What is the Best 50-gallon Electric Water Heater? (2021 Review)

Last Updated On October 19, 2021
The Best 50 gallon electric water heater Our Thorough review

Are you in the market for a new water heater, and considering a 50-gallon electric-powered water heater? There are a lot of options in the market to be aware of. How do you pick the best 50-gallon electric water heater for your home? 

In this PlumbingNav review, you will learn: 

  • What are 50-gallon electric water heaters?
  • How do 50-gallon electric water heaters work?
  • Are 50-gallon electric water heaters worth it?
  • What do you look for in the best 50-gallon electric water heaters?
  • The Best 50-gallon electric water heaters reviewed.

ImageProduct
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A.O. Smith PNS-50 ProMax
  • EnergyStar certification
  • Self-cleaning PEX dip tube and corrosion protection
  • Easy to Install / Great Size
  • EnergyStar certification
  • Self-cleaning PEX dip tube and corrosion protection
  • Easy to Install / Great Size
View on Amazon
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Rheem MR50245 Marathon
  • Durable, Attractive tank
  • .90 – .94 energy factor
  • Fast Recovery
  • Durable, Attractive tank
  • .90 – .94 energy factor
  • Fast Recovery
View on Amazon
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A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax Short
  • CoreGard anode rod reduces corrosion in tank
  • National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) compliant
  • CoreGard anode rod reduces corrosion in tank
  • National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) compliant
View on Amazon
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Reliance Water Heater 6-50-EORT
  • .95 energy factor
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightwei
  • .95 energy factor
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightwei
View on Amazon
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Rheem / Ruud ELD52-C
  • 12,000 watts
  • .92 energy factor
  • First-hour rating – 62 gallons
  • 12,000 watts
  • .92 energy factor
  • First-hour rating – 62 gallons
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On May 21, 2021

A.O. Smith PNS-50 ProMax

The A.O. Smith PNS-50 ProMax provides a first hour rating (FHR) of 62 gallons, easily keeping up with the needs of 2 -3 people, but as many as 4 in the household.

The glass-lined stainless steel tank holds up over time against corrosion, with further protection added by the CoreGard aluminum anode rod that fights corrosion.

A special dip tube also helps eliminate sediment and lime buildup.

Best of all, the price fits into most budgets.

Our Top 5 Picks for 50 Gallon Electric Water Heaters for 2021

We cover each of our favorite electric water heaters in the article below. Pressed for time? Check out our top 5 picks below. You can click each one to check availability and current pricing on Amazon.

  1. A.O. Smith PNS-50 ProMax (Our Top Pick)
  2. Rheem MR50245 Marathon (Best High End)
  3. A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax Short (Best Value)
  4. Reliance Water Heater 6-50-EORT (Best Efficiency)
  5. Rheem / Ruud ELD52-C (Best Life Expectancy)

What's In This Guide?

      What Are 50-gallon electric water heaters?

      A water heater keeps the water in your home hot on demand, and the 50-gallon capacity refers to how much water the tank will hold. This allows you to enjoy hot water the moment you activate the hot water faucet or shower, assuming that 50 gallons is the right amount of reserve for your household. 

      Electric water heaters are powered by electricity versus natural gas. The tank version means that water is held in a tank versus the alternative heat-on-demand options or tankless options. Remember that with electric water heaters, if the power goes out, the hot water goes out, too. 

      What Are The Different Types of 50-gallon Electric Water Heaters?

      50-gallon water electric heaters use either a single-heating element or dual-heating element. Single-heating element water heaters use one thermostat to heat the entire tank, making the system simple to use. 

      However, dual-heating element water heaters use two thermostats to heat the water in the 50-gallon tank. Only one element runs at a time, with the top element receiving priority. Dual-heating element systems are the more popular choice in 50-gallon units as they are more efficient. 

      How Do 50-gallon Electric Water Heaters Work?

      Cold water enters the tank and is forced to the bottom through the dip tube. Electric heating elements at the bottom of the water heater warm up the water to the temperature set on the thermostat, and the hot water rises to the top of the 50-gallon tank. When needed, the heat-out pipe transports the hot water throughout the house. 

      The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advises homeowners not to set the thermostat higher than 120 degrees. Higher temperatures often lead to injuries and reduce the efficiency of the water heater. 

      Buyers-Guide-for-50-Gallon-Electric-Water-Heaters-USA-usage

      Are 50-gallon Electric Water Heaters Worth it?

      50-gallon electric water heaters make a great choice for many homes. Along with gas units, these are the most common choices for households across the U.S. Some things to consider before making your purchase include:

      Size

      Is a 50-gallon tank right for your needs? Typically speaking, a 50-gallon tank works best for one to two people but can also accommodate 3 to 4. Other factors are how often you run the dishwasher, clothes washer, etc. A 50-gallon tank is not the best choice if you have 5 or more people in your household. You may end up waiting for hot water to catch up to your demands.

      Efficiency 

      The more efficient your electric water heater, the less electricity is required to run it. This means a lower electric bill. Every electric water heater has a rating to indicate its efficiency. 

      Efficiency depends on a number of factors, including:

      • Tank material
      • Tank and pipe insulation
      • Tank size
      • Energy used
      • Temperature setting

      Initial Cost vs. Savings 

      A 50-gallon electric water heater can be viewed as an investment. If you need a new water heater, it’s best to spend the money wisely in view of how this will affect you in the years to come.  

      High-end electric water heaters have high-efficiency levels and higher life expectancies, making the initial cost worth it over time. However, people who plan to sell their house soon may not want to invest in something high-end. Just like an investment, your goals and time horizon will play into the decision.

      What Do You Look For In The Best 50 gallon Electric Water Heaters?

      Insulation

      Insulation effectiveness depends on the material used to create the tank itself, and the material used to line the inside of the tank. Stainless steel is the best material for efficiency. The insulation inside the tank usually consists of fiberglass. The thicker the insulation, the more efficient the tank will be. 

      If heat emits from the water heater and makes the room hot, that indicates that the tank needs better insulation. You can help this by buying a water heater jacket. 

      First Hour Rating (FHR)

      The First Hour Rating (FHR) refers to the amount of hot water produced when the hot water recovers. The FHR is calculated with the following formula:

      Tank capacity in gallons X 0.70 (rule of 70%) + recovery rate = first-hour rating 

      To calculate the best first-hour rate for you, consider the busiest point of water usage throughout the day and complete this worksheet for calculating peak hour demand/ first hour rating

      Best 50-Gallon Electric Water Heaters Reviewed

      Now let’s explore our favorite units so you can decide on the perfect choice for your situation.

      Our #1 Rated Pick: A.O Smith

      A.O. Smith PNS-50 ProMax

      Best Overall Pick

      The A.O. Smith PNS-50 ProMax electric water heater uses dual elements to heat the water in the tank. This results in faster recovery, and higher efficiency as a result.

      The stainless steel tank is short in height, allowing it to fit in some places that tall tanks can’t fit. This goes a long way when replacing an electric water heater where limited space can also be a factor.

      A.O. Smith’s Permaglas lining uses glass to protect the tank from corrosion, and the diffuser tip also reduces sediment buildup and lime.

      It comes with a 10 year limited tank warranty, with a 6 year limited parts warranty. 

      Pros

      • EnergyStar certification
      • Self-cleaning PEX dip tube and corrosion protection
      • Easy to Install / Great Size

      Cons

      • Single voltage option (240)
      • More Expensive than some alternatives

      Our #2 Rated Pick: Rheem

      Rheem MR50245 Marathon

      Best High End

      The Marathon electric water heater by Rheem is a champ, and boasts a super high-efficiency rating with one of the fastest recovery rates around.

      It uses the upper element to keep the water warm at 240v, and it uses an estimated 4671 KWH to do it.

      The tank is tall and thin and made out of multiple layers of fiberglass to make it especially strong and durable.

      There is a lifetime limited warranty on the tank itself, and a 6 year limited warranty on the parts. 

      Pros

      • Durable, Attractive tank
      • .90 – .94 energy factor
      • Fast Recovery

      Cons

      • Some reports of leaking in the top heating element
      • While tank is warranted from leaking, some users reported “red tape” in replacement efforts.

      Our #3 Rated Pick: A.O Smith ENS

      A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax Short

      Best Value

      The A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax electric water heater uses dual heating elements to keep the water in the tank warm at an estimated 4622 KWH a year.

      The tank is tall, and uses the company’s patented permaglas coating to keep the tank from corroding or getting damaged.

      This electric water heater comes with a 6-year limited tank and parts warranty.

      Pros

      • CoreGard anode rod reduces corrosion in tank
      • National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) compliant

      Cons

      • Heavy (No pan to collect condensation
      • Requires warm room to prevent freezing

      Our #4 Rated Pick: Reliance 6-50

      Reliance Water Heater 6-50-EORT

      Best Efficiency

      The Reliance 6-50-EORT electric water heater also uses dual heating element technology to keep the water in the tank warm.

      The short, copper tank is lined with 3” insulation, which accommodates houses where garage or attic installation is needed.

      The shorter size also allows the unit to fit in tighter spaces, and it’s just 134 pounds. You’ll receive a 6-year tank and parts warranty.

      Pros

      • .95 energy factor
      • Inexpensive
      • Lightweight

      Cons

      • Tank made of copper as opposed to steel, not as durable.

      Our #5 Rated Pick: Rheem / Ruud ELD52-C

      Rheem / Ruud ELD52-C

      Best Life Expectancy

      The Rheem/Ruud ELD52-C electric water heater meets both residential and commercial standards, making it versatile.

      It is manufactured for high-velocity usage, giving it more longevity than other units.

      It also uses dual element heating to heat up the water in the stainless steel tank with a temperature range of 110 – 170 degrees.

      The tank is designed to last long. That said, they only include a 3-year limited tank and 1-year limited parts warranty.

      Pros

      • 12,000 watts
      • .92 energy factor
      • First-hour rating – 62 gallons

      Cons

      • Expensive 
      • Warranty is short and limited

      Final Thoughts On 50-gallon Electric Water Heaters

      There are numerous reasons you may want an electric water heater with a 50-gallon tank. Today’s electric water heaters are lightyears ahead of yesteryear’s, with efficiency ratings very high. Don’t be afraid of high utility costs with these modern electric units.

      The 50 gallon size are suitable for households of 2-3 people, but 4 person households can also get by just fine. The biggest factor in choosing a 50 gal vs a 60 gal will be the number of simultaneous hot water usages, such as showering at the same time in the morning, or running multiple appliances without staggering usage.

      Looking to go tankless? Find comprehensive info here on both Rinnai and Rheem.

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      I'm passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, "how-to", and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!

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      I'm passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, "how-to", and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!

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