Best Heat Pumps Water Heaters
Review and Buying Tips
(updated 2017)

Exploring the best heat pumps for potable water heating in residential homes, providing maximum savings, convenience and comfort - no matter where you live. Check out the list and review of the best 50-gallon models and selling units in North America and take the advantage of the government and utility rebates and credits.

Heat pump water heaters, also called hybrids, are the only electric models that come with the ultra high energy efficiency and Energy Star approval.

As opposed to the electric powered storage tank models that utilize heating elements to heat water, electric hybrid water heaters, have the hybrid design for efficient water heating: heat pump for moving the warm air from surrounding to water and heating elements as the backup or support.

Review of the best heat pump water heaters

Electric heat pumps typically have higher initial costs than conventional storage-tank type, but, they have lower operating costs, which can offset the higher purchase and installation cost and are Eco friendly.

The heat pump will bring huge savings for the homeowners as the energy efficiency is two-three times the value of conventional models. The heat pump are as easy to install as the electric units, but are more complex, sophisticated and offer flexibility by using the advanced electronics. Three superior models are reviewed here, coming from the top brands; General Electric, AO Smith and Rheem.

GeoSpring from General Electric

GeoSpring from General Electric, model GEH50DFEJSR, according to its specs consumes up to 62% less energy than conventional electric water heaters.

The unit comes with the most popular capacity of 50 gallons and it has almost the same footprint as the conventional models and connections, but is producing more hot water (First Hour Rate is 69 gallons) with a greater efficiency of 3.25. High efficient and reliable operation comes from the dual work of the heat pump and heating elements which come with the power of 4,000 and 4500 Watts. The unit is as quiet as the household appliances - only 54dBA.

The advanced electronics allows the heat pump to operate in several different modes; vacation, hybrid, electric, heat pump and high demand, making the unit very flexible and powerful for demanding customers, and economical at the same time. The factory installed control panel and LCD display provides convenient temperature control and easy problem diagnostics, while the ConnectPlus module gives the user a remote control when using the smartphone. The warranty is 10 years.


AO Smith Voltex

AO Smith Voltex HPTU-50N is the 50-gallon model that is designed to work using either heat pump, electric heating elements or both combine, operating as the hybrid model. This is what allows great performance and superior water heating with the ultra high energy factor of 3.42, which is slightly higher than GE GeoSpring, but the first hour rating of 66 GPH is lower.

For the corrosion protection the AO Smith hybrid uses one heavy duty anode rod, making the unit covered, and offering the warranty of 10 years.

As other heat pumps, Voltex is equipped with the advanced electronics and user-friendly control panel with the LCD screen, allowing easy control and monitoring, and flexibility to set one of four different heating modes and therefore maximize the energy and savings. In addition to the heat pump, this 50-gal unit uses two 4500 Watts heating elements as the backup.


Rheem HP50RH

Rheem heat pump with the 50 gallon tank is coming from the Prestige series and is the most efficient and "smartest" unit from a wide range of Rheem water heaters.

Of all three models reviewed here, Rheem Prestige has the highest energy factor of 3.5, while the noise level of 49 dBA makes it the quietest.

Another great advantage over other models is its duct-ready set up - no duct adapter needed, making the installation easier even in homes that lack in space.

And if there is a water leak, Rheem exclusive water leak detection alert sends the notification to the user's phone, allowing the user to react fast and prevent costly repairs. This applies also if there is a high pressure or temperature inside the tank, the alert is sent to the user smart phone.

This is possible with the remote access through the EcoNet system that automatically delivers notifications, alerts, and other useful info, either at home or when away.

When working in High Demand mode its First Hour Delivery is about 70 GPH per hour, again better than the previous two. The warranty is 10 years.


Things to consider when searching for the best heat pump

In order to find the best heat pump water heater check the following features and data:

  • Look for the highest energy factor (EF) - most of the heat pumps have the efficiency around 2, while higher is always better. The EF is an indicator of how much of electricity is used per year or how much money you will save.

  • Size the unit properly as the smaller tank and insufficient capacity results in lack of hot water and increased electricity usage. The most popular tank sizes are 50 and 80 gallons. For a family of over four, and families with teenagers and athletes, 80-gal units are recommended.
  • Look for the model that is designed with the high First Hour Recovery, calculated in gallons per hour. This information allows you to estimate whether the water heater can provide enough hot water during the peak time or not.

  • Recovery rate is also very important so the unit produces hot water fast enough and you don't wait for hot water too long, between two showers. Depending on your hot water usage pattern, make sure to buy the heat pump with the high recovery rating.

  • Quality of the elements is usually related to longer unit warranties. The heating elements should be made of the quality material such as stainless steel and include dry-fire protection. The anode rods should provide years of corrosion free operation - choose the model with powered anode or commercial grade anodes (more better). The foam insulation should be at least 2" thick and have the R value high. In order to reduce the bad influence of the sediment build-up, look for the model with self-cleaning system.

Summary

The best heat pumps are the ultra high efficient products that are Energy Star approved, are equipped with the quality components, have decent reviews and are 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.

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