Boiler Room Blog

29 Dec 2014

Firetube vs Watertube Boilers: a Comparison

Firetube vs Watertube Boilers: a Comparison

Author: Randy Massingill  /  Categories: Boilers & Equipment  / 
There are a number of considerations to factor when determining the best boiler for your steam generation needs like operating pressure, steam pounds/hour output, demand fluctuation, general application requirments and total cost of ownership, etc.

Two primary boiler types, the firetube boiler and the watertube boiler, are essentially opposite in design. The firetube boiler passes combustion gas inside a series of tubes surrounded by water in a vessel to produce steam, while a watertube instead sends water through a series of tubes surrounded by combustion gas used to transfer heat energy and produce steam.

Here are a few key differences between the two:

Firetube Boilers:

- compact construction   
- efficient, straight tube design
- lower total cost of ownership
- easier access and maintenance
- good load surge handling @ pressure
- simple operation
Watertube Boilers:

- higher operating pressures
- higher temperature output
- safe, dependable design
- precise load fluctuation handling
- superheated steam generation
- fast heat recovery
- better turn down

Industrial steam boilers come in many shapes, sizes and configurations - and both firetube boilers and watertube boilers have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Consult with an experienced boiler expert to review your application needs, address long-term considerations and identify the ideal equipment solution tailored to your specifications. 

Number of views (32516)      Comments (6)


6 comments on article "Firetube vs Watertube Boilers: a Comparison"

Rocco Healy

2/19/2015 11:12 PM

Nice stuff..!! It was very nicely explained the difference between two boiler methods with the example of apple and orange i.e firetube and water tube. Mostly it depends upon the people for which they mostly prefer.

Patti Osterberg

1/15/2016 5:13 AM

I didn't know that watertube and firetube boilers worked in such opposite ways to get the same result. It sounds like firetube systems are a little more complex in their design, but it's interesting to see the advantages of each system. If I need to rent a boiler with easy maintenance, I'll go with a firetube. But if I need something that is more durable, I'll go with watertube. Thanks for clearing up the differences between the two!

Marie Watson

6/6/2016 7:59 PM

Randy, thanks for comparing firetube and watertube boilers. After reading your article, it seems like a firetube boiler might be a good choice for me. I like that it is lower in price and easier to maintain. Since I don't know much about operating a boiler, it seems like a firetube might be easier to learn how to keep up with.


4/3/2018 10:32 PM

CBSE Results


5/3/2019 2:27 AM

Good article, but short.


5/3/2019 2:27 AM

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