The Best Water Heaters: 5 Safe, Efficient Water Heaters to Consider for Your Hot Water Needs

by SSF | Last Updated Feb. 24th, 2016

Sometimes, water heaters act up and need a simple fix by an experienced technician. Other times, a replacement water heater is in order, which is often the case if your current water heater is more than ten to twelve years old. In most cases, a new water heater can be installed in one day.

There are several water heater options available, depending on your hot water needs. Electric water heaters are more expensive than natural gas water heaters, but they often are superior in design, installation, maintenance, and service life compared to gas water heaters. Gas water heaters, however, are reliable and may recuperate as much as 40% faster than electric water heaters. Because gas water heaters have higher efficiency ratings, it may be possible to meet your hot water needs with a gas unit that has a smaller storage tank than with an electric water heater of the same rating. Tankless water heaters are another option, and they are gaining popularity because of their longer lifespan and on-demand hot water capabilities. Finally, solar water heaters are able to provide nearly 80% of a home’s hot water needs using energy provided by the sun.

With all of these choices, how do you choose the water heater that is right for your needs? One step is to consult professional plumbers and experienced technicians. They can review the options, evaluating the features and benefits offered by each water heater, to help you determine which model is the best choice for your home. We recommend five of the best and safest water heaters below, in no particular order.

1. Rheem RTE 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 4 GPM


The Rheem RTE 13 electric tankless water heater offers continuous hot water on demand for point-of-use applications. A compact unit, the Rheem RTE 13 is so small that it’s capable of fitting in practically any space. The Rheem’s on-unit temperature control ensures that your household gets heated water quickly and efficiently.

Key Features:

  • Industry leading low-flow activation
  • LEDs indicate active element and standby mode
  • Rugged brass/copper heat exchanger
  • No standby heat loss for greater energy efficiency
  • No venting needed

Cost: *Approx. $212.04

2. Bosch GL4S Ariston 4-Gallon Point-of-Use Indoor Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater


The Bosch GL4S Ariston point-of-use electric mini-tank water heater is perfect for installing under a sink in a location where you often need hot water quickly. Consumers reviewing the Bosch GL4S Ariston on say it provides hot water rapidly and actually cuts down on water consumption, as there’s no need to run two gallons of water through the sink while you wait for hot water.

Key Features:

  • Instant hot water
  • No hard wiring needed; simply plug into a standard 120 volt outlet
  • Install independently or with a larger hot water heating system
  • 1-year limited parts warranty and 6-year limited heat exchanger warranty

Cost: *Approx. $173.04

3. Takagi Indoor Tankless Water Heater, Natural Gas


The Takagi indoor tankless water heater runs on natural gas and has an Energy Factor of 0.81-0.83. The Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG model weighs in at less than 20 pounds, yet it’s powerful enough to meet the complete hot water needs of a small home or apartment with one or two bathrooms. Consumers reviewing the Takagi indoor tankless water heater on contribute to a near-perfect average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, with one reviewer noting that this model has provided 10 full years of solid performance.

Key Features:

  • 140,000 BTU
  • 6.6 GPM max flow rate
  • 4-inch stainless steel venting required
  • Inlet, outlet thermistors for constant temperature monitoring
  • 10-year heat exchanger warranty and 5-year parts warranty

Cost: *Approx. $533.99

4. Ecosmart ECO 18 Electric Tankless Water Heater


The Ecosmart ECO 18 electric tankless water heater is a mid-range model that can heat more than 2.5 gallons per minute, making it perfect for larger apartments or townhouses with up to three people. It’s also a great fit for home additions. The Ecosmart ECO 18 features advanced, self-modulating technology, meaning that it adjusts the amount of energy needed based on the amount of hot water needed — saving homeowners up to 60% on water heating costs.

Key Features:

  • Self-modulating technology reduces water heating cost by up to 60%
  • Digital temperature control in 1-degree increments to control hot water
  • Copper and stainless components for efficiency, durability, and easy replacement
  • Compact, space-saving design
  • Capable of heating enough water to run two showers simultaneously

Cost: *Approx. $398.43

5. Rinnai RL94eP Propane Tankless Water Heater


Rinnai America’s energy-efficient propane tankless water heaters deliver superior water heating performance. This external whole-house tankless water heater is part of the Luxury Series, offering the highest output to meet the demands of larger homes and light commercial applications. With a flow rate of up to 9.4 gallons per minute, the RL94eP has the capacity to supply continuous hot water to as many as five plumbing and appliance outlets (up to four showers) simultaneously. If your home has multiple bathrooms and several family members often shower at the same time, this is the hot water heater for you.

Key Features:

  • 180,000 – 199,000 BTU
  • Includes standard MC-91-1US digital controller with error code indicator
  • 83% thermal efficiency
  • Energy Factor of 0.82 for propane gas
  • Enhanced scale detection

Cost: *Approx. $1,055

Water heaters come in several options, including electric, natural gas, propane gas, and even solar-powered models, so it’s no surprise that homeowners can easily become overwhelmed when choosing a new water heater. A look at your home’s hot water needs, energy requirements, and other features will narrow the options. Some water heaters require only a small space, while others hold dozens of gallons of water and take up a larger footprint. Additionally, some water heater models offer greater energy efficiency than other options, with some meeting criteria for Energy Star certification, meaning they can use 50 percent less energy than models meeting the minimum federal standard. A consultation with a qualified technician or plumber will help you decide which type of water heater will best accommodate your home’s hot water needs.

About the Author

This post was a contribution from Angela Stringfellow, an author from Snappy Services, an electrical, heating and air (HVAC), & plumbing services provider based out of Georgia. You can learn more about the services offered by Snappy in some of their most popular areas by following the links below:


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