The Best Electric Boilers in 2020

bath heated by electric boiler

The market for electric boilers in the UK is much smaller in size in comparison to the market for gas boilers.

The market might be about to get a whole lot bigger however, as various environmental groups target the government lobbying them to scrap gas boilers for electric boilers permanently. So which are the best electric boilers available right now?

This is very much a developing industry still here in Britain – there are only four companies manufacturing them here at the moment (Heatrae Sadia, ELNUR, the Electric Heating Company, and ACV). 

Even today, many gas suppliers are put under constant pressure by homeowners and landlords to hook their properties up to the gas network so they can switch from electric to gas.

Conversely, because of negative press coverage about electric boilers and the fact that they are a lot more expensive than their gas equivalents, many homeowners and landlords considering switching from gas to electric are put off.

But is that fair? We don’t think so. In this review of the best electric boilers in 2020, we cover:

  • what types of electric boilers there are and how they work 
  • how powerful your electric boiler should be
  • the cost of running an electric boiler
  • are electric boilers efficient?
  • the HomeSage ranking system for electric boilers
  • electric boilers for smaller properties (up to 10kw)
  • electric boilers for medium-sized properties (10kw-14kw)
  • electric boilers for larger properties (15kw+)
  • the most commonly asked questions about electric boilers

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What types of electric boilers are there and how do they work?

There are five types of electric boilers, two of which – combi boilers and system boilers – are most commonly installed into people’s homes:

Electric combi boiler

With a gas combi boiler, cold mains water enters the boiler which then, using an internal plate heat exchanger, heats the water up to around 80oF heat.

Electric combi boilers are different in that they store heat in a cylinder contained within the boiler’s panel.

If you use up all the water in the combi boiler quickly, the boiler will refill the cylinder and heat it via an element.

Most electric combi boilers take around 30 minutes to heat the water in the tank from cold.

Electric system boiler

With a system boiler, the cylinder storing the water is much larger and separate from the actual boiler unit itself.

System boilers are more suitable for homes where there is a higher-than-usual demand for hot water or an extensive central heating system.

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How powerful should my electric boiler be?

The general rule of thumb is that, for every radiator in your home, you should add an extra 1.5kw to your minimum output requirement for your new electric boiler.

The output rate is the maximum amount of power your boiler uses to provide heating and hot water to your taps.

Here’s a handy table to work out the likely minimum output rate recommended by an experienced installer.

Radiators in your homeMinimum output rate recommended
46 kW
58 kW
69 kW
711 kW
812 kW
914 kW
1015 kW
1523 kW
2030 kW

While there is a decent level of competition between manufacturers for the installation of small- to medium-sized electric boilers, electric boilers for larger properties are much harder to find.

At the moment, manufacturer ACV is really only present in this space at time of writing with 22kW, 28kW, and 36kW combi and system boilers.

Electric boilers are unsuitable for very large properties or for homes where there is a high and constant demand for hot water. 

If you live in a much larger home, have a look at our list of the best gas boilers.

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How much do electric boilers cost to run?

It costs far more to run an electric boiler than a boiler powered by gas, LPG, or heating oil.

This is however offset slightly by the fact that electric boilers, in most cases, require a lower level output rate to achieve the same results when compared to boilers powered by other fuels.

The power of a boiler is measured in kilowatts (kW). For a standard gas boiler for a smaller home, a 24kW boiler will normally suffice.

To work out how much it costs to use your boiler for an hour, you multiply the kilowatt number by the price per unit of gas.

So, 24kw where gas costs 4p a unit means that it will cost you £0.96 an hour to run.

The cost per unit of electricity is closer to 14p. If you were to install a 24kw electric boiler, the price per hour would be £3.36 – a significant difference.

However, an electric boiler whose output rate is 9kW an hour should provide the same level of performance as a 24kW gas boiler.

In this case, the electric boiler would cost £1.26 per hour to run if the price of electricity were 14p per unit.

£1.26 is far less than £3.36 but it’s also far more than the 96p cost per hour of a gas boiler – 31% more.

How efficient are electric boilers?

Energy efficiency, in boiler terms, is normally the percentage measurement of how much energy is used in the production of hot water for your taps and for your central heating system.

So, if a gas combi, for example, has 95% energy efficiency, it uses 95% of the energy it consumes to heat water with the other 5% being used on internal operations.

Electric boilers operate at nearly 100% energy efficiency. We have to be careful what we mean when we say that however.

That’s because the production and delivery of electricity to a property involves the creation of a far greater level of CO2 emissions than the production and delivery of gas to a property.

When a boiler’s ErP (Energy related Products Directive) is calculated to give its energy efficiency score, electric boilers tend to be C- or D-rated because of its use of electricity.

Electricity has a much higher “fuel factor” rating than gas as you can see from this table below:

FuelEmissions kgCO2 per kWhFuel FactorMultiple of gas emissions
Mains Gas0.2161.001.00x
Electricity0.5191.552.40x
LPG0.2411.061.12x
Heating oil0.2981.171.38x

But what about if you buy your electricity from a supplier providing renewable energy?

This doesn’t change the rating of the boiler unfortunately!

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How do we rate electric boilers at HomeSage?

Here at HomeSage, we have a rating system covering all types of boilers.

In the tables below, you can see our standard percentage rating for the electric boilers we’re covering in the “GENERAL HS SCORE” columns.

The mathematical formula we use to apply scores on our general rating system is however biased against electric boilers because it factors in both the environmental efficiency and the cost of ownership.

Because these boilers are powered by electricity, they always score lower than their gas equivalents.

So, for this article, we’ve created an additional score – you can see it in the “HS EXTRA SCORE” columns on the tables below.

For that, we compare the price of the boiler, the electricity band rating, and the length of the manufacturers’ warranties.

On the issue of warranties, the warranties you benefit from as the owner of an electric boiler are much less generous than those offered by gas boiler manufacturers.

Heatrae Sadia is the exception; their 10 year warranty is by far and away the best on the market.

Electric boilers for smaller properties (up to 10kw)

Combi electric boilers for smaller properties

There are currently 12 electric combi boilers on the market for smaller properties with an average price of £2,033 before installation. 

Make/Model NameBand RatingParts and Labour WarrantyOutput kWMountingPrice fromGENERAL HS SCOREHS EXTRA SCORE
Electric Heating Company SlimJim Flow Boiler 4kwD244Floor Standing£66557.46%79.00%
Electric Heating Company SlimJim Flow Boiler 7kwD247Floor Standing£69057.40%78.67%
Heatrae Sadia Electromax 6kw BoilerC1206Floor Standing£1,84053.89%68.67%
Heatrae Sadia Electromax 9kw BoilerC1209Floor Standing£1,96053.59%67.11%
ELNUR Mattira 3kw BoilerC243Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 4kw BoilerC244Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 5kw BoilerC245Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 6kw BoilerC246Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 7kw BoilerC247Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 8kw BoilerC248Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 9kw BoilerC249Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
Electric Heating Company Comet Boiler 9kwD249Floor Standing£2,96551.81%49.00%
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System electric boilers for smaller properties

There are 7 electric system boilers for smaller properties currently available to purchase with an average price of £1,224. As you can see, there are two manufacturers on this table offering variations upon the same boiler only differentiated by the output.

Make/Model NameBand RatingParts and Labour WarrantyOutput kWMountingPrice fromGENERAL HS SCOREHS EXTRA SCORE
ELNUR Mattira 3kw BoilerC243Wall Mounted£1,17548.85%77.35%
ELNUR Mattira 5kw BoilerC245Wall Mounted£1,17548.85%77.35%
ELNUR Mattira 6kw BoilerD246Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
ELNUR Mattira 8kw BoilerD248Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
ELNUR Mattira 9kw BoilerD249Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
Electric Heating Company Fusion Comet 6kw BoilerD246Floor Standing£1,32055.85%70.46%
Electric Heating Company Fusion Comet Boiler 9kwD249Floor Standing£1,37555.71%69.74%
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Electric boilers for medium-sized properties (10kw-14kw)

Combi electric boilers for medium-sized properties

You can choose between 9 different combi electric boilers for medium-sized properties – the average price is £1,938 which would be a lot higher if not for the Electric Heating Company’s three products.

Make/Model NameBand RatingParts and Labour WarrantyOutput kWMountingPrice fromGENERAL HS SCOREHS EXTRA SCORE
Electric Heating CompanySlimJim Flow Boiler 10kD2410Floor Standing£70057.37%78.54%
Electric Heating CompanySlimJim Flow Boiler 12kD2412Floor Standing£74057.27%78.02%
Electric Heating CompanySlimJim Flow Boiler 14.4kD2414.4Floor Standing£77557.19%77.57%
ELNUR Mattira 10kw BoilerC2410Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 11kw BoilerC2411Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 12kw BoilerC2413Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
ELNUR Mattira 15kw BoilerC2415Wall Mounted£2,32546.03%62.35%
Electric Heating CompanyComet Boiler 12kwD2412Floor Standing£2,96551.81%49.00%
Electric Heating CompanyComet Boiler 14.4kwD2414.4Floor Standing£2,96551.81%49.00%
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System electric boilers for medium-sized properties

There are just six system electric boilers for medium-sized properties on the market whose average price is £1,252.

Make/Model NameBand RatingParts and Labour WarrantyOutput kWMountingPrice fromGENERAL HS SCOREHS EXTRA SCORE
ELNUR Mattira 10kw BoilerD2410Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
ELNUR Mattira 11kw BoilerD2411Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
ELNUR Mattira 12kw BoilerD2412Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
ELNUR Mattira 13kw BoilerD2413Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
Electric Heating CompanyFusion Comet Boiler 12D2412Floor Standing£1,37555.71%69.74%
Electric Heating CompanyFusion Comet Boiler 14.4D2414.4Floor Standing£1,43555.57%68.96%
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Electric boilers for larger properties (15kw plus)

Combi electric boilers for larger properties

The sole choice of combi electric boilers for large properties is ELNUR’s Mattira 15kw boiler.

Make/Model NameBand RatingParts and Labour WarrantyOutput kWMountingPrice fromGENERAL HS SCOREHS EXTRA SCORE
ELNUR Mattira 15kw BoilerD2410Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%

System electric boilers for larger properties

There are six system electric boilers for larger properties, five of which are from the specialist ACV, with an average price of £1,334.

Make/Model NameBand RatingParts and Labour WarrantyOutput kWMountingPrice fromGENERAL HS SCOREHS EXTRA SCORE
ELNUR Mattira 15kw BoilerD2415Wall Mounted£1,17546.35%72.35%
ACV E-Tech W 15kw Mono BoilerD1215Wall Mounted£1,10545.69%71.26%
ACV E-Tech W 15kw Tri BoilerD1215Wall Mounted£1,13545.62%70.87%
ACV E-Tech W 22kw Tri BoilerD1222Wall Mounted£1,28545.25%68.91%
ACV E-Tech W 28kw Tri BoilerD1228Wall Mounted£1,53044.65%65.72%
ACV E-Tech W 36kw Tri BoilerD1236Wall Mounted£1,77544.05%62.52%
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Advantages and disadvantages of electric boilers

Advantages of electric boilers

No gas required

The off-gas grid database indicates that well over 2 million households in the UK are not connected to the gas mains network.

Compact

In appearance terms, they’re sleeker than many gas boilers as well as being smaller. You will likely have more placement options with an electric boiler.

Easier to install

Cheaper installation bills because your fitter will be faster in completing the job.

Don’t need as much servicing

They are cheaper to maintain and, if something does go wrong, replacement parts are also less expensive

You can link it up to your solar panels

Achieve self-sufficiency in heating your home by linking them up to your solar panels (you will need an engineer to do this for you at extra cost)

Very quiet

One of the most frequent complaints shared by gas boiler users is the noise they create. Electric boilers are virtually silent.

Disadvantages of electric boilers

Running costs

Every with lower outputs, electric boilers are more expensive to run because each unit of electricity is more expensive than a unit of gas

Not ideal for larger homes

Electric combi boilers are almost always unsuitable for larger homes because of the likely demand for heating and hot water placed upon the system

Loss of electricity

If there is a power cut, your boiler will not work and you and your family will be left with no heating or hot water

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Find the best electric boiler for you and your property

If you’re considering switching to an electric boiler or you live in an area which is not connected to the gas grid, please use our service to find the best quotes for supply and installation from experienced local suppliers.

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Andy

Andy is one of the HomeSage founders and an occasional content contributor. His love for boilers is only just outweighed by his love for football.