Category - Boilers
Guide author photo

Will Scholfield, Engineer

31 Jan : Updated 15 Mar ● 9 min read

Electric boilers vs. gas boilers: the pros & cons of each

If you need to get a new boiler, you’ll likely compare models from two types of home heating systems: gas boilers and electric boilers. In the UK, these are the most common types of central heating solutions, both being energy-efficient, affordable and user-friendly. 

But, when it comes to choosing the right type of boiler for your home, how do you know whether a gas boiler or electric boiler will be best equipped to meet your needs?

Here, we explore the differences between electric and gas boilers and the advantages of each to help you build a clearer picture of which is most suitable for you.

First, let's look at how these two boilers work.

What is an electric boiler?

Electric boilers work by turning electricity into heat, as opposed to burning fossil fuels. These are commonly found in smaller homes and apartments with lower heating and hot water demands or that aren’t connected to the main gas supply.

What is a gas boiler?

According to the most recent census data, gas central heating holds an overwhelming majority, with more than 74% of households relying on a gas boiler to provide heating and hot water. 

A gas boiler burns natural gas to generate central heating and hot water. The gas is typically delivered to homes through the main gas supply, or if a property isn't connected to the gas network, a boiler can run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Check out ‘What is an LPG boiler’ for information on these appliances.

As well as needing a supply of gas, modern gas boilers also require a supply of electricity to ignite the boiler and keep it running throughout the day. Although, compared to an electric boiler, gas boilers only use a small amount of electricity. Explore how a gas boiler uses electricity in more detail in our blog: Does a gas boiler use electricity?

Electric boilers vs gas boilers: which is more energy efficient?

Electric boilers emit no exhaust fumes because they do not burn fossil fuels. This means that none of the energy used to power the heating system is wasted. As a result, electric boilers often have the highest rating out of all the boilers available, especially when powered by renewable energy sources, like solar panels.

It is now a requirement for all gas boilers to be A-rated for energy efficiency, meaning they must be at least 90% efficient. Gas boilers can also cope with larger heating and hot water demands, meaning that they tend to be more efficient than electric boilers in these homes.

Electric boiler vs gas boiler: which is safer?

Protecting the safety of yourself and those you live with is, obviously, going to be a top priority. While all modern boilers are made to extremely high standards, safety is something to consider when choosing between a gas or an electric boiler, as the appliances are different. 

Because electric boilers don’t directly use fossil fuels, there’s no need to worry about any gas leaks; however, ignoring problems with these boilers can still lead to problems and inefficiencies, so it’s important you ensure your boiler is properly maintained and regularly serviced.

Gas boilers can be more efficient, especially in larger properties; however, they do present more of a risk when it comes to safety. If there is a gas leak in your boiler, there is a significant chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas, making it undetectable to most people. 

With this in mind, an electric boiler might be considered safer. However, it’s good to know that building regulations require a carbon monoxide alarm to be installed in every room containing an appliance that burns fuel. 

Electric boilers vs gas boilers: which is more expensive?

Which costs more to run?

Under the current energy price cap, the cost of electricity per kilowatt hour in the UK is 28.62p, compared to just 7.42p for gas. 

So, if you have a gas boiler that uses, for example, 24kWh of gas, you’ll spend £1.78 per hour heating your home. Meanwhile, a 12kW electric boiler will cost you £3.43 per hour. That’s nearly double the price for half of the capacity of a gas boiler. 

These amounts will vary depending on the size of your home and how long you have your central heating turned on. 

A five-bedroom house, for example, will likely be more expensive to run than a two-bed flat. While electric boilers are more efficient than their gas equivalents, they tend to be the most costly appliances in terms of running costs.

Which costs more to maintain?

With fewer moving parts, you're less likely to spend a lot maintaining an electric boiler. So, while they can be more expensive to run, you could save money in the long term due to reduced maintenance costs.

Gas boilers, however, require a higher level of maintenance and servicing as they are more susceptible to wear and tear. Boiler manufacturers recommend having a boiler service once every 12 months, ideally before the colder weather begins in autumn, so that you can make sure it’s in good working order come wintertime. In fact, you may well find that your boiler’s warranty isn’t valid if you fail to get it serviced annually, which could end up costing you significantly more in repairs should anything go wrong.

Is your appliance due for a check? Book a boiler service with BOXT.

Electric boilers vs gas boilers: which is more effective?

Even compared to gas combi boilers, electric boilers have high-efficiency ratings and waste very little energy. 

Despite this, electric boiler running costs can be high because electricity costs more than gas. 

Electric boilers can also be used with renewable energy sources, like solar panels. So you could (effectively) be reducing this cost slightly by harnessing the sun’s power. Although they aren't as efficient, all new gas boilers installed in the UK must be at least 90% efficient, meaning they're much more effective than older appliances. 

Although an electric boiler may be more efficient, a gas boiler would be advantageous for all homes that have a gas supply as they are able to generate heat more effectively and cost less to run.

Electric boilers vs gas boilers: which is easier to install?

Generally speaking, installing an electric boiler is slightly more straightforward than a gas boiler, and the process should only take 1-3 days in most cases. This is because electric boilers do not need to be connected to the main gas supply or need a condensate pipe or flue to be fitted. However, they will still need all the associated pipework for your heating and hot water requirements 

Installation costs will depend on factors like the boiler’s location, size, and the installer’s rates. The work must also be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer who can complete the job safely and to a high standard. The same stands with an electrical boiler as this will need connecting and be tested by an engineer with the relevant qualifications. 

Typically, a gas boiler will take 1-2 days to install, although more complex installations or relocations can take longer.

Electric boilers vs gas boilers: how long do they last?

Depending on the boiler's quality, electric boilers will typically last between 15 and 25 years. You wouldn't typically need as much maintenance on these boilers as you would gas. However, we would always recommend you get your boiler serviced annually, regardless of whether it’s gas or electric.

Electric boilers typically last longer than gas due to not having as many parts that make up the appliance. As a result, fewer problems are likely to occur, from general wear and tear to specific issues with parts.

By comparison, a natural gas heating system will likely last 10-15 years. This is due to the increased complexity of gas appliances. Some types of gas boilers may have a slightly longer lifespan, but electric boilers will last longer than their counterparts. 

Electric boilers vs gas boilers: pros and cons

Electric boiler pros and cons


  • They’re better for the environment than natural gas boilers.
  • They tend to be a lot quieter when in operation.
  • There is no risk of carbon monoxide leaks or poisoning.
  • The installation of electric boilers is more flexible.
  • There are no emissions as it heats a home.
  • They don't require a chimney or flue. 


  • They are more expensive to run.
  • Most electricity is made by burning fossil fuels.
  • Some electric boilers may struggle to meet the demands of a larger property.
  • A power cut will impact access to heating and hot water.
  • They lack industry support due to their rarity. 
  • Most are expensive compared to the gas boiler alternative.

Gas boiler pros and cons


  • They are cheaper to run than electric boilers.
  • There are plenty of gas boilers on the market, meaning more choices.
  • These are the most affordable options for those on a budget.
  • They can meet the heating demands of all property types for hot water and heating.
  • Boiler replacement is often simple.
  • New gas boilers are all A-rated for energy efficiency.


  • Getting an annual boiler service is necessary to help maintain its efficiency and health.
  • With more moving parts, problems can arise over time.
  • A flue run to the exterior of the property is needed.
  • Not all homes are connected to the gas network. 

Electric vs gas boilers: which is best for you?

When choosing between gas and electric boilers, it's essential to consider the running costs of an electric boiler compared to its environmental impact. You must also factor in the size of your home and the demand on your central heating system. Electric boilers are commonly found in smaller homes for a reason: because they manage the demand without the running costs becoming too high. They are also only installed if the property has no gas supply, or a flue run would be impossible. 

By contrast, a new gas boiler will cost less to run and be more economical. Ultimately, whether you choose an electric or gas boiler should come down to personal preference, your home and the costs involved.

For more guidance on all things heating systems, from oil boilers to heat pumps and more, check out the BOXT blog.

Ready to upgrade your boiler?

Ready to upgrade your boiler?

Find a brand new, A-rated boiler that's perfect for your home in just 90 seconds

Get a fixed-price quote

Frequently asked questions

Share this post