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3 Best Electric Water Heaters for 2021

Originally contributed by • last updated 6/2/2021

Dan Smedley

Like many people, you probably like to take showers, wash your dishes, or get some laundry done. All of that, of course, needs hot water. Luckily, it would be harder to find a home these days without a hot water heater already installed.

But sadly, even the top-of-the-line models will need to be replaced eventually, which is when you’ll need to know what kind of unit will be the best hot water heater for you. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when buying a new hot water heater.

First of all, you’ll need to consider what size you’ll need. For tankless hot water heaters, that factor is a little less important because of how it heats water. But for the average water tank heater, where heated water is stored in the tank for use, size is very important.

Josh Larios

The most common tank size is 50 gallons, which provides enough hot water for a household of three-to-five people to use without running out too quickly. This list will focus on 50-gallon water heaters, but many of the models you’ll find will come in various capacities, so you can get a higher or lower capacity depending on your household needs.

There’s also the debate between electric and gas. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably strongly considering an electric water heater. They definitely have their pros, too.

For example, they tend to be (though are not always) less expensive upfront, there are many energy efficient options, and since most of us live on an electrical grid of some kind, they tap into readily available power sources.


They aren’t perfect, of course; despite their low cost upfront they may end up adding more to your electric bill, and they tend to be slower at heating water than their gas counterparts. But their pros make them attractive to many buyers, and you may find an electric hot water heater to be the best option for your home.

Another thing to consider is the brand. There are many reliable brands that sell good quality hot water heaters, but some brands like Rheem and A.O. Smith are consistently considered among the best out there.

Taking user reviews into account, we found the three best electric water heaters you can choose from. Without further ado, here they all are.


Rheem Performance 50 Gal. Tall Electric Tank Water Heater

Cost: $419

Where to buy: The Home Depot.

Pros: Affordable price, easy to install, energy efficient.

Cons: Warranty is on the short side.

This tank lands on our list of best electric hot water heaters because it's a great budget option for an average home with an average level of hot water consumption. It features two 4500-Watt elements that modestly and effectively heat water for use. It’s also designed with nearly every component pre-installed, meaning that installing this heater into your home would be easy, and even possible for someone without plumbing experience. It comes with a thermostat that allows you to manually set and maintain a constant temperature at which your hot water will be heated.

Like nearly any hot water heater on the market, you can rest assured that it will deliver your hot water efficiently. Its six-year warranty isn’t the longest compared to others on this list but should be long enough to cover any major issues that may arrive within the first few years of installation.

Of course, because it is so inexpensive, that also means it won’t come with any extras. Don’t expect to connect to this water heater through Wi-Fi or connect it to your smart home network. What you will find with this water heater, though, is something that will do exactly what it’s designed to do and nothing less. If you want an affordable tank that will reliably give you hot water, then look no further.


A.O. Smith Signature Select 50 Gal. Short Electric Water Heater

Cost: $599

Where to buy: Lowe’s.

Pros: Affordable price, easy installation, compact size, nine-year warranty.

Cons: Lacking features of more expensive models.

This electric water heater, much like the Rheem Performance model, comes with the basics, which is really all you need when it comes to heating water in your house. It is a bit more expensive, but in turn it boasts more powerful, 5500-watt elements for more efficient heating. Because it is a short model, this water heater is compact, making it ideal to install in a place where space is limited, like a crawl space. Its nine-year warranty is an added bonus, meaning that your heater will be protected from any unforeseen issues for nearly a decade.

This heater is another inexpensive and reliable option for your home. It may not come with all the bells and whistles of a more expensive model, but for those who are only looking for a tank that does what it’s supposed to do, that isn’t even a con.


Rheem ProTerra 50 Gal. Hybrid High Efficiency Smart Tank Electric Water Heater

Cost: $1499.99

Where to buy: The Home Depot.

Pros: More efficient than a standard electric water heater, smart home and mobile phone compatible, tons of great features.

Cons: More expensive than a standard heater, hybrid isn’t suitable for all climates.

For those of us who are more technologically inclined and love having smart features on every possible object and appliance in our home, this is one of the best smart water heater options out there. It is a hybrid, meaning it uses electricity as well as ambient air surrounding the heater to heat water in the tank. This style is incredibly energy efficient and very environmentally friendly as a result of its minimal energy consumption. Plus, it runs much quieter, so you’ll notice it way less while it’s heating water.

The Wi-Fi enabled smart hub comes with an app you can install on your mobile device, which allows you to set the default water temperature from anywhere, whether you’re at home or work, or on the go.

Of course, this comes at a pretty steep cost upfront. But if you’re willing to shell out the extra money for this electric water heater, you’ll make up for it in the savings on your energy bill.

Keep in mind, though, that since this is a hybrid model which uses the air to heat water, it is not suitable for colder climates. If you live in an area that’s consistently warm, then a hybrid will work for you. But if you live somewhere that’s much colder, a hybrid probably isn’t the best electric hot water heater option for you.