Best Electric Water Heater Reviews 2018

Electric water heaters are the go-to standard for American households. They can be used in virtually any home, can be hooked up to solar heating systems, and even work in conjunction with tankless systems.

The versatility of an electric water heater is unquestionable.

Electric water heaters are reasonably easy to install as well. They require minimal venting, which means a storage tank can go into a spare closet. Various sizes are available, ranging from 20 gallons to 55 gallons if you purchase a tank-based model. Extenders can be added to storage tanks for an additional 5-10 gallons of hot water support.

You can also opt for an electric tankless water heater, which offers the possibility of unlimited hot water for the home.

Highest Quality

Best Seller

Best Value

Westinghouse WER052C2X055N06EcoSmart ECO 11Bosch Tronic 3000T

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Our Rating: 4.3Our Rating: 4.0Our Rating: 4.6
Market Popularity: MediumMarket Popularity: HighMarket Popularity: High

Advantages of Electric Over Gas for Your Hot Water

  • Electric water heaters present less of a safety risk when compared to gas water heaters because there is no risk of a gas leak and fewer fire risks
  • Electric models can be connected to a power supply with a timer unit or a smart device to reduce overall utility costs
  • Electric designs offer a simpler, cheaper installation process when compared gas water heaters
  • Electric models do not have a pilot light that must be maintained
  • Water heaters running on electricity have fewer overall parts, which means most homeowners experience a cheaper cost-of-life experience with their preferred model

Review of Our Highest Quality Electric Water Heater

Meet the Westinghouse WER052C2X055N06

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This 5500-watt electric water heater features a durable 316L stainless-steel tank, capable of holding 52 gallons of hot water. You have the option to choose a 40-gallon model if your hot water needs are not as extensive. With a FHR of 71 gallons, a 94-energy factor, and a 6-year limited warranty, you’ll find that the consistency of this water heater is quite impressive.

We got to take a look at this model after it had been recently installed in a neighborhood home. The first impression we got from the unit was that it was incredibly quiet. The water heater had been installed in the garage without an insulation wrap. You wouldn’t even know it was there unless you actually saw it.

It is manufactured with the traditional height and width of storage-tank water heaters. You could install it in a closet. For this installation, it was placed in the corner of the garage, next to the entry door.

Drain valve placement is noteworthy for this unit.

Westinghouse placed the drain valve in a location that easy to access with this water heater without compromising service access. If you have very hard water, then you’ll find that removing heavy sediment water is surprisingly fast with this model.

We tested the actual capacity of the hot water heater with permission and found the 71 FHR to be fairly accurate. It would likely achieve the full capacity if it were given a light insulation wrap or placed in an interior space rather than a garage.

Tank placement must be taken into consideration.

We did notice that this hot water tank does tend to get a little warm when it is placed into a continuous operation cycle. Although it didn’t cause an injury, the tank exterior can get quite hot to the touch.

You’ll want to consider tank placement carefully if you purchase this model. Give it a little space away from the wall and keep it away from potentially flammable items.

We also noticed a potential sensitivity to soft water with this Westinghouse model. In some cases, homes with water softeners may discover a premature burnout of the heating element. If possible, you may wish to place the hot water heater before the water softener with your home’s plumbing system to avoid this issue.

This water heater is taller than other models of a similar size. It has more height than width, which may limit certain installation locations. That’s precisely why the unit we looked at had been installed in the garage. The closet in their home didn’t have the correct spacing for their unit.

We would highly recommend this high-quality electric water heater from Westinghouse for anyone looking to replace an existing tank-based model. It would also serve large households well in a new construction or be an excellent second water heater to add to your current system to boost overall hot water production. 

Review of the Best Selling Model

The EcoSmart ECO 11 provides smart values with advanced technologies.

 

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Tankless water heaters have been a common sight in European and Japanese homes for more than a generation. Now this technology is storming the North American market because it is such a beneficial option. It’s no wonder that the best-selling electric water heater today is a tankless model.

EcoSmart created a series of tankless water heaters that provide varying levels of GPM support. With the ECO 11 model, homes receive support to heat 2 gallons of water per minute to a preferred temperature.

There are certain limitations with this best-selling model.

At 2 GPM, just one shower can be taken at a time within a home. No other hot water uses can happen while that shower is being taken. In colder climates, up to 2 sinks can be used simultaneously with this electric hot water heater as well.

It tends to work best in climates where the weather is moderate-to-tropical. EcoSmart designed it for homes with an average outside temperature of 67F or higher.

When properly installed, the entire home receives consistent hot water support. Although it draws a lot of power when in use, it also reduces water waste by providing hot water faster to any tap in the home. The system activates when it senses a water flow rate of 0.3 GPM or higher.

The ECO 11 has an extremely small installation footprint.

This tankless electric water heater will save homeowners up to 12 cubic feet of space when compared to a tank-based model. It requires a 125-amp electrical panel to operate, with one 60-amp double pole breaker with #6 awg wire. Older homes may struggle with the 57-amp power requirement of this unit, though most newer homes can handle the requirements with relative ease.

Like any hot water heater, if the ECO 11 stops functioning, then you’re going to be out of hot water until the unit is fixed. We found this model to be very reliable, though it can sometimes experience a glitch in the controller card which causes the unit to turn itself off. By cycling your breaker, you can reset the system, in most instances, to have the water heater become functional once again.

EcoSmart does cover the controller card with its warranty if the unit fails to turn back on.

There are some limitations to this hot water heater, so it isn’t perfect for every home. Larger families will find it to be under-powered to meet their needs, for sure. For homes with 2-3 people, however, or a well-managed 4-person household, the ECO 11 by EcoSmart does an excellent job of providing an unlimited supply of hot water.

Just keep the wiring cost in mind before completing your purchase. If you don’t have the wiring setup already available, the cost to install this tankless electric water heater would be about equal to its MSRP.

Review of the Electric Water Heater with the Best Value

A point-of-use electric water heater with lots of potential.

 

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For many homes, the installation of a point-of-use water heater is something that will immediately and dramatically improve hot water access. Electric water heaters, such as the Bosch Tronic 3000, fit underneath a sink or counter space to provide hot water at the exact tap where it is needed.

We prefer the 7-gallon model because it can be mounted vertically or horizontally. If you choose the latter option, it reduces the availability of hot water by almost 2 gallons.

You hardwire this electric hot water heater into your home’s power supply.

In return, you have an on-demand supply of hot water that draws locally instead of from your main storage system or tankless system.

The installation process for this water heater is pretty simple once you get past the wiring stage. It can be floor-mounted, wall-mounted, or just placed on a shelf if you want. It offers a total heating capacity of 1,440 watts, producing hot water up to 145F. Just install the cold-water line to the unit and then send the hot water directly to the sink where support is required.

There are 2.5-gallon and 4-gallon models also available. The price of the 7-gallon unit is virtually the same as the other models. That is why it is one of the best value purchases available right now.

This unit will not support the entire home. It will provide instant hot water to the most common sink or faucet you use in the home, which would usually be the kitchen. It has a minimal utility cost associated with it. Expect to pay $40 or less per year in extra electricity to have this unit. Depending on how much water you had to waste to get hot water to your preferred faucet, it could be a wash in your overall costs.

One issue of which to be aware with this model is that you’ll find a little bit of water tends to spray through the temperature-pressure valve. You’ll need to either connect the unit to a drain, a bucket, or some other ingenious solution to prevent water damage to a cabinet. Use the relief valve to make this connection to create the necessary draining effect.

Under heavy use conditions, this model may struggle to last beyond the warranty in certain situations. If you have very hard water or you artificially soften your water, you may wish to look at other point-of-use options before settling on this model.

Although the applications are limited for this electric water heater with its point-of-service design, the combination of cost and convenience is one that cannot be ignored. It provides instant hot water to your preferred faucet without taking up a lot of space. Get some help with the wiring, if necessary, and then enjoy all the benefits that come with this great electric water heater. 

Buying Guide for Electric Water Heaters

The market for electric water heaters has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Since the early 2000s, there have been new regulatory requirements placed on the industry. Efficiency levels on water heaters are higher, on average, than ever before. You’ll find more variety in the market, along with more regulations you must follow.

That means you must do your homework to ensure you’re receiving the best possible deal for your new water heater.

It’s a critical choice to make. The cost of heating water comprises about 20% of the average home’s energy costs in the United States. If you choose the wrong model, you could be paying for that choice for 10-15 years.

Here are the key points you’ll want to consider when shopping for a new electric water heater today.

Overall Capacity

Most water heaters are marketed to consumers on their size. If a model can store 55 gallons of hot water, then it is possible to take a shower, run the dishwasher, and even get something done in the kitchen on a single full tank.

If the water heater only stores 20 gallons, then you would be lucky to get a 10-minute shower from a full tank.

Most families will benefit from owning a 40-gallon water heater or an electric tankless water heater to meet their needs. Families of 4-6 people will typically use up to 600 gallons of water each day, of which up to 20% will be hot water. A larger storage tank or an unlimited capacity will meet those needs.

First Hour Rating

The FHR (First Hour Rating) is a measurement of how much hot water can be delivered over a specific time period. A 55-gallon hot water heater might be able to produce up to 100 gallons of hot water over continuous use.

To determine your household FHR, you must think about your peak capacity requirements. How many showers do you need? Is there food prep? Shaving? Laundry? Dishes to clean? Here are the gallon equivalencies to help you determine overall need.

  • Showers: 20 gallons
  • Shaving: 2 gallons.
  • Food Prep: 5 gallons.
  • Laundry: 30 gallons.
  • Dishwasher: 14 gallons.

Add up your requirements, then select an electric water heater which meets your calculated FHR.

Water Heater Type

There are 5 types of electric designs from which to choose.

  • Storage tank water heaters
  • Tankless water heaters
  • Heat pump water heaters
  • Solar water heaters
  • Condensing water heaters

Some options are very limited. A condensing water heater, for example, captures exhaust gases to recycle energy back into the heating system to reduce energy consumption. They work best for water heaters with a capacity of more than 55 gallons are quite rare in the electric market.

Most homes will benefit from either a storage tank or a tankless water heater.

Choosing between these two depends on hot water use habits. Families that use 40 gallons of hot water or less per day will find that a tankless water heater is the better option. Families who use 100 gallons of hot water or more will generally benefit from what a storage tank heater provides.

It is the families that fall between the two, in the 41-99 gallons of use category, where the decision becomes more difficult. If you use a lot of hot water simultaneously, a tank-based hot water heater is probably a better option. Otherwise, a tankless model could save you about 10% on your utility costs each month.

Features

Electric hot water heaters today come with a variety of features to consider.

The #1 consideration must be the warranty. Some units have a 3-year warranty. Others come with a 12-year warranty. It is cheaper to purchase a model with a shorter warranty. It may also mean you’re replacing your water heater every 3 years. You’ll want to choose a water heater with the longest warranty you can afford.

Here are the other features to consider.

  • Glass-lined tanks which reduce the corrosive effects of water exposure.
  • Brass drain valves for added durability, compared to plastic valves.
  • Scale reduction devices, which may include a thicker element.
  • Digital displays to monitor the unit’s operational capabilities and set precise temperatures.

The right water heater will keep your energy costs down without forcing someone to take a cold shower. Consider each model carefully, evaluate the best electric water heater reviews for your preferred models, and then have the unit properly installed to receive all the benefits that a modern hot water heater provides.

Have You Found the Best?

Electric water heaters come in many different shapes and sizes. You can find compact models that offer 20 gallons of hot water support. You can find tall, skinny models that offer 55+ gallons of hot water support.

You can even purchase extenders to give your home even more hot water access if it is needed.

Advanced technologies are changing this industry for the better. One of the newest features, dry-fire protection, will stop the upper element from burning out if there is no water around it. When combined with new temperature adjustments and operating features, the modern water heater can be customized to meet the specific needs of your home and whatever use patterns you may have.

Some of the new designs even provide a Wi-Fi module with the unit. When partnered with an app on your smartphone, you can control the temperature of your water wherever you have a data connection.

For the best value, look for models which have been provided with an Energy Star rating. This rating, which is backed by the U.S. government, is only given to water heaters that meet strict energy efficiency standards. For more info on the environmental impact of tankless models read our post here.

Life is better when everyone has the hot water access they want. When you purchase one of the best electric water heaters for 2018, you’ll take another step toward making your house become a comfortable home.