BEST GAS WATER
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GAS-FUELED WATER HEATERS
Around 60% of homes in the United States use a gas water heater (the remainder use electricity). Gas heaters are popular because of their reliability. After all, they continue working even if the electricity in your home has been cut off. Gas heaters last around 10 years, so if you are coming to the end of your heater’s life, it may be time to upgrade. For more cost information on gas water heaters in general, go to our average cost of a gas water heater page.
This guide reviews several water heaters on the market to find the best options for you and your family. To weigh the benefits and drawbacks of gas and electric water heaters, check out our page on electric vs. gas water heaters, Although not every home and family is the same, what is universal is the desire for a cost-effective, high-performing water heater. Below are our market leaders.
We surveyed a large number of heaters from a range of different brands. We approached our search from a practical standpoint (we were less interested in engineering and technical innovations, except where they had a direct improvement on user experience). We took into account the following criteria:
Since capacity requirement varies from home to home, we didn’t discriminate based on the size of the tank. Instead, we looked at proportionality – those models that could provide efficiency and value rather than raw size.
OUR OVERALL WINNER
Water heaters are generally unglamorous purchases – no one posts on social media about spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a water heater. Neither are they aspirational purchases. What you want from a gas water heater is not style, nor something that looks great in photos (or even matches the decoration of the rest of your home) – you want something that performs exceptionally every day. That is where the Rheem Performance Platinum 50-Gallon fits in.
This machine is built like a well-designed car. It is solid, reliable, and does its job without breaking. The premium-grade anode rod is a spectacularly unglamorous addition to the heater, yet it has real consequences for the long-term performance of the machine.
Rheem as a company is known for building really solid pieces, and the 12-year warranty on this model supports that. If you’re looking for a water heater that you never have to think about – and really, that’s the greatest compliment you can give to a water heater – this is one you should consider.
QUICK COMPARISON CHART
BEST OVERALL GAS WATER HEATER
Rheem Performance Platinum 50 Gal. Tall 40,000 BTU Natural Gas Tank Heater
Sure, some water heaters have smart capabilities, allowing them to connect to your phone or to home assistants; and sure, some are designed with stainless steel to keep them looking great; but none of them compare to the pure performance of the Rheem model.
It even has ‘performance’ in the name. Putting a premium anode rod in the heater is evidence of the performance-focus of this model.
This model is build with premium engineering at reasonable price point. This machine will last many, many years. The 12-year warranty is a guarantee of, and a testament to, that being their goal.
The Rheem Performance Platinum water heater costs around $711.
Rheem Performance Platinum 50-Gallon Specs:
What People are Saying:
“Nice unit. 12 year warranty. 50 gallon tank takes care of hot water needs. Easy to install. Setting on 130° is plenty warm for shower or bath.”– Home Depot reviewer
“We bought the water heater a year ago and so far it has been great, uses noticeably less gas than our old smaller water heater. It is quiet, a good thing for a closet install off the living room. Also we now have plenty of hot water, so far we are happy with it.” – Rheem reviewer
BEST HIGH-TECH OPTION
A.O. Smith Signature 50-Gallon Tall 6-Year Limited Natural Gas Water Heater
Our methodology was consumer-focused, not really technology-focused – we saw a lot of innovations that were not necessarily best for the user, but more to demonstrate a company’s prowess. However, when it comes to the A. O. Smith model (GPVL-50 ProMax Power Vent), so many of the technical advances were better for the consumer that it seems designed with that in mind. The internal microprocessor, for example, allows for more responsive heating and better delivery of heat.
An internal sensor also shuts off the burner if it senses flammable gases. All of these innovations make the model perform better, and helps the user get a better experience from their water heater – and that’s what technology is supposed to do.
The A.O. Smith Signature 50-Gallon will set you back about $1,000.
A.O. Smith Signature 50-Gallon Specs:
What People are Saying:
“I have been a Home Inspector so i see a lot of builder-grade junk, this unit is a quality product which provides a stream temp stream of water, not all do!” – David, Amazon reviewer
“I asked the expert plumbers which water heater they would most highly recommend and they recommended AO Smith. So, I installed this unit myself… Wow! No shortage of hot water now. This baby actually heats the water so well that the water continues to get hotter as you shower, even after 20-30 mins.” – Lowe’s reviewer
BEST TANKLESS OPTION
Rheem Performance Platinum
9.5 GPM Tankless Water Heater
If you’re looking for a powerful gas water heater without the tank, this Rheem Performance Platinum tankless water heater is a great option. It has a 9.5 GPM flow rate, which can comfortably handle the demands of a four-person household.
One major appeal of tankless water heaters is their energy efficiency, because they only heat the water you need rather than heat a whole tank of water that you only use part of. Additionally, the Rheem Performance Platinum tankless heater has water saving features that save over 1,000 gallons of water each year, which translates to significant energy cost savings for you.
The Rheem Performance Platinum costs about $1,299.
Rheem Performance Platinum 9.5 GPM Specs:
What People are Saying:
“Love having enough hot water finally! A little tricky to install and make sure you call your gas company to check that your meter is big enough.” – Home Depot reviewer
“I installed this unit in a single family home with two baths and a laundry. The product is first class and the directions are detailed and excellent – but you better know your stuff. Also, you need to buy a “kit” for on-demand water heaters that includes the shut-offs and pressure relief valve.” – Amazon reviewer
BEST HIGH-EFFICIENCY GAS WATER HEATER
Westinghouse 60 Gal.
Ultra-High Efficiency/High Output
Gas has a bad reputation in terms of energy efficiency, especially when electric heaters can regularly reach 98%+ efficiency. However, the Westinghouse model is truly the best choice for those who want a gas heater but who are still concerned about the environment.
This model is Energy Star compliant, meaning you are eligible for rebates in some areas, which helps to offset the $2,655 cost. On top of this, the 10-year warranty demonstrates the reliability and durability of this model.
The Westinghouse 60 gallon gas water heater costs approximately $2,655.
Westinghouse 60 gallon Ultra-High Efficiency Specs:
What People are Saying:
“This unit recovers so fast, just amazing. It is also so very quiet!” – Home Depot reviewer
Ultimately, a water heater is judged by two criteria – reliability and value. Can a particular model give you hot water when you need it without breaking the bank (either in terms of initial cost or running costs)? The models on our list are all designed to provide that. Each one is tailored to a different area of focus (energy efficiency, technology, etc.), so, depending on your own priorities, there is a model for you.