Best Electric Water Heater (2021 Complete Buying Guide)

Last Updated On October 19, 2021
best electric water heaters (Complete 2021 Buying Guide) (1)

In the debate between gas and electric-powered water heaters, more and more people are making the switch to electricity. 

Have you decided you want your next water heater to be an electric water heater? There are a lot of electric water heaters to choose from, so you need to find the right one for you. 

The right water heater gives you enough hot water for the entire household and runs efficiently so that you may actually see a bit of a return on your investment over the years. 

In this PlumbingNav review, we cover:

  • What is an electric water heater? 
  • What are the different types of electric water heaters?
  • How electric water heaters work
  • Electric water heater buying guide
  • Review of the top 5 electric water heaters

ImageProduct
digital-business-prep-table__image
A.O. Smith Voltex PHPT-60 ProMax, 60 Gallon
  • 2.3 UEF
  • Powered anode rod
  • Digital control panel
  • 2.3 UEF
  • Powered anode rod
  • Digital control panel
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Bradford White BWC RE350T6, 50 gallon
  • .92 UEF
  • Hydrojet Total Performance System
  • Fully automatic controls
  • .92 UEF
  • Hydrojet Total Performance System
  • Fully automatic controls
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Stiebel Eltron ACC300, 80 Gallon
  • 2.5 UEF
  • HIgh hot water generation
  • Quiet
  • 2.5 UEF
  • HIgh hot water generation
  • Quiet
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Rheem Marathon, 50 Gallon
  • Durable tank with a lifelong warranty
  • .9 UEF
  • No anode rod required
  • Durable tank with a lifelong warranty
  • .9 UEF
  • No anode rod required
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus Tankless
  • Compact size
  • Endless hot water 
  • 99% efficient
  • Compact size
  • Endless hot water 
  • 99% efficient
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On May 21, 2021

A.O. Smith Voltex PHPT-60 ProMax, 60 Gallon

Made by the trusted water heater brand AO Smith, this electric hybrid water heater gives you everything you could want in a water heater with up to 2.3 UEF when in efficiency mode and .83 UEF in electric mode. Get a return on your investment in 2 – 3 years!

Two inches of insulation allows the water in the tank to retain its heat, and it comes with a powered anode rod instead of a sacrificial anode rod to protect the tank from corrosion. 

An easy to read digital control panel allows you to customize its performance to your exact specifications quickly and easily.

Our Top 5 Picks for Electric Water Heaters for 2021

Find the best electric water heater for you in a flash with our quick list of the top 5 models on the market.

  1. A.O. Smith Voltex PHPT-60 ProMax, 60 Gallon (Our #1 Top Pick)
  2. Bradford White BWC RE350T6, 50 gallon (Best Budget)
  3. Steibel Eltron Accelera 30, 80 Gallon (Best High End)
  4. Rheem Marathon, 50 Gallon (Best Life Expectancy)
  5. Stiebel Eltron 36 Tankless (Best Tankless)

What's In This Guide?

      What Is an Electric Water Heater?

      An electric water heater is a device in your home that uses electricity to heat incoming water before sending it to the appropriate fixture.

      People in the home need the hot water for showering, cleaning, and space heating. 

      Why Electric?

      An electric heater usually costs more than a gas water heater, but they run much more efficiently. 

      Electric water heaters don’t require ventilation since they don’t create hazardous gases as they operate, and they don’t use a pilot light, making them safer than gas models. 

      An electric tankless model is considerably smaller than a gas tankless water heater.

      did you know best electric water heaters (Complete 2021 Buying Guide)

      Different Types of Electric Water Heaters

      Electric Tank Water Heater

      An electric tank style storage tank water heater uses a tank to store hot water until you need it, and these are the most common type of electric water heaters. 

      Once you use up the water in the tank, the device must refill the tank and heat the water, which can cause you to wait for hot water if you don’t have a large enough tank. 

      Tankless Heater

      A tankless water heater provides water on demand instead of keeping it heated in a tank, allowing for higher efficiency ratings and a lower utility bill.

      A tankless heater also doesn’t take up as much room as giant tanks, making them ideal for tight spaces.

      Finally, an electric tankless water heater will last up to 20 years with proper maintenance.

      However, a tankless water heater may require expensive upgrades for proper installation. 

      Hybrid Water Heater

      A hybrid water heater, or heat pump water heater, provides you with the best of both worlds by using a heat pump heating system. You get the full coverage of a tank and high-efficiency levels with endless hot water.

      Point of Use Water Heater

      A point of use water heater is a model that produces less hot water than whole-home products. Most people use it to produce hot water to a remote part of the home or small RV/cabin. 

      How Electric Water Heaters Work

      Water enters your electric heater from the cold water supply through a dip tube. A thermometer recognizes the cool temperature of the water and activates the heating element(s), located in the heat exchangers. 

      The water passes through the heat exchanger, where it comes into contact with the hot coils and absorbs the heat. Finally, the heater transports the water to the correct fixture.

      Storage tank water heaters and tankless water heaters work very similarly except for the fact that tank water heaters hold the water in a tank while tankless devices heat the water on demand. 

      Heat pump water heaters have the additional feature of absorbing heat in the area around it and transferring that heat to the water, allowing it to run more efficiently. 

      Buying Guide For New Water Heater

      Storage Tank Size/Flow Rate

      You need a hot water heater storage tank that can support your hot water needs.

      You need to consider the tank size and the recovery rate or the speed at which the unit heats new water that enters the tank.

      An electric tankless water heater uses flow rate to describe how much hot water a tankless unit can produce measured in gallons per minute (GPM).

      The flow rate depends on the temperature rise, or the difference between the temperature of the incoming water compared to the temperature setting of the water heater.

      Water Temperature

      You don’t want to exceed 120 degrees for most water heating situations, especially for residential use.

      However, if you have high temperature requirements for commercial or industrial purposes, you will need a more powerful device to accommodate your needs.

      Materials

      Better materials mean that the water heater will last longer. Pick a device with stainless steel or copper drain valve and heat exchanger. Plastic and aluminum options don’t provide the same level of quality.


      Top 5 Best Electric Water Heater Review

      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 Voltex PHPT-60 ProMax, 60 Gallon

      A.O. Smith Voltex PHPT-60 ProMax, 60 Gallon

      Our #1 Top Pick

      Made by the trusted water heater brand AO Smith, this electric hybrid water heater gives you everything you could want in a water heater with up to 2.3 UEF when in efficiency mode and .83 UEF in electric mode. Get a return on your investment in 2 – 3 years!

      Two inches of insulation allows the water in the tank to retain its heat, and it comes with a powered anode rod instead of a sacrificial anode rod to protect the tank from corrosion. 

      An easy to read digital control panel allows you to customize its performance to your exact specifications quickly and easily. 

      Pros

      • 2.3 UEF
      • Powered anode rod
      • Digital control panel

      Cons

      • High investment
      • Professional installation required
      • Doesn’t last as long as tankless

      Our #2 Rated Pick: Bradford White BWC RE350T6, 50 gallon

      Bradford White BWC RE350T6, 50 gallon

      Best Budget

      Make heating water in your home simple with this Bradford White tank heater.

      Customize the voltage and simultaneous or non-simultaneous operation of the heating elements.

      You can trust this water heater tank to last with the glass lining on the inside and the magnesium anode rod designed to help prevent corrosion.

      Pros

      • .92 UEF
      • Hydrojet Total Performance System
      • Fully automatic controls

      Cons

      • Not recommended for hard water
      • No Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity
      • Regular maintenance required

      Our #3 Rated Pick: Stiebel Eltron ACC300, 80 Gallon

      Stiebel Eltron ACC300, 80 Gallon

      Best High End

      This heat pump water heater not only heats your water but also cools and dehumidifies the air around it, giving you a more comfortable basement or garage.

      The large 80 gallon tank is super-insulated so that you won’t need to worry about standby loss, and you’ll have enough water for 5 showers at once. 

      You can select from 5 modes using the large, digital display to find the best performance for your needs.

      Pros

      • 2.5 UEF
      • HIgh hot water generation
      • Quiet

      Cons

      • No powered anode rod
      • Limited installation options
      • Not designed for high pressure

      Our #4 Rated Pick: Rheem Marathon, 50 Gallon

      Rheem Marathon, 50 Gallon

      Best Longevity

      Provide enough hot water for the average family with this electric water heater that operates at .9 UEF and a recovery rate of 20 gallons per hour at a 90 degrees temperature rise. 

      The tank comes with high-end insulation, plastic lining, and a jacket resistant to corrosion and saltwater, so that you don’t even need an anode rod! And it’s still lightweight, making installation easier and cheaper. 

      Pros

      • Durable tank with a lifelong warranty
      • .9 UEF
      • No anode rod required

      Cons

      • Slow recovery rate
      • Elements require regular replacement
      • No connectivity features

      Our #5 Rated Pick: Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus Tankless

      Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus Tankless

      Best Tankless

      This tankless electric water heater generates 5.5 GPM of hot water at a 99% efficiency rating. You’ll never run out of hot water due to an empty tank! The small size fits just about anywhere in your house, allowing you to put it where in the house you need it most. 

      You can use the digital controls to customize the settings to your liking, but the unit also comes with advanced flow control that learns your hot water habits and automatically adjusts.

      Pros

      • Compact size
      • Endless hot water 
      • 99% efficient

      Cons

      • Not made to support large households
      • High upgrade cost
      • No WiFi

      FAQs on the Best Electric Water Heaters

      Why choose electric over gas water heaters? 

      The main reason people choose electric water heaters is that they are the more efficient option, and they don’t require ventilation or use a pilot light, making them the safer option. 

      What brand of electric water heater is the most reliable? 

      AO Smith, Rheem, Bradford White, and Steibel Eltron all make great electric water heaters. 

      What is the longest-lasting electric water heater? 

      The Rheem Marathon comes with a lifetime warranty on the tank. 

      Meet Your Plumbing Expert

      Brant

      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!

      Learn More Expert Plumbing Tips

      Want to learn more about plumbing? Check out these other helpful resources written by our plumbing experts!

      best drain cleaner for cast iron pipes
      best water heater drain pan
      best mesh drain strainer
      Best natural enzyme drain cleaner

      Got Plumbing Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

      Brant

      Brant

      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!

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      Recently Published Guides