Tankless vs Tank Water Heater

If you are considering replacing your current water heater you will find that you are faced with an array of purchasing options. While in the past choosing a new water heater was simply a matter of selecting the right model and size for your needs, now there are many different types of water tanks available. Among your choices are tank heaters, tankless heaters, hybrid water heaters, and solar water heaters. The advantages and disadvantages of each of these types of heaters are examined in detail below.

Choosing the right rheem instantaneous water heater can have a significant impact on your energy bill as Rheem provides some of the best tankless water heaters. Water heaters are the most energy greedy appliance in the entire home. It is estimated that they are responsible for on average 17% of the households total energy use. Some types of water heaters are much more efficient than others resulting in large cost savings.

Energy efficiency is not only factor which will effect your purchasing decision. The space, hot water consistency and usable life differ between each of the types of water heater.

tank vs tankless water heater

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are a relatively recent innovation but they have quickly gained popularity due to their ability to provide a consistent supply of hot water. A tankless water heater heats the water as it flows through the device. Unlike a tank water heater they do not store any water except for the water which is inside the heat exchanger coil.

Advantages of Tankless Heaters

Longer Life – Tankless heaters typically have a usable life of 15 to 20 years. This compares favorably to tank heaters which usually last 8 to 10 years.

Avoid Cold Showers – If you share your home with other family members then cold showers are probably a frequent occurrence. With a tankless heater the water is heated as you need it. This means that cold showers will become a thing of the past no matter how many people use the shower before you.

Take Up Less Space – Tankless heaters can be placed almost anywhere in the house and take up less space than tank heaters. You can hang a tankless heater on the wall both inside or outside the house. This also means that you can use space which is currently being used for your tank heater as a cupboard or wardrobe.

Provides Cleaner Water – Tank heaters will often build up rust inside the tank. Tankless heaters do not suffer from this problem and so provide cleaner drinking and bathing water. Go online to get the top quality tankless water heater for yourself.

Disadvantages of Tankless Heaters

Limited Water Flow Rates – When selecting your heater it is important to match the demands of the water needed with the unit size. Smaller tankless heaters may limit your water flow rate.

Higher Upfront Costs – Tankless water heaters are less expensive on an ongoing basis but they also typically have a higher upfront cost.

Pilot Light May Waste Energy – If the pilot light in the tankless heater runs constantly the tankless heater may waste more energy than with a tank heater. However many tankless heaters features an intermittent ignition system which helps to avoid this problem.

Electrical Capacity Required – Tankless heaters will sometimes require added electrical or gas capacity in order to support the unit. If this is case their will be an additional cost and so this needs to be weighed against the ongoing cost savings.

Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters, also known as storage water heaters, have been traditionally the most common type for residential and commercial use. A tank heater uses a cylindrical vessel or container to store water where it is kept hot for use. Most water heaters in the United States and Europe are heated use natural gas due to its lower cost.

Advantages of Tank Heaters

Lower Initial Costs – Tank heaters have a lower initial cost than tankless heaters and are usually already installed in the household. Unless there is a compelling reason to change the tank heater it may be better to simply keep it in place.

Newer Units Are More Efficient – If you have an old tank heater then the energy savings compared to a tankless heater will be significant. However many newer tank heaters are much more energy efficient and so the difference may not be substantial enough to justify a tankless heater.

Large Tank Units Are Usually Adequate – If you have a large tank heater installed in your home then you should find that you don’t run short of hot water even with a demanding household.

Disadvantages of Tank Heaters

Recovery Time Can Be Extensive – The recovery time to reheat the water in the tank can be extensive. The tank may take upward of half an hour to reheat. This often means missing out on having a warm shower in the morning.

Maintenance Required – In order for a tank water heater to reach its maximum life span maintenance will typically be required. This is difficult and can be expensive as it will usually require a contractor.

Take Up A Lot Of Space – Unlike a tankless heater which can be hung almost anywhere a tank heater takes up a lot of space. The bigger the hot water supply your household requires the more space you will need to devote to your heater. This typically means giving up storage space that could be used for other purposes.

Hybrid Water Heaters

A hybrid tank water heater incorporates elements of both tank and tankless water heaters. Like a tank water heater it is able to maintain consistent water pressure and supply over multiple applications such as more than one shower. But like a tankless water heater it can also supply continuous hot water on demand.

Advantages of Hybrid Water Heaters

Extremely Energy Efficient – General Electric estimates that the savings that the average family will achieve by using its hybrid water heater are an average of $250 a year.

Fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Hybrid water burners are in general better for the environment than traditional heaters. They produce little in the way of greenhouse gas emissions and are among the cleanest burning of all appliances in the household.

Less Space – While a hybrid water burner does have a tank it is considerably smaller than with a traditional tank heater. Typically a hybrid will take up about half the space of a tank water heater.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Water Heaters

Comparatively Expensive – Compared to tank heaters and even tankless water heaters, the hybrid water heater is very expensive. Due to their energy efficiency over the long term they may work out to be less expensive but in order to enjoy this benefit you must be planning to live in your current home for the foreseeable future.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters are becoming increasingly common due to their low running cost and the fact they are environmentally friendly. Solar water collectors are typically installed on the roofs or walls of the residence. Solar water heaters can be used in conjunction with a traditional storage water tank or one that is specifically designed for that purpose.

Advantages of Solar Water Heaters

Significant Energy Savings – As we saw in the introduction, household water heating makes up to 15% of energy usage. Using a solar water heater removes this cost which can amount to considerable long term savings.

Rebates And Tax Breaks – There are a number of rebates and tax breaks available for installing solar water heaters. For example the California Solar Initiative (CSI) offers up to $2,719 for installing a solar water heating system in a single family home.

Disadvantages of Solar Water Heaters

High Initial Cost – Compared to a traditional water heater the initial cost of installing a solar water heater can be high. This is particularly true if you are installing panels in an area where there are limited amounts of natural light. In order to capture sufficient light more panels will need to be installed increasing the costs.


The right heater for your home will depend on your individual circumstances. If you are planning on moving in the next couple of years and do need a lot of hot water on demand then a tank water heater maybe a good option due to its lower initial cost.

However if you are planning on staying in your residence in medium to long term and want the convenience of hot water on demand then a tankless water heater might be a better option.

In certain parts of the country such as California which offers generous rebates and get plenty of sunlight, installing a solar panel heater might be a cost effective and environmentally friendly option. Assess your household needs and circumstances carefully before choosing the water heating option that is right for you.

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