many years to come.
Different types of boilers offer different benefits, and these should be taken into account when weighing up your options and deciding which types of central heating boilers suit your home best.
We’re going to discuss some of the most common types of boilers found in UK homes today, so read on to learn more.
Pro’s and con’s of combi boilers, conventional boilers, condensing boilers, system boilers, oil boilers and biomass boilers.
Firstly, are you thinking about what kind of boiler do I have?
- Combi boiler – if you have a one-unit boiler living in your kitchen cupboard.
- System boiler – if you have a boiler living in a kitchen cupboard and a hot water cylinder in your airing cupboard.
- Regular/ Conventional boiler – if you have a boiler in a kitchen cupboard, hot water tank in the airing cupboard and a cold water tank in the loft.
- Biomass boiler – 1 unit system living outside.
- Oil boiler – depends if it is a system, combi or regular boiler.
Types of boilers available in the UK?
The first thing you need to know about condensing boilers is that they’re not a category of the boiler like the others on the list.
Condensing boilers pros and cons
- Condensing boilers are the best types of boilers for the environment.
- Condensing boilers allow you to heat your home in a way that’s much more efficient, and that means you’ll save money on your heating bills and save energy as well.
- All types of gas boilers and oil boilers have to be condensing when new and replacements.
- Condensing boilers can be more expensive.
- Can be costly to maintain.
Have a look at our guide on the recommended boilers to buy here.
If you’re looking for a residential boiler that’s likely to be the most cost-effective for you, it’s worth looking at a new boiler.
Combi boilers are the most common boiler types to be bought in the UK.
Combi boilers are generally the most cost-effective and efficient boilers around.
Combination boilers control the hot water and the central heating, hence the “combi” name.
These boiler types are especially popular for anyone conscious about their own environmental impact and want to do something to reduce their carbon footprint.
Combi boilers do not have any extra parts of the boiler. It is a 1 unit system.
That’s another thing that makes combi boilers appealing to homeowners; it means they don’t take up much storage space in the home. Often they live in a standard kitchen cupboard or can be wall-hung.
Installing these types of boiler keeps costs low as they are simple to install.
The downside of these central heating boiler types is they are not great with pressure. You can’t run water from more than one tap or shower at the same time.
Pros and Cons of a combi boiler:
- Unlimited heating and hot water on demand for homes with up to 4 bedrooms.
- Only heats the water you need at a specific time, making it cost-effective and eco- friendly.
- No cylinder needed so will fit in a kitchen cupboard.
- It’s easy to find what size boiler you need for your home.
- Water pressure can reduce if you run more than 1 tap at a time.
- No backup source of hot water if the boiler breaks down.
- Very rarely will be compatible with solar panels.
If you have multiple bathrooms with a high demand for hot water, a system boiler may be the boiler for you when choosing a new boiler.
System boilers are better options for some people because they allow you to run multiple taps or showers at the same time.
If you have a couple of showers in the home that people tend to use around a similar sort of time in the morning, a system boiler will make that possible where a combi boiler doesn’t.
System boilers tend to be quite economical to run, and they are relatively compact too. This boiler type would mean the boiler would live in a kitchen cupboard and then the hot water cylinder would live in the airing cupboard.
They offer a constant supply of hot water on demand, and you won’t need to worry about low boiler pressure problems.
Pros and Cons of a system boiler:
- Faster and more simple to install than a regular because all components are built into one unit.
- Saves space because no cold-water tank is needed.
- Faster and more effective hot water to multiple taps at once.
- If the cylinder is not insulated well, it may lose heat.
- Storage will be needed for the cylinder.
- Hot water ready on demand will depend on the size of your cylinder.
Conventional boilers are the oldest type of boilers on this list, and that’s why they’re also known as traditional boilers.
Conventional boilers are often known as regular boilers.
They use both a hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard and a cold water storage tank in the loft. Therefore meaning they can take up quite a lot of space in the home.
If you have that space available, you shouldn’t necessarily rule out this option because it does offer some benefits that other types of boilers can’t offer as well.
These boilers are very good at supplying water to different parts of the home at the same time, which is something that combi boilers really struggle with.
Conventional boilers are also by far the best option for homes that already have problems with low water pressure.
They are also compatible with a wide range of energy-efficient options such as solar thermal systems.
However, water has to be heated, so it’s not available on demand.
Pros and Cons of a conventional boiler:
- Hot water can run from more than one tap at a time.
- Heat only boilers can work even if boiler pressure is low.
- Compatible with solar panels.
- If you already have this system, a few pipework changes could be possible for a new installation.
- An electrical immersion heater can be installed in the cylinder, so if your boiler breaks down; you still have hot water back up plan.
- Takes up a large amount of space.
- Could be more costly to install.
- Could be more complicated and time-consuming to install.
- The amount of hot water ready at one time will depend on the size of your cylinder.
- The cylinder has to be well insulated, or it will lose heat.
Which oil boiler is best?
Worcester Bosch is rated by Which? for having the best oil boilers.
Oil boilers are boilers that are best suited to homes that don’t have any connection to the mains gas supply.
They tend to be used in quite isolated and rural areas, and as a result, they tend to be more expensive to run and operate.
The only thing that makes them different is the fact that they use oil to run rather than gas, but that in itself is something more expensive.
Pros and Cons of an oil boiler:
- Stops any heat escaping so always has a better throughout and increases efficiency.
- Can be fitted internal or external
- Most efficient if gas isn’t available.
- Commissioning at the installation increases the overall life and requires less maintenance.
- Oil prices fluctuate.
- Oil boiler requires a tank underground.
- You need to buy and store oil that is required for heating.
- If war breaks out, the oil will be cut off.
Biomass boilers can also be known as wood boilers, and that’s because they run using logs or wood pellets.
These biomass boilers generate the heat in quite a cheap and affordable way, so it’s something to look into if you care about saving money.
They tend to be very energy efficient as well; they’re among the most sustainable options out there at the moment.
Pellets tend to help these boilers run better, but logs are cheaper to buy.
Biomass boilers pros and cons:
- Wood pellet fuel supply is not due to a price hike.
- They are carbon neutral, ideal for reducing carbon tax.
- Perfect off-grid solution.
- Renewable heat incentive payments are likely to cover the costs of your investment so that you will get it all back in the long run.
- More expensive than gas boilers to fit.
- Space for fuel storage is needed outside of your home.
- Access for the fuel delivery lorry is needed.
- Annual servicing is required.
Choosing the boiler that’s right for you can be tricky, but knowing about all of the options above is the important first step.
From there, you should think about the size of your home, if you need a lot of hot water on demand, heat-only boiler, your energy setup if it will run off oil, electric or gas boiler, and how much available space you have.
There is a lot of rated boilers on the market with a range of different boilers to suit different peoples needs.
Talk to an expert if you would like further guidance on a domestic boiler, or to price up your new boiler online click here.
At Boiler Central we also offer various finance options