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3 Best Gas Water Heaters for 2021

Originally contributed by • last updated 4/1/2021

Krystal Black
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A great water heater can last a long time, but they don’t last forever. Eventually you will have to bite the bullet and buy a new one. Then the question becomes: what kind of water heater should you buy? Ultimately, it’s up to you and your household needs, but there are some things to take into consideration.

Size, for example, is more important than you may think. The most common capacity for a water heater is 50 gallons, which is good for a household of around three-five people. If you have fewer people in your home, you may want to consider something smaller.

Likewise, if you have more than five people living with you, or you just like to take very long, very hot showers, you may want to consider a higher capacity tank. This list will focus on 50-gallon models, but that should still give you a good idea of what’s out there if you need a different size.

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You may also want to think about gas or electric. Both are great options, but if you’re reading this, you probably want to know about gas water heaters. Gas water heaters have a number of pros, including their energy efficiency, lower cost to run, and ability to heat water faster in comparison to electric heaters. Plus, they can keep running during a power outage, since they’re not connected to the grid.

But you will generally spend more money upfront to get a gas water heater than you would with its electric counterpart. Plus, the possibility of a gas leak is present, but not terribly likely, and usually easy to detect with proper maintenance.

As for which brands to look at, you can’t really go wrong with any of the ones on the market, but names like Westinghouse, Rheem, and A.O. Smith are generally considered among the best and most reliable.

Without further ado, here are three of the best gas water heaters you can get right now, based on user reviews.

01/3

Rheem Performance 50 Gal. Tall Natural Gas Tank Water Heater

Cost: $529

Where to buy: The Home Depot.

Pros: Energy efficient, cost effective, easy to install.

Cons: No Ultra-Low NOx rating.

This natural gas water heater is probably the best bang for your buck, boasting an easy installation process and the energy efficiency that comes with the territory of gas heating. It boasts being a relatively low-maintenance heater, with a simple start up process, and no filter to worry about. You will also get a six-year limited warranty with this heater, giving you a good few years of coverage in case you run into any trouble.

Keep in mind, though, that this model has a low-NOx (nitrogen oxide emission) rating rather than an ultra-low rating, meaning it won’t conform to emissions requirements in certain states. Make sure to check the requirements for your region before buying a natural gas water heater.

02/3

A.O. Smith Signature Select 50-Gal. Tall Natural Gas Water Heater

Cost: $669

Where to buy: Lowe’s.

Pros: Ultra-Low NOx rating, energy efficient, cost effective.

Cons: Lacking in premium features.

Not only does this heater have an ultra-low NOx rating (meaning it emits very little nitrogen oxide compared to models with higher ratings), but it does so while maintaining energy efficiency and still coming at a relatively low cost. 

Those features alone would put it in contention as one of our best gas water heater options, but wait, there's more!

It has a safety system built in that will monitor and alert you to any irregularities and whenever you may need maintenance, including an LED screen that displays any issues. The gas valve was designed for easy temperature changing and the unit slim enough to fit in tighter spaces.

Though this gas water heater may not be the most intuitive on the market, it is built to last a long time, boasting a nine-year warranty to keep you covered. It does what it’s meant to do: heat water quickly and efficiently, all while keeping your costs and your carbon footprint low, and without costing an outrageous price.

03/3

Westinghouse 50 Gal. Ultra-High Efficiency/High Output Natural Gas Water Heater

Cost: $2439

Where to buy: The Home Depot.

Pros: Ultra-Low NOx Rating, can provide water for larger households, control panel.

Cons: Very pricy, a bit bulky.

This Westinghouse model lands on our list of best gas water heaters because it truly packs a punch. It is Energy Star certified so you know you’re getting something incredibly efficient. Not only that, but it also has an ultra-low NOx rating, which means you’re getting high efficiency with low emissions. 

Unlike most 50-gallon tanks, this goes above and beyond to provide a large amount of hot water in a shorter amount of time, averaging 154 gallons per hour. You can get constant hot water, making it perfect for larger households or homes that use a lot of hot water. It also has a control panel that allows you to easily adjust the temperature of your hot water or enable the economy mode which lessens the amount of water that’s heated whenever you’re using less (like if you go on vacation or are out of the house a lot).

The tank is also made of stainless steel, meaning it will withstand wear and tear. Along with its ten-year warranty, this heater is built to last a long time.

As amazing as all these features may be, they do come at a steep price. Though its energy efficiency means you’ll save money on your monthly bills, it may be hard to look past the price you’d be paying upfront. Also, while the tank itself is about standard, the console that houses the control panel is quite large, making it a bit bulkier than most other options. With that said, these cons may still be outweighed by all the pros with this gas water heater.