clear glass panel

5 Types Of Hot Water Heaters

Originally contributed by • last updated 5/17/2021

Dhruvil Lathiya

Being a homeowner means taking care of all the moving parts that keep things running smoothly. And yes, that includes all of the parts we use on a regular basis, even if we don't see them much.

Parts like the air conditioning, furnace, and of course, the hot water heater, are all important because they help keep our homes safe and comfortable.

But of course, these things don't last forever. In particular, hot water heaters need to be replaced every decade or so, or else you may end up taking a lot of cold baths.

When the time comes, it's important to know what model you should get, since as it turns out, there are many different kinds, each with their own pros and cons. So you will have a lot to consider when buying or renting a new one.

Check out the different kinds of hot water heaters here, and you may have a bit more insight on which one is right for your household.

An Overview On Water Heaters

Hot water heaters are typically powered by one of two things: electricity, or gas. Either one will usually come with a tank, which is what holds the heated water for later use.

Tankless options also exist, which means that water is heated on demand. These also come with their own set of pros and cons.

Almost all hot water heaters come in one of four categories: electric tank, gas tank, electric tankless, and gas tankless. However, there are also solar powered options, which have a few tricks of their own.


Electric Tank Hot Water Heater

The Home Depot


  • Cheapest To Buy And Install
  • Can Come With Larger Tanks To Provide More Water To A Household


  • Takes Up A Lot Of Space
  • Tank Can Run Out Of Water Depending On Usage

One of the most common kinds of hot water heaters out there is the electric tank kind. Electric tank models are powered through electricity, and they keep their hot water stored in a tank that distributes water around the house when it's needed.

As far as water heaters go, the electric tank variety is inexpensive to buy and install, meaning the upfront cost isn't going to give you a heart attack.

Though they aren't as efficient as other kinds of water heaters, they're definitely a great option depending on the size of your household and any other kinds of expenses you may have.


Gas Tank Hot Water Heater

A.O. Smith


  • An Energy Efficient Option
  • Keep Running, Even During A Power Outage


  • More Expensive Up Front

Like electric options, gas-powered hot water tank heaters use large tanks that store hot water, ready to be used whenever needed. The biggest difference, though, is the fact that these heaters are powered using natural gas.

This is great because it means that they will continue to produce hot water in the event of a power outage, since they don't run on electricity. They're also much more energy efficient than their electric counterparts, which means a lower utility bill for you.

This all comes at a price, though, and while they do save you money in the long run, gas tank water heaters are expensive to buy and install. Like electric models, they're also prone to running out of hot water when larger families are involve. However, getting a larger tank may alleviate that issue.


Electric Tankless Hot Water Heater



  • No Tank Means Instant And Continuous Hot Water
  • More Energy Efficient Than A Tank Heater


  • Expensive To Buy And Install
  • Can't Provide Hot Water To Many Places At Once

In contrast with tank heaters, tankless hot water heaters don't store hot water until it's needed. Instead, they generate heat to create instant and unlimited hot water. Electric tankless hot water heaters do everything electric tank heaters can do, except without that pesky tank getting in the way.

They're therefore a lot more compact, making them great options for smaller households. The fact that they continuously provide hot water means that you can take as long of a shower as you want, and you won't have to worry about using it all up before the next member of your household gets their turn.

Of course, this all comes with a few drawbacks. For starters, these kinds of hot water heaters are expensive. Much more expensive than any tank heater, that's for sure.

And while they do continuously heat water, they can't distribute that water to too many places at once, meaning you probably won't be able to have two people taking separate showers and have the dishwasher running at the same time.


Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater



  • Energy Efficient
  • Keeps On Running No Matter What


  • Come With A Hefty Price Tag

Gas tankless hot water heaters have most of the same benefits as their electric counterparts, and even some of the benefits of their gas tank counterparts.

They provide you with continuous hot water, but they also do it while being powered by natural gas, which means constant hot water, even during a power failure on a cold day. They're compact, energy efficient...and also incredibly expensive upfront.

They cost a lot more than even electric hot water heaters, but since they do cost you less to run, that price will even itself out, eventually.


Solar Powered Hot Water Heater

Mohammad Asadi


  • Very Energy Efficient
  • Powered Using Renewable Energy


  • Expensive To Buy And Install
  • Requires Maintenance

Though they could technically be categorized as tank heaters, solar powered hot water heaters are kind of in a league all of their own. They work off the grid, using one of our most abundant energy sources (the sun).

They can also work in pretty much any climate, which is another added bonus, and because they don't use gas or electricity, they'll save you a lot of money on your monthly bills.

Though they sound like a dream, they do have their share of cons. For instance, it's going to cost you a pretty penny to buy them and install them, especially compared to other kinds of hot water heaters.

And while every water heater has maintenance that you should be doing on them every now and then, these guys require special technicians to look after them. But hey, they also mean you get to have a cool solar panel on your rooftop.