BEST ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS
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THE MOVE TOWARD ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS
40% of homes in the United States have electric water heaters of some type, making it the second most common water heater type (behind gas). Those numbers are increasing as more consumers are switching to more energy-efficient electric heaters, particularly tankless water heaters. To compare the pros and cons of electric and gas water heaters, check out our electric vs. gas water heaters page.
If you are thinking about making the switch to electric, this guide will show you some of the best options currently on the market. After all, hot water is something you use every day, so having something reliable is central to your overall quality of life. For information on electric water heater prices, check out our page on the average cost of electric water heaters.
To pick the best water heaters, we took into account a number of factors. These include:
With the weighting in our methodology tilted heavily towards reliability, all of these factors all helped to build a picture of the best all-round model, as well as the best model in a variety of specific family and home circumstances.
OUR OVERALL WINNER
In a world of smart connectivity and ‘bells-and-whistles’ features, it’s easy to get daunted and distracted by the models on the market. After all, the fundamental job of a water heater is to heat water – everything else is peripheral. For that reason, the EcoSmart 27 stood out. Its simplicity breeds reliability – it is easy to use and doesn’t break down quickly.
Its flow rate at a 35 degrees F rise is 5.27 gallons per minute, which will have you more than covered for endless hot water for the whole house. It is also extremely eco-friendly which will benefit you by cutting your energy costs. According to the Department of Energy, this model will save you 50% on your water heating bills. Its lower price and strong warranty is what edged it out ahead of its electric tank competitors, but if you prefer tank heaters you can check out our best tank water heaters page.
QUICK COMPARISON CHART
ECO 27 Tankless
|Rheem PP |
|A.O. Smith |
|Wattage||27 kW||18 kW||5 kW||4.5 kW|
|Need Pro |
|No but |
|5 years |
|10 years||10 years|
BEST OVERALL ELECTRIC WATER HEATER
EcoSmart ECO 27
If you want a powerful heater without compromising your green credentials, then this is the model for you. Sitting in that sweet spot where environmentally consciousness meets raw power, the EcoSmart heater provides up to a 6 GPM flow rate, which will suffice for a family of four.
Although it costs around $490, the savings you make will more than pay dividends.
The EcoSmart ECO 27 costs approximately $489.
EcoSmart ECO 27 Specs:
What People are Saying:
“The best feature of this water heater is the temp control. It is great to take a shower and not have the water go cold on you.” – Home Depot reviewer
“Two showers at once, someone in the shower, someone else doing laundry, etc., I have yet to hear a single complaint. All I ever hear is how wonderful it is to have a long shower, or not have to wait 1/2 hour, etc. The days of my wife complaining about no hot water for the dishes because I took a long shower have ended!” – Amazon reviewer
EASIEST TO INSTALL YOURSELF
The Rheem RTEX-18 is a sleek model that takes up very little space and is equipped with clear, electronic controls. It is not only nice to look it, but it also offers continuous hot water. It can get a healthy flow rate of 4.4 GPM, which should be enough to cover a whole house for simultaneous use of two showers and two running faucets.
With the flex hose install without venting, this model can be installed by a layman. However, if in doubt, hiring a professional to install your water heater is always encouraged.
The Rheem RTEX-18 electric water heater costs around $429.
Rheem RTEX-18 Specs:
What People are Saying:
“For myself, easy to install, though i knew what i was getting into. I purchased this to replace (2) 50 gallon tanks. I knew that i was going to need the (4) 40 Amp breakers and 4 lines of 8/2 wiring. Please make sure you have enough room in your power panels or hire an electrician to ensure this would be a good fit.” – Home Depot reviewer
BEST 'SMART' OPTION
Rheem Performance Platinum
50 Gallon Hybrid High Efficiency Smart Tank
This model gives all of the energy-efficiency benefits of tankless heaters with the added convenience of tank storage. Additionally, while sometimes products have bells and whistles that just drive the price up without doing anythign significant, this water heater has some that are actually useful to consumers.
The Rheem Performance Platinum has smart features that save people money like the ability to set the water temperature from your phone, maintenance alerts so you can stay on top of potential issues, and the ability to adjust to different modes when you need more hot water for more high-demand periods or “vacation mode” when you don’t need any at all.
The Rheem Performance Platinum Hybrid High Efficiency Smart Tank water heater will cost you around $1,299.
Rheem PP Hybrid Smart Tank Specs:
What People are Saying:
“Amazing water heater I noticed a drop in my electric bill right away! My normal usage is about 1200 kw a month. With the new water heater installed mid month it was 800 kw!” – Home Depot reviewer
BEST HEAT PUMP SYSTEM
A. O. Smith Voltex® Hybrid Electric
Heat Pump 50-gallon
This model promises a significant drop in energy usage and an average savings of $3,000 in operating costs over 10 years as compared to similar electric water heaters.
The Voltex model has smart features similar to those described in the Rheem Performance Platinum Smart Tank described above, including the ability to adjust operating modes based on your lifestyle so you don’t pay for hot water that you don’t need.
The A.O. Smith Voltex® cost is around $1,299.
A.O. Smith Voltex® Specs:
What People are Saying:
“The noise is a non-issue. It’s about as loud as a vent fan over your stove, so if it’s in a basement or garage it’s not a problem. My sons playroom is in the basement and we are there most evenings and I can’t say I even noticed it in the background. Anyway, the fan doesn’t run all of the time. The compressor on top does most of the water heating for efficiency and the regular heating elements are for back up if using a lot of water.” – Lowe’s reviewer
“The most efficient way to make hot water AND it dehumidifies your space” – SupplyHouse reviewer
If you’re building a new house, or simply replacing an old heater, there are a lot of factors to consider. However, there should be one, enduring consideration: to choose a heater that will perform reliably.
After all, whatever your reason for choosing a water heater, you’ve made the wrong choice if you’re standing in a cold shower on a cold winter morning. This guide will show you how you can pick one that will be one less thing to worry about in your home.