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4 Best Water Heaters of 2021

Originally contributed by Ashley Hunte • last updated 2/10/2021

Buying a new water heater may not be the simple task it seems to be. There are so many different options out there, from capacity, to power supply, to worrying about whether or not you want a big bulky tank in your home or if you decide to opt for something tankless. And then you have to worry about budget and if it’s worth spending a little more for better features or just going for something that will get the job done. The world of water heaters is complex, maybe even frustrating.

Luckily, this list exists to showcase some of the best hot water heater options out there for 2021. Maybe this is the year you decide to take the plunge into a new tank or venture into the great unknown of tankless, but either way, we’ve got you covered. But there are things you should know before committing to one heater.

You may be wondering about the difference between gas and electric water heaters. They both have their pros and cons, for example gas tends to be more energy efficient and works even in the event of a power outage, while electric will cost you less upfront and is generally easier to maintain than gas. Either way, you are bound to find a ton of great options for your home.

As tankless water heaters become increasingly popular, it’s worth taking them into consideration as well. The benefit is that there is no tank, which means that it takes up much less space than a traditional tank heater and heats water continuously. Like tank heaters, you can find natural gas or electric models. They are, however, on average much more expensive than tank heaters, which is something you’ll definitely want to think about when shopping around for a new water heater.

By taking a look at user reviews, we’ve found the four best hot water heater options for 2021. Here they all are for you..

Best Natural Gas Tankless: Rinnai RL75iN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater

Cost: $1127.25

Where to buy: Amazon.

Pros: Energy efficient, Wi-Fi capabilities, continuous hot water.

Cons: Costly.

This hot water heater is an excellent choice for those who want the convenience of tankless, the utility of natural gas, and the option of Wi-Fi. The fact that it’s tankless means you won’t have to worry about running out of hot water, and you can even have multiple showers going at the same time. The control panel is simple and straightforward to use both for changing the temperature and reporting any issues that may arise, and if you really want, you can connect the unit to your Wi-Fi for even more convenience and ease of use. You can save a bit and take on the installation yourself but switching from a tank system to tankless may be a bit tricky.

Of course, the elephant in the room here is the price. It’s definitely not cheap, but for what you’re getting it’ll be worth the consideration for sure.

Best Tankless Electric Water Heater: EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater

Cost: $599

Where to buy: Amazon.

Pros: Inexpensive, well-suited for colder climates.

Cons: Cannot handle too many faucets at once.

This heater is definitely on the inexpensive side of tankless water heaters, making it an affordable electric option. It’s compact and easy to install, with a simple control panel to adjust water temperature. While it will work perfectly fine in warmer regions, its design allows it to work well in colder areas as well.

Though it should be able to handle a couple of showers or other applications at once, this is dependent on the incoming water temperature. In warmer areas, where the inlet temperature is warm, it will heat more water easily and readily. But in colder climates where the inlet water is cold, it takes longer to heat water and therefore its output is somewhat lower. You’ll definitely want to take this into consideration, especially depending on where you live and how many people are in your household. Still, the upfront price of the heater will definitely make you stop to think about it.

Best Gas Tank Water Heater: 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.

Though definitely not budget friendly and is not a space saver, this natural gas water heater is Energy Star certified, meaning it’s incredibly energy efficient and built to take on numerous showers at once without the worry of running out of water. It’s incredibly sturdy, with a stainless-steel tank that will maintain its longevity. It boasts three elements rather than the standard two, which is how it is so quick to provide ample hot water for a large household (or a smaller household that just loves to use hot water). The control panel comes with a variety of different features, like economy mode, which causes the heater to heat less water for those times when you’re not at home. Overall, despite its price, it’s an excellent gas tank heater, and probably one of the best hot water heaters out there.

Best Electric Tank Water Heater: 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 in higher-end features.

This tried-and-true electric tank water heater does exactly what you need it to do: heat water. Though it may not be Energy Star certified, it still boasts more than decent energy efficiency, and at a 50-gallon capacity it will keep heating enough water for the average-sized household to live comfortably. It has a control panel which may not be fancy with Wi-Fi features or any other bells or whistles, but it does the job and does it well. It’s a much more affordable option, making it one of the best hot water heaters around. 

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