Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: March 28, 2021
There’s nothing like stepping into a hot shower at the end of a long, stressful day… until the water suddenly turns cold! Looking for a better water heating system? Heat pump water heaters are your answer. They’re smart in energy consumption, easy to install and efficient.
What’s the best heat pump water heater? Consider your budget and requirements. Our heat pump water heater reviews summarize five of the best heat pump water heaters. We’ve examined their type, capacity, energy factor, display, weight, dimensions and warranty. From tankless to hybrid electric, take your pick. Your available space and water usage requirements determines your selection regarding capacity, dimensions and size. If saving energy is your priority, a low consumption is key. Intelligent electric controls and LCD display make operation easy. A product warranty helps you with possible leakages or ongoing maintenance. Let us help you find the best heat pump water heater.
Top 5 Heat Pump Water Heaters Review 2021
Rheem RTGH-95DVLN – Editor’s Choice
Capacity: 9.5 gal/min
Energy factor: 0.93
Weight: 79 lbs
Dimensions: 18.5 x 9.75 x 27.5 inches
Warranty: 12-year limited
Our Editor’s Choice, the Rheem RTGH-95DVLN is a sure winner. Including an indoor direct vent, this tankless natural gas water heater is 94 percent energy efficient. Its stainless steel condensing heat exchanger uses intelligent electronic controls to increase energy efficiency and safety.
The two pipe direct vent system is designed for PVC pipes. It offers up to 38 feet of 3” PVC pipe, or 5ft of 2” PVC pipe. Supplied with a 120 volt power cord, the built in electric blower, guardian overheat film wrap plus 10ft of included thermostat wire are excellent extra features. What’s more, the EZ Link cable comes in useful during higher demand periods—think early morning shower hour! It connects two tankless units together to function as one.
The Rheem’s high-altitude capability enables it to function at up to 9,840ft above sea level, and it offers freeze protection up to -30°F.
What do we love best? The self diagnostic system allows easy installation and service. Conveniently view temperature settings and maintenance codes via the digital display & digital remote control.
This product is third party efficiency listed by AHRI and exceeds strict industry standards, ensuring it’s high quality & reliable. For no fuss installation, piping hot water and a space saver, look no further than the Rheem hybrid water heater!
What we liked:
Digital remote control
Piping hot water
Self diagnostic system
What could be better:
Stiebel Eltron 224199 – Best Value
Capacity: 5 gal/min
Energy factor: 0.96
Weight: 16.1 lbs
Dimensions: 21.7 x 20.1 x 9.6 inches
Warranty: 7 leakage/3 parts-year limited
With a compact and sleek design enabling it to fit anywhere, we introduce the Stiebel Eltron 224199 as our Best Value item. Through an electronic control module, flow sensor and inlet temperature sensor, this tankless electric water heater provides a consistent hot water despite varying flow rates. Its intelligent self modulating technology saves energy 24/7. How? It smartly ensures the least amount of electricity is used to heat your water.
Through a solid copper heating system, the hot water outlet with cold water inlet includes a filter screen, plus the safety thermal cut off is a useful feature.
With the additional comfort of an Advanced Flow Control, you’ll get the perfect hot water temperature and comfortable automatic maintenance thereof even in peak times. If demand for hot water exceeds capacity, this feature automatically reduces flow slightly to maintain a constant temperature. The result? A hot shower each time!
With the convenient digital display, temperature regulation is at your fingertips. It’s certified frustration free, and guarantees constant energy savings. The Stiebel Eltron 224199 only functions when you need hot water, so there are no standby losses. Boasting 99% energy efficiency, you’ll confidently save up to 20% on your hot water portion of your electric bill.
Our favorite part? The silent operation! It’s reliable, no bigger than a briefcase and requires no venting.
What we liked:
Advanced Flow Control
No venting required
Compact sleek design
What could be better:
California’s Proposition 65 warning
Warranty can be better
EcoSmart ECO 11 – Budget Pick
Capacity: 2 gal/min
Energy factor: 0.98
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Dimensions: 11.5 x 8 x 3.75 inches
Warranty: lifetime limited
The EcoSmart ECO 11 is our Budget Pick. As an electric tankless water heater, it offers patented self modulating technology and design. The result? The unit controls its own energy output to ensure optimal water heating. This product adjusts the energy your household requires depending on the quantity of hot water needed. The digital temperature control allows you to set your temperature in 1° increments, and it’s 99.8% energy efficient. Compact and wall mounted to save valuable storage space, it’ll suit a small apartment. With a low inlet water temperature of 67°F and output setting of 105°F, it’s optimal for weather of 67°F & up. Depending on your climate, it can be used for multiple or single applications. In warmer climates the EcoSmart ECO 11 handles two sinks and a shower running simultaneously. In colder climates, two sinks can easily run instantaneously without any hassles. You may want to purchase a larger unit if you live in a chilly region.
Not only is this heat pump water heater easy to use, but replacing elements is a breeze. Tip: make sure you pick the correct size to ensure you receive your endless supply of hot water. The water is heated as it passed through the unit, instead of storing hot water like a tank water heater would.
It only switches on when you need hot water, so you won’t waste money. Save up to 50% on your water heating costs and never run out of hot water again!
What we liked:
Consistent hot water
Excellent energy savings
Self modulating technology
What could be better:
California’s Proposition 65 warning
A.O. Smith HPTU-50 – Best Hybrid Electric Water Heater
Type: hybrid electric heat pump
Capacity: 50 gal
Energy factor: 3.45
Weight: 180 lbs
Dimensions: 63 x 22 inches
Warranty: 10-year limited
We’ve rated the A.O. Smith HPTU-50 as our best hybrid electric water heater. It’s Energy Star qualified and promises to reduce your water heating costs up to 73% compared to a standard electric water heater.
Offering dual voltage capability, select from efficiency, hybrid or electric modes to match your heating requirements to your personal environmental conditions as well as your household’s hot water demand. Its built in compressor transfers heat to water while dehumidifying and the cooling ambient air.
Going on vacation? Vacation mode reduces operating costs, so your electric bill won’t escalate while you’re out of town. It’s as efficient as water heaters come, uses minimal electricity and even operates on efficiency mode only, especially in warm climates with a temperature above 70°F.
This hybrid hot water heater removes heat from ambient air so requires a large amount of air circulation. If your basement is well insulted, your compressor will run longer. While it’s quiet, noise levels vary from model to model of the same product. Be sure to install the unit as far away as possible from the other side of a bedroom or office wall to ensure unnecessary disruptive noise.
Conveniently offering an electronic user interface, operation is made easy. Some of the best features of the AO Smith hybrid water heater? Freeze protection for those cooler periods, plus the washable air filter that can easily be removed for routine cleaning.
What we liked:
Dual voltage capability
Energy Star qualified
Removable washable air filter
What could be better:
Possibly disruptive noise level
Requires large amount of air circulation
Varied running time
Westinghouse Water Heater – Best 80 Gallon Heat Pump Water Heater
Type: hybrid electric heat pump
Capacity: 80 gal
Energy factor: 0.95
Weight: 151 lbs
Dimensions: 69 x 23.28 inches
Warranty: lifetime limited
We conclude our reviews with the best 80 gallon heat pump water heater, the Westinghouse Water Heater. This hybrid water heater is made from a laser welded stainless steel inner tank which holds 316L. The benefit of stainless steel and incoloy elements? Minimized scale build up, prolonged tank life, and no need for anode rods & lightweight construction. It’s also more corrosion resistant, so it’s well protected.
The low watt density with the longest lasting elements in the heat pump industry reduces your chances of element burn out. You’ll also have a longer design and service life.
The Westinghouse Water Heater directs cold water to the heating element near your tank’s bottom. It also minimizes the mix of cold water and provides long draws of hot water for your showering pleasure.
It’s more lightweight due to stainless steel’s tensile strength, plus the outlet connection on the tank’s top and sides enables easy & convenient installation. This electric water heater ensures heavy duty insulation and minimal heat loss. You’ll enjoy a sufficient supply of hot water without excessive water consumption. It’s highly efficient and the adjustable thermostat provides ample temperature control for your continued comfort. The built in high limit control unit protects your water heater from overheating.
With a high recovery rate at 90°F = 20 GPH, you’ll also benefit from low standby losses at 0.57% per hour. For 98% thermal efficiency, you can’t go wrong with this unit!
What we liked:
Easy and convenient installation
Heavy duty insulation
Stainless steel exterior
What could be better:
Questionable heater design
Possible defective heating elements
Things to Consider
If you’re still undecided from our best heat pump water heater review selections, our buyer’s guide will help you out. We’ll explain a little more about what a heat pump is, how it works and what to consider in terms of pros & cons & general specs & features. In addition to answering some FAQs, you’ll have all the necessary information to pick the best heat pump water heater.
What is a heat pump water heater and how does it function?
Heat pump water heaters transfer heat from one place to another using electricity. They’re alternatives to solar panels and don’t generate heat directly. They’re perfect for heating domestic hot water via an integrated heat pump. The result? They’re up to two or three times more energy efficient and reduce energy costs that conventional electric resistance water heaters would chew up.
Think of a hybrid heat pump water heater like a refrigerator working in reverse to move the heat along. Using a compressor, the heat pump water heater pulls heat from surrounding air. It transfers this into a storage tank to heat the water.
A heat pump water heater isn’t only more energy efficient, but tankless water heaters supply your water on demand and offer more compared to a new storage tank water heater.
Heat pump water heater – pros and cons
With numerous designs and options on the market, what makes a heat pump water heater your best solution? Let’s look at some pros and cons:
Cools air: In summer your heat pump water heater cools its surrounding space creating a more comfortable indoor climate.
Durable: If you take good care of your heat pump water, it can last up to 15 years.
Efficient: Heat pump water heaters are designed to save energy. They don’t have to work hard to generate heat because they use heat from the surrounding air. They can be up to two and a half or three times more energy efficient than conventional electric water heaters.
Environmentally friendly: Heat pumps don’t emit any toxic emissions or gas leaks.
Safe: Due to no heat generation, the unit’s exterior isn’t hot. It’ child and pet friendly.
Uses waste heat: In winter your heat pump uses waste heat from the central furnace to operate.
Pricey: A heat pump water heater costs roughly double the price of an electric resistance water heater. You’ll need to probably retrofit your plumbing and electric system. While purchasing one is initially expensive, you’re investing in long term benefits. You’ll save plenty on energy costs for up to 10 or more years. This could add up to over $300 annually for a family of four.
Noise: You do hear the compressor. This can be reduced by insulating the mechanical room, but it consequently decreases the warm air the pump would use.
Space: A heat pump water heater needs additional space of up to 1,000ft³ as well as a condensation drain or pump.
Time: In peak times you might wait for your heat pump water heater to produce large volumes of hot water and recover thereafter. If you have a large family this could become frustrating, particularly in winter when everyone wants to shower at the same time.
Works harder in winter: The pump generates cold air while operating, so the heating system therefore functions even more in colder months.
Features to consider when choosing a heat pump water heater
When browsing the numerous heat pump water heater offerings make sure you’ve considered various features before finalizing your selection. Remember you’re investing in something you’ll use every day, so it must work and last. Let’s explore type, capacity, energy factor, noise level, display, warranty, weight and dimensions & further expand on the features covered in our best heat pump water heater reviews.
The three main types of heat pump water heaters are storage tank, tankless and hybrid electric. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Here’s the lowdown before you take your pick:
The most common of water heaters, a storage tank water heater heats and stores water in an insulated tank until it’s needed. A pipe on top releases this water when necessary. A temperature and pressure relief valve opens if either of these exceeds a preset level.
A natural gas water heater consumes less energy and costs approximately 50% less to run compared to an electric water heater, but gas models are pricier initially to purchase.
Tankless water heaters use heating coils to heat your water as and when you need it. They’re more energy efficient, but the limited flow of hot water per minute varies according to your inlet water temperatures. This best suits homes using natural gas for heating water. Electric models could be an expensive upgrade for your home’s electrical capacity.
You may need to upgrade your gas lines, electric service and invest in new venting for this system. It’s less complicated to replace an old water heater with a hybrid heat pump.
Tankless water heater don’t hold a large amount of water, but the Gallons Per Minute (GPM) rating indicates how much hot water is delivered over a fixed time period. Tankless options include the Rheem RTGH-95DVLN, Stiebel Eltron 224199 and EcoSmart ECO 11.
Hybrid water heaters move heat instead of creating it. A hybrid heat pump water heater absorbs heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water, storing it in a large tank. Moving heat requires less energy, so hybrid heat pumps are doubly efficient compared to standard and tankless electric water heaters.
Hybrid heat pump water heaters can also cool your basement, home or garage. You’ll save on air conditioning costs in the summer months if your water heater is inside your home.
Hybrid water heaters are also eligible for tax credits of up to $300, and they don’t require the amount of retrofitting that tankless water heaters would.
A hybrid water heater is more expensive than a traditional water heater. It also requires more space, a condensate drain and the air filter needs to be replaced.
The best hybrid water heater options we’ve reviewed include the A.O. Smith HPTU-50 or Westinghouse Water Heater units.
Heat pump water heater capacity is linked to your available space and personal requirements. Consider what you’ll be using this heat pump water heater for. Determine how many applications your unit can run simultaneously at your chosen location inlet water temperature.
Tank water typically holds between 40 and 55 gallons but can also hold more. The ideal size depends on how many people reside in your home and your peak water usage patterns.
Smaller capacity options include the EcoSmart ECO 11, Stiebel Eltron 224199 and Rheem RTGH-95DVLN. The EcoSmart ECO 11 offers the highest GPM rating of 9.5, so it’s is perfect for a large family using multiple bathrooms.
For larger volumes of water, consider the A.O. Smith HPTU-50 and Westinghouse Water Heater products.
Saving energy is key! Opt for a heat pump water heater that uses minimal energy. All the products we’ve reviewed boast impressive energy factors.
The Stiebel Eltron 224199 only works when you require hot water, so you won’t lose anything while it’s in standby mode. The Westinghouse Water Heater also promotes minimal standby loss per hour.
Mechanical components in heat pump water heaters tend to be rather loud. They’re noisier than most refrigerators which have a noise range from 40-50dB. While noise level varies from model to model, the Stiebel Eltron 224199 and A.O. Smith HPTU-50 are particularly rated for their silent operation.
Digital display makes operation easy. Monitor your levels and customize usage. The handy vacation mode on the A.O. Smith HPTU-50 allows you to set that only the heat pump is used for increased efficiency while you’re not at home.
The Rheem RTGH-95DVLN, Stiebel Eltron 224199 and EcoSmart ECO 11 all offer digital display. The added benefit of the EcoSmart ECO 11? The digital temperature control to set your temperature in one degree increments. The Stiebel Eltron 224199, EcoSmart ECO 11 and A.O. Smith HPTU-50 all feature LCD displays.
You don’t want a broken heat pump. Even worse, one that can’t be replaced. While you don’t want to send a product back for repairs or replacement parts, a warranty is useful. Always check what each heat pump offers regarding its warrantee. This could range from a limited plan including a few leakages or parts up to 12 years to a lifetime limited warranty.
Longer warranty models are pricier. The advantage? A larger element or burner that increases water heating speed, plus the thicker insulation against heat loss. It’s best to pick a water heater offering the longest warranty available.
Of the best heat pump water heaters we’ve reviewed, the EcoSmart ECO 11 and Westinghouse Water Heater pumps have the longest limited lifetime warranty.
The EcoSmart ECO 11 offers a lifetime warranty on electronics, exchanger and element. But the warranty doesn’t cover labor or any accidental damages, and only the cost of the heater, so consider these details when you compare different models’ warranty guidelines.
The Westinghouse Water Heaters offers a limited lifetime warranty for residential units when registered online. This covers the tank but not parts, and only covered if it’s installed by a licensed plumber. Always adhere to the product registration rules to benefit from warrantees.
The weight of a heat pump water heater is also important when you consider your available space and where it will be mounted. Like capacity, weight also determines how much water a tankless water heater holds.
The lightest model we’ve reviewed is the EcoSmart ECO 11 at 6.5lbs, and the heaviest is the A.O. Smith HPTU-50 at 180lbs.
Determining these specifications and electrical infrastructure helps you know what will fit onto your breaker panel. You need to know the amp power, double pole quantity and amp breaker requirements. Before purchasing a heat pump water heater, ensure you can accommodate the power supply with sufficient space for this unit in your breaker panel.
Consider your available space to know whether you require a large or small heat pump water heater. A new water heater might not fit exactly in the place of your previous one. Due to possible increased insulated and other efficiency related improvements, a newer model may be wider or taller than ones you considered before.
Prior to purchase always check the product model is the correct size for your expected demand and electrical requirements.
The smallest heat pump we’ve rated is the EcoSmart ECO 11. It’s ideal for small living spaces. The largest unit we’ve reviewed is the Westinghouse Water Heater. It also holds the largest gallon capacity, making it the best 80 gallon heat pump water heater.
An electric geospring heat pump water heater can function in five basic modes:
eHeat Mode: The most energy efficient mode, the pump removes heat from surrounding air, heats the water and returns the cooler air back into the room.
Electric Mode: Only upper and lower heating resistance elements are used to heat your water. It’s quicker but not as energy efficient.
High Demand Mode: If your household has an above average water consumption, use this. The unit uses electric heating elements only when your water demand exceeds normal usage. The water temperature recovers at a fast rate and the heating elements are only used when necessary.
Hybrid Mode: This default mode uses automatic controls and combines energy efficiency and fast recovery speed, with powerful standard electric elements.
Vacation mode: When you’re away for up to 199 days, the temperature set point drops to 50°F to conserve energy. The day before your return, the unit automatically resumes heating so you’ll have a hot shower when you’re home.
Heat pump water heaters are more energy efficient. They move heat instead of creating heat via combustion like a gas water heater does. Moving heat requires less energy than creating it.
A hybrid water heater dramatically reduces your electricity bills. An average household of four could save approximately $3,500 over the unit’s lifetime. This is much better than electrical resistance heating which consumes a large amount of energy.
It’s possible to install a heat pump yourself to avoid the costs of calling in an electrician and plumber. If you do, be sure to drain the tank of your old water heater before removing it – it’s lighter and less messy to handle.
It’s important, however, to use the correct electric cables and amp breakers. Some house water pipes will need to be adapted to the heater with pressure fittings. You’ll also need to purchase the relevant power wires, hose connectors, outlets, PVC, valves and miscellaneous parts.
You could do the plumbing entirely yourself and simply call in an electrician to assist you with the electrical parts (such as the installation of amp breakers). If you’re not sure how to do it or aren’t familiar with electrics and running water lines, it’s best to call in a professional, as the process could take a few hours.
We hope our best heat pump water heater reviews have helped you pick the one you need. If you’re still uncertain, we suggest you purchase our Editor’s Choice, Rheem RTGH-95DVLN. It’s easy to install, saves space, has a self diagnostic system and guarantees steaming hot water. By picking the Stiebel Eltron 224199 you’re certainly getting best Best Value with its Advanced Flow Control, silent operation and operation without venting required. Tight on cash? We recommend the EcoSmart ECO 11. As our Budget Pick, it’s compact, boasts excellent energy savings, and self modulating technology. We hope with our selection of the best heat pump water heater products you’ll find the perfect pump to suit your daily usage needs, supplying you with water for many hot showers to come. Which one’s the best heat pump water heater for your home?