- Best Electric Water Heater
- Best Tankless Water Heater
- Best Natural Gas Water Heater
- Best Solar Water Heater
- Best Point-of-Use Water Heater
Best Water Heater
One of the things that define a civilized society is its supply of clean, potable water. In the United States, we use more water than any other nation, and we use it in more ways than any other nation. Heating water for bathing is almost unheard of in most countries, so remember not to take this for granted the next time you bathe.
The energy used to heat enough water for a typical family of four accounts for up to 30 percent of the average home's energy budget. Deciding what type of energy used to heat your water, and what mode of heating you chose, is very important as it will play a very large role in your day to day life.
There are only a few sources of energy used here, namely electric, gas, oil, and solar. Depending on where you live and how much hot water you consume, these things will dictate how to store your hot water, and what style of hot water heater you should use.
You can have the traditional hot water tank that holds 30 to 80 gallons of water, maintained at a constant temperature, ready to use when you need it. Or you may opt for the newer tankless hot water heater that runs water through a heating element it as you need it. This is far more energy efficient than traditional tanks as it only uses energy when you make a draw on the water. Since the tankless hot water heaters don’t have to maintain a hot water tank, when not in use, tankless hot water heaters will consume no energy at all.
If you live in a very sunny area of the country, you might opt for a solar hot water heating system that is a combination of both. Insulated tubing sits on the roof of your home, being heated by the sun. Once it reaches a certain temperature, it is then pumped down to a tank that will store this hot water ready for use. Because these solar panels sit in the sun all day, they are also generating enough electrical energy to circulate the water, and run the pumps that allow it all to function. If your conditions are right, these can be a very good source of hot water all year long.
Learning all you can about hot water heaters, and discovering all the choices you have is a great way to help make this decision. Please consider, whatever you purchase, you will probably live with it for the next 30 years, or more.
Best Electric Water Heater:
What makes a great hot water heater consists of a few things, the most important being its energy efficiency. The higher the Energy Factor rating, the more energy efficient the heater is. A score that is over two, would be considered a very good score, and certainly qualify for the current tax rebates through December 2013. If a score is not very good, this doesn't mean that it will not qualify, just that it is not as energy efficient as one that does. It is believed that hot water heaters use as much as 30 percent of the typical homes energy consumption, so shopping smart here, will payoff monthly for years to come. Some of the other features will include the warranties, rust-resistance, installation, and how they deal with sediment build up inside. All of these recommended electric water heaters score well in all these areas, and will include a few unique features of their own.
This model will provide one of the best cost-per-use ratios in the industry, and will return your investment in as little as three years. The Lifetime anode warranty will protect it for the life of the hot water heater, and the tamper proof touch screen control panel will make this model one of the most efficient, and easy to operate models on the market. The only downside is that it is huge, so you will need to make sure you have enough floor space and clearance to install it safely. The warranty is good for 1 year on parts and labor, and 10 years on the tank and parts. Read Full Review
The Voltex Hybrid Electric Hot Water heater comes in 60 and 80-gallon models and they will both bring you a more efficient, ready supply hot water supply, that will save you about half of what more traditional hot water will cost. The warranty covers one year on parts and labor; and 10 years on the tank and parts. Sporting a 24-inch base, this model will fit into most spaces, and provide you with some of the most efficient and ready supply of hot water that you have yet to know. Read Full Review
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Good Energy Factor ratings, a high quality anode heating element, and a reputable name like Kenmore will add up to a very good heater, that will serve for years to come. Eighty gallons full, there will be plenty of hot water for you and your guests and with a one year warranty on parts and labor; 10-year warranty on the tank and its parts, you can be sure that you have a hot water heater that will last. Read Full Review
This Whirlpool design includes a 2-inch thick foam insulation, a stainless steel heating element that will last longer than the traditional anode materials, and a self- cleaning dip tube that will help to reduce sediment build up, and consequently rust. Sadly, this model does not include the Energy Star rating, and carries an energy factor of only .92. You can expect operating costs to run somewhere around $500 a year. The warranty is the standard 1-year on parts and labor; 12 years on the tank; and 12 years on the parts. Read Full Review
While the Energy Star rating is missing, the Energy Miser rating might be a better option. Because this model was designed by professionals that are used to repairing and replacing hot water heaters, you can be sure that it addresses all the factors that will damage any heater over the course of its life. Rheem is a very reputable brand, so you can be sure they will be there when you need them, and their warranty includes eight years on the tank; eight years on the parts; and an optional ProtectionPlus warranty that extends these to 12 years. It is always suggested that homeowners invest in the 12-year warranty, as if problems are going to take place; it is about this time that they will. Read Full Review
Best Tankless Water Heater:
When looking for a tankless hot water heater, you should consider a few things. First and foremost, are the gallons per minute. Making sure your new unit is sized right is very important. Even if your unit will produce the hottest water with the greatest of ease, if it is not enough to shower with, it is useless. So gallons-per-minute tops the list. The next feature will be its efficiency rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient that unit will be. Easy installation is also a consideration, as some people will need units that will fit in small spaces. Thankfully, that is par for the course with tankless heaters, and most of them are very compact, and easy to install. Lastly, a good warranty is important to consider as once purchased it is yours - win, lose, or draw. Most tankless water heaters come with both gas and electric energy options and up to a 6-year warranty on the product. If you shop around you are sure to find something that works for you.
Free ground shipping is included, as well as special overnight shipping available for a small fee. This model generates up to 199 BTUs with an EF-.94 (energy factor). You will need to provide the gas and water connections, but once hooked up this tankless hot water heater will be ready to get started. Read Full Review
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This model has one of the longest warranties in the industry with a limited 15-year warranty on parts, and a life expectancy of 20 or more years. The gas model is available for both liquid propane and natural gas. The best feature for this model is that it's a condensing type tankless hot water heater, meaning that it will capture and reuse the heat from the vent to help warm incoming cold water. This makes it extremely energy efficient and one of the lowest producers of noxious fumes. Read Full Review
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Believed to reduce hot water costs by as much as 60 percent, this model will install easily, comes with a remote control and needs no venting or pressure relief valves. Its smaller size allows it to be installed almost anywhere. The electronics will read the usage data, and manage power as efficiently as possible. When not in use, it uses no energy at all. Uses hard, soft and city water, and comes with a 3-year warranty on parts and workmanship. Read Full Review
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This model comes with a limited warranty of one year on parts and five years against leaks. Its features include a very easy installation, and will place 99 percent of its energy usage into heating the water, and nothing else. It also contains a very efficient temperature control, so that you will not have to make adjustments throughout the year. Read Full Review
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Quality in a small package, this Bosch model provides single-use hot water for commercial and residential use. The temperature control gauge will keep the water an even temperature, while providing enough hot water for a smaller home, an in-law suite, a garage or separate bathroom or kitchen. Able to be installed easily, and in very small spaces, the accompanying warranty consists of a 10-year residential limited warranty, and a 2-year commercial limited warranty. Read Full Review
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Best Natural Gas Water Heater:
Natural gas hot water heaters come in a few styles; hybrids, tank-less, and solar supplemental. Some of the criteria used for grading them include their Energy Star rating; the length of their warranty; their insulating and noise factors; and mostly their energy efficiency. Almost all hot water heating devices come with the Energy Star certification now, as well as a typical 3 to 12-year warranty. An extended warranty is well worth it, as hot water heaters typically dont have problems before twelve years of age. It is at this time, problems will appear if they are going to have them. Some other features that help postpone issues are a brass drain valve, and a glass tank lining to help reduce rust. Some heaters have anti-scaling features, however by getting a heater that has a longer warranty (12 or more years); these will have a longer and thicker heating element that will naturally resist rust.
This unit scores well on energy efficiency and noise ratings, and includes a blower motor that runs on only 120-volts A/C, a brass drain valve, and a porcelain coating inside to help prevent rust. Easy access to maintain the condensate trap and vent pipe, you will be able to perform any maintenance with easy access, and standard replacement parts. This model seems to have all the things needed to make it one of the best in the market. Read Full Review
Energy Star certification, a self-cleaning feature; a 12-year warranty on the tank and parts, and low emissions make this Whirlpool a great choice no matter what size your family is. Because it is made by Whirlpool, your warranty is equally appealing. Whirlpools easy to use online sizing guide will also help you decide what size is best for you. Read Full Review
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With a standard one year full warranty on parts and labor, there is an additional 12-year limited warranty on the tank and parts that is well worth the cost. With the Energy Star certification, extended warranties, and all the anti-rust features needed to prolong life, this model is another great choice for residential use. The temperature and pressure release valves are easily accessed if they ever need attention, and with the Kenmore name; parts and service are always close by. Read Full Review
If you have decided on a tankless hot water heater, then this one is one of the best for space saving, energy efficiency, and versatile residential and commercial use. The warranties are flexible, and service is available everywhere if you should ever need it. Read Full Review
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The self-diagnostic testing system will make maintenance easy for even the novice, to help keep up with routine maintenance. This unit is also able to be increased in size, by adding up to six additional units, increasing production six-fold; while at the same time allowing them to all operate as one. The Energy Star certification on this model is one of the highest in the industry. All the other anti-rust features, and extended warranties and especially the expandable feature make this hot water heater a great choice for any sized dwelling. Read Full Review
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Best Solar Water Heater:
Solar hot water heaters are not for everyone, but if you live in an extremely sunny place, they could be right for you. Since these systems typically sit in the sun all year long, it is important for all the metals to be galvanized, and made from metals that will expand and contract well. The rubber seals being used must also be able to withstand extremely high temperatures, ranging as high as 320 degrees. The copper pipes inside the heat collectors must also be built in such a way to minimize joints, to further reduce cracking and leaking. The water tanks themselves, must also be built to last, and should include some type of insulation, a way to stir the water in order to produce an even heat, and an exit valve to permit the owner to rinse and clean the tank periodically.
This storage tank is built to last, and can be heated with both solar panels, as well as an alternate electric source of energy as a backup. Warranties range from one year of parts and labor, to a 12-year extended warranty purchased separately. Read Full Review
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The collectors for this model include a few sizes, to ensure a good fit wherever they are placed. The most popular size is 4x8 foot square. They are a flat panel design, with black background for maximum heat absorption, and OG-100 certified by SRCC Read Full Review
Sunward solar hot water heaters come pre-plumbed so they can be easily hooked up to your existing hot water system. Being pre-plumbed means that there is less work for the plumber to do on site. Quick connect hoses eliminate the need for expensive soldering and time consuming installations. This plumbing includes a mixing valve to ensure an even temperature; temperature gauges to avoid overheating, and all the miscellaneous plumbing hardware to join your two systems. Read Full Review
The 50 gallon solar storage tank can be located inside, or they offer an external heat exchanger for larger capacities. They provide their own pumping system, made to transfer hot water quickly and efficiently, so as to retain as much heat within the system as possible. There are many options available, and the best way to purchase one of these, is to contact SunMaxx, and start the conversation about your property, your usage, and what you expect from your very own, custom made solar-powered hot water heater. Read Full Review
The duel coil heat exchangers for this model will ensure that heat will build up quickly, and the magnesium anode rod will help to protect against rust. There is also a water purging port that will allow the owner to clean the tank periodically and avoid mineral build up inside. Using the most basic of technologies, this model includes a pressure valve, and manual thermostat with on/off switch. Read Full Review
Best Point-of-Use Water Heater:
There are only two types of tankless hot water heaters available on the market; the whole house and the point-of-use. The whole house tankless hot water heater is designed to heat water on demand, and do it at a rate that will supply enough water for the whole house. The point-of-use hot water heater is a much smaller hot water heater that stores hot water in a mini-tank, but supplies enough for one bathroom at a time. Based on your need, point-of-use hot water heaters can do the job, and save lots of money by not using the energy it takes to maintain a full tank of hot water. The features to look for in a point of use hot water heater will include its capacity, its UL listing, the type of energy used, a glass lining, a pressure release valve, and its insulating capability.
Found to be very reliable, and one of the smallest point-of-use heaters, the Ariston will produce seven gallons of hot water an hour, under the protection of a pressure release valve that will guard against accidental overheating while you are away. It uses either gas or electric energy and comes with a UL listing as well as a CSA listing to ensure your safety. Read Full Review
With a UL listing, this point-of-use hot water heater can be either gas or electric, and runs on only 120 volts, producing up to 150 degrees of hot water when you need it. The 1-inch of non-CFC insulation is environmentally considerate as it reduces carbon emissions at the same time. Producing six gallons of hot water per hour, this Whirlpool model is a good investment for your hot water need. Read Full Review
The Kenmore name comes with a certain amount of trust that you can certainly expect from this model. Heated with gas or electric, this model is not Energy Star certified, but plugs into any 120-volt outlet and can be unplugged when not in use. Built to last, this model comes with two inches of foam insulation, and a heavy duty anode to reduce rust. This hot water heater is a mini version of their standard, full size hot water heaters, only with a much smaller capacity. Read Full Review
Simple and straight forward, this model point of use hot water heater will provide up to six gallons of hot water per hour, from a light weight and compact, glass lined tank that can be mounted under a sink, or on the wall. The warranty is one year on parts and labor, and six years on the tank. Read Full Review
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Designed with small space in mind, this compact six gallon point of use hot water heater can be mounted anywhere indoors, and comes with a glass lined tank to help prevent rust. The pressure release valve will also protect against accidental overheating, as the unit can just be unplugged to periods of non-use. The warranty is standard, with one year on parts and labor, six years on the tank. Read Full Review
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