BEST TANK WATER HEATERS
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WHAT IS A TANK WATER HEATER?
Tank water heaters have two jobs: to heat water and to store it. These two tasks allow you to have hot water when you turn on the faucet or the shower. Virtually every house in America has a water heater – whether gas or electric – although knowing which one is best is often difficult.
Our guide is designed to showcase the best one the market across a variety of different categories, so you can make the smart decision for you and your family. For more information on tank water heaters, visit our What is a Tank Water Heater page and the Average Cost of a Tank Water Heater page.
We compared a number of different water heater models to select our picks. We compared based on the following criteria:
Although we compared across all of these features, extra weight was given to that of reliability – after all, a smart heater that connects with all your devices is useless if it doesn’t effectively heat water. This, therefore, became our ultimate priority.
OUR OVERALL WINNER
The Rheem Performance Platinum Hybrid High Efficiency Smart Tank Electric Heater took our overall prize. It is a quiet, reliable piece of machinery with high-quality elements that reduce the chance of maintenance issues over time.
It is Energy Star rated with an impressive energy factor of 3.55, allowing you to recoup hundreds in energy costs each year. In addition, this water heater comes with smart features like built-in leak detection and “Vacation Mode” so you can easily stay head of any maintenance issues, maximize efficiency, and cut costs.
Topped off with a significant 10-year warranty, this is a water heater that allows you to sleep soundly at night knowing that it is constantly working to save you money and that you are protected for a long time.
QUICK COMPARISON CHART
A. O. Smith
10 YEAR (LIMITED)
BEST OVERALL TANK WATER HEATER
Rheem Performance Platinum
50 Gallon Hybrid High Efficiency
Smart Tank Electric Water Heater
Rheem combines a trusted, well-established brand name with a seriously impressive model. The future is all about smart machines, the Internet of Things, and connectivity. The Rheem Performance Platinum series encapsulates that perfectly.
Some of the smart features it offers include the ability to set your water temperature with your phone, leak detection, and other service alerts that will be sent directly to your phone, so you can relax knowing that if something in your water heater needs attention, you will be the first to know.
It also allows you to switch on High Demand mode for when you need more hot water, for example if you have guests staying with you and thus more people showering than usual, and Vacation Mode for when you are away and don’t need it to waste energy and money heating water that no one will use. The Rheem Performance Platinum adjusts to your specific needs and makes your home more connected and energy-efficient, all while saving you money.
The Rheem Performance Platinum cost is around $1,299.
Rheem Performance Platinum Specs:
What People are Saying:
Purchased this unit last week to replace our existing 12 year old electric water heater. Our power company offered a $500 rebate for installing one, and the efficiency compared to the standard electric water heaters is insane, making the cost more palatable. – Home Depot reviewer
BEST BUDGET TANK WATER HEATER
A. O. Smith Signature 50-Gallon
The A. O. Smith Signature 50-gallon is an all-star. For less than $500 you get a 50-gallon tank with a first-hour rating well in advance of models that cost two or three times as much.
The simplicity of the machine (it has a ‘no-frills’ design and approach) is actually a strength, as the absence of too many moving parts makes it less likely to break down. Its components work exactly as they are designed to and its robust build means it will last you a long time.
If you want a water heater that will do its job reliably and efficiently, you can’t go wrong with this model. It’ll keep working day in and day out. This model is a real value option with premium performance.
The A. O. Smith Signature 50-gallon water heater costs around $449.
A. O. Smith Signature 50-Gallon Specs:
What People are Saying:
“Water heats up as quickly as expected and unit is relatively quiet when burner is ignited. Excellent replacement water heater with a solid construction.”– Geno, SupplyHouse reviewer
“Easy install, requiring minor modification to existing pipes in order to make it fit. Replacement of the exiting water heater took about three hours for two of us – from emptying the old water heater to pressurizing and leak checking the new one. For a family of four we keep it at the low temperature setting and water is always enough” – TJ, Lowe’s reviewer
BEST HIGH-CAPACITY TANK WATER HEATER
Westinghouse 60 Gal
If you have a large family – or simply hate running out of hot water – then this is the 60-gallon model for you. Although it comes in at an eye-watering $2,655, it will not only heat large amounts of water but will keep it warm for you.
Despite its size, the energy efficiency of this model is also impressive, helping to keep your running costs down. Put another way, if you have the cash to spend upfront, this model will pay for itself over the course of its life.
The Westinghouse 60-gallon model costs about $2,655.
Westinghouse 60 gallon Specs:
What People are Saying:
“The Westinghouse 60 Gallon water heater is one of the largest tanks available on the market today. Made of stainless steel with multiple vents and advanced electronic controls, the tank is designed to be energy efficient and highly controllable in terms of water temperature.” – The Spruce
“This unit is dead simple. It has a blower, gas valve and burner in the middle of the unit, small control board at the top and exhaust and condensation at the bottom. Everything is easily accessible and replaceable by removal of the front panel. ” – Home Depot reviewer
BEST HEAT PUMP SYSTEM
A. O. Smith Voltex® Hybrid Electric
Heat Pump 50-Gallon
The primary advantage of a heat pump system is energy efficiency. Within the heat pump field, it’s hard to beat the Voltex model, with a UEF rating of 3.45, and a 50-gallon tank.
This one has an estimated 73% lower running cost than traditional tank heaters, meaning that you’ll start to really notice the difference in your energy bills. At around $1,300, this represents an investment that should pay dividends.
The Voltex Hybrid Electric 50-gallon heat pump system costs around $1,299.
Voltex Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Specs:
What People are Saying:
“At times I have 4 adults taking (long hot) showers, doing laundry, washing dishes, and have never run out of hot water, even in the efficiency mode. Runs less than $0.50 “per day.” When placed in your garage you hear nothing in your house, and your garage cools down. These types of units are most advantageous in year round hot climates. I am also in West Palm Beach, Florida. This brand and this unit is a ‘no brainer!’” – SupplyHouse reviewer
“I installed the 50-Gallon, Tall, 4500-Watt Hybrid about six weeks ago. I’ve only received one electric bill so far. It was about $20.00 less than the previous month but we have also started into the winter heating period so I would say the water heater is doing a great job.” – Lowe’s reviewer
With the rise of smart heaters, there’s a whole other set of questions when it comes to buying a water heater.
However, at its core, you need a model that will heat your water efficiently and reliably, and provide enough water for your home and family. Hence why the A. O. Smith model was our overall winner – nothing does the fundamental job of heating water better at a better price point. You may need some slightly different features, but if you want an unfussy, solid heater, you can’t go wrong with that model.