Selecting the Best Water Heaters

How to find the best rated model for water heating

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Find the best water heaters among gas and electric storage tank and tankless water heaters? Compare Rheem, AO Smith, Bradford White, Rinnai, Noritz...

Water heating is, with the maximum of 25% of home energy consumption, the second largest user in US and Canada. This is why the appropriate model selection is important so your monthly bills throughout the year are not high.

And this is the reason why I wrote these articles... to help you find the best electric hot water heater, best gas models, the best tankless and storage tank type.

After reviewing hundreds of water heaters, I have figured out that it is not easy to find one particular brand or model, which truly stands out from a wide range of available heaters on the market today.

So how to find the best water heaters?

When looking at the North American market, which includes US and Canada, there are several brands that are major players in the water heating industry:

Other, also popular names in water heating, such as Whirlpool, GE, Kenmore, American, Reliance, Ruud, State, Richmond are either produced by the above mentioned manufacturers or owned by them.

The quality and versatility of models they offer is great, and their heating products are similar by the quality of materials used, available features, longevity, efficiency, warranty...

All of them are making good tanks, but before you buy the best gas water heater or the best electric model, be sure to know what you are looking for.

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What to look for when searching for the best water heaters

  • Decide about the fuel type. Electric and gas water heaters will have different initial cost, installation cost, operational cost and based on the type, the size and energy efficiency will be different. Keep in mind that water heating is the second highest energy user after home heating, so keeping your costs low is one of the priorities.

  • Either buying a tankless or storage tank type selecting the best water heaters depends on many factors and your preference.

    The tankless WH has a higher initial cost, but they are smaller, usually wall-hang, provide hot water on demand and as much as you need it, where one large unit can supply up to 3-4 fixtures simultaneously. The best tankless water heater is condensing, environment friendly (green), has high EF factor over 0.9 and can last for many years.

    Storage tank type on the other side can supply multiple fixtures at the same time with no "cold water sandwiches".... no fluctuation in the temperature. Hot water is always ready. The best one lasts for over ten years, heats the water efficiently (look for EF 0.67 and higher) and meets your needs during the peak time.

  • Selecting the right size will provide enough hot water, maximize the efficiency and savings. The 50 gallons model is the most popular size as it serves a household with four people.

  • Buy a high efficiency unit for great energy and money savings.

    The best water heaters are Energy Star rated or at least high efficiency. Check the EF factor as it defines the quality of the insulation, tank and burner design, ignition system... Thicker insulation, or higher R value, the better. Buy the heater with at least R-16 as the heat energy loss (stand-by heat loss) through the tank walls is reduced.

    Energy efficiency on electric units is higher than on gas models. The most efficient and Energy Star qualified electric WH are electric heat pumps, while condensing gas WH among gas-powered heaters.

  • Price and length of the warranty will be one of the first criteria used in selecting the best hot water heater. Cheap heaters usually come with the lower quality and shorter warranty while the more expensive (the best) offer advanced engineering, higher efficiency and durability.

    Most of the heaters come with the 6-year warranty (better ones have 9 and 12), while the extended coverage (9 and 12-year warranty) is also available but with the additional cost. The main difference between models with the short and long warranty is in the anode rod. Larger anode is added to those heaters with the longer warranty (or more than one). Some experts say that it is not worth it to pay extra money as you can replace the anodes by yourself costing you less.

    On the other side, brands such as Whirlpool offer very useful features for their best water heaters, which are those with 12-year warranty. These features include self-cleaning system, the high recovery rate and stainless steel heating elements.

The best brands and models

best electric water heater

The best electric tank-type WH

The article provides information what to look for when buying the best electric models and gives the example of the top ones. Models that are reviewed are Marathon, Bradford White and AO Smith.

bradford white best gas water heater

The best gas water heater - tank type

This article contains the best gas models and selection criteria with features for sufficient hot water during the peak time, to heat energy efficiently and save on energy bills. The article includes reviews of AO Smith Vertex and Polaris.

the best tankless water heater

The best tankless water heater

The article is about the top gas powered tankless water heaters such as Rinnai, Noritz, Navien and their advanced features.


Hope these articles helped you find the answer who makes the best tankless unit and what are the best water heaters, conventional type, to buy. If you are still not sure, use the simple formula - recommendations and reviews, or choose the water heater that has the trusted name with the proven history and quality.

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