What is the Best Gas Water Heater? (2021 Review)

Last Updated On November 30, 2021
Best Gas Water Heater

Your water heater doesn’t work without a bit of help, and the two primary sources of fuel people use to power a water heater are gas and electricity.

Most people in the United States use gas, but more and more people are starting to use an electric heater. 

That doesn’t mean that everyone wants to make the change. Many people prefer gas stoves to electric stoves, gas fireplaces to electric fireplaces, and gas water heaters over electric water heaters. 

If you made a decision to use gas, we tend to agree (not to say electric power doesn’t have its advantages). However, now, you need to make a big decision about what new water heater you plan to buy. 

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover: 

  • What are gas water heaters?
  • What are the different types of gas water heaters?
  • How does a gas water heater work?
  • What do you look for in the best gas water heaters?
  • Top 5 best gas water heaters reviewed

ImageProduct
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AO Smith XCR-50 ProMax Plus High Efficiency 50 Gal Gas Water Heater
  • Electric ignition but no electricity required
  • Long-lasting
  • Advanced tank protection
  • Electric ignition but no electricity required
  • Long-lasting
  • Advanced tank protection
View on Amazon
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EZ Deluxe- 3.4 GPM – Propane (LPG) Tankless Water Heater
  • Includes vent kit
  • Cost-effective
  • Compact size
  • Includes vent kit
  • Cost-effective
  • Compact size
View on Amazon
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AO Smith GDHE-50-NG Residential Natural Gas Water Heater

  • Power direct vent installation
  • 96% thermal efficiency 
  • Extremely rapid recovery time of 10 – 15 minutes

  • Power direct vent installation
  • 96% thermal efficiency 
  • Extremely rapid recovery time of 10 – 15 minutes

View on Amazon
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Rinnai SE+ Series RU160in-Gas Tankless Heater, 9 GPM

  • .93 UEF
  • WiFi connectability
  • Flow rate of 9 GPM

  • .93 UEF
  • WiFi connectability
  • Flow rate of 9 GPM

View on Amazon
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Rheem G100-200 Natural Gas Commercial Water Heater, 100 Gallon
  • High water temperature capabilities
  • 100 gallon tank 
  • 199,999 BTUs
  • High water temperature capabilities
  • 100 gallon tank 
  • 199,999 BTUs
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On May 21, 2021

AO Smith XCR-50 ProMax Plus High Efficiency 50 Gal Gas Water Heater

ur overall favorite option comes from AO Smith’s ProMax Plus High Efficiency line, which offers a balanced array of features that homeowners want, such as longevity and practicality. 

The 50-gallon natural gas tank water heater provides enough hot water for most households with its 40,000 BTU low emissions gas burner that operates at .62 UEF. 

While the product uses an electric ignition, it does not require electricity thanks to the thermopile.

AO Smith makes this tank to last with numerous corrosion control and sediment buildup control features, including a coating on the inside of the tank and a diffuser dip tube.

 Warranty: 10-year limited tank warranty and 6-year limited warranty on parts.

Our Top 5 Gas Water Heaters

  1. A.O. Smith XCR-50 ProMax Plus High Efficiency Gas Water Heater (Our Top Pick)
  2. EZ Deluxe Tankless Water Heater – 3.4 GPM – Propane (LPG) (Best Budget)
  3. AO Smith GDHE-50-NG Residential Natural Gas Water Heater (Best High End)
  4. Rinnai SE+ Series RU160in-Gas Tankless Water Heater, 9 GPM (Best Tankless)
  5. Rheem G100-200 Natural Gas Commercial Water Heater, 100 Gallon (Best Commercial)

What's In This Guide?

      What Are Gas Water Heaters?

      Most of us take hot or warm showers, and we use a hot water system for cleaning purposes, whether we wash items by hand or use the laundry machine and dishwasher.   

      Gas water heaters are devices that connect to your home’s main water supply line and warm up the water before sending it to the appropriate fixture in your home. 

      Gas water heaters use gas (natural gas or propane) to generate heat, as opposed to an electric water heater which uses electricity. Gas is more powerful and costs less, but electricity is more efficient. 

      What Are The Different Types Of Gas Water Heaters?

      Tankless Gas Water Heater

      A tankless gas water heater provides water on demand as opposed to keeping the water in the tank warm until you need it. 

      The benefits of tankless water heaters include:

      • Higher efficiency 
      • Longer life expectancy
      • Compact size
      • Modern technology
      • Endless hot water 

      Condensing Water Heater

      A condensing tankless heater uses condensing technology to utilize as much of the heat generated through the process internally instead of letting the heat escape outside with the exhaust gas.

      This allows a condensing unit to run significantly more efficiently than non-condensing models. 

      Low NOx Emissions Gas Water Heater

      We all need to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint. Unfortunately, hot water heaters emit toxic carbon monoxide, especially those that use a pilot light to activate the gas burner. 

      A low emissions gas water heater and an ultra-low gas water heater release little or no toxins into the air, so you not only get to breathe the nearby air safely, but you also adhere to building code requirements. 

      Point of Use Gas Water Heater

      A point of use gas water heater works in conjunction with your whole home water heating solution to provide hot water to the remote corners of your home that require a longer wait for hot water. These are also common in an RV or for outdoor use.

      What Do You Look For In The Best Gas Water Heaters?

      Hot Water Production

      While looking for a hot water heater, you need to find a unit that can support the needs of your household without generating more energy than necessary. 

      A storage tank water heater holds the hot water in a storage tank. Residential water heater tanks come in a variety of sizes. The most popular sizes are 40 gallon tanks, 50 gallon tanks, 75 gallon tanks, 80 gallon tanks, and 100 gallon tanks. 

      Larger families in colder climates will need a larger hot water heater tank than a two person household in a warm climate. 

      Tankless water heaters produce water on demand based on the flow rate. You will never run out of hot water, but if multiple devices need hot water, the device must split the flow rate among all devices. Units with higher flow rates can support more fixtures at one time. 

      Uniform Energy Factor 

      A water heater comes with a rating known as a Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) that measures the efficiency of the device. 

      A higher UEF means higher efficiency (and a lower utility bill). 

      For a device with a high UEF, look for the Energy Star sticker!

      User Friendliness

      When homeowners can operate their water heater easily, they will be more likely to adjust it as necessary to have it run more efficiently and produce the best water temperature. 

      How Does A Gas Water Heater Work?

      The process starts when water enters into the gas water heater through the cold water supply line, usually located at the top of the device.

      A thermostat detects the cold water. The thermostat communicates with the ignition, which activates the gas burner. When water comes into contact with the gas burner, it gets hot. 

      The water heater then transfers the hot water to the correct fixture. 

      Here is a look into how a gas water heater will be installed as well:

      Top 5 Best Gas 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: AO Smith XCR-50 ProMax Plus High Efficiency 50 Gal Gas Water Heater

      AO Smith XCR-50 ProMax Plus High Efficiency 50 Gal Gas Water Heater

      Our Top Pick

      Our overall favorite option comes from AO Smith’s ProMax Plus High Efficiency line, which offers a balanced array of features that homeowners want, such as longevity and practicality. 

      The 50-gallon natural gas tank water heater provides enough hot water for most households with its 40,000 BTU low emissions gas burner that operates at .62 UEF. 

      While the product uses an electric ignition, it does not require electricity thanks to the thermopile.

      AO Smith makes this tank to last with numerous corrosion control and sediment buildup control features, including a coating on the inside of the tank and a diffuser dip tube. 

      Warranty: 10-year limited tank warranty and 6-year limited warranty on parts.

      Pros

      • Electric ignition but no electricity required
      • Long-lasting
      • Advanced tank protection

      Cons

      • Non-condensing 
      • Cannot switch between natural gas and propane
      • No digital display or control pane

      Our #2 Rated Pick: EZ Deluxe- 3.4 GPM – Propane (LPG) Tankless Water Heater

      EZ Deluxe- 3.4 GPM – Propane (LPG) Tankless Water Heater

      Best Budget

      EZ Tankless sells this low-maintenance and low production propane water heater for homes with minimal hot water needs and minimal interest in paying for expensive underutilized extra features. 

      Not only does this model have a low initial price tag, but the high-efficiency levels can even reduce utility bills. 

      You will keep usage down even more with the help of the simple yet effective touchscreen control panel on the device. 

      Warranty: 5-year heat exchanger warranty and a 1-year warranty on everything else

      Pros

      • Includes vent kit
      • Cost-effective
      • Compact size

      Cons

      • Indoor installation only
      • No vertical installation
      • Only supports one bathroom

      Our #3 Rated Pick: AO Smith GDHE-50-NG Residential Natural 50 Gallon Gas Water Heater

      AO Smith GDHE-50-NG Residential Natural 50 Gallon Gas Water Heater

      Best High End

      AO Smith recently came out with its new hybrid water heater powered by gas that ensures you never run out of hot water by using both a 50-gallon tank and an on-demand element that produces hot water at a rate of 4 GPM. 

      Hybrid water heaters cost more than most other models, but homeowners see a return in reduced utility bills since the device runs at an impressive 96% thermal efficiency. 

      To add to the convenience, AO Smith allows buyers to control the device with a simple and easy to read control panel with digital display. 

      Warranty: 6-year limited warranty.

      Pros

      • Power direct vent installation
      • 96% thermal efficiency 
      • Extremely rapid recovery time of 10 – 15 minutes

      Cons

      • Expensive
      • Short 6-year warranty
      • Heavy (297 lbs.) and bulky

      Our #4 Rated Pick: Rinnai SE+ Series RU160in-Gas Tankless Heater, 9 GPM

      Rinnai SE+ Series RU160in-Gas Tankless Heater, 9 GPM

      Best Tankless

      Rinnai’s HR+ series natural gas tankless water heater offers high efficiency levels (.93 UEF), a compact size, and advanced WiFi connectivity features that make using the device easy enough for even the most technologically impaired. 

      Installation can be expensive if upgrading from a conventional unit. However, the unit will produce a water flow rate of 9 GPM, which can more than support the needs of average households. 

      Warranty: 10-year warranty on heat exchanger and 5 years on components .

      Pros

      • .93 UEF
      • WiFi connectability
      • Flow rate of 9 GPM

      Cons

      • Expensive
      • Professional installation required
      • Vent tube not included

      Our #5 Rated Pick: Rheem G100-200 Natural Gas Commercial Water Heater, 100 Gallon

      Rheem G100-200 Natural Gas Commercial Water Heater, 100 Gallon

      Best Commercial

      Look into a unit designed for commercial use if you need a high power water heater that produces water over 120°F for industrial purposes. 

      The Rheem G100-200 natural gas water heater has a gigantic 100-gallon tank and a gear burner that runs at 199,999 maximum capacity BTUs. Warranty: 3-years on tank and 1-year on parts.

      Pros

      • High water temperature capabilities
      • 100 gallon tank 
      • 199,999 BTUs

      Cons

      • Expensive
      • Tank Deteriorates Quickly 
      • No Digital Display on Control Panel

      Final Thoughts On Gas Water Heaters

      Gas water heaters make a great option for residential water heating purposes. 

      With the numerous different types of gas water heaters available, homeowners should find the best model for their household based on hot water requirements, efficiency goals, and budget.

      FAQs For Gas Water Heaters

      Which brand of gas water heater is best?

      Consumers can rely on the brands we highlighted today in our best of list for high-quality options:

      • AO Smith
      • Bradford White
      • Rinnai 
      • Westinghouse
      • Rheem

      We also didn’t have the opportunity to fit a number of other great water heater brand names, such as American Standard and General Electric (to name a few). 

      What are the top 5 gas water heaters?

      What is the longest lasting water heater?

      Tankless models last the longest, around 20 years.

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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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