Purchasing a water heater for your home, or replacing an existing one can be expensive, however it may help you save money in the long run by finding the best hot water heater for your home.
It has been determined by the U.S. Department of Energy that 14-18% of the home’s utility expenses comes from water heating. That means that the average home is spending about $400-600 on water heating per year.
While the most recent regulations on energy efficiency were updated last year via the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), raising the minimum energy efficiency of all water heaters, there are still several options to choose from.
Depending on your home’s size and water consumption, you can save money on energy consumption by choosing between options such as storage vs. tankless, and gas vs. electric. Presented here is a complete overview of the best water heaters, including different types, a water heater comparison, and reviews of the top rated water heaters.
Top 5 Water Heaters Comparison Chart
Natural Gas, Tankless
Check out this complete buyer’s guide in order to choose the best water heater for your household.
Types of Water Heaters
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters, or instant water heaters, are different from traditional water heaters in their ability to generate hot water on demand, rather than relying on stored, continuously heated water.
Tankless water heaters can be either electric or gas, which may determine installation costs, efficiency and capability. Due to the on-demand nature of the product, the performance of a tankless water heater can be affected by warm versus cold climates.
Tankless water heaters are going to be a bit more expensive than traditional storage water heaters, but can be up to 34% more efficient depending on location and demand. They are also much more compact and therefore more convenient to install than a traditional storage tank.
Gas Water Heaters
Because they work faster, they provide more available hot water during high usage times. For those looking into gas water heaters, there is the option for both storage and tankless gas water heaters.
However, one of the main complications in purchasing a gas water heater can be the access to a gas line. Natural gas water heaters need both a gas line and space for proper venting of the combustion that occurs.
Electric Water Heaters
Most electric water heaters are going to be less energy efficient than gas due to the cost difference in natural gas versus electricity usage. Electric water heaters utilize one or two heating devices which extend into the water.
Buyers have the option of either storage water heaters or tankless water heater models. Many electric water heaters contain a mechanism called dry fire protection, which prevents the upper heating element from burning out when it is not surrounded by water.
Electric water heaters have become much more eco-friendly in the past couple years. These models, while more expensive to purchase, will cut down on energy consumption over time.
Propane Water Heaters
Propane water heaters are quite similar to natural gas heaters, however they use liquid propane, or LP, as the fuel source as opposed to natural gas.
In this case, when purchasing a propane water heater, you must also factor in propane storage and regular fuel delivery.
An electric or natural gas heater will usually share the same heating source that provides heat for your home, while a propane water heater uses an external heating source.
Top 5 Best Water Heaters Money Can Buy
Here we have compiled a list of the top ten water heaters based on water heater reviews and user rankings. There are several great products on the market right now with the ability to satisfy each household’s needs.
1. EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater
The EcoSmart ECO 27 is another great option for those looking for a tankless, electric option. Efficient even in high demand, multiple use scenarios, the ECO 27 is capable of heating up to three gallons per minute and is built to handle cold winter water temperatures. It’s compact design makes it easy to install even in tight spots in the home.
In addition to that, the ECO 27 uses self-modulating technology for maximum energy efficiency, saving up to 50% in water heating costs per year. The ECO 27 also comes equipped with limited lifetime warranty and a digital temperature control, allowing for adjustment between 80º and 140º F.
2. Westinghouse 80 Gallon 4500W Electric Water Heater
The Westinghouse is a conventional electric storage water heater that boasts of 98% efficiency and low standby heat losses. Made of an inner stainless steel tank, the Westinghouse prevents corrosion through stainless steel incoloy elements, rather than anodes, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Recovery time at a 90 degree rise is 20 GPH, and the Westinghouse has a 0.57 standby heat loss (percent per hour). Other great features of the Westinghouse include an adjustable thermostat, protection against overheating, and easy installation with multiple options for outlet connections.
The Westinghouse can be purchased in various storage capacities ranging from 40-80 gallons.
3. Rheem RTG-64XLN 6.4 GPM Low NOx Outdoor Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater
The Rheem RTG is a great mid-efficiency natural gas water heater option. It is designed for continuous hot water and also meets ultra low NOx standards. At a 35ºF rise, the Rheem RTG can operate at up to 6.4 GPM, and 5.6 GPM at a 45ºF rise.
Other features include a digital remote control, high altitude capacity, digital display, and an 0.82 Energy Factor. A major difference between the Rheem RTG and other tankless water heaters is its outdoor installation.
This eliminates the necessity for a category III stainless steel vent that many other natural gas heaters require.
4. General Electric GEH80DFEJSR Hybrid Water Heater
The General Electric GeoSpring Hybrid electric water heater is perfect for those looking for an efficient electrical storage heater for five to six person households. The GeoSpring comes equipped with an 80 gallon storage tank that is up to 70% more efficient than a standard 50 gallon water heater.
It has a 3.12 Energy Factor and can be set at 100º to 140º F range. In addition to this, it has five different operating modes, including vacation mode, and comes with a limited ten year entire appliance warranty.
5. Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP Indoor Tankless Water Heater, Propane
The Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP is a great option for those looking for a propane water heater. It has a flow rate of up to 6.6 GPM and an Energy Factor of 0.81-0.83. Being a propane heater, it does require 4-inch category III stainless steel venting.
This unit is one of the smallest offered by Takagi and is recommended for light residential use.
Leading Water Heater Brands
Rheem Manufacturing Company was established in 1925 and became a household water heating manufacturer by 1941. They offer a plethora of different types of water heaters including electric, natural gas, tankless, storage tank, and solar water heaters.
Claimed by customers as one of the most reliable brands, Rheem offers trustworthy customer service when it comes to troubleshooting and maintenance. Rheem is also known for their products’ durability, energy efficiency, warranties, and range in price.
Rheem has been a reliable brand for almost 100 years and is the largest manufacturer of water heating products in North America.
EcoSmart is a green energy company that is dedicated to producing and distributing quality products. They are most well known for their water heating products, which utilize self-modulating, on-demand technology.
Their patented self-modulating technology allows residents to save up to 60% on water heating costs, as claimed by the manufacturers. They are also one of the few tankless water heating brands that fully accommodate to colder climates.
Lastly, the EcoSmart company promises 99.8% efficiency and lifetime limited warranties.
Takagi has been supplying innovative water heating products for over 60 years, beginning in 1952. Their commitment to customer satisfaction, innovation, and safety has made them one of the number one tankless water heater brands.
Not only were they one of the first tankless-only water heater producers in the North American market, but they also helped contribute to the energy efficiency and easy access to tankless water heaters.
Takagi’s mission is to create a safe place for families to live while also protecting the environment, which has aided in making Takagi an innovative and cutting-edge manufacturing company.
There are very few of us out there who enjoy a cold shower, therefore, buying the right hot water heater is quite an important decision-especially for those living in colder, northern climates. However, deciding which water heater to choose may require a bit more consideration.
One of the newest considerations is going to be whether or not to buy a conventional storage tank water heater or a tankless water heater.
Most households in the United States right now rely on electric storage tank water heaters to provide hot water for their home. With new technology breakthroughs though, tankless hot water heaters are becoming more and more popular. To choose between tank and tankless, it is important to determine what your household needs are.
Tankless water heaters are great because they provide on-demand hot water. They are space-saving, easy to install, and usually last 10 to 15 years longer than the average storage tank. However, they are more expensive to purchase and may prove inconsistent if you have a large family household where multiple use scenarios regularly occur.
In addition, if you live in a very cold climate where temperature rise is consistently an issue, it may be better to invest in a storage tank water heater.
Finally, you will also have to choose between electric, natural gas, and propane. This decision may merely be based on which energy source heats your home. Natural gas will need a gas line, and will more than likely require venting to defer the fumes.
Therefore, if your home is already heated electrically, this may be the best option. Propane requires storage for liquid propane (LP) and may need regular delivery, and therefore may be more inconvenient if other energy sources are available.
Buying a new water heater can drastically change the quality of your household water usage from comfort, to reliability, and especially, cost efficiency. There are many choices out there and it is important to choose the right one for your household.
This complete buyer’s guide sought to help make this decision a little easier by going over different types of water heaters, reviewing some of the most popular products out there, and looking at the best hot water heater brands.