A household has numerous components that ensure it runs efficiently. Two of the popular household essentials are a water boiler and a water heater.

While these two essentials serve more or less the same purpose, there’s a stark difference between them.

Understandably, however, most people think these two terms are similar and feel that they have the same functions.

On the contrary, there are differences between a boiler and a water heater that you should understand to help you know which of these two satisfies your needs both.

To understand the difference between these two, we must first define and understand each component.

What is a Boiler?

A boiler is an appliance that heats water and converts it into steam to offer radiant heating

The steam produced is distributed throughout the home via a circuit of pipes connected to radiators.

However, boilers do more than heating your household, but they create heat more instantaneously than a water heater. Similar to water heaters, boilers are available in tankless and tanked systems and some have a boiler cover, some don’t.

What Is A Water Heater?

A water heater is a home appliance that is used to heat water for bathing, cooking, laundry, and others. The appliance heats water using burning gas or electricity.  Water heaters come in two different types, those that possess the tank storage system and the electric tankless water heater.

Tank Water Heater

The tank water heater heats the water and stores it in a tank until it is required. When the water leaves the tank for usage, the tank is refilled with cold water that is heated until hot water is needed again for laundry or shower.

They have the disadvantage that they need time to heat the cold water once it’s refilled after emptying.

Tankless Water Heater

Electric tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, operate by heating the water on demand. These water heaters do not have a holding tank. The water is instantly heated when needed by turning on a hot water tap or activating the appliance that requires hot water, such as a shower. This system is beneficial in saving energy as the water is only heated when the faucet is on.

Comparison of A Water Heater Vs. A Boiler


Efficiency is of the essence when comparing a water heater’s performance.

That said, it’s generally challenging to compare between these two options because the efficiency varies from individual model.

If anything, the only metric that we can use to compare these water heaters’ system is their energy consumption

Here, a water heater is the absolute winner because it is more effective at conserving energy.

However, the difference is not big, and in any case, it will depend on your frequency of usage.

Cost of Installation

The cost of installation for either of these systems depends on various factors, but generally, a water heater installation is relatively less expensive, ranging to about $3500. Tankless water heaters can cost more to install than the tank water heaters. Installing a boiler requires a more significant investment going from $3500 up to $8000.

Lifespan and Maintenance

Regarding longevity, water heaters and boilers are relatively similar. Both the appliances tend to last to about 15 years when well maintained. More so, both the systems need some maintenance though water heaters tend to need lesser maintenance in comparison. Regardless of the appliance you choose, ensure you do proper maintenance regularly.


With all the water heaters and boilers available out there, there have numerous similarities and differences. This makes it challenging to pick the best option for your home and individual needs. We hope this guide will help you choose the appliance that fits you best.


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