A Which? survey of over 10,000 homeowners and almost 200 expert engineers has revealed the boiler brands scoring strongly for reliability and customer satisfaction as well as receiving traders’ seal of approval.
Worcester Bosch has once again come out on top in the consumer champion’s annual boiler comparison survey. The brand received a score of 82 per cent for its gas boilers and coveted Best Buys for both its gas and oil boilers, both of which are reliable.
Also receiving a Best Buy from Which? is Vaillant’s gas boilers, which although one of the pricier options, topped the charts when ranked by independent heating engineers. The brand received an overall score of 81 per cent in the survey for its gas boilers.
For those with tighter budgets, affordable brand Ideal impressed with its reliability, earning a Best Buy and an overall score of 78 per cent.
The two brands with the lowest scores were Ferroli and Vokera, both scoring 56 per cent respectively.
Ferroli has a good record of reliability, but received low scores for ease of replacing a common component and its build quality.
Vokera was also commended for its reliability, but did not impress with its build quality or its manufacturer support.
As well as pointing consumers to the best boiler brands, Which? has identified steps consumers can take to reduce their energy bills.
The consumer champion is warning people to do their research and to be wary of claims by some boiler companies suggesting they could save money by ditching their current boiler for a newer model. Savings can be exaggerated, and it is unlikely to be cost effective to scrap a functional boiler before it has run its course, as the cost of the new boiler needs to be weighed up against any savings.
Overall, a swap is only likely to be cost effective if your boiler is 20 years old or more. If yours is newer than that and still working, spending money on insulation and other efficiency measures may be a better way to bring down your bills.
If saving money on your energy bills is the goal, changes to how you use your boiler could shave around 10 per cent off your bills. This includes improvements such as updating your heating controls, cleaning your radiator system and having a flow temperature of no more than 70 degrees on your combi boiler (if you have an energy inefficient home). Some of these you can do yourself, while some need to be done by a heating engineer, they can advise you of the most suitable changes when they do an inspection.
Longer-term home improvements include retrofitting insulation and buying more efficient heating systems, ideally by tapping into government subsidies – households can get between £5,000 and £7,500 to help pay for a heat pump, for example.
The UK government has previously pledged to ban the sale of new gas boilers by 2035 and new oil boilers by 2026, but there is currently no restriction on what type of boiler consumers can choose. The government’s aim is to fully decarbonise home heating, but any ban will need to be fair to consumers and come with viable alternatives.
New Which? data does show, however, that the public is warming to the idea of a future free of gas and oil boilers. When the time comes to replace their current boiler, fewer homeowners said they would buy a gas boiler this year than last (49% vs 62%).
Emily Seymour, Sustainability and Energy editor at Which?, said:
“Home heating costs will be a concern for many households again this winter, so those needing to replace their boiler will have reliability and efficiency at the top of their requirements.
“While upgrading your boiler isn’t likely to save loads of money on your monthly heating bills, ensuring you get a reliable product means greater value for your money over the long term.
“If your boiler doesn’t need to be replaced, don’t miss its annual service. You can ask your engineer to get it running as efficiently as possible, as well as identify any potential faults before they become critical.”
Notes to editors
The results are based on an online survey carried out on behalf of Which? by Focaldata of 10,018 18+ homeowners who are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their boilers installed since 2017 and an online survey of 198 Which? Trusted Traders Heating Engineers who install, service and/or repair gas or oil boilers.
Which? recommends that consumers should use trusted contractors to carry out home improvement work. Sites such as Which? Trusted Traders only show traders that have passed the rigorous assessment set by our trading standards professionals, and every customer review you read is verified genuine by our moderators.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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