Potterton and Glow-Worm are two boiler manufacturers based in the UK with lengthy experience in domestic energy. Potterton was founded in 1850 and has since kept seven million homes warm. It’s been assumed by Baxi Heating in 2000 and now benefits from a large portfolio of commercial and domestic experience as well as optimal customer service. Glow-Worm was founded in 1934 under the name “Glow-Worm Boiler and Fireplace Co Ltd” and became part of the Vaillant Group in 2001.
Both manufacturers are driven to offer each customer reliable, energy efficient and ground-breaking products, which has made each manufacturer a key player in the UK boiler market, as well as winning them multiple awards for their products and advances in boiler technology. For the purpose of this article, we’ll compare two of their 24kW combi boilers, the Potterton Gold and the Glow-Worm Betacom3.
Who’s going to win the battle of the budget boilers?
|Potterton Gold (24kW)||Glow-worm Betacom3 (24kW)|
|Other outputs available||28, 33||30|
|ErP rating (energy efficiency)||A (88.6%)||A (89.2%)|
|Size (HxWxD in mm)||780x450x345||740x418x300|
|Flow rate (litres/min)||9.8||10|
|Noise level output (dB)||50||48|
To start off, a big difference between the two is the visible control panel on the Glow-Worm Betacom3 boiler, which is partnered with an LCD display for good measure. The Potterton Gold boiler has its control panel hidden along with its mechanical controls.
Another difference is the number of methods you can use to control a Glow-Worm boiler compared to the Potterton. The Betacom3 gives you the option to install multiple wireless and wired thermostats including their own Climapro1 Control device, which updates itself automatically for summer and winter seasons. Potterton do offer a mixture of mechanical and wireless controls for their boilers. However, they do lack any innovations or notable support for smart thermostats.
Glow-Worm, in turn, have the edge in the smart thermostat field with their MiGo Personal Heating Assistant device. The MiGo is an easy-to-use Wi-Fi thermostat which can be operated from your smart phone. It also boasts heating management updated via weather readings and energy consumption monitoring to keep you up to date with your daily energy use. Point for the Glow-worm.
The Betacom3 boiler has the edge over the Gold due to its smaller size. Unfortunately, neither of these boilers will be able to fit in most standard kitchen cupboards. However, if you’re looking for a smaller boiler for a larger storage cupboard or utility room, it’s better to go with the Betacom3. Despite the bulkiness of both models, the Glow-worm scores another point and remains in the lead.
Can Potterton catch up in this round? The ErP directive was introduced by the EU to usher existing energy product manufacturers to consider the carbon footprint created by their existing products. Whilst each product is tested by the ErP directive for their energy efficiency, consumers will be educated on how their energy products could not only save them money in the long run, but also provide a cleaner and safer environment for future generations.
In this case, both manufacturers have received an A rating for their boilers, which is the highest attainable rating. An A grade means that each boiler is highly energy efficient, consuming less energy and saving you money. However, the Glow-worm boiler has the edge over the Potterton boiler by 0.6 percentage points in this respect. The Glow-worm wins yet another point.
Potterton and Glow-Worm both offer a standard two-year warranty for their boilers. Potterton offers a standard two-year warranty for parts and labour completely free. Glow-Worm, in turn, offer a free standard two-year warranty for their boilers, with an extended warranty if a Club Energy registered engineer installs the boiler. You guessed it, Glow-worm take another point bringing the score to 4-1. Potterton may be losing, but can they at least gain one more point?
The Potterton won the Best Buy Award by Which? magazine for four years running between 2007 and 2010 in order to highlight consumer organisation and commitment to quality and performance. Glow-Worm is yet to win an award for their Betacom3 boiler. However, as a company they were awarded two highly sought-after awards by the Institute of Marketing for their Club Energy programme. The two awards include: Gold in the Sales Incentive Programme Category and Silver in the Automotive and Consumer Durables category. Let’s call it a draw in this category and give both models a point.
Glow-worm wins with a whopping 4-point lead!
Whilst Potterton has won many awards for its Gold Combi boiler series, the Betacom3 is an outright better purchase. The Gold Combi 24 loses points because of its higher price, larger size, lower energy efficiency and limited controls on offer. Clearly, the Potterton boiler was a better choice between 2007 and 2010, attested by its many accolades. However, for a more compact, cheaper and more future-proof boiler with extended warranties on offer, the Glow-Worm Betacom3 is our favourite.
|Potterton Gold (24kW)||Glow-worm Betacom3 (24kW)|
While one of the most obvious benefits is upfront savings, choosing to go with a cheaper boiler has its drawbacks.
First, most low-budget boiler manufacturers use inferior materials, for example, the heat exchanger is usually made from aluminium. While it may well be high-grade aluminium, it doesn’t even come close to stainless steel with regard to durability and resistance to corrosion.
Second, the lengths of the warranty offered is often quite short, as is the case with the two boiler models we’ve just reviewed. Most boiler problems appear after 4-5 years, which means that you may be faced with a high boiler repair bill without being covered by the warranty anymore. If you consider that in 9 out of 10 cases it makes more sense economically to replace a faulty boiler instead of repairing it – because, let’s face it, repairs and spare parts are expensive – the case for spending a few hundred pounds more on a high-quality boiler becomes much clearer.
Finally, most low-budget boilers aren’t the most pleasing to look at due to their cheaper build. You will find that the more expensive boilers are not only built better for tighter spaces, but are also more aesthetically pleasing to look at.
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