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: February 25, 2021
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Whether you are renovating your dream home or just looking to upgrade an old system, you need to make sure you get the best water heater for your project. These indispensable appliances will help to make sure that your water is always hot when you need it. Of course, not every heater will work for every home, so we have made sure to collect lots of different types to fit lots of different budgets.
After considering 27 different models, we have reviewed the 6 best water heaters that are available today. Of those 6, we found that the EcoSmart ECO 11 is our favorite one. This unit is incredibly efficient, simple to install, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to buy and install. Like we said before, however, there are a lot of different types of units that might fit your home better, so be sure to look at our other reviews to find the right model for your needs.
When we were conducting our research, we first looked at the different power sources that each heater utilizes since you might want to use gas or electricity based on how your home is set up. Next, we looked at whether the units were tankless or tanked models, as this will have a direct effect on how much they are to purchase and use. Finally, we looked at the overall dimensions since you need to make sure that they will fit your space. This careful research allowed us to compile a comprehensive list, in-depth reviews, and a detailed buying guide so that you can find the perfect heater for your home.
If you are in the market for the best overall water heater for your home, then this is the unit we would recommend you check out. This model is very easy to install in comparison to some of the other units on the market. All you need to do is mount it on the wall and connect it to both your water and electrical systems. From three, the setup is a breeze, as is setting the temperature you want to heat your water too. You just simply turn the knob and set your temperature, and the unit takes it from there.
Another high point for this appliance, aside from its compact size, is just how efficient it is. While many water heaters are over 90 percent efficient, this one is 99.8 percent efficient. That makes it one of the smartest choice if you are worried about using too much energy. Even when it is working at full capacity, only 0.2 percent of the energy used will be lost, which will be a huge savings for your wallet.
The only real drawback of this unit is that it might be a bit undersized for some homes. While it has a good flow rate of 2 gallons per minute, this might not be enough for a larger house. It will also not work very well for a home that has a lot of people using hot water during the day. Since it is on the smaller side, it probably would not be able to keep up with a higher level of demand.
This unit is tailor-made for a larger home that needs a large supply of hot water each and every day. It is able to heat 11 gallons per minute, which is one of the fastest rates on the market today. Even with this incredibly high rate, this model is not overly large. In fact, it is only about the size of a briefcase, making it perfect for small or large basements.
Another amazing feature for this unit is that, despite its larger than average output, it is still quite efficient. Even when it is working at full capacity, this model will work between 91 and 93 percent efficiency. This efficient design allowed it to receive an Energy Star certification, which is only given to the most energy-conscious appliances. With this unit, you will be able to heat your water quickly without spending a ton of money to keep the heater running.
The only thing that you need to keep in mind with this unit is that it is probably a better idea to have a professional install it for you. Since this appliance uses natural gas, you will need to have it inspected by your town to make sure that it is up to code. Otherwise, you could risk fines or other issues. By having a professional install it for you, you can rest assured that it will work correctly and safely.
One more interesting feature for this water heater is that it is Wi-Fi capable. This means, basically, that you can easily adjust the temperature of your water without having to access the heater itself. That makes it much easier to use model than its competitors, which is always a plus.
One of the biggest issues with installing a water heater is picking the spot that it will be when the install is finished. Most models have very clear instructions as to where you can and where you cannot install the appliance. This model, thankfully, is extremely versatile. It can be installed in ha lots of different ways. In fact, you can choose to put it on a shelf, on the floor, or even on the wall itself. This versatility, and compact design, makes it very easy to find a space to put this heater without too much trouble.
Not only can this unit be put pretty much anywhere, however. You can also choose to install it in different positions. You can install it vertically or horizontally, based on the dimensions of your installation area. Of course, these different positions will affect capacity. For instance, if you install the tank on its side, it can only hold 5 gallons rather than the standard 7 gallons, so keep that in mind before you pick its position.
That actually leads to the biggest concern with this model. Even if you install it so that it is standing upright, it will only provide you with 7 gallons of hot water. While this unit does have a quick recovery rate, that still might not be enough to make it work for a larger home on its own. This appliance can be coupled with a larger unit to provide immediate hot water when you want it, but that might prove to be a bit costly to get up and running.
What we liked:
Can be installed in multiple locations or positions
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you know just how messy a business it can be. Whether you like to sleep in a cabin or prefer an RV, odds are you have had a tough time getting cleaned up with hot water after a day in the field. Nothing can turn an outdoor journey into a sour outing faster than having to deal with cold water. Thankfully, you can enjoy hot water in a portable package thanks to this water heater. This unit is extremely compact and super easy to get set up with propane, making it perfect for an RV or a rustic cabin.
Not only is this unit completely portable and compact, but it is also self-contained. While other water heaters have to be hooked up to a home’s main water line to work effectively, this one can be hooked up pretty much anywhere, as long as you have water and gas lines. You don’t even need to have a sink or shower for the heater to be attached to. This unit comes with its own showerhead style faucet, which allows it to pump warm water right out right away.
Of course, this unit does have its limitations. It has a relatively slow flowrate as it can only put out 1.58 gallons of hot water a minute. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, since you are probably not going to use this heater for a whole home anyways.
Surprisingly, this heater is able to operate at a pretty high temperature. Even though it is in a portable package, you can heat the water all the way up to 167 degrees, which should be more than hot enough for a shower.
Up next, we have the Marey GA5PORT, which is an excellent tankless option. The only things needed to make this heater work are 2-D cell batteries and a liquid propane tank. These will account for extra purchases as they are not included in the package.
Nevertheless, once you have the batteries and gas tank, you can take the heater wherever you want. Whether it’s camping, in your RV, on a road trip, or more, the tool will provide you with hot water on-demand wherever you go. It’s also quite compact, making it an easy option to carry around.
The machine produces about 35000 BTU of heat when put to use. This should result in a 2.0 GPM flow rate of hot water for showers and other activities. However, you should be able to control the flow rate and gas usage as you please with the two knobs on the front side of the machine. Additionally, pipe fittings are included in the purchase, including one with a showerhead.
As for the heating efficiency, this option will save you a lot more money in terms of utility bills in comparison to your regular gas water heater. Lastly, this option is only meant for outdoor use. Remember that it burns fuel to heat water and thus needs to get rid of the fumes. Being outside means no additional arrangements need to be made to vent the device.
If you have your heart set on getting a tanked water heater for your home, then this is probably going to be the best option for you. It is quite large. In fact, it can hold up to 50 gallons of heated water at a time. This makes it a great option for a larger home that has a lot of folks wanting a shower in the morning.
Even if you empty out a lot of the tank, it also has a relatively quick recovery rate. It can, surprisingly, recover 20 gallons of water per hour, making it one of the fastest workings tanked heaters on the market.
This is also one of the better-made units out there as well. The materials that are used in its production are high-quality, which means you can rest assured that this heater will last for a good long time once you have it installed.
The only issue with this unit, however, has to do with its thermometer. The standard thermometer that comes with the heater is somewhat inconsistent, which could lead to it running more than you like. Thankfully, you can buy a cheap replacement and fix this issue without spending a bunch out of pocket.
Surprisingly, for such a large heater, this model is still quite efficient. It easily operates north of 90 percent efficiency, which is quite impressive relative to its size. This efficiency and quick recovery rate, make this heater an ideal choice for larger families with the need for lots of hot water at once.
What we liked:
Large volume tank
High recovery rate
What could be better:
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best hot water heater for your needs. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you need any more information.
Benefits of installing a new water heater in your house
If you are fixing up your dream home or simply updating your old water heater, there are lots of benefits to getting a new appliance. These include:
Efficient – Perhaps the biggest argument to be made for installing a new hot water heater is how much more efficient they are in comparison to older models. If you live in an older home, the odds are that your water heater is from when the home first was built. While the old system might have worked well in its day, the energy standards that newer models need to follow are much more stringent, which provides a much better product. This will end up saving you tons of money over the lifetime of your new heater.
Cost-Effective – Speaking of saving money, installing a new heater is an extremely cost-effective measure to take. In fact, even with the upfront expense of installing a new heater, you will be able to save money thanks to their efficiency. The savings from upgrading will probably pay for the new heater in a few years’ time, which should be music to your ears.
Space-Saving – Another issue that plagues older water heaters is their size. Since they couldn’t be made up to today’s standards, old heaters had to be much bigger, and, as such, usually take up way too much space. New heaters, on the other hand, are very small and compact, which will give you a bit more room in your basement.
Easier to Maintain – One more benefit of getting a new water heater is that they are much easier to maintain. As technology advances, old models are replaced, and getting replacement parts can become a huge problem. By installing a new water heater, you will be able to get any of its parts fixed a lot faster than if you tried to keep your old appliance up and running.
Features to consider while choosing a water heater
As you can imagine, there are lots of different features that you need to consider before you find the best water heater for your needs. In this section, we will go through all of these factors in detail, so that you can make a more informed decision when you are ready to make your final purchase.
Tankless or tanked?
The first thing that you need to decide when it comes to your new water heater is whether you want to get a model with a tank or a tankless one. Both types offer different advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider carefully.
Tanked – Tanked models, like the Bosch 3000 T ES8, have been the standard style of water for many years. These units are much cheaper to install in comparison to tankless ones. They are, however, not quite as efficient, however, since they have a limited amount of hot water they can store. Once that is gone, the tank needs to reheat and refill before you get more hot water.
Tankless – Tankless models, like the EcoSmart ECO 11, cost a bit more upfront, but they are extremely efficient. These appliances can provide a continuous supply of hot water, which is better for households where a lot of people take a shower right in a row.
Electric or gas?
The next decision that you need to make regarding your new water heater is whether you get a gas model or an electric one. This will depend on two factors. The first is the type of hookup that you have in your home. If you live in a town or a city, you can probably use natural gas to heat your water. Otherwise, you will probably have to stick with electric.
The other factor is going to determine the type of heater you should get is how much water you need to heat at a time. If you have a lot of folks in your home that need to take a shower each day, then you should probably go for a gas model. If you are looking to save a bit of money and don’t need to heat a lot of water at once, then an electric water heater should do the trick.
Gallons per minute (for tankless models)
If you decide to get a tankless model, then you will need to understand how many gallons per minute you require to keep yourself supplied with the right amount of hot water. If you have a larger home, then you’ll want to get something that has a higher flowrate, like the Rinnai RU Series Sensei SE+. This heater has able to produce 9.8 gallons of hot water per minute, making it perfect for a busier household.
On the other hand, if you only need a little bit of hot water in RV, cabin, or food truck, then the GASLAND BE158S would be a perfect fit. It has a slower heating rate of 1.58 GPM, which is perfect for one or two people but wouldn’t work very well in a more demanding setting.
Recovery rate (for tanked models)
Of course, if you are going to be getting a water heater that comes with a tank, then you need to take the recovery rate into account. This rate is how long it takes for the tank to refill with hot water and is usually measured in gallons per hour. Obviously, the higher the rate, the faster the tank will refill, and you’ll have hot water again.
If you want to get a faster filling tank, then the Rheem MR50245 is the model for you. This tanked model can fill up to 20 gallons per hour, which is the fastest heater we found. If, however, you are on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to your water needs, you can go with a tanked model with a lower recovery rate to save a bit of money. The Bosch 3000 T ES8 would be a good fit in this instance.
Each water heater has a rating based on its efficiency. This number tells you how much energy it takes for the appliance to heat the water. The more efficient the heater, the higher the percentage. For instance, the EcoSmart ECO 11 is 99.8% efficient, which means only 0.2% of the energy expended is lost in the heating process. You want to have a higher percentage for the efficiency, as this will help to save you money on your energy costs.
Something else you need to figure out is how large of a heater your space can handle. While most newer water heaters, especially the best gas or electric water heaters, are usually nice and small. If you are really worried about space, then the Marey GA5PORT is a good unit to check out. It has a very small profile, making it perfect for tighter spaces. With a unit like this, you won’t waste any precious space installing your new water heater.
One of the biggest considerations you need to take into account when you are getting a new water heater is whether or not you are going to be the one to install the unit. If you have a good understanding of plumbing, gas hookups, or hardwiring, then you can probably do the job yourself.
If, however, you are not sure how to attach it yourself, you should probably get an expert to do it for you. The last thing that you want to have is an incorrectly installed water heater. This could lead to leaks, burns, or other problems that are best avoided.
If you do choose to install your water heater on your own, then you definitely need to make sure that you have a good warranty. Even if you have your heater installed professionally, a good warranty is a must. That way, you will be covered if anything goes wrong with your new appliance.
When you are looking at warranties, however, you need to make sure that you read them as carefully as possible. Many companies will claim to offer a great warranty, but actually only cover a small list of features instead of the entire device. By reading the fine print, you will know what is and what isn’t covered under your warranty.
Water heaters are not like many other appliances where you use them all of the time. Instead, these units are usually set up in a manner that you don’t need to fiddle with them at all. That being said, it might not be a bad idea to get one that can be connected to your home’s Wi-Fi. That way, if you do need to adjust it, you can do it remotely from your phone or computer.
Another feature to keep in mind, whether you are going to do the install or no, is how the heater needs to be mounted. The Bosch 3000 T ES8, for instance, can be installed on the wall, shelf, or the floor. It can also be installed in different positions to better fit your space.
As we mentioned above, the installation process is relatively straightforward for someone that understands plumbing and electrical/gas hookups. If you are not familiar with these installation practices, then it is probably a better idea to allow a professional to get the job done for you.
If you are going to be using your new water heater in an RV, then you should definitely go for a much smaller model. That way, you will be able to fit it into the smaller compartments that are in an RV. In that case, you are going to be limited to models like the GASLAND BE158S or the Marey GA5PORT . Both of these models are nice and small and would work very well in a smaller setting like an RV or a camper.
The only way that a water heater is going to be expensive is if you get a model that doesn’t meet up with your requirements. If you get one that is too small or not powerful enough for your needs, then you will end up spending a ton of money to have it running. As long as you get one to meet your needs, you shouldn’t spend too much money to run it regularly. It is always a good idea to get one that is a bit bigger or more powerful than you think you will need, just in case.
When it comes to finding the best overall water heater for your home, you can’t do much better than the EcoSmart ECO 11. This unit is easy to install, easy to use, and uncompromisingly efficient. We highly recommend you check this unit out for your upgrade. We guarantee that you won’t regret your decision.
The Rinnai RU Series Sensei SE+ is a great option if you have a larger home and need endless amounts of hot water. This heater has a high flowrate and is very easy to use, making it an excellent option.
Sometimes, the best water heater is the most versatile one. The Bosch 3000 T ES8 is just that. It can be installed in lots of different ways and is very easy to use. It is perfect for many different applications and locations so that you can use it exactly in the way that works best for you.