The aim of this study was to investigate and compare the flame retardant properties of boron compounds with respect to aluminum trihydroxide (ATH) in an epoxy system based on bisphenol A epichlorohydrin-based epoxy resin and cycloaliphatic polyamine-based hardener. Six different boron compounds including colemanite (C), ulexite (U), boric acid (BA), boric oxide (BO), melamine borate (MB) and guanidinium nonaborate (GB) were used as flame retardant additive. The flame retardant properties of epoxy-based composites were investigated using limiting oxygen index (LOI), UL 94 standards both in vertical and horizontal position, thermogravimetric analysis, cone calorimeter and scanning electron microscopy. According to flammability test results, boron compounds except for C and U showed better performance than ATH. According to the LOI results, 40% BA containing sample had the highest LOI value of 28.5, while 30% MB, 35% GB and 40% BA containing samples had the highest UL 94V rating (V0). According to the cone calorimeter test results, all boron containing samples had better fire performances than ATH containing sample; 40 wt% BO containing sample showed the lowest peak heat release rate, average heat release rate and total heat release values. Copyright (C) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.