The Best Electric Hot Water Heater in 2012/2013

Review of the top rated electric tank-type models

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Which manufacturer builds the best electric hot water heater - Marathon, AO Smith, Bradford White, Rheem, GE or American? This review gives you the answer of the best model for the year 2012/2013. Find the advanced features of the top rated electric models.

Tips when selecting the best electric model

Choosing the best electric water heater for your home should be done carefully. The electricity is expensive, so selecting the model which is high efficient and provides enough hot water for your family is crucial for lower energy bills and comfortable use.

Electricity is widely used in the US and Canada, while gas is not available in some areas. Furthermore, the fuel cost or the rates are different throughout the continent, so you might want to check is it better to use one or the other fuel source. This is an important decision as it directly affects your water heating costs. When comparing the best electric water heater vs. gas type, water is heated more slowly by electricity, so for the same demand, you will have to buy an electric heater with a larger tank.

The best electric hot water heater has some advantages over its gas counterparts as being cheaper, has fewer components, installation and maintenance costs are lower, safety is higher...

This article is about the best electric hot water heater that is designed with the storage tank and has the most popular capacity of 50 gallons.

In the article about the best gas water heaters, I have shown you condensing units as the most efficient type. Here, I will present heat pumps as the most efficient electric water heaters, and the only type that is Energy Star qualified.

The criteria used to find the best electric hot water heater

As with the top gas models, there are several factors you should consider when looking for the best electric hot water heater:

  • Look for the model that is designed with the high First Hour Recovery, calculated in gallons per hour. It is important for your water heater to provide enough hot water during the peak time. This value is found on the yellow Energy Guide Sticker.

  • Most of the high capacity electric models come with the two heating elements... it is important that these elements are high quality; made of stainless steel and have a protection from dry-fire.

  • Energy Star recognition and tax credits are not available even on the best electric hot water heater - conventional type... but they are on electric heat pumps. These systems are known as hybrid water heaters and their EF is very high, twice the standard type.

  • The best electric water heater has the standby heat loss reduced to its minimum, so choosing the unit with the high insulation R-value is beneficial. Lower insulation value, like R-6 means that the device is less efficient (it loses much more energy through the wall than the unit with the R-24, for example).

  • The best electric water heater is equipped with the advanced features and systems such as the self-cleaning system, specially designed dip tube, high quality heating elements, powered anode...

The best electric hot water heaters

Rheem Marathon

rheem marathon as the best electric water heater

Rheem Marathon MSR50245 is recommended as the best electric hot water heater among conventional type models.

Marathon has a specific design where the inner tank is made of the seamless molded polybutene that is leak-proof, which eliminates the need for the anode rod protection. Also, thick insulation and high energy factor of 0.95 are the proof that this model has significantly reduced the standby heat loss.

All steel-made water heaters have up to 12-year warranty, but not Marathon. Marathon heater has the longest warranty, lifetime warranty, which indicates that this unit is long lasting.

Dip tube is commercial grade which guarantees the quality and with the unique design makes the incoming water flow, turbulent, which helps in preventing the sediment build up. As said, Marathon as the conventional type heater is not eligible for government tax breaks, but due to its superb efficiency is eligible for rebates from utility companies.

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Heat pumps

Electric heat pumps such as GeoSpring from General Electric, Rheem and Voltex from AO Smith are Energy Star qualified electric water heaters that utilize the power of the heat pump technology for efficient electric water heating.

Now let's see why the heat pump is the best electric hot water heater!

Electric heat pumps, also known as hybrid water heaters typically have higher initial costs than conventional storage-tank types, but, they have lower operating costs, which can offset the higher purchase and installation cost.

The heat pump will bring huge savings in water heating as the energy efficiency is over twice the value of conventional models; EF is 2 and more. These are the only electric models that are Energy Star and eligible for tax breaks.

GeoSpring from General Electric

geospring heat pump as one of the best electric water heater

GeoSpring from General Electric, model GEH50DNSRSA, according to its specs consumes up to 62% less energy than conventional electric water heaters.

The size of this unit is close to the standard 50-gallon type, the installation is also simple, but it produces much more hot water (First Hour Rate is 63 gallons) and effectively (EF is 2.35).

GeoSpring heat pump has another great advantage, it can work in several operating modes; eHeat, Hybrid, High Demand and Standard mode for maximizing the efficiency and saving on electricity when away.

GE heat pump, GEH50DEEDSR

A new GE heat pump, GEH50DEEDSR, has been introduced as the 50-gallon unit that uses less energy and heats water more efficiently - the energy factor is 2.4, First Hour Delivery is 65 gallons and the savings are over 60%.

The new GeoSpring, as the previous model, works in several different modes; vacation, hybrid, electric, heat pump and high demand, which makes the unit very flexible for demanding customers and economical at the same time. The new GeoSpring is fully designed and built in the US and still offers great features such as the control panel with the LCD display for convenient temperature control and easy problem diagnostics.

Rheem HP50RH

rheem heat pump as the best electric water heater

Rheem heat pump HP50RH is the 50 gallon unit that can work as the heat pump or electric heater only. It comes with the three energy efficiency settings to get the maximum power and for high demand applications.

It's Energy Factor, EF is 2.0, which is slightly less than GE model, but still over twice the efficiency of standard electric water heaters. When working in High Demand mode its First Hour Delivery is 67 gallons per hour, or equal to larger models, such as 65 gallon tank.

Rheem HP50RH is equipped with the Rheem patented elements, such as Rheemglass tank lining, quality stainless steel, resistor heating elements and premium resistor anode rod.

AO Smith Voltex

voltex series from ao smith

AO Smith Voltex PHPT-60 is the 60-gallon model that is designed with the high EF of 2.4; the highest energy efficiency of all best rated models recommended in this article.

As the Energy Star qualified, AO Smith Voltex brings the money back to you. It uses four different operating modes for these savings; it can work as the heat pump or utilize heating elements only; it can operate in the mode to maximize the efficiency; it can provide quick recovery or work in a mode to reduce the operating cost when away.

Large LCD at the front gives useful status and operation information, advanced diagnostic is there for error display and troubleshooting; powered anode is not sacrificial - doesn't require service, and it protects the tank against corrosion.


The best electric hot water heater is the high efficient unit, preferable Energy Star so you can take advantage of the government grants; is equipped with the quality components, has decent reviews and is coming from the reliable and proven manufacturer. These models will have lower annual operating costs and will meet your hot water needs. The installation won't be too complicate (will fit most homes) and you will always have spare parts and service available. Recommendation for the best electric water heater? Go green and buy a heat pump.

(All pictures are courtesy of