Ultimate Guide to the Best Water Heaters: Reviews and Buying Tips

Explore the best water heaters available for efficient water heating. Whether you're considering gas, electric, tank-type, or tankless models, there is an array of options to suit your needs.

Discover the outstanding features and specifications that make these top heaters the preferred choice among homeowners. Not only do they offer significant savings, but they also guarantee reliability and longevity.

Selected models boast the highest energy factor, commercial-grade components, and even come with an extended warranty.

Join us as we dive into the world of superior water heaters that will elevate your hot water experience.

In this comprehensive review, we highlight the industry's most reputable water heater manufacturers, including AO Smith, Rheem, Bradford White, Rinnai, Noritz, Takagi, Bosch, and more.

We have carefully selected the best water heaters by comparing their features, specifications, analyzing user and expert reviews, and considering top sellers.

Best water heaters: Selecting the best type

Is going tankless worth your consideration?

Rinnai RUR199 tankless water heaterRinnai RUR199 tankless water heater

This review exclusively focuses on the best condensing water heaters with tankless technology. These state-of-the-art models offer recirculation, commercial-grade features, and ultra-high energy efficiency, ensuring substantial savings, enhanced comfort, and improved environmental protection.

The best tankless and condensing models feature two heat exchangers: primary and secondary (condensing). The condensing element, made of stainless steel, provides superior corrosion protection.

Utilizing condensing technology, these models extract heat from exhaust gases to preheat incoming water. Some models support recirculation mode for faster hot water delivery. With their innovative design, they can be connected to smartphones, enabling convenient remote monitoring and control, including voice activation.

If condensing heaters are beyond your budget, we recommend exploring an article about the best tankless water heaters in the non-condensing category. These models are also highly efficient, with an energy factor ranging from 0.8 to 0.9.

They feature a single copper heat exchanger, smart functionalities, an advanced diagnostics system, and a flexible venting system. The top models are available in two versions: natural gas and propane, offering versatile installation with two venting options (concentric or dual).

Considering the best tank-type water heaters?

Polaris condensing water heaterPolaris condensing water tank heater

The best tank-type water heaters feature a stainless steel or plastic storage tank, offering a lifetime warranty and extended lifespan.

The best gas models are condensing and equipped with a helical heat exchanger submerged in water.

The best electric models contain stainless steel or titanium elements.

Both types include one powered or two commercial-grade anodes, a self-cleaning system, diagnostics, and other innovative features.

These models have a high recovery rate and first-hour rating, making them ideal for high-demand applications and larger households.

Features to consider

Energy efficiency: Consider the Energy Efficiency or Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) to determine how efficiently heat is transferred to water. Gas condensing models boast an efficiency of over 90% or an energy factor of up to 0.98, offering greater savings and reduced energy waste.

Specifications: For tank-type water heaters, prioritize high first-hour delivery and recovery rates, while tankless models should have a high water flow rate. Additionally, pay attention to the gas burner's power (measured in BTU).

Features: Opt for water heaters with recommended features such as an eco burner, brass drain valve, hot surface igniter, modulation, diagnostics, and self-cleaning systems.

Smart technologies: Look for models with smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity, voice activation, remote control, and diagnostics.

Multi-link capability: Consider the ability to connect multiple water heaters into one system, allowing for increased power and hot water volume.

Venting options: Power venting is preferred due to its flexibility and various installation options.

Quality: Seek water heaters equipped with durable, heat and stress-resistant components. Stainless steel construction is often superior in certain cases.

Lifespan: Tankless water heaters, for example, typically have a lifespan of over 20 years. Look for models with durable materials like stainless steel to ensure longevity.

Service: It is advisable to purchase water heaters from reputable, established manufacturers known for providing excellent customer service, technical support, and extensive service networks with readily available parts.

Warranty: Choose a water heater with an extended warranty. The best models often come with a limited lifetime warranty for conventional tank-type heaters (typically around 12 years) and 15-year warranties for tankless models.

Tank vs. tankless: Comparing pros and cons

To determine whether a tank-type or tankless water heater is the better choice for you, consider the following advantages and disadvantages of each option:



  • The favorite type with the well-known and proven technology
  • Excellent service network
  • Variety of models available
  • Condensing technology available
  • Affordable
  • Easy to fix
  • Reliable


  • Standby heat loss
  • Can run out of hot water when used extensively
  • Lower energy efficiency
  • Bulky
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Prone to corrosion



  • Small and compact
  • On-demand water heating
  • Endless and continuous supply of hot water
  • Wall mount saves space
  • Flexible installation
  • High efficiency
  • Life expectancy over 20 years
  • Long warranty
  • Savings


  • Expensive
  • Costly installation
  • Venting requirements
  • Cold water sandwich effect

Price is undoubtedly a significant factor when determining the best choice among gas, electric, tank, and tankless water heaters. The most expensive models are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, impressive features, long-lasting elements, a modern aesthetic, and offer efficient operation. These high-end models can cost over $1500.

Considering that domestic water heating ranks as the second largest energy expense in a household, it is crucial to prioritize water heaters with the highest efficiency and ultra-low NOx emissions. These innovative models not only save water, energy, and money but also ensure robust and durable construction, guaranteeing prolonged and reliable operation.


When it comes to choosing the best water heater for your home, several factors should be considered. Price, efficiency, features, durability, and reliable performance all play vital roles in making an informed decision. Whether you opt for a tank-type or tankless model, gas or electric, it is important to evaluate your specific needs and prioritize the features that matter most to you.

While high-end models may come with a higher price tag, they often offer state-of-the-art technology, exceptional features, and long-lasting components. They deliver efficient operation, helping to save water, energy, and money in the long run.

Additionally, selecting a water heater with a high energy efficiency rating and ultra-low NOx emissions can contribute to reducing your environmental footprint while providing reliable hot water for your household.

Ultimately, it is recommended to choose a water heater from reputable manufacturers known for their quality, excellent customer service, and warranty coverage. By considering these factors and making an informed decision, you can ensure that you invest in the best water heater that meets your needs for efficiency, durability, and reliable performance for years to come.