The world of plumbing, electric, heating, and cooling systems is ever-changing and evolving. Tankless electric water heaters are at the forefront of the plumbing world and are quickly becoming the gold standard for water heaters. It’s challenging, however, to know which water heater to choose and which one is the best.
Choosing the best electric tankless water heater is difficult because there are dozens of options to choose from. With all of the things to consider, it seems impossible to make the right choice. This article will lay out each of the top electric tankless water heaters on the market today and make your decision easier.
Using this article as a guide, you will be able to choose the perfect water heater for your home. We’ll look at everything to keep in mind, from budget to size and everything in between.
Benefits of Choosing a Tankless Water Heater
Before we look at the top electric tankless water heaters, it’s important to know their benefits. Even if you aren’t considering buying this type of water heater, you may change your mind when you realize what they can do.
Because of how electric tankless water heaters produce continuous hot water, they are much more energy-efficient than conventional water heaters. Most electric tankless water heaters are 25 to 30 percent more efficient than tanked or storage water heaters.
Saving Money on Your Utilities
With higher efficiency, you also save a ton of money on your monthly energy costs. Traditional water heaters constantly heat water and run continuously to keep the water hot. On the other hand, tankless heaters only operate when they’re heating water.
While the exact energy savings are hard to calculate, most electric models have a minimum of 98% efficiency rating or better.
They do this on an as-needed basis, meaning tankless water heaters aren’t constantly running to keep water at a consistent temperature.
Traditional tank-style water heaters will last anywhere from 8 to 14 years on average. However, tankless electric water heaters can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years with proper maintenance and care.
Continuous Hot Water
One of the best features of tankless water heaters is the constant supply of hot water as long as the water heater is working. Most traditional water heaters can only store between 30 and 50 gallons of hot water at a time, and they take 1 to 2 hours to produce new hot water.
Tankless water heaters have compact designs that need less space than tanked water heaters and look much neater. You can install them on a wall that is out of the way and doesn’t intrude on living space.
Easier to Maintain
While tankless electric water heaters should still receive annual or bi-annual maintenance, they require less than traditional water heaters. You should flush a tankless water heater every two years, but this is a quick process and takes a skilled plumber less than an hour.
Now that you know the outstanding benefits of having an electric tankless water heater in your home let’s dive into the top options on the market!
Best Overall Electric Tankless Water Heater Option
Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater
If you’re looking for the best overall electric tankless water heater, look no further than the Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater. This water heater is one of the most powerful on the market and can produce endless hot water for four different showers at the same time.
While most homeowners prefer the larger sizes, the Stiebel is also available in a mini version, perfect for individual rooms or tight spaces.
This water heater can produce up to 7.5 gallons of water per minute and heat water to an incredible 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Best of all, Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heaters are 99% efficient and very affordable for how great they are.
Most models are available for less than $750, which means you won’t break the bank when you buy one.
Stiebel water heaters have been a staple of the plumbing industry for nearly a century. Their electric tankless water heaters are reliable, efficient, and easy to operate. The only real downside of the Stiebel Eltron is that they require a heavy electrical service load to operate.
Most larger models require at least a 240-volt circuit, which will take at least two or three breaker spaces in your panel box. We invite you to read our Stiebel Eltron review.
Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for a Budget
EcoSmart Eco 18 Tankless Electric Water Heater
When it comes to tankless electric water heaters, you never want to sacrifice quality for the price. However, not everyone can break the bank for their water heater, which means that it’s good to have backup options.
The EcoSmart Eco 18 Tankless Water Heater is slightly more affordable than the Stiebel but doesn’t sacrifice quality for the cheaper price tag.
The EcoSmart Eco 18 is the smallest of four tankless water heater options from this line of products. You can also choose from the Eco 24, 27, or 36. The total gallons of water per minute range from 2.7 to 6.5.
The smallest option, the Eco 18, is great for smaller homes that only have one or two bathrooms and few occupants.
However, if you have a larger household that uses lots of hot water simultaneously, you may want to opt for a larger option. While the EcoSmart brand is extremely popular among those looking for pool heaters, their tankless water heater line is taking the market by storm. They’re compact, efficient, affordable, and have a lifetime warranty.
The biggest downside of EcoSmart is that they don’t have a tankless water heater option big enough to service large homes. Their largest water heater produces only 6.5 gallons of water per minute, less than most of its competitors.
Additionally, EcoSmart water heaters use up just as much electricity as their larger counterparts. However, most EcoSmart water heaters are $100 to $200 cheaper than the alternatives. We invite you to read our Ecosmart review.
Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for Smaller Homes
EcoSmart Eco 11 Tankless Water Heater
Not only does EcoSmart produce the best budget tankless electric water heater, but they also have the best tankless water heater for smaller homes. Not everyone needs a water heater that puts out over 7 gallons of water per minute. The EcoSmart Eco 11 Tankless Water Heater is more than enough for smaller homes.
This water heater is 99.8% efficient and produces a maximum of 2 to 3.1 gallons of water per minute. That’s enough water to power a shower and an additional faucet at the same time, but not much more.
However, for single-person households or a married couple in an apartment or small house, that’s more than enough. The EcoSmart Eco 11 can make water just as hot as any other tankless water heater available.
The downside of this water heater is that it struggles to keep up in the winter months for colder climates. If the incoming water temperature drops below 72 degrees, which it likely will in colder climates, your shower water might not be as hot.
However, this water heater is extremely popular and uses less electricity than most other options.
Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for Larger Homes
The Stiebel electric tankless water heaters and the EcoSmart tankless water heaters are good options for homes of all sizes. However, some will struggle to keep up with larger households, depending on what size you choose. Let’s look at another great option for larger homes that will keep you and your entire family satisfied.
Eemax 36kW Electric Tankless Water Heater
The Eemax 36kW Electric Tankless Water Heater is one of the lesser-known but still top options for an entire house water heating solution. At 36,000 volts of electricity, the Eemax can supply hot water to at least five showers simultaneously.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a residential home with five bathrooms, this water heater will keep a constant flow of hot water to each one indefinitely.
The Eemax 36kW produces hot water at a rate of up to 6 gallons per minute, and it’s also competitively priced.
As an added benefit, Eemax offers a five-year warranty against leaks and a one-year warranty on each of its parts. This water heater never uses more electricity than is necessary and can raise or lower the electric flow on its own.
As with all large tankless electric water heaters, you should expect to use at least three breaker slots in your main electrical panel. You make sure to note that the Eemax struggles to maintain a flow of hot water in colder climates.
If the incoming water temperature is too low, the maximum flow rate goes down to just 3 gallons of water per minute.
Best Point-of-Use Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Bosch Tronic 3000 Electric Tankless Water Heater
The Bosch Tronic 3000 Electric Tankless Water Heater is the perfect option for underneath sinks in kitchens and bathrooms.
It can produce up to 0.8 to 1.1 gallons of hot water per minute based on a temperature rise of 45 to 65 degrees. This is an important factor to consider if you live in colder climates where the groundwater is cold. It’s extremely efficient (98%), has a compact size, and takes up a very limited amount of space.
Best of all, the Bosch Tronic 3000 Tankless water heater is available for an extremely affordable price tag. For less than $170, you can purchase the water heater and install it yourself if you have the plumbing experience.
The Bosch direct connect heater only needs a cold water supply and is perfect for locations where running a hot water line is not possible or practical such as in a pool house, basement, or outdoor patio. You can even install one on a boat or in an RV.
The Bosch Tronic does require a direct hard-wire connection to a subpanel or main breaker box.
Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for Cold Climates
When choosing a water heater for cold climates and freezing temperatures, bigger is always better. Larger on-demand heaters are more powerful and have larger heating elements than smaller ones.
Each of the water heaters we’ve looked at thus far comes in various sizes, with the larger sizes perfect for cold weather.
For example, the Stiebel Eltron 36 Plus is perfect for cold weather situations, as is the EcoSmart Eco 36, though not quite as good as the Stiebel.
However, another top contender we should look at for electric tankless water heaters is the Rheem Performance Tankless Water Heater Series, specifically, the Rheem 240V Performance Tankless Water Heater.
That said, most people in cold weather climates will get better performance from a natural gas or propane tankless water heater.
You can use electric tankless models, however, the best performance would be to have multiple units installed to counter the output reduction.
Other Top Tankless Water Heaters to Consider
Rheem Performance Tankless Water Heater
Outside of the Stiebel Tankless Water Heater, which took our top overall spot, the Rheem Performance Tankless Water Heater is the next best choice.
Rheem is a great all-around company that produces electrical, plumbing, and HVAC equipment for an affordable price. While they’re usually considered a good middle-of-the-road option, their Performance Tankless Water Heater is an excellent product.
The Rheem Performance model can do all the things that the Stiebel Tankless Water Heater can do, and it’s very much equal to it. Rheem Performance is even more affordable than the Stiebel, and many homeowners prefer it.
They have similar efficiency ratings, produce the same amount of hot water, and operate at the same flow rate. You can’t go wrong with either option if you’re looking for an excellent tankless electric water heater.
The Rheem Performance unit pictured above features a 6GPM output and only weighs about 19 pounds. Because of the size, it has 4 burners and takes 4 220v breakers.
So you may need a subpanel or an electrical panel upgrade. It’s a perfect whole house electric tankless water heater option, especially if you live in warmer weather climates. We invite you to read our Rheem review.
Titan N-160 Electric Tankless Water Heater
For situations that require a smaller tankless water heater option, you should also consider the Titan N-160 Electric Tankless Water Heater. It produces up to four gallons of hot water per minute (4GPM) and has an efficiency rating of over 99%.
The Titan N-160 is suitable for a single bathroom or kitchen. If you live in a small house, condo, or apartment with one bathroom and a kitchen you’ll be fine. In areas with groundwater temperatures below 55 degrees, hot water output can be cut in half.
Titan water heaters are also easy to install, maintain, and repair, but they’re less ideal for cold climates. The minimum incoming temperature of the water shouldn’t be less than 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is difficult to maintain in cold climates.
The ease of installation for point-of-use units is second to none. Simply connect the water lines and plug the unit into a standard electric outlet. Larger models need to be hardwired.
While it’s important to know the top electric tankless water heaters, it’s just as important to know how to make your selection. Not all water heaters are perfect for all situations, and you should be aware of how to look for the best water heater for you.
Size and Capacity
One of the first things you should consider when choosing your electric tankless water heater is what size you need. Stiebel, Rheem, EcoSmart, and most other water heater brands have many different water heaters. Size and capacity boil down to flow rate and how many kilowatts of electricity they require.
The size and capacity of the tankless water heater you need depend on the size of your home and family. If you plan to have multiple showers, faucets, washing machines, and other plumbing appliances operating simultaneously, you’ll need a bigger water heater.
To help you make your decision, here’s a table showing the flow rate of different plumbing fixtures in your home.
|Plumbing Fixture||Flow Rate in Gallons Per Minute|
Using this table, you can add up the number of different plumbing fixtures you plan to operate simultaneously and choose the appropriate tankless water heater.
You also want to keep the water heater’s overall efficiency in mind. While an electric tankless water heater is substantially more efficient than a conventional electric water heater, there’s still some disparity between individual tankless electric heaters.
EcoSmart, Rheem, and Ecotouch, for example, are ever so slightly more efficient than Stiebel and Bosch. However, they’re all much more efficient than other types of water heaters, and any of them will save you money on your power bill.
One of the most important things to consider with tankless electric water heaters is how they perform in cold climates.
Nearly all tankless water heaters will do fine in warmer climates where the incoming water has a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. However, when the incoming temperature is below 65 degrees, water heater performance drops drastically.
It’s important to note that gas-powered tankless water heaters might be a better option in consistently cold climates. Gas tankless water heaters can raise water temperature more than electric ones.
However, gas water heaters aren’t as efficient as electric ones and will cost more to operate monthly.
Installation and Repair Costs
Another big advantage in choosing an electric tankless water heater is that they’re much easier to install than their gas counterparts.
The water and electrical connections are easy to access and work with, and installation is cheaper than gas water heaters. Electric water heaters also don’t require vents to the outside of your home, which saves money and time on installation.
However, tankless electric water heaters are either 120 or 240 volts in size. In larger output tankless water heater models, each burner requires a dedicated 240-volt circuit. Some even require three or more dedicated breakers which increases the initial cost.
Since some electric tankless water heaters are larger, more powerful, and have a higher flow rate, they also require two to eight breaker spaces in your electrical service panel which can significantly raise installation costs.
120-volt water heaters, on the other hand, typically only require the use of one or two breaker spaces. Under kitchen sink units can plug into a standard or GFCI electrical receptacle.
If you have a small panel box and are limited on space and voltage, opting for a smaller tankless water heater is wise.
Type of Tankless Water Heater
There are two basic types of tankless water heaters: whole-house and point-of-use. As the name indicates, whole-house tankless water heaters are large enough to supply hot water to every part of your home. However, point-of-use water heaters are typically smaller and designed to supply water to a single point.
Under-sink tankless water heaters are ideal for instantly getting unlimited hot water to a specific point. You can install one near a particular bathroom, kitchen, or laundry area where you want a constant supply of instant hot water.
It’s important to determine your hot water goals before purchasing an electric tankless water heater.
Frequently Asked Questions
How efficient are electric tankless water heaters?
Most electric tankless water heaters are 25 to 35 percent more efficient than traditional ones.
Are electric tankless water heaters worth it?
Whether or not an electric tankless water heater is worth it for you depends on your living situation. If the installation, operation, and maintenance cost for a tankless water heater will be more than what you save on electricity, it may not be worth it for you to install one.
However, if you go through lots of hot water, an electric tankless water heater is worth it.
Will an electric tankless water heater save you money?
Electric water heating will save you money on your monthly utility bill and is cleaner for the environment. You can expect to pay anywhere from 25 to 50 percent less money on your monthly bill if you have a tankless water heater over a gas tankless water heater.
Where can you install an electric tankless water heater?
Tankless water heaters are usually installed indoors and get mounted to a wall. Traditionally, they’re installed near your plumbing supply pipes, just as a tanked water heater is. However, you can also install your tankless water heater outside if necessary.
Electric tankless water heaters are a revolutionary plumbing product quickly sweeping the nation. Not everyone has access to natural gas or affordable propane, which means electricity is their only option for powering their tankless water heater.
By checking the names and brands on this list and considering the factors involved, you can make a wise, informed decision when choosing your electric tankless water heater.