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The 5 Best Water Heaters (2023 Review)

You can’t shower comfortably without a hot water heater. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best water heaters on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you.

GASLAND Portable Gas Water Heater and Rinnai Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater against a blue graph paper background Courtesy Amazon

You don’t fully appreciate your water heater until it stops working. Without one, you’re taking cold showers and washing your clothes and dishes with cold water. If you’re in need of a new water heater, you have numerous designs, brands, and more to choose from.

To help you select the best water heater for your home, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the available models on Amazon. Here are our top recommendations.

Compare Top Water Heaters

Product Power Source Tank Design Capacity / Flow Rate Warranty
Product Power Source Tank Design Capacity / Flow Rate Warranty
Stiebel Eltron Electric Tankless Water Heater Electric Tankless 5 GPM Heat exchanger: 7 years, Parts: 3 years
Rinnai Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater Gas Tankless 6.5 GPM Heat exchanger: 10 years, Labor: 5 years, Parts: 1 year
Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Electric Tank 4 gallons Tank: 6 years, Parts: 2 years
EcoSmart Electric Tankless Water Heater Electric Tankless 6.5 GPM Heat exchanger and parts: limited lifetime
GASLAND Portable Gas Water Heater Gas Tankless 1.6 GPM Not listed

In This Guide: Top 5 | Buyer’s Guide | FAQs | Why Trust This Old House


Top 5 Water Heaters


Best Controls: Stiebel Eltron Electric Tankless Water Heater

Stiebel Eltron Electric Tankless Water Heater

Stiebel Eltron Electric Tankless Water Heater

  • $698

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This electric tankless water heater has a sleek, space-saving design, giving you hot water without being intrusive or unsightly. It uses Stiebel Eltron’s Advanced Flow Control technology to maintain the water temperature you selected using the dial.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has an electric, tankless water heater design
✔ Operates with a maximum flow rate of five gallons per minute (GPM)
✔ Comes with a seven-year leak warranty and three-year parts warranty

✘ Is the most expensive water heater in this review
✘ Some customers who use well water had issues with the heater

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers mentioned easy installation, reduced energy costs, and simple temperature control. However, some users were disappointed when it didn’t make their water as warm as they wanted.


Best Gas Tankless Heater: Rinnai Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater

Rinnai Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater

Rinnai Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater

  • $757

Prices taken at time of publishing.

For those who want a permanent gas water heater, consider this tankless model. It uses less energy by heating water on demand. Once you activate it, it warms up to 6.5 gallons of water per minute to run your dishwasher, shower, washing machine, and more at once.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a tankless design powered by natural gas
✔ Operates with a maximum flow rate of 7.5 GPM
✔ Comes with a 10-year heat exchanger warranty, five-year labor warranty, and one-year parts warranty

✘ The unit works harder than necessary if your local groundwater temperatures are colder than average
✘ The module for WiFi control isn’t included

What Customers Are Saying

Users were happy with this water heater’s efficient temperature control, high water pressure, and non-invasive design. The small selection of customers who left negative reviews struggled with installation, as it required an unusual venting system.


Best Point-of-Use Heater: Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater

Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater

Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater

  • $400

Prices taken at time of publishing.

If the water heater in your basement struggles to warm the water coming from your upstairs sink, consider this point-of-use model. It connects to a water line, plugs into a wall outlet, mounts under a sink to give you four gallons of instant hot water when you’re washing your hands.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has an electric design
✔ Holds up to 4 gallons of water
✔ Comes with a 6-year tank warranty and 2-year parts warranty

✘ Doesn’t have a digital temperature display
✘ Has a limited range compared to full-size water heaters

What Customers Are Saying

Those who were pleased with this water heater mentioned its easy setup and affordable price. They also said that it heated water instantly and effectively. However, unhappy users wrote that the heater was prone to leaking.


Best Electric Tankless Heater: EcoSmart Electric Tankless Water Heater

EcoSmart Electric Tankless Water Heater

EcoSmart Electric Tankless Water Heater

  • $629

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Small but mighty, this electric tankless water heater takes up 12 cubic feet of space on your wall and warms up to 6.5 gallons of water per minute. Because it’s not constantly warming water in a tank, it can reduce your electricity costs by up to 50%.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has an electric, tankless design
✔ Operates with a maximum flow rate of 6.5 GPM
✔ Comes with a lifetime warranty

✘ Some customers reported issues with warranty validation
✘ The warranty doesn’t extend to any applicable labor costs

What Customers Are Saying

Positive reviews said that this water heater lasted several years, heating a lot of water efficiently. When customers did have issues with longevity, they struggled to get the manufacturer to cover the repairs with the warranty.


Best Portable Heater: GASLAND Portable Gas Water Heater

Black GASLAND portable gas water heater with included hoses

GASLAND Portable Gas Water Heater

  • $190

Prices taken at time of publishing.

You can use this water heater at a campsite, in an RV, in a greenhouse, or anywhere else where you need hot water on the go. To provide reliable, on-demand heated water, it has overheating and anti-freezing protection built-in, plus a flame-viewing window.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a gas, tankless design
✔ Has safety features, including dry combustion and low water flow detection
✔ Includes a detailed instruction manual and necessary hardware

✘ Although it can be used indoors, it’s primarily designed for outdoor use only
✘ Some customers said that the water didn’t get hot enough

What Customers Are Saying

Users who gave this portable water heater four- and five-star ratings said that the unit was lightweight, easy to install, and the controls were simple to operate. Conversely, some reviewers said that the unit was susceptible to freezing, despite its built-in anti-freezing protection.


Buyer’s Guide

Whether you’re cleaning dishes or taking a shower, you need hot water. Considering the following factors should help you choose the right type of water heater for your household.

Power Source

You can find gas and electric water heaters on the market. Gas water heaters are more expensive upfront, but they save you money down the line because they’re more efficient. Electric heaters, on the other hand, are cheaper to buy and easier to install, but they can’t heat enough water to run several large appliances at once. They also lack in energy efficiency, increasing your monthly electricity bill. Look for an Energy Star rating on the water heater to help determine how efficient it is.

Tank Design

In addition to deciding between gas and electric, you’ll need to choose between a tank or tankless design. Water heaters with storage tanks hold a certain amount of warm water. When you need water for your sink or shower, the tank is able to immediately send it to you. Tankless water heaters, meanwhile, warm the water once you activate them. Though simpler to install and smaller in size, tankless heaters can’t provide as much warm water at a time.

Size

If you’re buying a tankless water heater, you won’t need to worry too much about size. For a tank heater, however, you need to be cognizant of how big the tank is and where you plan to install it. Location can also affect your tankless water heater installation cost if you choose to call a professional. Make sure it can fit in your garage, basement, attic, closet, or other location.

Capacity

Capacity is only a factor for water heaters that store water in tanks. Most tanks can hold 20–100 gallons of water at a time, with a larger capacity equating to a larger heater. The average household of four needs a 40-to-50-gallon capacity to maintain a constant supply of water.

Flow Rate

Like capacity measures tank water heaters, flow rate applies to tankless water heaters. Flow rate measures how many gallons of water per minute (GPM) a tankless water heater can warm. The typical range is between 1.5 and 10 GPM, with electric models falling on the lower end and gas models operating on the higher end.

Warranty

Your water heater’s warranty is an important consideration. While water heaters may have a relatively high upfront cost, fixing the unit out-of-pocket can be even more expensive. You may also consider that a professional installation could be required to validate the manufacturer’s warranty. A lifetime warranty is usually best.

Brands

There are many water heater brands on the market. The most common and reputable include but aren’t limited to:

  • A.O. Smith
  • Bosch
  • Bradford White
  • EcoSmart
  • GASLAND
  • Rheem
  • Rinnai
  • Stiebel Eltron

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a water heater cost?

A water heater typically costs as little as $150 to as much as several thousand dollars, with units averaging between $400–600. This wide price range is due to the varying capacities, features, and designs of water heaters. Ultimately, your local water supply and water heating needs should determine how much to spend on a quality unit.

How do water heaters work?

Tank water heaters fill with cold water using a tube at the bottom of the tank. The heater then uses an internal thermostat to heat the water to your desired temperature. Tankless heaters don’t store water at all. Instead, they have a heating element that warms the water as it passes through the appliance.

How long do water heaters last?

On average, storage tank heaters last about 8 to 12 years, while tankless water heaters provide 20 years of hot water. However, how well you maintain your water heater and how often you use it can play a role in its lifespan.

What are some signs of a failing hot water heater?

Here are some common signs that it’s time to repair or replace your water heater:

  • Banging noise
  • Discolored water
  • Pooling water
  • Water temperature drop

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.