We have about 5 boiler brands here in the UK. Some are truly fantastic, some aren’t so good and one is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of boilers.
Let’s cut to the chase – The big question everyone wants answered is ‘Are Worcester Bosch still the best boiler brand?’
You’ve heard of Worcester Bosch no doubt, so has everyone else. In this review we are going to dive into Worcester Bosch but also the other boiler boiler brands that perhaps you haven’t heard of, in an attempt to try and find a boiler that’s as good as a Worcester Bosch [or better!].
Surely under the cover of a boiler it’s all the same moving parts anyway, just each one has a different brand badge on the outside? A plain white t-shirt from Next is about £8 but low and behold put a Nike tick on it instead and it’s £20. Place a Gucci logo on the same t-shirt and its £100. You get the idea.
Well let’s start with the crème de la crème, the Worcester Bosch.
Worcester Bosch Boilers
Probably installed in Buckingham Palace, these boilers are what you think of first when someone says ‘boiler brands’. Worcester were making fantastic boilers and German brand Bosch came in and partnered with them. The Germans with their no nonsense approach to engineering started tinkering and actually somehow made them even better. Today they are still on everyone’s number 1 spot.
It’s not just us and others saying this, Worcester Bosch’s Combi Boilers [the one you probably have in your home] has won the Which Best Buy Award for 10 consecutive years. They don’t just do a the best Combi boiler, they do the lot:
- Oil boilers
- Regular boilers
- Combi boilers
- System boilers
Ok, so great boilers but what else have they got going for them?
Well the customer service is also what everyone raves about and its rare anyone ever talks up a company’s customer service. They offer great aftercare and questions you have you can simply get them on the phone. It’s easy to do and provides peace of mind.
The plus side of being such a popular boiler is actually every engineer knows how to fit them. This is a bonus as then you don’t have a heating engineering faffing around racking up an expensive installation bill. This also means engineers can fix them quickly and easily. Every engineer knows their way around a Worcester Bosch Boiler. But they probably won’t need fixing because Worcester boilers come with a staggering – 10 year guarantee. 10 years! And notice how they didn’t say 10 year ‘warranty’ they actually ‘guarantee’ their boilers! If you went out and bought a posh brand new 50k car, I doubt you’d get even a 5 year warranty.
They really have upped the bar here [again] with their boilers and their guarantees to firmly position themselves in the rightful number 1 spot.
Worcester Boiler Prices
The prices have actually come down quite a lot over the years as you know have online boiler installers offered fixed prices. That’s great as, sorry but, heating engineers sort of operated in a grey area. Calling one in when your boiler was broken used to be painful. You knew they would add something on top of the price boiler for themselves [whilst buying it at trade anyway] and then it would cost the earth to fit. It wasn’t uncommon for a new boiler to cost £3,000+ and that was 10 years ago.
So everyone knew they used to be quite expensive when compared to other boiler brands. But still well worth buying. So you’d now be shocked to know you can get Worcester boilers starting from just £1900 – FITTED!
So do the maths if they are guaranteed for 10 years you’d be hoping to get at least 15-20 years use of them. That works out to cost under a tenner a month. BARGAIN.
So it sounds like Worcester Bosch will never be beaten, let’s have a look if any other brands can even get close.
Totally German and totally worthy of second place. They are actually the largest manufacturers of boilers in Europe but have broken in the UK market offering reliability and quality. They have already won a Which Best Buy Award for no less than 7 of their models.
Their entry level boiler is the Viessmann Vitodens 050-W.
As you would expect with the Germans they use the best quality parts, which is how they offer such reliability and efficiency in their boilers.
For instance inside the Vitodens is their Inox-Radial Heat Exchanger which provides fantastic resistance to corrosion. In fact Viessmann are so confident, they offer a 10 year warrant against any corrosion. It also self-cleans which counteracts any dirt or sludge build up, which could then flow down and can attack the pump. One of, if not the most common reasons for boiler faults.
If your current boiler has you reaching for the volume buttons on the remote every time it kicks in, then Viessmann Vitodens will impress you, having a dB rating of only 46. Noise wise that’s somewhere between a conversation in a library and a conversation at home. Quiet then.
The modulation ratio of 1:6 and max flue length are specs for the installer to worry about, what you need to know is that it’s actually possible to extend the warranty up to 12 years on the Viessmanns, and that should make it a worthy contender.
Finally a British brand [hurrah] Ideal was founded in the north of England and has been going for over 100 years. Sadly nothing too unique and fancy about these so not much to write home about.
They do offer quite a comprehensive range of boilers from budget friendly boilers to a high end boiler with all the trimmings.
Warranty wise they are right on the money, offering:
- Ideal Logic – 2 years
- Ideal Logic Plus – 7 years
- Ideal Logic Vogue – 10 years [has to be fitted with an ideal system filter]
Surprisingly, even sponsoring a football team in the West Midlands they remain behind Worcester Bosch in terms of well, nearly everything. Despite that they still sell a respectable 10,000 boilers per year. They are slightly cheaper than Worcester Bosch for but for us to have to jump ship to them they would need to be more like 30-40% cheaper and they just aren’t there…yet.
Actually a great well made premium brand boiler, definitely worthy of making the cut. Another UK made boiler where in fact their entire range of boilers are ‘Which?’ Best Buy. Vaillant boilers are hand made in Derbyshire.
They have a 5 year warranty as standard but that increases to 7 or 10 years if you have it installed by a Vaillant installer.
Again the entire Vaillant range is Erp ‘A Rated’ for central heating & hot water. Wow
So why are they fourth on the list? It’s the high prices sadly…
We do like Vaillant though because of their app called the Valliant vSMART. It’s a smart control which you can operate from your android or iPhone.
We couldn’t finish off without trying to squeeze in another British brand. Baxi are worth a look if you are searching for a midmarket boiler.
Baxi has a range of regular, combi and system boilers and with it, award winning customer service.
Price wise they come in slightly under that of the top 2 brands.
The Boiler Parts Test
Picking a new boiler should come down to a good few factors all equated to. Such as Price, Installation, Warranty and/or Guarantees. Because for this to be a good review we need to talk about the stuff no one wants to hear when they buy something new – faults.
We ran a little test of our own and we decided to see how much parts are for each of the boilers mentioned above.
To make it fair we picked just one part, the water pump. The water pump sits just after the primary heat exchanger and its job is, yes you’ve guessed it, is to pump. It pumps the water heated by the boiler round the system to the rads and taps etc so you can take hot showers etc. Without one your boiler isn’t really much of a boiler.
The prices we could find do not include fitting. We thought this only fair as installation and call outs for heating engineers vary from one part of the country to another. (note Glow Worm are not mentioned within this list)
The results are in:
Worcester Bosch – £120
Viessmann – £122
Vaillant – £150
Ideal – £150
Baxi – £154
Best Boiler Brand Overall Conclusion
Worcester still has an iron grip over the boiler market – that’s a fact, they are by far the best. But now really affordable when you buy through an online installer who will offer a fixed price. The key is the fixed price.