Vokera or Alpha boilers – Which is the best brand, and who would win your purchase?
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced boiler without the price tag of a Worcester Bosch or Vaillant boiler then two of the economy boiler brands that are often pitted against each other are Vokera and Alpha boilers.
In this article, we will give you a bit of background on both companies and do a direct comparison between the Vokera Evolve 28c (28kW) combi gas boiler and the Alpha eTEC Plus 28 (28kW) combi gas boiler and the Vokera Excel 29kW combi gas boiler and the Alpha Evoke 28kW combi gas boiler. Whether you are a landlord looking for a new or replacement combi boiler or a homeowner just looking for an upgrade, this blog is perfect for you, as we compare four like-for-like boilers that are suitable for small/medium size homes or flats.
The categories we will be looking at to define which is the best boiler are price, reliability, energy efficiency and aftercare. If you would like to compare both boilers side by side, why not use our Boiler Comparison Tool. Not only will you be able to compare these two boilers, but you can also compare up to three other boiler brands or models at one time, to help you find the perfect boiler for your home.
Now, let the battle commence…
Vokera Limited was established over 35 years ago under its parent company Riello. Vokera offers a portfolio of domestic & commercial gas boilers, water heaters, solar thermal collectors and air source heat pumps.
Vokera has offices across the U.K and Ireland which enable them to deliver a tailored service for the UK & Ireland market. Every boiler manufactured by Vokera is tested before it leaves the factory so it offers peace of mind and reliability to homeowners and landlords.
You can read about Vokera’s background in their own words here.
Alpha belongs to the parent company Immergas, which operates in 30 countries worldwide. Immergas is the market leader in Italy where it originates, producing an impressive 7 million boilers per year. One of the largest heating appliance manufacturers in Europe.
Established over 50 years ago, Alpha has a long history, with core values of innovation, efficiency and customer service at the forefront of their offering.
Alpha offers regular, system and conventional boilers in a range of different kW sizes to suit any size of a domestic or commercial premise.
Combi Boiler Comparison table
|Boiler model||Evolve 28c||E-Tec Plus 28kW||Excel 29kW||E-Tec 28kW|
|Standard Warranty||10 Years||10 Years||5 Years||7 Years|
|Mounting||Wall Mountable||Wall Mountable||Wall Mountable||Wall Mountable|
|Flow Rate||12.3 l/min||12.1 l/min||12.1 l/min||12.1 l/min|
|Typical price*||£731.96 (ex VAT)||£670.03 (ex VAT)||£410.14 (ex VAT)||£714.00 (ex VAT)|
|ErP rating||A Heat | A Water||A Heat | A Water||A Heat | A Water||A Heat | A Water|
|740mm x 420mm x 275mm||712mm x 440mm x 256mm||740mm x 420mm x 275mm||712mm x 440mm x 256mm|
Each of these four combi boilers is known to be a great cost-friendly boiler model, however, also ensure high efficiency and reliability.
Looking at the comparison table above we can see that while there is very little between both the Alpha E-Tec 28kW combi boiler and the Alpha E-Tec Plus 28kW combi boiler, nor between the Vokera Evolve 28c combi boiler and the others.
With that said, there is a major difference that stands out when comparing the Vokera Excel 29kW combi boiler with the other models. And this is the price.
The Vokera Excel 29kW is a great boiler model, especially for landlords looking for a new or replacement combi boiler. Although it is known for being a ‘budget boiler’, this boiler still performs at an excellent efficiency of 92%, with the same flow rate and ErP rating as other premium boilers, but for more than half the price. A win-win if you ask us!
All four boilers have similar energy efficiencies, meaning you will save money on your heating bills over the course of the boiler’s lifetime.
The higher your boilers efficiency, the fewer gases you will be wasting whilst your central heating system is in use. In financial terms, if your combi boiler has an efficiency of 93%, only 7p for every £1 you spend on central heating is being wasted.
If your current boiler has a lower efficiency rating than 90%, we recommend upgrading your boiler to help save you money on your energy bills in the long run.
One difference that may help sway your decision on which boiler brand is best, is the kW options available. The Vokera Evolve combi boiler range offers a wider range of kW boilers including the 24kW, 28kW, 32kW, 36kW and the 42kW, whereas all of Alpha’s boiler ranges only include a kW output of 28kW and 33kW. With such a wide range of kW options, you are more likely to get a perfect size match for your home.
If you are unsure what kW output you need for your home, or if you’re unsure what kW output means when it comes to your home, then we’ve got you covered. You can head over and read those blogs, once you’re done with this one, obviously 😉
This will ensure you aren’t wasting money on heating bills by having an oversized boiler or not getting the power you require in an undersized boiler.
When it comes to deciding a winner, we don’t know about you but there is a clear winner for us for this round! Taking everything we have compared and discussed above into consideration, it has to be, Vokera!
The E-Tec Plus range from Alpha offers a stainless steel heat exchanger matching up with Vokera’s next-generation plate heat exchanger for further protection for your new combi boilers.
If you get an issue with the heat exchanger in your boiler it’s a serious issue and often leads to the replacement of the boiler, so both of these models are future-proofed in the heat exchanger stakes.
Vokera has a 4.4 rating on Trustpilot compared to Alpha’s score of 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot, so from the customer point of view, Alpha boilers come out just ahead of Vokera.
However, with a little more investigation into the content of the Alpha reviews, we can see that a lot of the reviews are either from engineers fitting the Alpha boiler or from customers thanking engineers for coming out so quickly to fix issues with the boiler. This can be interpreted in two ways – firstly, that Alpha boilers require a bit of ongoing maintenance and are susceptible to breaking down and secondly, that when they do break down they get engineers out pretty quickly and they seem to resolve the issue.
The Vokera Trustpilot reviews seem to be mainly from their customers, which gives you a truer reflection of how the boiler is likely to perform. Here are some reviews from Vokera’s customers:
"Excellent instant hot water boiler which can be set to a preferred temperature and is quick and efficient. We have it installed in our 3 sink, 1 bath house and gives excellent flow rate to all areas of the house."
"So far so good. No problems running like a dream."
We can see from these reviews that Vokera’s customers are more than satisfies with their Vokera boiler.
In terms of reliability from a heating engineer perspective, it’s the usual story, we can’t agree. Some of our engineers swear by Alpha and just as many curse them and vice versa with Vokera.
Both brands are budget boilers and to a certain extent you get what you pay for, you won’t get the same level of reliability or longevity as you would from a Worcester or Vaillant boiler but a Vokera or Alpha will be a few hundred pounds cheaper. If they are properly maintained and serviced annually they have every chance of lasting 10-15 years.
We’re going to award this round as a tie, there’s not much to choose between the two brands in terms of reliability.
Both the Vokera Evolve combi boiler range and the Alpha E-Tec Plus combi boiler range come with an amazing 10-year standard manufacturers warranty. These are excellent length warranties that should give you peace of mind for years to come.
However, the Vokera Excel combi boiler range and the Alpha E-Tec combi boiler range only come with a 5 and 7-year warranty.
It’s worth noting here that these are warranties and not guarantees – there is an important difference between the two. We’ve written an article previously explaining the difference between a warranty and a guarantee. Basically, a warranty can be refused if the stipulations in the warranty haven’t been fulfilled. For example, a lot of boiler warranties require the boiler to be serviced annually to maintain the warranty. If the boiler is not serviced annually this can void the warranty.
It’s also worth noting that the warranty offered will differ depending on the installer or company you choose. Some installers will be accredited engineers and will be able to offer longer warranties than the standard 7 or 10 years.
Both companies enjoy an excellent reputation for aftercare and customer service, with both Vokera and Alpha getting praised in their Trustpilot reviews from customers for fast responses to issues and getting engineers out quickly to resolve any problems.
You would expect budget brands to be lagging behind on the customer care front, but encouragingly both companies obviously put a lot of stock into making sure they look after their customers. They may not have the awards that a company like Worcester Bosch has but they know that they are only as good as their reputation and put a lot of effort into maintaining theirs.
Another round that’s too close to call, so we’re awarding another tie. This means the Vokera just takes it 1-0 with two tied rounds. There really isn’t much between Vokera and Alpha, and if you’re in the budget market, either will do a decent job.
You can see from how close the two boiler manufacturers were in each of the key factors of price, reliability, energy efficiency and aftercare that there isn’t much to choose between the two brands.
The difference in price is negligible with both offering a very cheap budget boiler, usually £300-£400 cheaper than the ‘top’ brands such as Worcester Bosch, Viessmann and Vaillant. With that said, as mentioned, the Vokera Excel range is a great boiler for landlords looking for a new or replacement combi boiler thanks to its very competitive price.
There’s very little to choose between the brands on reliability and aftercare but the Vokera does offer better energy efficiency which will lead to saving over time on your heating bills.
Between Vokera and Alpha, we would recommend the Vokera but we would also recommend spending a little bit more if it’s in your budget to get a Worcester or Vaillant. £200-£300 is a lot more to spend but with a monthly boiler finance plan, the monthly cost won’t be significantly higher on an elite brand boiler. If you want to compare the difference between these two boilers against a top brand boiler such as a Worcester Bosch, then you should try our Boiler Comparison Tool. You will be able to compare efficiency, reliability, warranties and features, which should help you make your decision on the best boiler for your home.
Whichever of the two brands you go for you’ll be getting a reliable boiler from two companies with a focus on customer service at a price that won’t make your bank manager cry.
*Boiler prices from Wolseley at the time of publication (installation not included). Please note that prices may vary depending on your supplier.