Best Water Heaters 2023 – Forbes Home

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Finding the best water heater for your home can come down to several factors such as cost, energy use, fuel type and preference. Here’s everything you need to consider, including the different types of water heaters available, so you can select the right one for your needs. China Water Heaters

Best Water Heaters 2023 – Forbes Home

We developed our list of the best water heaters by first identifying competitors that met basic criteria, then reviewing the 23 most widely available water heaters from that list and scoring them all based on 25 different attributes. We further pared our list down to the top five water heaters. Our ratings take into consideration factors like price, warranty, tank size (gallons), glass-lined tank, energy star certified and digital display. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Why you can trust Forbes Home: The Forbes Home team is committed to bringing you independent, unbiased ratings and information. We use data and expert advice to inform all of our content. Plus, our advisory board of licensed professionals fact-checks and reviews our content for accuracy and relevancy.

Rheem 18kw Tankless Electric Water Heater

Rheem 18kw Tankless Electric Water Heater

Rheem 13kw Tankless Electric Water Heater RTEX-13

Rheem 13kw Tankless Electric Water Heater RTEX-13

(Note: Product details and prices are accurate as of publication and are subject to change.)

Rheem Performance Platinum Series Gladiator 50-Gallon Electric Water Heater

Rheem’s Performance Platinum Series Gladiator 50-gallon electric water heater packs enough power to comfortably heat water for a household of four people, plus it comes with some nice bells and whistles for added assurance.

The features include remote temperature control and alerts when problems arise. It comes with built-in leak protection, an auto water shutoff and Wi-Fi connectivity. The EcoNet app allows you to control and monitor the water heater, plus you can control the water heater through Amazon Alexa or Google Nest.

Rheem’s Element Health Indicator also lets you know when an element needs replacement along with telling you which element needs repair. The Rheem water heater has two 4,500- or 5,500-watt stainless steel heating elements.

As for the storage tank, the self-cleaning function also helps with sediment in the tank to prolong the water heater’s life and efficiency. The water heater has a Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) rating of .92 to .93, which means it will use less energy to run and cost less to operate.

Rheem Performance Standard 40-Gallon Electric Water Heater

Rheem’s Performance Standard 40-gallon electric water heater doesn’t have all the features as the Platinum Series or Performance Plus Series but it performs like models in those series. The 40-gallon capacity should fit most household needs and it comes with a quality six-year warranty. This water heater model has lower standby heat loss with its inner tank design.

This 40-gallon model can deliver 54 gallons of hot water in the first hour and is powered by two 4,500-watt heating elements. It should be noted that this model cannot be sold in Washington because it does not meet state regulations.

Stiebel Eltron SHC Mini-Tank Electric Water Heater

Point-of-use electric water heaters provide an alternative to conventional tank water heaters or they can improve hot water delivery to rooms if a water heater doesn’t do an adequate job. The nice thing about Stiebel Eltron’s SHC Mini-Tank electric water heater is it plugs into a standard outlet and mounts fairly easily. It’s still recommended that a plumber install the water heater and its small size means it can install inside cabinets.

The 2.65-gallon model has a good UEF rating of .99 and Stiebel Eltron touts its low standby energy usage as being among the best in the industry. This model can reach a maximum temperature of 140° F and uses a 1,300-watt element to heat water.

EcoSmart’s ECO MINI 2.5-gallon point of use water heater offers a hot water boost in different spots in a home or RVs. It has a recovery time of 15 minutes, which is slightly better than Stiebel Eltron’s 18-minute recovery time so hot water can reach you faster after usage again. It has a high efficiency rating with a UEF of .98.

Like Stiebel Eltron’s mini tank, EcoSmart’s model plugs into a standard outlet and has a glass lined tank to prevent corrosion. It also has a six-year limited leak warranty and a two-year parts warranty. It does not have any Wi-Fi connectivity or smart home connections. It comes in at 17 pounds and temperatures can range between 50° F and 140° F.

Rheem Performance Standard 38-Gallon Electric Water Heater

Rheem’s Performance Standard 38-gallon electric water heater presents an economic option for a home water heater that can sufficiently serve a household of four. This Rheem model has a six-year limited tank and parts warranty, plus a one-year warranty for in home labor. The performance standard model uses copper elements, which are less durable than stainless steel elements, which the performance plus model use. It has a lower gallons per hour rate than bigger tanks a slightly lower UEF rating.

Rheem does have an over-temperature detector built in and an automatic thermostat. This model can save you a few dollars versus other Rheem models that cost more. This model does not have any smart home connectivity.

There are several choices to make when picking out a water heater. The first choice is often the type of water heater you want for your home. Water heaters can come as storage tanks, tankless, heat pump, solar and condensing types. Water heaters use a variety of fuel sources, including electric, gas, solar and geothermal.

A storage tank water heater is a conventional water heater that heats water from natural gas, electricity, propane or fuel oil. Storage tank water heaters usually have 40-, 50- or 55-gallon capacities. Cold water enters at the bottom of the tank and gets heated before getting released through the top. Gas, propane or fuel oil water heaters can have less energy efficiency.

Tankless water heaters have appeal because they typically take up less space than storage tank water heaters and have more flexibility on where you can install them. Tankless water heaters can have better energy efficiency because they heat water on demand rather than keeping it set at a temperature that requires the heater to fire periodically.

Tankless water heaters can suffer from flow issues and slow heating times. Look for a gallon per minute rate to find a tankless water heater that will fit the needs of your home. Heating capacity numbers can also help you find the right tankless water heater. Tankless water heater can use gas, electricity or propane to heat water.

Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from one place to another. A heat pump can pump hot air into your home or heat cold air to pump into your home. Heat pumps have great energy efficiency and can come with a storage tank. Heat pumps can also get retrofitted to work with a conventional storage tank.

Heat pumps need to remain in areas where temperatures remain between 40° to 90°F and at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the heat pump to operate properly, making it less than ideal for colder climates.

Solar water heaters provide a renewable energy option and can come as active or passive systems. An active system comes as a direct circulation or indirect circulation system.

A direct circulation system uses pumps to distribute water through the home and works well in warm climates. An indirect circulation system uses non-freezing, heat transfer fluid through collectors and a heat exchanger to heat water and distribute throughout the house, which is good for homes in climates that experience freezing weather.

Passive solar water heaters can cost less than active systems, operate more reliably and last longer, but don’t operate as efficiently. A collector passive storage system has a storage tank that allows the sun to heat the water and then distribute throughout the home. A thermosyphon system heats water in a collector on the roof and distributes the water throughout the house.

Condensing water heaters use natural gas as a fuel source but captures exhaust gasses and passes them to the bottom of the tank to help heat cold water. A condensing heat exchanger has more surface area to allow water condensation from the flue, which captures more heat. Condensing water heaters typically have a thermal efficiency of 90% or better, making them more energy efficient than conventional storage tanks.

Rinnai RU160iN RU Model Series

Rinnai RU160iN RU Model Series

Rinnai RL75iN RL Model Series

Rinnai RL75iN RL Model Series

Rinnai V94iN V Model Series

Rinnai V94iN V Model Series

Rinnai V65iN V Model Series

Rinnai V65iN V Model Series

Several factors can play a role in choosing a water heater. The fuel source, capacity, energy use and flow rate usually rise to the top. A water heater consumes around 20% of your home’s heating and cooling costs, so the decision can impact your budget.

The number of people in your household will impact the size of water heater you need for your home. A 40 to 50-gallon water heater will serve a home of two to three people sufficiently. A home of three to four people might need a 50 to 75-gallon tank, depending on the home’s water needs. A household of five or more people likely needs a 75-gallon tank. Water heater costs will increase as the tank’s capacity rises.

First hour rate refers to how much water a water heater can heat within an hour. The first hour rate should meet or exceed the number of gallons of hot water needed to operate all your appliances and faucets at the same time. Running a washing machine typically needs 30 gallons of water, bathing or showering 20 gallons and running a dishwasher 14 gallons.

Tankless water heaters get evaluated by their flow rate or gallons per minute. The higher the GPMs, the more hot water you can run. A typical home needs a flow rate of 6 to 12 gallons per minute. A home of two people needs at least 2 to 3 GPM. A home of three to four people should have a flow of 3 to 5 GPM and homes of five or more people should have 6 GPM or more.

Most water heater warranties range from six to 12 years. Conventional storage tank water heaters have a life expectancy of eight to 12 years but can break down earlier due to corrosion or tank buildup if not properly maintained. Tankless water heaters can last 20 years or more. An installation warranty can come in especially handy since you’re dealing with water.

Comparing gas vs. electric water heaters can mean doing some research or come down to personal preference. Gas and electric are the two most common fuel types for water heaters but there are also solar, fuel oil and propane options available. Electrical water heaters operate with more energy efficiency than gas, but electricity costs more than natural gas.

Your water heater can account for about one-fifth of your energy bill, depending on the type of water heater you have and your water usage. ENERGY STAR® certified gas-fueled 55-gallon storage water heaters must meet uniform energy factors between 0.64 to 0.81 in order to receive the designation. ENERGY STAR® certified water heaters can provide guidance to find a water heater that uses energy efficiently. Advertisement THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary. Compare Quotes From Top-rated Water Treatment Installation Contractors Free, No-commitment Estimates Find a Contractor

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Deane Biermeier Licensed General Contractor Forbes Home Writer

Deane is a 30+ year veteran in the contracting, remodeling, maintenance and home repair industry. His experience ranges from licensed building contracting to property maintenance company ownership. Below, Deane offers advice for tackling home improvement projects in February.

Deane: “Often, your water heater will project signs that its replacement time is approaching. But only sometimes. In an emergency situation such as developing a rupture in the tank, you may have to act quickly.  When you just need to replace your water heater in a hurry, create a simple checklist using the following questions to ensure you can cover your immediate needs but not throw away money on a water heater that can’t serve your needs over the long term.

Compare Quotes From Top-rated Water Heater Installers

Some water heaters can come with a slew of features to stand out from others, so it’s important to know which features do stand out. Helpful things like digital displays and anti-scale devices can make a difference when you’re choosing between makes and models.

An anti-scale device that swirls the water in the bottom of the tank to reduce buildup can help put your mind at ease and maybe extend the life of your storage  water heater. It’s still best practice to drain your water heater annually to remove buildup.

Pay attention to things like the drain pipe and the material used for it. A brass drain pipe will last longer than a plastic one. You’ll want to know how the water heater drains if you plan on doing maintenance on your own. You can also consider how the water heater will work with your piping. Most homes have copper piping, but some might use PEX.

Most storage tank water heaters come with a “glass” lining inside the tank to prevent corrosion but some are stainless steel. The glass lining is actually porcelain enamel and tanks typically have magnesium or aluminum rods to combat corrosion, which is often the cause of water heater failure. Picking between the two might come down to preference, but some tanks have better glass linings than others.

Digital displays can include helpful information like the operating temperature, provide a vacation mode and provide pressure readings. Some water heaters can connect to Wi-Fi and smart home apps.

It costs on average about $1,200 to replace a water heater, including labor and the new unit. Water heaters can cost as little as $815 and range up to costs of $10,000 or more, depending on the size and features.

Tank-style water heaters usually cost between $650 to $2,150. Tankless water heaters can cost between $1,000 to $3,500. Tank-style water heaters grow more expensive as they get bigger in capacity while tankless water heaters get more expensive as the gallons per minute rate increases. Advertisement THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary. Enjoy Significant Energy Savings With Tankless Water Heaters For endless hot water when you need it, and energy savings, consider a tankless water heater installation from a top-rated company on Angi. Find A Service

Enjoy Significant Energy Savings With Tankless Water Heaters

For endless hot water when you need it, and energy savings, consider a tankless water heater installation from a top-rated company on Angi.

To determine the best water heater ranking, the Forbes Home Improvement editorial team analyzed 22 top water heaters by analyzing price, specs, warranties, tank sizes, heating power and things like Energy Star certification for efficient energy use. We then weighted factors that included the following:

Price accounts for 35% of the best water heaters ranking overall. The editorial team evaluated price points for each water heater on platforms like the MRSP list prices, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Amazon to find the best available prices for each water heater.

Warranties played a role in ranking the various water heaters since the length of the warranties can differ between manufacturers. Water heaters with longer warranties received higher marks in our evaluation.

The max capacity and tank size of each water heater in gallons accounts for 20% of the total ranking. Max capacity helps inform whether a water heater will fit the needs of a household. Bigger tanks can help provide more hot water on demand quicker than smaller tanks.

Whether a water heater included a glass-lined tank, which is important to some homeowners shopping for a new water heater, is 5% of the total best-of ranking. Glass-lined water heater tanks help protect against water heater tank corrosion. Corrosion tends to shorten the lifespan of water heaters.

Energy star certification signals efficiency and potential savings to a homeowner’s energy bill, which is why this category covers 5% of the total ranking. Whether a water heater is energy star certified either gained or lost it points.

For ease and convenience, digital display makes up 5% of the total ranking. Digital displays can make operating water heaters easier for homeowners. Digital displays can also help with providing warnings in the event of leaks or other issues.

For ease and convenience, digital display makes up 5% of the total ranking.

We gave additional points to water heaters for outstanding features and services based on our expert analysis. We also deducted points for water heaters that performed poorly in areas, too.

Tank-style water heaters typically last between eight to 12 years, but a water heater can last longer with proper care and maintenance. A tankless water heater usually lasts 20 or more years because it doesn’t contend with corrosion issues like a tank-style water heater.

Signs your water heater is going out are things like rusty or cloudy water, which can mean you have significant corrosion inside your tank. Other signs include water taking longer to get hot or you notice varying water temperatures. If you hear knocking coming from your water heater, you could have a scale buildup. Scale buildup can reduce the volume in the tank and force steam bubbles, which rattle around the bottom and knock sediment around to produce a knocking sound.

It’s best to flush your water heater at least once a year and some plumbers will recommend flushing it every six months to prevent any issues.

A water heater should last between eight to 12 years, though that length can shorten without proper maintenance. A water heater can last longer if it’s drained properly and you do maintenance work to prevent corrosion.

It’s possible you can still shower if your water heater is leaking, but it depends on the leak. Most water heaters will leak around the drain pipe, T&P relief valve or the drain return and those leaks are usually little, which means you can likely shower first before fixing the leak.

If you notice a bigger leak coming from the tank, it’s best not to shower and address the leak ASAP. A leak from your tank has the potential for bigger problems. You can attempt to diagnose the leak on your own by checking hoses and draining your tank, but it’s probably best to call a professional to stay on the safe side.

It depends on what you need for your home. A 40-gallon water heater can work perfectly for a home of two to three people while a 50-gallon tank can work for a family of up to four. Finding the right sized tank is important because if you get too small of a tank, you can run out of hot water too quickly in the shower. If you get too big of a tank, you could waste money keeping the water up to temperature.

Nick is a content creator with a background in DIY home renovation, maintenance, repair and trends. When he's not writing, Nick likes to rehab vintage or kitsch furniture for his home.

Lexie is a Deputy Editor who is responsible for writing and editing articles over a wide variety of home-related topics. She has over five years of experience in the home improvement space and harnessed her expertise while working for companies like HomeAdvisor and Angi (formerly Angie’s List).

Best Water Heaters 2023 – Forbes Home

Central Gas Heating Boiler Samantha is an editor who covers all topics home-related including home improvement and repair. She edited home repair and design content at websites like The Spruce and HomeAdvisor. She also has hosted videos on DIY home tips and solutions and launched multiple home improvement review boards staffed with licensed pros.