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.
The EcoSmart ECO11 is making waves across the industry thanks to its ability to help many homes save up to 60-percent on their water heating costs.
The EcoSmart electric tankless water heater is an environmentally friendly alternative to the more traditional models. With energy efficiency reaching 99.8% thanks to a patented self-modulating design, you’ll never have to worry about running out of hot water or wasting money on heating bills again. And, because of its tiny size, you’ll save plenty of space in the home. Not only is this the environmentalist’s ideal water heater, but it’s also great for minimalists as well.
The Bosch Electric Mini-Tank is one of the most convenient hot water heaters in the business. As a point-of-use tank, this piece of equipment fits neatly underneath your sink and gives you hot water when and where you need it.
The Bosch Electric Mini-Tank is capable of supplying two sinks at once. With a thermal efficiency rating of 98%, you are guaranteed satisfaction. Not only is this device simple to set up, but it is also easy to maintain compared to more robust water heaters. You can even install it yourself if you’re willing to take ten minutes to learn a tutorial; you don’t need to be a plumber to get your head around such a user-friendly water heater.
Easy to install
Shelf, floor, or wall-mounted, bracket included
Premium glass-lined construction makes it thermally efficient
The Gdrasuya10 110V Electric Water Heater combines traditional design with inner quality, making it a valuable asset to your family home. By utilizing green environmental material, these water heaters are one step ahead of their gas-powered competitors, yet still, supply ample hot water to every room in the house.
This water heater is environmentally friendly and is a lot smaller than some of the bigger models, though it is nowhere near as compact as a mini-tank or tankless model. It may not be the biggest space saver, but this is a great water heater if you come from a multi-person household that requires a lot of hot water on a regular basis. Its lightweight construction also takes up less space in the house.
Does not harm the environment as much as gas-powered heaters
Can supply water to the entire house
Turns off automatically when water reaches the desired temperature
Immersion water heaters are rare in this day and age, especially when you consider how popular tankless water heaters have become. Still, the Gesail 1500W Electric Immersion Heater is a fine piece of kit, capable of heating up to 5 gallons of water in just a few minutes.
The best thing about these water heaters is the ability to move them wherever you need them. You can even take them on a camping trip to a cabin in the woods if you want to make sure you’ll be able to have a hot bath or shower. Of course, you can’t get into the water when this device is submerged and doing its job.
Make sure you read the instructions before trying out any immersion heater. Managed correctly, this water heater is a great solution to all your water heating needs. The high-power machine heats up water quickly and shuts off automatically to prevent the water from getting too hot.
Plenty of procedures in place to keep you safe
More portable than most stationary water heaters
High-power and quick-heating
Stainless-steel guard provides extra protection
Not as efficient as more robust models, such as tanks and mini-tanks
The second immersion water heater on our list is the Ding Ding Immersion Water Heater. This model is designed primarily for camping use, although you need access to a mains socket to turn it on.
Like the other immersion water heater on our list, Ding Ding has made sure their product is as safe as possible. It is also capable of heating gallons of water in a few short minutes. The Ding Ding model is also the cheaper of our two immersion water heaters. It has a lightweight construction which makes it extremely portable. The stainless steel guard also offers extra protection so that users don’t burn their hands while handling it.
The Ariston Andris Mini-Tank Electric Water Heater is a compact design, intended for all your point-of-use hot water requirements. This water heater is also very easy to install and designed to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
The water heater comes with a 2-year warranty on its components and a 6-year warranty on the tank. You can mount it on the wall or the floor, with the included brackets and rubber feet, respectively. The 1440-watt heating element and the compact size of the water heater increase its efficiency.
Water heater fits anywhere, thanks to its versatile design
If you’re in the market for mini-tank water heaters, you’ll find this device is perfect for kitchens, schools, RVs, and a host of other places where a larger tank may not be feasible.
The Biselong Electric Mini-Tank Hot Water Heater is a safe and durable hot water solution, constructed with stainless steel and an anti-leakage plug, meaning you never have to contend with rust or spills. It features an intelligent inverter for energy efficiency and a corrosion-resistant outer shell. There are also numerous safety measures in place to stop you from burning your hand.
Mini-tank will not rust
Very easy to install yourself
Does not take up much space
Not as efficient as more expensive tanks
Water Heater FAQ
Q: How often should I replace my water heater?
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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