Choosing the right water heater for your home may be a difficult task.
Numerous water heater options are available, but which is best for you depends on how much hot water you use and whether your water heater is powered by water or gas. Some current models claim to reduce energy expenses by up to half compared to conventional water heaters.
I’ve researched the seven best water heaters on the market to help you make the best choice for your home.
Here are the results of my findings.
1. A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater — 9.3/10 (Best electric tank water heater)
Despite natural gas water heaters being the most popular tank water heater, there are plenty of reasons to consider an electric version. Electric water heaters are easier to install, cheaper to buy, easier to use, and generally better for the environment.
Enter the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater. A 50-gallon electric heater with a high energy efficiency and a compact, intelligent design that is perfect for small housing units.
Electric water heaters are often far more durable than gas heaters. The energy consumption of an electric water heater varies per model, but electric variants are generally more energy efficient. You may check the UEF (Uniform Energy Factor) rating to see precisely how effective the heater is. A heater with a high UEF is exceptionally energy efficient. Compared with the UEF ratings of some gas tank heaters, which can be as low as 0.65, the A.O. Smith 50-gallon electric heater’s energy efficiency rating is 0.92. That’s a really good score!
This water heater automatically adjusts your hot water consumption when in “Energy Smart” mode to prevent standby heat loss during low usage periods, saving you money on your energy bills. In addition to these energy-saving smart features, this water heater has been built to last. It contains a self-cleaning dip tube to prevent sediment buildup in your water tank.
The A.O. Smith Signature Premier electric water heater costs around $790, which is a lot cheaper than other models on this list.
Here is a complete list of features that this smart electric water heater offers:
- The Energy Smart mode dynamically responds to household hot water consumption to prevent standby heat loss and save your energy bills.
- The EUI (Electronic User Interface) allows you to simply change the temperature, operating mode, and child-safety lock function.
- Two 5,500-watt quality stainless steel heating elements allow for the delivery of 66 gallons of hot water within 60 minutes.
- Non-CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) polyurethane foam insulation and heat trap nipples added at the factory limit heat loss for optimal efficiency and energy savings.
- Hot water delivery for households with up to four people.
- Leak detection and warning features offer additional peace of mind.
- Ability to handle two hot showers at the same time and three back-to-back hot showers with a single shower length of 25 minutes.
- With iCOMM Smart Connectivity, you can get notifications and manage your water heater from your smartphone.
- In the case of a leak, the shutoff valve immediately turns off the water supply (accessory included).
- Built-in dry fire safety prevents the water heater from being turned on until the tank is filled with water, preventing the top element from being accidentally burned out.
- The compact 4,925-in x 23-in diameter design is perfect for tight places, such as under stairs and in closets.
- This unit comes with a 12-year residential warranty.
- The A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater guarantees annual energy saving costs of up to $570.
One issue that plagues electric water heaters across the board is their slow heating times. When there is a significant demand for hot water, an electric water heater will take longer to recover than a gas heater.
Electric heaters are also cheaper to purchase but expensive to operate. Most homeowners usually prioritize gas water heaters over electric water heaters because natural gas is less expensive than electricity, resulting in a reduced energy cost.
Furthermore, while I was going through online reviews of this particular A.O. Smith electric water heater, most users complained that despite this water heater being energy efficient overall, they found some of its features to be too complicated.
The small dimensions, great energy efficiency, and clever design of the A.O. Smith Signature Premier set it apart from the competition. This 50-gallon water heater has an Energy Smart mode that dynamically responds to hot water demand to automatically decrease standby heat loss when not in use.
If you’d like to learn more about the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater, check out their website today.
2. Rheem Performance Platinum Atmospheric 50 Gallon Natural Gas Water Heater — 8.5/10 (Best natural gas tank water heater)
The most popular form of water heater is a storage tank. Tank water heaters are made up of an insulated tank in which water is heated and kept until it is needed, at which point it is released through a pipe on top of the water heater. Tank water heaters also contain a temperature and pressure relief valve that opens if one of them exceeds a certain threshold.
Natural gas heaters are more convenient than electric heaters. The recovery rate of natural gas heaters (the amount of time required to reheat a tank of water after usage) is significantly faster than that of an electric heater. Your hot water supply is also unaffected in the case of a power loss. Furthermore, when a hot water tank runs out, a gas heater warms up a fresh tank of water quicker than an electric heater.
In terms of overall efficiency, the Rheem Performance Platinum Atmospheric is the best natural gas heater on the market.
This natural gas water heater model provides outstanding overall performance and efficiency. Its 50-gallon capacity is sufficient for a large family of about five to six people. It features an EcoNet Home Comfort Wi-Fi module for remote monitoring of the water heater’s performance, including hands-free voice control that allows you to check on hot water availability and control the water temperature.
This heater has powerful 40,000 BTU burners that are capable of heating up close to 80 gallons of water within 60 minutes, with a recovery rate of 40 GPH (gallons per hour).
The Rheem Performance Platinum Atmospheric offers the following benefits over rival brands:
- The 50-gallon tank capacity provides enough hot water for households with up to five people.
- Filterless design allows for easy maintenance.
- This gas unit has ultra low NOx (nitrogen oxide) emission.
- An electronic ignition system eliminates the need for a pilot light.
- A decent UEF rating of 0.65 yields a higher return for every dollar of energy you invest.
- This Rheem water heater comes with a 12-year limited warranty on tank and parts and a 3-year (in-home) labor warranty.
- This hot water heater can be installed in elevations of up to 10,200 ft above sea level.
- Electronic diagnostic gas control valve allows for easy monitoring and servicing.
- Premium anode rod provides long-lasting tank protection.
- This model features EcoNet WiFi monitoring and control.
- Features automatic-disabling in case of high flammable vapor accumulation.
- This model prevents sediment and mineral buildup.
Rheem estimates that this hot water heater may save roughly $200 in energy costs over a year when compared to regular 50-gallon water heaters.
Unfortunately, natural gas water heaters have their own set of drawbacks. For example, while your energy costs would be cheaper with a gas water heater, you will have to pay a significantly larger up-front cost than you would with an electric heater. The Rheem Performance Platinum Atmospheric is no exception, costing $1,550 before taxes and installation. Despite the high initial cost, most gas water heaters will make up the price difference within a year if properly maintained.
This Rheem gas heater also doesn’t support back-to-back hot showers and has a much larger carbon footprint compared to electric alternatives due to the emission of exhaust gases.
Gas-powered water heaters have a somewhat shorter lifespan than electric water heaters. If you were to install one of each at the same time, the electric model should last roughly a year longer than the gas model.
Gas water heaters need a more complicated setup. The ventilation system will need to be set up carefully and will also need maintenance or repairs from time to time. PVC pipes will need to be built to vent through the roof if the home has never had a gas water heater before.
When compared to electric water heaters, gas water heaters heat water twice as fast. While it may take an hour for an electric heater to heat 100 liters of water, a gas heater can heat a 200-liter tank in less than an hour. This makes it less likely for your home to run out of hot water. Since electric water heaters may struggle to keep up with huge demands for hot water, a gas heater is typically the best option for bigger households.
The Rheem Performance Platinum Atmospheric provides a ton of features, including a WiFi feature that lets you control and monitor the unit remotely. It also comes with a 12-year limited warranty on tank and parts and a 3-year (in-home) labor warranty for your peace of mind.
Visit the Rheem website today to learn more about this product.
3. Rinnai RL75iN Tankless Gas Water Heater — 7.2/10 (Best tankless natural gas water heater)
Instead of storing water, tankless water heaters utilize heating coils to heat water as needed. They use less energy than a storage tank but only deliver a restricted amount of hot water per minute. They’re perfect for those who don’t usually draw water for more than one purpose simultaneously, such as running a shower and a washing machine at the same time.
Rinnai tankless water heaters are among the best water heaters on the market, and at 7.5 GPM (gallons per minute), the RL75iN model can comfortably accommodate your ordinary home. It is constructed using high-quality components to ensure consistency and efficiency.
If you have a household of four people, this tankless water heater is suitable for you. When it detects water flow of less than 0.4 GPM, the unit will automatically activate. Many low flow fixtures start at 0.5 GPM, thus this puts it right in the sweet spot. Even with low-flow fixtures, you will have hot water on demand.
This tankless heater has an Energy Factor of 0.82. This implies that just 18% of the heat produced is lost and 82% of the energy produced is harnessed to heat the water. This is where the cost savings kick in. On average, a gas tank heater system receives a 0.60 rating, implying that 40% of the energy produced is wasted. Within a few years, the RL75iN will ultimately pay for itself.
Compared to other Rennai tankless water heaters, the RL75iN is quite affordable with a retail price of around $697.
Here are some features that demonstrate why the Rinnai RL75iN is superior to the competition:
- Space-saving, compact design
- WiFi technology for remote monitoring, management, and circulation control
- Certified isolation valves for potable water
- Simple gas conversion
- Ultra low NOx (nitrogen oxide) emission
- Uses both natural gas and propane
- Low flow rate trigger (0.4 GPM)
- 12-year warranty
- Circ Logic technology ensures hot water is kept at a preset temperature
I came across the term “cold water sandwich” when investigating tankless water heaters. A cold water sandwich happens when you use hot water intermittently, causing you to feel an initial burst of hot water, followed by cold water that rapidly turns hot again.
When you swiftly switch off and on the hot water, as you might when hand-washing dishes, the pipes still have hot water in them from a few seconds earlier. Because of the small delay between when the water begins to flow and when the heater turns on, there is a brief burst of cold water before it turns hot. This is not a major issue, but it can throw you off if you are not used to this type of heater.
Some users have complained about frequent error codes while using the Rinnai RL75iN, even though the unit is in good working condition. This can be a minor annoyance.
Other complaints suggest the unit may not be reliable after the warranty period expires. This means that the heater requires frequent maintenance to ensure long service.
The Rinnai RN75iN is appropriate for medium-sized homes with two bathrooms and up to four people. It is ideal for most hot water needs, with a 7.5 GPM flow rate trigger, a low (0.4 GPM) flow rate trigger, and Circ Logic temperature control technology.
Visit the Rinnai website to learn more about the RN75iN tankless natural gas water heater.
4. Ecosmart ECO 18 Electric Tankless Water Heater
The Ecosmart ECO 18 Electric Tankless Water Heater is a popular compact tankless water heater that has received glowing reviews from consumers. This electric tankless water heater does not require flames or burners, as do natural gas models, and installation does not necessitate complex venting and exhaust systems. The ECO 18, like the Rinnai, does not store hot water. A temperature control knob on the front of the unit allows you to easily alter the water temperature one degree at a time. This unit delivers 2.5 gallons of hot water per minute at an optimum temperature of 62 degrees, with an average output temperature of 105 degrees
The size of this unit is one of its outstanding features. The ECO 18 weighs less than 14 pounds and can be placed almost anywhere in your home. It is best suited for smaller houses or those with low hot water needs. It lacks the ability to service more than three or four taps at once, so although it’s good for running the dishwasher while you soak in the tub, it can’t accommodate three adolescents who require showers in three different bathrooms at the same time.
Some other ECO 18 salient features include EcoSmart self-modulating technology, stainless steel and copper internal, precision temperature controls, and manufacturer’s lifetime warranty. At $416, substantially less expensive than other comparable models.
However, Despite the manufacturer claiming that the unit is easy to install, a few users have complained that the unit arrived at their homes missing installation pieces. Also, due to this hot water heater being self-modulating, there will be a 30-second delay between when the faucet is opened and when the water begins to flow out.
It’s important to also mention that homeowners risk voiding the warranty if they install the unit by themselves.
The EcoSmart ECO 18 is a simple tankless water heater that will get the job done quickly. It has enough features to provide adequate personalization but is not overly advanced to deter first-time customers. With positive customer feedback and a lifetime warranty from EcoSmart, the ECO 18 Tankless Electric Water Heater is a smart choice for your house.
5. Duda Solar 200 Liter Active Split System Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters, also known as solar domestic hot water systems, can be an expensive option to heat water for your house. However, they may be operated in any environment, and the fuel they consume is free: sunlight.
While they are frequently used in other areas around the world, solar hot water heaters are not generally used in the United States at the moment. Solar water heaters may not make sense for many households, given their cost. But, in some circumstances, they can minimize your carbon impact and save you some money.
Duda is well known in the solar water heating industry for being a reliable brand. This specific water heater is certified by the SRCC (Solar Rating & Certification Corporation) and may be used for federal or state tax credits and exemptions, which is a great incentive for homeowners who are debating whether to invest in a solar water heating system.
The Duda 200 Liter Active Split System is fantastic because it allows homeowners to heat their water on the roof or any other sunny spot and store it in a covered tank near where it will be supplied. Duda created the system so that individuals living in chilly areas may easily install it in their houses.
This solar water heater system includes various features that make it suitable for practically all applications, including; a weather-resistant closed-loop system, an 8-liter expansion tank, a thermostatic mixing valve to avoid scalding, twenty 14mm solar tubes on a 45-degree stand that can easily be swapped out for a 37-degree or slanted roof support, food grade stainless steel water storage tank, an automated air vent, and a 7 year collective warranty on select parts
As mentioned earlier, solar water heating systems can be quite expensive, and the Duda 200L Active Split System is no exception. It costs a whopping $3,802.58, and that doesn’t even include the installation cost.
Although solar energy may be gathered during overcast or rainy days, the effectiveness of the solar system decreases. Solar panels rely on sunshine to efficiently collect solar energy. As a result, a few overcast or rainy days can have a significant impact on the energy system.
You should also keep in mind that solar energy cannot be gathered at night. There are also certain poisonous elements and hazardous items used in the production of solar photovoltaic systems that might have an indirect impact on the environment.
6. Chromagen Midea HP280 (280 Liter) Heat Pump Hot Water Heater
Heat pumps act like a refrigerator in reverse in order to convey heat. A refrigerator draws heat from inside a box and sends it into the surrounding room, whereas stand-alone air-source heat pump water heaters draw heat from the surrounding air and transfer it (at a higher temperature) to heat water in a storage tank.
If you live in a big house with a large number of people, the Chromagen Midea HP280 Heat Pump Water Heater is an excellent option to provide adequate hot water for the entire family. Since this is a large unit that requires a lot of room, it is not ideal for small households.
Aside from being large and powerful, the Chromagen Midea is also built to function in a range of climatic conditions. The system can operate at temperatures ranging from -20°C (68°F) to 45°C (113°F), with a heat boost. Furthermore, the Midea has frost protection built-in to preserve the longevity of the water heater.
This unit includes a few additional customer-friendly features, such as a modern and stylish design, a tank-wrapped condenser coil that prevents water contamination, a frost-protection mode, power outage memory function, vacation mode, outdoor screen cover, low noise level operation, auto disinfection function to prevent bacterial growth, and an eight-year collective warranty on select parts.
This heat pump, tank-style water heater is not cheap. It costs $2284.97 to buy, but it offers reduced running expenses, which can compensate for the higher purchase and installation prices.
Heat pump water heaters can take quite some time to heat up huge amounts of water. This may not be a problem in the summer, when the unit can readily draw from warm air, but it can be a problem in the frigid winter months.
During peak times, you may discover that this water heater falls short of the expectations. This is especially aggravating if you have a large family and everyone wants a hot shower. When this occurs, you must allow your heat pump unit some time to recover.
7. Rinnai RUC98iN Condensing Tankless Water Heater
Condensing tankless water heaters deliver hot water as long as the cold water intake is open. They circulate and recirculate water throughout the system, ensuring there is no wastage. The majority of the by-product condensate is utilized in the heater rather than being lost in the exhaust vent.
The Rinnai RUC98iN is a gas powered condensing tankless water heater that’s been making waves in the market. This indoor ultra-efficient water heater is rated at 199,000 BTUs and has an energy factor of 0.96. It delivers 9.8 GPM of water. This means you can run three showers and a dishwasher simultaneously without any issues.
Some other interesting features include the ability to use natural gas or propane for fuel, isolation valves, a low trigger rate of 0.4 GPM, ultra low nitrogen oxide emissions, and a long 12-year residential warranty.
The Rinnai RUC98iN is not as affordable as the Rinnai RL75iN mentioned above. It costs around $1,680 without installation. However, the federal government has a tax credit program for select Rinnai condensing heater models (including this one) that can shed up to $300 from the initial cost. The final cost is still more expensive than the Rinnai RL75IN.
Condensing tankless water heaters have a couple of drawbacks. They use a slightly acidic pH to remove surplus condensate. The acidity eats away at the venting system over time. You must inspect the vent system on a regular basis to ensure that it is in excellent working order.
If you’re upgrading your heating system from a conventional setup, condensing heaters are a challenging replacement. New gas lines and venting systems are required. When you consider the prices of plumbers and electricians, the cost of this new system might reach into the tens of thousands.
The Bottom Line
After a long and arduous process of reviewing the best 50 gallon water heaters in the market today, I finally concluded that the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater is the best water heater for your home.
This affordable $790 electric water heater will ensure hot water delivery for a household of up to four people while saving you money on your energy bills.
The A.O. Smith 50-gallon electric water heater has a high energy efficiency rating of 0.92, an Energy Smart mode that dynamically responds to household hot water consumption to prevent standby heat loss, an Electronic User Interface that allows you to change the operating mode, a child safety lock, WiFi access through your phone, easy installation, a built-in fire safety mechanism, a 12-year warranty, and leak detection and warning features.
Additionally, this electric water heater comes in a compact design that can fit anywhere in your home.
If you need a smart water heater that will guarantee annual energy saving costs of up to $570, check out the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater today.
Best Water Heaters Review Methodology
I used a four-step review process to arrive at my conclusions.
Step 1: Reviews
This first step involved going through customer reviews of the major water heater manufacturers in the US. This involved hours of scouring through websites like Consumer Affairs, Amazon, Lowes, Walmart, and the Better Business Bureau. In the end, I came up with a list of reliable water heater manufacturers across three categories, that is, gas powered, electric powered, and solar powered. There were an average of seven manufacturers in each category. I went on to subdivide the gas and electric categories into tankless water heaters and tank water heaters.
Step 2: Checklist
For this next step, I wrote down a checklist of major features I would expect from a modern water heater, such as water storage capacity, electricity/gas consumption numbers, price or affordability, safety, and convenience features, after-sales service and support, ease of installation, and environmental friendliness. Any unit that failed to pass at least 75% of the criteria on my strict checklist was removed from the list.
Step 3: Speaking With Real Customers
With the remaining list of reliable water heaters at hand, it was time to find people who had actually made a purchase and have a chat with them about their experience. So, accompanied by my partner, I set up a “lemonade and cookies” stand at my local Walmart parking lot and gave out free drinks and cookies to anyone who cared to talk to me about their experiences with some of the water heaters on my list.
I had underestimated the allure of free refreshments, and over 40 people showed up!
At the end of the day, I had all the information I needed to chuck a few more manufacturers off my list.
Step 4: Speaking With Customer Support Departments
This final step involved getting in touch with the customer service departments of the remaining water heater manufacturers to push them for answers on some of the negative feedback they received from their customers. This enabled me to understand how each manufacturer handled criticism and how receptive their customer care agents were. I do not tolerate any rude behavior, so any manufacturer with impolite or unprofessional support staff was also removed from my list.
After a whole week of rigorous research, I had finally come up with a list of the seven best water heaters in the market today, and out of these seven, my top pick is the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater.
This $790 electric compact water heater has the ability to handle two hot showers at the same time and three back-to-back hot showers with a single shower length of 25 minutes.
It has a shut-off valve that immediately turns off the water supply when a leak is detected, iCOMM smart connectivity which allows for remote WiFi control and monitoring, two 5,500-watt quality stainless steel heating elements that deliver over 60 gallons of hot water in under 60 minutes, a high energy efficiency rating of 0.92, built-in fire safety prevention mechanism, an electronic user interface with child lock for easy hands-on control, a compact tank design that can fit in a closet or under a staircase, and a 12-year residential warranty.
If you are in the market for a reliable, affordable, and energy-efficient water heater for your home, look no further than the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Short Electric Tank Water Heater.