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What Are the Best Floor Standing Boilers (Regular and Combi)
There’s a fair bit to know about floor standing boilers, and failure to educate yourself can result in overpaying for your next boiler replacement. That’s why we’ve assembled this guide to review high-quality units like the Worcester Greenstar 30CDI and others. We also walk you through just what exactly a floor standing boiler is, and why it might be perfect for your central heating system.
Do you have an old floor-standing boiler that needs replacing? Do you want to find out if it makes sense to keep your unit on the floor or opt for a costlier, wall-mounted upgrade? Well in this post, we’ll talk about floor standing boilers, why you may want one, why you may not, and the best available models on the market. But first:
Table of Contents
What are floor standing boilers?
Simply put, these are boilers that sit on the floor. While most modern boilers are wall-hung, some are just too bulky to hang on a wall.
A free standing boiler can come in many types, shapes, and sizes, and run on a range of fuels. So let’s have a look at all the heavy-weight giants and see if they deserve your treasured floor space.
Conventional and systems boilers
These are our traditional heaters, originally designed to heat a house. To work, they need a hot water cylinder, a boiler, a feed and expansion tank (typically in the loft of a home), and a pump that cycles the water through the pipes and radiators. They also serve the home’s Domestic Hot Water (DHW).
These old heating systems have a generous capacity for heating and storing water, making them the top choice for larger families. But some require lots of space, and are better off deployed as floor standing boilers. To wit, many of these boilers are particularly cumbersome and heavy, due in part to their massive heat exchangers. Offering a modern replacement, some conventional boilers are still made floor standing.
System boilers put a spin on their heat-only peers – instead of using a feed and expansion tank, these machines rely on an expansion vessel for their surplus water. This makes the full system somewhat more compact, as there’s no need for a feed and expansion tank. Apart from this distinction, they operate just like conventional boilers and are equally well-tailored for households with a great thirst for water. While their pipework takes up a bit less space, system boilers can still be quite portly.
Both system and heat-only boilers come with gas, oil, and LPG-fired models.
What kind of fuel does your boiler use?
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So, if you want a free standing boiler that can supply lots of hot water, to multiple taps concurrently, your best option is a heat-only or system boiler. Many of these devices are designed as floor-standing substitutes of their obsolete versions.
They’re a great choice for large homes or rural properties with plenty of storage space for their biomass fuel. And, they’re eligible for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.
Biomass boilers can vary in their function and combustion process. Regardless of their type though, these greener variants of modern condensing boilers are large enough to implement as floor standing boilers.
Many biomass boilers are designed to be installed outside or in a special outdoor housing. That said, some fit inside a home’s garage or even utility room. In either case, you would need to place them on the floor, along with their hopper, and fuel storage area; there’s no sane way to hang all these gimmicks off a wall.
So, if you’re looking into a sustainable heating option, and biomass boilers fit the bill, you’ll have to mount your boiler on the floor.
Are floor standing boilers any good?
There’s a reason floor-mounted boilers are less popular today. The UK boasts the smallest new-build family homes in Western Europe, averaging about 76-85 m2, and getting tinier every year. So, every square metre of living space is precious, and as such, is sacrilege to waste on heating appliances. Which is why we are so smitten with the super-compact gas combi boilers; they are small and light enough to hang on the wall or in a cupboard of our shoebox homes, out of sight, and out of mind. The philosophy here is saving space.
So why would anyone in their right mind design or purchase floor standing boilers?
If it’s a biomass boiler that suits your fancy, then it’s not a question of whether floor standing boilers are better; you’re stuck with a free standing boiler, end of story.
It’s conceivable too, that you simply like the arrangement more. Modern floor-standing gas boilers are not the mammoths their ancient, legacy cousins used to be. They may not be suited for a wall-mount, but are still quite compact, and most handily fit under a worktop. So if you’ve got more space under the counter than in a cupboard, a floor-standing variant may be more sensible.
Likewise, you may want to place a boiler down in your utility room, rather than hanging it in the kitchen. These are all valid grounds to forgo the trendy wall-mounted boilers in favour of the traditional, floor-standing units.
But what if you want to replace an existing free standing boiler? Is it worth disrupting its pipework or finding a new place to put it? The convenience of a simple swap is the number one reason floor standing boilers are still produced.
Can you still easily get floor-standing boilers?
If your question is Can I replace my old floor standing boiler with the same?, the answer is Yes, you absolutely can. This is why the big boys like Worcester Bosch, Viessmann and Ideal Boilers still make floor-standing boilers. And it only makes sense if you have an old, existing free-standing boiler in need of replacement. Here’s why.
Say you’re through with your floor-standing boiler locking out, serving tepid water to your radiators, or incurring sky-high service bills; fair, sounds like you need a new one. Like most people, you’re tempted to upgrade to a combi and hide the contraption in a cupboard. But here’s the thing: because the replacement is slated for a new location, the installation will disturb the existing pipes.
What’s more, by going tankless, you will need to rip out the hot water cylinder, and probably toss the feed and expansion tank from your loft. These activities are not free. All said and done, you’re looking at a tab of £2,300.
In contrast, fitting a new heat-only, free-standing boiler in the place of its predecessor will set you back about £1,900. You’d save enough to heat your home for almost half a year (and that’s assuming the home’s larger than average). The cost difference makes sense – you’re simply swapping an old boiler for a new one; the infrastructure stays.
Finances are not the only problem. The work is invasive. It’s bound to rearrange some of your cabinetry, and even knock down drywall here and there. If you’d rather spare your family the hassle, then a straightforward swap is the sensible way to go.
What are the best regular floor standing boilers?
Since most legacy floor-standing boilers are of the regular variety, we thought we’d find some suitable replacements for you to consider.
1. Worcester Floor Standing Boilers
If you’ve got a sizeable home with robust demand for heat (15 radiators or more) and DHW, the Worcester Greenstar 30CDi heat-only boiler makes a powerful, modern replacement with its 30kW output. Standing only 850mm tall, and measuring 400mm in width and 600mm in depth, this device can fit nicely between your kitchen units and under a standard worktop.
Here are a few more cool features of the Worcester 30CDi free standing boiler:
- for easier replacement and installation, you can get the boiler with Worcester’s flexible flue
- you can simplify the controls by connecting the boiler to the Bosch EasyControl smart controller and app (you need the Easy Control adaptor to make it work)
- the model is compatible with Greenskies solar thermal panels
- this boiler can be yours for around £1,500, excluding installation
- LPG models are available if you don’t have access to a gas mains
Are you one of the lucky ones living off the UK’s gas grid? If you are, this floor-standing oil-fired boiler is a brilliant replacement for an outdated model. Its output ranges from 18kW to 32kW, depending on the model. Yet, each unit is the size of a kitchen appliance, made to purr away unseen under your worktop. It’s also:
- Greenskies solar thermal panel compatible – so you’ve got options for heating greener, as oil’s not the cleanest boiler fuel
- Bosch EasyControl compatible
The smaller sized, 18kW models cost in the neighbourhood of £1,500, while their larger, 32kW cousins will set you back around £2,100, excluding installation.
2. Ideal Boilers
Amazingly, Ideal Boilers have been heating the UK for over a century. And the Ideal Mexico HE floor-standing, heat-only models come with a range of power outputs, from 16kW to 38kW, so you can pick one that’s sized to serve your home. Like Worcester’s floor-standing boilers, the Mexico HE series are quite compact and fit well between appliances and under worktops.
Unlike many heat-only boilers, the Ideal Mexico HE series cannot be converted to run on LPG. So this option only works if you have mains gas. They are, however, solar compatible.
3. Grant UK Eco Boilers
With fossil fuels facing choppy waters ahead, it makes sense to consider renewable heating options. If you’ve got a large home to heat, plenty of room, and a gutsy spirit, then why not try a biomass boiler? They’re clean, green(ish) and eligible for RHI payments from the Government.
This wood pellet-fired model has an output of 26kW (the manufacturer has smaller and larger variants) and comes with a single hopper and feed auger for handier refuelling.
If you’re intrigued by this sustainable alternative to heating, check out our post on biomass boilers to learn more.
Now that we’ve talked at length about heat-only boilers, what about floor-standing combis? Isn’t it common nowadays to get a combi when your ancient heat-only boiler croaks?
Can you get a floor-standing combi boiler?
Yes, it’s an option. If you’d rather squeeze a boiler between your sink and dishwasher than hang it in a cupboard, you can do so with a brand-new, high-efficiency combination model that will give you heat and water on demand. Here are the top floor-standing combi boiler models:
Floor-standing boilers may be an echo from days past, but this unit is as modern as they get. It’s clearly designed with convenience in mind. There’s the energy cockpit to tell you how much energy is generated and used. There’s the 7” colour touchscreen for your controls. Then, there’s the integrated WiFi interface that enables internet connection, and lets you turn the heat up or down from the ViCare app on your mobile.
What’s more, feel free to run it on either mains gas or LPG.
And what sets this boiler apart from many of its combi peers is the 100L loading cylinder for your DHW needs. So you don’t have to worry about drippy, low-pressure taps when your entire family goes about its morning routine. That’s the edge these bulky combis give – you get to store hot water.
The drawback of its rather large dimensions – 595x600x1400 mm (LxWxH), is that you won’t fit this thing under your kitchen worktop.
Installation excluded, this unit should cost you around £2,550.
Worcester’s answer to their Veissman competitor, this floor-standing combi unit is just as powerful, at 29.2kW, and much more compact. With a height of 850mm, it slides neatly under a kitchen worktop. LPG-fired versions of the model are also available, and all models can work with Bosch’s EasyControl smart controller.
As with most combi boilers, the Worcester Highflow 440 cannot connect to a solar thermal system.
Need help choosing the right boiler? Heatable’s got you covered: click here to explore their range of boilers, starting at £1,650 or £10.68/month.
As we wrap this up, let’s review the pros and cons of floor-standing boilers.
What are the pros of floor-standing boilers?
- they are the most economical replacement for an existing floor-standing unit, as the pipework doesn’t require significant changes
- most can easily fit under a kitchen worktop if you’d prefer to utilise your cupboard space for something else
- floor-standing combi models are larger sized than their wall-hung counterparts and offer better flow rates
- while there are less floor-standing models available than in the past, most key manufacturers still offer these, with a wide range of fuel sources, such as gas, oil, LPG, and biomass fuels
What are the cons of floor-standing boilers?
- you may simply not have enough space to house one of these contraptions; despite being relatively compact nowadays, they still require a bit of floor space, which makes them impractical for smaller homes
- there are fewer models to choose from
Best Floor Standing Boilers: Conclusion
If your current free-standing boiler needs replacement, a new floor-standing model is the most prudent option to pursue. Most large manufacturers still produce heat-only and combi variants that run on gas, oil, LPG, and biomass fuel.
If you’re short on space, though, a wall-hung unit may free up some precious room in your home. Just keep in mind that you’ll pay more to settle the boiler installation costs.
That said, you still don’t have to splurge on boiler replacement: check out Heatable’s best deals here.
What’s your experience with floor standing boilers? Do you have an old one that needs upgrading, or have you made the switch already? Let us know what’s up in the comments below.