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Which Type of Water Heater Is Best?

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Water heaters are a large source of energy use in your home. You might not think about them very often, and in fact, many people take the hot water from their taps and showers for granted. But, think of all the things you need hot water for—washing your hands, doing the dishes, taking a shower, or enjoying a nice, relaxing bath.

When you turn on the tap expecting hot water and get nothing but cold, you’ll definitely notice. If your hot water heater needs replacing, you might be wondering whether to get a traditional tank water heater or select a tankless option.

The type of water heater you choose will depend on your needs, your lifestyle, and your budget. A professional installer will work with you to assess which option is best. Read on to learn about which type of water heater is best for you. Then, call a professional to get a quote and schedule an installation.

A side by side comparison of a traditional tank water heater and a tankless water heater

Traditional Tank Water Heaters

A traditional tank water heater is an insulated tank that stores heated water. The water comes out through a pipe in the top of the unit when you turn on a hot water tap in your home. 


  • They are more budget-friendly.
  • They require less maintenance than a tankless option.


  • They are larger, taking up more space. 
  • They are less energy efficient.
A close up of a tankless hot water heater, ideal for an area with less space

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater is also known as an on-demand water heater. They are more efficient than a traditional tank water heater because they only use energy when hot water is needed.


  • There’s less chance of flooding should there be a malfunction.
  • They don’t run out of hot water.
  • They are energy efficient.
  • They take up less space.


  • They require more maintenance than tank options.
  • You may require more than one unit for simultaneous water draws—water may be lukewarm if multiple people are using hot water at the same time.

Consider Your Space & Lifestyle

Tank water heaters are much larger than their tankless counterparts. There are both pros and cons to a larger-sized unit. If you have a large home, a large tank water heater will likely be sufficient to heat the entire house’s water. But, your home will also need a large space for the water heater to go.

If you have a larger house, a tank water heater may be a better choice. If you opt for tankless, you may require more than one unit in order to get hot water to every appliance that requires it. 

The number of people living in your home also plays a role in the type of water heater you should choose. People with many guests or multiple children or teenagers living at home might prefer a tankless option as they don’t run out of water. 

Those who live alone or have lifestyles where only a few people are home at a time may find tank options work just fine.

Which Water Heater Is More Expensive?

To determine which type of water heater comes with a higher price tag, you’ll have to consider what you mean by expensive. Are you only thinking about the initial outlay? Or are you tallying the cost over time?

Tankless Costs

Tankless water heaters are more expensive to install. Sometimes, more work is involved in the installation in order to match up the new water heater to your existing plumbing system. You might need an upgrade to your existing gas line or an additional electrical circuit. All of these things carry higher upfront costs.

But, tankless water heaters might save you money on your utility bills over time. They are more efficient owing to the fact that they heat water on demand, rather than on an ongoing basis. Depending on where you live, there may even be government rebates available due to the fact that they are more environmentally friendly.

The tankless option also lasts 5 to 10 years longer than a traditional tank water heater, but when they do need to be replaced, you’re once again dealing with a higher upfront cost.

Traditional Tank Costs

The traditional tank water heater is less expensive to install than the tankless option. But, they aren’t nearly as efficient, so you won’t save money on your energy bills. 

If a tank water heater breaks down, the cost of repairs is generally less expensive than with a tankless variety. Tank water heaters are more simplistic, and as such, repairs and replacements are less costly. 

So, Which Type of Water Heater Is Best?

The best type of water heater is the one that works best for you. There are many things to consider when making a large purchase for your home. You’ll want to consider all of the options and all of the pros and cons.

The team at Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating can help you determine what’s right for your home. Get in touch with us today.

Thomas Howard

Written by Thomas Howard

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