Warm water is considered a necessity in the Western world (though plenty of people would argue it is a luxury). A water heater is an important invention that has made the lives of so many people easier. You may not even think about the machine that makes your invigorating warm shower possible - until you need to purchase one anyway. For that reason, many people do not know where to begin when purchasing a water heater. We can’t blame you - this is a complicated piece of engineering. Many of the technical terms may seem like gibberish to the uninitiated. That is why we have gone to great lengths to put together this practical buying guide. We’ve unearthed the very best water heaters in 2021, so you can rest knowing you’ll be able to make a sound investment that’ll benefit all of your hot water needs.
There are so many different types of water heaters, all of which have varying capacities, energy output, and fuel sources. Before buying anything of significant value, it is wise to really think about what exactly you are looking for - be that an electric water heater, mini-tank, or tankless heater.
What is a water heater?
Many buyers get confused between a boiler and a water heater. So what is the difference? Essentially, a water heater heats the water you use to shower, cook, and clean. It takes the cold water from a water supply pipe and heats it ready for when you run a tap or use your washing machine. A water heater uses water that is suitable for cooking and cleaning with (potable). On the other hand, a boiler is used to heat the home rather than heat the water from your taps.
If you are looking for inspiration as to what water heater to choose, read our helpful tips below.
Things to consider before buying a water heater
Before you purchase a water heater, take note of the following considerations. These nuggets of information are there to assist you in finding the right water heater to match your home or business requirements.
Gas or electric fuel source
Most residential water heaters are fuelled by electricity or gas.
Gas water heaters require extra ventilation that will add to the overall cost of your water heater. Gas water heaters are initially more expensive than electric alternatives. However, this balances out in time due to their substantially lower running costs.
If you have the choice of either of these power sources, you need to consider whether you can afford to pay more money upfront or not. For most people, it is simply a matter of choosing one that is compatible with their home.
A storage heater continuously heats and stores hot water. It then releases the water from the top of the water tank. Cold water enters the bottom of the tank, replacing the used hot water, ensuring that the tank is always full. This system is not particularly energy-efficient because the water in the tank is constantly heated, with or without a running faucet. Technology has progressed in the last several years. More energy-efficient water heaters can be found in newer storage models. In fact, energy wastage and heat loss are significantly reduced in some newer models.
With tankless water heaters, cold water is heated only when it is needed. This makes the tankless water heaters 20-30% more energy efficient. However, in a busy household, they sometimes struggle to deliver all the hot water needed at once. For this reason, a tankless water heater may be better suited to a single occupant or a couple.
Energy factor rating
You can find out about a water heater’s energy efficiency by looking for its energy factor rating/ (EF) rating. This rating measures how much heat is lost during storage. It also measures the efficiency of any given unit’s energy to heat conversion. You want as high an energy factor as possible, as this shows that the water heater is highly efficient.
Gallons per minute rating
The gallon per minute rating shows how much warm water your water heater can deliver in a minute. This gives some idea about whether a particular water heater may be suitable for your household. Some tankless water heaters have a surprisingly high gallon per minute rating. However, as a rule, water heaters with tanks will have a higher rating than mini-tanks or tankless models.
If you haven’t got a lot of space to spare, you might want to opt for a lowboy or short water heater. These are below-average size and perfect for a small home. Alternatively, you could try mini-tank water heaters, or better yet, tankless water heaters.
What is the price range for water heaters?
The average price of a water heater is between $50 and $3000, though you can find some even cheaper if you only require an immersion heater. However, if you require the assistance of a professional to install the water heater for you, you are looking at a further cost of roughly $100.
How did we choose the best water heater?
In order to source the very best water heaters for our buying guide, we consult plumbers with many years of expertise. We also read customer reviews, talk to manufacturers and check out the water heaters both online and in-stores. This combination of information makes us confident that we can offer the most comprehensive and informed recommendations possible.
A: Professionals suggest changing your water heater at least every 10 years. You cannot usually get a guarantee for that amount of time on a water heater. You may need to change your water heater sooner, and you may have to prepare for it to no longer be covered by a warranty.
Q: What are some well-known brands for water heaters?
A: There are plenty of water heater brands with decent reputations for quality water heating goods. These include Rheem, A.O. Smith, Stiebel Eltron, Rinnai, Bosch, Kenmore, Westinghouse, and EcoSmart Tankless - to name a few.
Q: What is the best compact water heater for saving space?
A: Mini-tank water heaters, or better yet, tankless water heaters, are often very compact and lightweight, making them ideal for smaller homes with less storage space.
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