Water Heaters: Which Kind Should You Invest In?

Posted April 8, 2020 by in Lifestyle
cat looking at water

Water heaters provide considerable convenience to our daily lives, and as a result, can be found in almost every building across the globe. Though they can be taken for granted due to their behind-the-scenes operation, these appliances are integral to many functions.

Hot water is widely recognized as the second-highest expense individuals are willing to pay in terms of utilities. As suggested by their name, the primary purpose of a water heater is to heat water for household use when performing activities such as bathing, cooking, or cleaning, as well as indoor temperature regulation.

This article will examine the differences between gas and electric operated models, tank water heaters versus tankless options, as well as discussing the advantages of owning a water heater:

Electric vs. Gas 

Water heaters can be separated into two main categories: electric or gas-operated. Generally, gas water heaters have a lower monthly cost, are faster working, and will operate even in the event of a power outage. However, they are also less energy-efficient and can be more difficult to install. They are particularly convenient for those who already have a gas connection, and who are willing to put in a higher up-front cost.

Electric water heaters, on the other hand, are slower in the reheating process, cost more to operate, and will not function in the case of a power outage. That being said, they are found to be more efficient, due to the lack of lost heat. Electric heat sources are also considered easier to use and have lower installation costs.

The best type for your household will depend on your daily routines, financial status, and preference.

Overview: Tank vs. Tankless 

From the electric or gas categorizations, water heaters can be further divided into those that include tanks and those that are tankless. Tank water heaters are the conventional model and are more widely used. This type consists of a large reserve tank in which the water is stored and heated, and was considered to be the most efficient option until recently. These models are bulkier, and have to be replaced more often than tankless options. Tank water heaters can generally hold 30-50 gallons, which means that they have the potential to run out of water if they are used frequently.

Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, provide water in an “on-demand” style. Its three primary components are the cold water line, the hot water line, and the heating element. When a tap is activated, cold water flows into the system and is heated, and the appropriate amount of hot water is released. There is sometimes a “lag-time” associated with this, which could pose a minor inconvenience.

Tankless water heaters are now considered the more energy-efficient option. This is true because they do not run continually throughout the day, but rather only when they are needed. One downside associated with tankless water heaters is the possibility that they may not be able to operate as well if multiple hot water sources are being used in unison (i.e. trying to wash dishes while someone is in the shower at the same time). They also prove more difficult to install and may require you to hire professional help for the setup process. 

Advantages of Tank Water Heaters

As mentioned above, some of the primary benefits of a tank water heater are the low initial set-up cost and a less complicated installation process. This is particularly due to the fact that many homes already have been set up to accommodate a tank system water heater. This makes the replacement and installation significantly easier.

Depending on the frequency of use, this lower set-up cost could offset the potentially higher operation costs, but it’s not guaranteed. Tank water heaters also have a history of being dependable appliances and provide you with an immediate supply of hot water with the assistance of the reserve tank. They can also provide water to several different sources at once, such as the shower, the washing machine, and the dishwasher.

A tank water heater is recommended for homes with fewer residents and a tighter budget

Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, both gas and electric, are praised for the length of their lifetime, as well as their energy-efficiency. While traditional tank water heaters may last 10-15 years, these models can last over 20. They can also save the owner a significant amount of money in the long-run, due to the energy efficiency of only operating as needed. They do require more frequent repairs annually, but this can prevent needing to discard the whole system.

As a result, they are slightly more eco-friendly than a tank system. Additionally, tankless water heaters are known to be smaller in size, thereby taking up less space within your home. They also provide an endless supply of heated water, so long as there is the power available to fuel the process.

Overall, tankless is the best bet for larger family-homes, who feel passionate about using an eco-friendly system, and feel that the upfront investment is well worth it.  


There is no perfect answer to which water heater is the best for you, as that will ultimately depend on your financial situation and lifestyle preferences. The most economical option for apartment-style housing for one or two people will differ significantly from the one for a four-person home. Even among those similar housing situations, it can vary, which is why it’s imperative to seek out all the available options.

First, determine what system is currently installed in your home and then weigh the advantages and disadvantages of tank versus tankless. Then you will know if you already have the best option for you or decide whether it’s worth making the switch. Ensure that you have done your research prior to purchasing a new water heater, and remember to factor in installation and operating fees in addition to the appliance itself.

If you found this article informative, please check out this additional useful information on under sink water heaters