Central Heating | Guide to Central Heating Boilers & Systems

QUICK GUIDE SUMMARY

Which central heating boiler do I need? How much does a central heating system cost?

We review the best central heating boilers by brand and price and give a guide on the total cost of installation, including central heating radiators. Installing a new central heating boiler is a good time to look at the whole heating system and consider upgrades such as thermostatic radiator valves, new radiators and other heating controls. We give you a guide to central heating upgrade costs as well. Finally, we'll cover the pros and cons of installing gas central heating over electric or warm air. However else can we help? Review Central Heating Thermostats, compare Thermostatic Radiator Values and research many other heating topics at our Information Hub.

Overview of Central Heating Boilers & Systems

Which is the best central heating boiler?

We review the prices and warranties of popular brands, including Worcester, Baxi, Vaillant and Ideal.

If you have an existing central heating system...

...then it might benefit from some upgrades such as thermostatic radiator valves, new radiators and other heating controls.

Are you installing a whole new central heating system,

including radiators? We give you a guide to installation cost and what is involved, including pros and cons against electric heating or warm air heating.

Gas Central Heating V Electric or Warm Air

Central heating installations are expensive and can be disruptive, but running costs are much lower that electric.

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

Use this guide to find the right type and size gas boiler for your home.

Best Central Heating Boilers

Central Heating Costs

Central heating system upgrades

Best Central Heating Boilers

There are three types of central heating boiler: combi, heat only and regular. Before you consider which boiler model is best, just make sure you know which type you have with our quick guide below:

Combi boiler:

combines heating and hot water production in a single unit, usually hung on the wall. There is no need for a hot water cylinder as the boiler produces hot water instantly when you turn on the hot tap.

Heat Only boiler:

also referred to as a ‘regular’ boiler, provides heating direct from the boiler and heats stored water in hot water cylinder. Heat only boilers can work on open vented systems and sealed systems.

System boiler:

similar to a Heat Only boiler as it works with a hot water cylinder (albeit unvented) but many of the system components (such as the pump and diverter valve) are integral to the unit. System boilers are mostly found in larger new build homes with two or more bathrooms/showers

We compare price, efficiency and warranty of central heating boiler models

Use the tables below to find your boiler type and then your property size.

Combi Central Heating Boilers

Combi boilers are grouped together according to property size. Open the tab for your property size to view all of the boiler models available. You can see which offers the best value for money depending on what you prioritise. If you are looking for a long warranty from the manufacturer than go by the warranty column, NB some manufacturers now offer a guarantee which is better than a warranty. Some boilers are made for smaller spaces, if you are looking for a cupboard fit review that column first. If you have a high hot water demand then go by the ‘litres per minute for hot water’ column. NB if you have showers that are often in use at the same time, you may want to consider a boiler listed under one of the larger properties in order to get a better hot water flow rate.

1-2 BEDROOM FLAT
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Litres per minute for hot water Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Main Eco Elite 25 £606 10.1 90% 5 5 26
Potterton / Titanium 24 £738 9.8 91% 7 7 20
Baxi / Duotec 24 £675 9.8 89% 7 7 20
Vailliant / EcoTEC Pro 24 £942 9.6 89% 2 5-10 19
Worcester Bosch / Greenstar Pro 25i £875 9.8 94% 5 7 24
Worcester Greenstar Compact 28CDi £1045 10.0 94% 7 10 24
2 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Litres per minute for hot water Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Main Eco Elite 30 £668 12.3 88% 5 5 30
Potterton / Titanium 28 £798 11.5 91% 7 7 24
Vailliant / EcoFITpure 825 £865 12.1 89% 2 7-10 18
Ideal / Logic+ Combi C30 £830 12.4 90% 7 7 24
Worcester Greenstar Classic 29CDi £1100 11.0 92% 7 10 30
Baxi Platinum 28 £955 11.5 89% 10 10 28
3 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Litres per minute for hot water Efficiency Boiler output kW (Size) Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty
Main Eco Elite 30 £668 12.3 30 88% 5 5
Potterton / Titanium 28 £798 11.5 24 91% 7 7
Vailliant / EcoFITpure 825 £865 12.1 18 89% 2 7-10
Ideal / Logic+ Combi C30 £830 12.4 24 90% 7 7
Worcester Greenstar Classic 29CDi £1100 11.0 30 92% 7 10
Baxi Platinum 28 £955 11.5 28 89% 10 10
4-5 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Litres per minute for hot water Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Ferroli / Modena 38KW £764 16.0 89% 5 5 34
Potterton / Titanium 40 £930 16.4 91% 7 7 32
Vailliant / EcoFITpure 835 £1095 16.5 89% 2 7-10 25
Baxi Platinum 40 £1225 16.4 89% 10 10 40

Heat Only Central Heating Boilers

Our best heat only boilers are grouped together according to property size. Open the tab for your property size to view all of the boiler models available in that range. The best value boiler will depend on what you prioritise. If you are looking for a long warranty from the manufacturer than go by the warranty column, NB some manufacturers now offer a guarantee which is better than a warranty. If you are looking for high efficiency then go by that column. If you are look for budget models then the boilers run in price order: budget to premium, use the £ icon at the side.

1-2 BEDROOM FLAT
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Baxi 400 Heat 12 £669 89% 5 5 13
Main Heat Only Boiler 12 £480 89% 2 2 12
Vaillant ecoFIT Pure Regular 12 £702 89% 2 7-10 12
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Ri 12 £786 91% 7 8 12
2 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Baxi 400 Heat 15 £691 89% 5 5 16
Main Heat Only Boiler 15 £505 89% 2 2 15
Vaillant ecoFIT Pure Regular 15 £733 89% 2 7-10 15
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Ri 15 £801 91% 7 8 15
3 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Main Heat Only Boiler 18 £539 89% 2 2 18
Vaillant ecoFIT Pure Regular 18 £802 89% 2 7-10 18
Baxi 400 Heat 18 £720 89% 5 5 19
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Ri 18 £859 91% 7 8 18
4 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Main Heat Only Boiler 24 £593 89% 2 2 24
Vaillant ecoFIT Pure Regular 25 £874 89% 2 7-10 25
Baxi 400 Heat 24 £763 89% 5 5 25
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Ri 27 £1,021 92% 7 8 27
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Ri 24 £909 92% 7 8 24
5 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Baxi 400 Heat 30 £834 89% 5 5 30
Vaillant ecoFIT Pure Regular 30 £932 89% 2 7-10 30
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Ri 30 £1,065 93% 7 8 30
Worcester Bosch Greenstar Classic Cdi 30 £1,141 92% 7 10 30

System Central Heating Boilers

Our best system boilers are grouped together according to the size of property. Open the tab for your property size to view all of the boiler models available in that size range. The best value boiler will depend on what you prioritise. If you are looking for the highest possible efficiency then go by that column. If you are look for a budget model then the boilers run in price order: budget to premium, the £ icon at the side shows which category of price they fall into. If you are looking for a long warranty from the manufacturer than go by the warranty column, NB some manufacturers now offer a guarantee which is better than a warranty.

1-2 BEDROOM FLAT
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Glow Worm Energy System 12 £712 89% 2 2 12
Vailliant ecoTEC plus System 12 £772 89% 5 7-10 12
Worcester Bosch Greenstar System i 12 £879 94% 7 8 12
2 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Glow Worm System Energy 15 £731 89% 2 2 15
Vaillant ecoFIT Plus System 15 £859 89% 5 7-10 15
Ideal Logi+ System 15 £809 89% 7 7 15
Worcester Bosch Greenstar System i 15 £926 94% 7 8 15
Ideal Vogue System 15 £944 93% 8 10 15
3 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Ferroli Modena HE 25S 18 £575 89% 5 5 17
Vaillant ecoFIT Pure System 18 £1,035 89% 2 7-10 18
Ideal Logi+ System 18 £841 89% 7 7 18
Worcester Bosch Greenstar System i 18i £1,100 94% 7 8 18
Ideal Vogue System 18 £1,015 93% 8 10 18
4 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Ferroli Modena HE 25S 25 £588 89% 5 5 25
Ideal Logic+ System 24 £872 89% 7 7 24
Vaillant ecoFIT Pure System 25 £1,100 89% 2 7-10 25
Worcester Bosch Greenstar System i 24i £1,035 94% 7 8 24
Ideal Vogue Systemi 26 £1,169 93% 8 10 26
5 BEDROOM HOUSE
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Ferroli Modena 32S 32 £669 89% 5 5 31
Ideal Logic+ System 30 £902 89% 7 7 30
Worcester Bosch Greenstar System i 30i £1,112 92% 7 8 30
Ideal Vogue System 32 £1,256 93% 8 10 32
LARGER PROPERTIES
Budget Range Manufacturer / Model Code Price Efficiency Standard warranty Free Extended Warranty Boiler output kW (Size)
Potterton Promax System 32 £948 89% 2 2 34
Baxi Ecoblue System 30 £1,137 89% 7 7 35
Worcester Bosch Greenstar System Cdi 35 £1,245 92% 7 10 34
Vailliant ecoTEC Plus System 37 £1,312 89% 5 7-10 37

For a more detailed boiler quote use our quote calculator

How much does central heating cost to install?

A modern central heating system comprises a boiler, radiators, thermostatic radiator valves, heating control (i.e. a thermostat and programmer) and, depending on the boiler type, possibly an external central heating pump and hot water cylinder.

Costs to replace just the boiler vary from around £1,300 - £4,500 depending on the size, type and quality of the boiler. A replacement heat only boiler back in the same location can be as little as £1,300. Replacing a heat only boiler with a large, premium combi boiler, re-routing the hot water pipes and removing the hot water tank will be more like £4,500.

The cost of a complete central heating system will vary according to the size of the property and the cost of the boiler. The table below shows full installation costs and time taken for mid range, appropriately sized combi boiler with standard flue, gas and system pipework, manufacturers standard thermostat/programmer and radiators with thermostatic radiator valves.

1 bed flat 3 bed house 5 bed house
£3,500 £4,250 £5,500
2.5 days 3 days 4 days

Central Heating System Components Costs

If you need radiators replacing, thermostatic radiator valves adding, new heating controls or a new hot water cylinder then these can be done at any time but its usually cheaper if done with a new boiler installation. The table below gives a guide to upgrading system component costs (they include VAT). NB the prices are based on ‘stand alone’ jobs, if they are undertaken as part of a new boiler installations they will likely be cheaper.

Work undertaken Materials Labour
Installing thermostatic radiator valves From £12.50 per valve (see our Guide to Thermostatic Radiator Valves for our review of 32 types/style of valve and prices) £Usually about £50 -£75 per hour. For one TRV probably one hour. For more than one the engineer will probably have to drain down. It’s usually worth doing all the radiators at the same time. Approx ½ day to do 8 TRVs.
Installing a new radiator Radiator prices vary according to whether they are single or double panel and the width. It is less work to choose a width that fits the gap, however that may take up a lot of room. If you go with a narrower radiator then the installer will need to adjust the pipework. This can be done under the floor if you have timber floors but above if they are concrete. Usually about £50 -£75 per hour. Can probably do one radiator without draining down the system and that will take around 2 hours. Changing more than one will require a drain down. Changing 8 radiators ½ day – 1 day at £400 - £500.
Central heating controls Prices vary according the boiler you have and manufacturer. New systems must have a programmer and thermostat (for more on types of programmer and thermostats see our Guide to Thermostats and Central Heating Controls). Combined units start around £90 and go upto around £220 for smart thermostats that you can control from your phone £50 - £75 per hour, 1-3 hours depending on whether its hard wired or remote.
Hot water cylinders Copper cylinders costs as little as £130 but unvented cylinders (used with system boilers) are more expensive. For more on cylinder costs and products view our Guide to Hot Water Cylinders. Allow ½- 1 day at £450 - £600 perday.

Gas Central Heating V Warm Air or Electric Heating

Gas central heating systems are ‘wet’ systems, i.e the boiler heats the water that passes through it and circulates it around the radiators via a network of pipes.

Many houses built in the 1960s and 1970s have warm air heating. The boiler is still powered by gas, but instead of radiators heat is transferred via warm air ducts. The wam air boilers of the time can still be replaced with modern versions although many people are switching to a gas central heating system. The cost is higher to install a whole new central heating system than to replace the warm air unit.

Electric heating panels are much cheaper and easier to installer, however they extremely expensive to run. Electricity rates are around 12.5p per kW hour compared with mains gas which is about 3p per kW hour. In other word, it will costs four times as much to heat your house with electric as it does with gas.

What would you like to do next?

Use our calculator to get an estimate of boiler installation cost

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Boiler Types Explained - Combi, Regular and System

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Combi boiler guide

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Book a survey with a local heating company

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