Best Water Heater Drain Valve? (2021 Review)

Last Updated On October 19, 2021
water heater drain valve

Do you need to replace your water heater drain valve? The drain valve on your water heater allows you to drain your water heater as necessary. However, they go bad after time and require replacement when they start to leak or experience blockage.

When you need a new water heater drain valve, you want to find one that will last a long time and work properly. That’s why you need to know the best water heater drain valves on the market. 

In this PlumbingNav review, we will cover:

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

ImageProduct
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House Mods HMP011 LF Brass 3/4" MIP Drain Valve
  • High 210°F rating
  • Long handle
  • Garden hose cap included
  • High 210°F rating
  • Long handle
  • Garden hose cap included
View on Amazon
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Eastman 60092LF ¾” Brass Drain Valve
  • Lead-free
  • Small size
  • Suitable for outdoors
  • Lead-free
  • Small size
  • Suitable for outdoors
View on Amazon
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Water Connection SR121 Brass Flush/Drain Valve
  • Dielectric nipple
  • Easy to use handle
  • Prevents sediment buildup
  • Dielectric nipple
  • Easy to use handle
  • Prevents sediment buildup
View on Amazon
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Rheem SP12112G Brass Drain Valve
  • Made by Rheem
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple installation
  • Made by Rheem
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple installation
View on Amazon
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B&K Industries ¾” Drain Valve Water Heater
  • Inexpensive
  • Compatible with most water heaters
  • Suitable for outdoor use
  • Inexpensive
  • Compatible with most water heaters
  • Suitable for outdoor use
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On May 21, 2021

House Mods HMP011 LF Brass 3/4″ MIP Water Heater Drain Valve

This brass water heater drain valve comes with a stainless steel ball valve, large handle over 3” long, and a garden hose cap for outdoor usage. The valve can withstand temperatures as high as 210°F. Since this valve is non-toxic, you can also use it for drinking water.

Our Top 5 Water Heater Drain Valves

  1. House Mods HMP011 LF Brass 3/4″ MIP Water Heater Drain Valve (Our Top Pick)
  2. Eastman 60092LF ¾” Brass Water Heater Drain Valve  (Best Budget)
  3. Water Connection SR121 Brass Water Heater Flush/Drain Valve(Best High End)
  4. Rheem SP12112G Brass Drain Valve (Alternative)
  5. B&K Industries ¾” Drain Valve Water Heater (Alternative)

What's In This Guide?

      What Are Water Heater Drain Valves?

      Water heater drain valves are valves that control water heater drain pipes, allowing them to open and close as necessary. When open, the drain valve releases both water and pressure buildup from inside of the tank. When closed, it keeps the water and pressure inside of the tank.

      You will typically find the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater on all types of water heaters, including tankless water heaters. The drain pipe will lead to a drain in the floor or somewhere outside. This ensures water doesn’t damage your home when it opens. 

      If the drain valve doesn’t work properly, it can lead to water damage in your home and even safety concerns, especially if your water heater experiences excessive pressure levels.

      What Causes Damage to Drain Valve?

      Drain valves can become damaged and start to leak due to sediment buildup or corrosion. Luckily, you can fix the problem simply and inexpensively with a new drain valve. 

      Mineral deposits can clog the valve or damage it. The valve’s seal can then become loose, creating the leak. Sediment buildup happens more when you have hard water. Flushing your water heater tank every three years can eliminate sediment buildup.

      Over time, the valve can also experience corrosion. Corrosion refers to the natural deterioration of metal over time. Anode rods in water heater tanks help slow down the corrosion process, so regularly replace the anode rod in your water heater to keep your tank and drain valve free from damage.

      What Are The Different Types Of Water Heater Drain Valves?

      One of the greatest variations that you find in water heater drain valves involves the material used to make it. 

      Water heater drain valves usually come in either plastic or brass. Brass holds up better than plastic water heaters, but they also cost more. However, brass valves don’t become clogged as easily and withstand higher temperatures. 

      You can also find composite valves that fall somewhere in the middle of plastic and brass in terms of quality. 

      Additionally, you need to pick between standard valves or ball valves. Ball valves tend to make it easier to drain the tank, but they also get clogged more easily.

      how to replace water heater drain valves

      How Does A Water Heater Drain Valve Work?

      When the water heater drain valve opens, water and pressure escape from the tank. The tank opens automatically when a sensor notices that pressure levels hit a certain level. However, you can also open the drain valve manually. 

      How to Replace a Drain Valve

      Luckily, replacing your water heater drain valve doesn’t require extensive handyman knowledge. 

      Follow these simple steps to replace the drain valve on your water heater. 

      Step One: Gather Materials

      You don’t need too many materials to get the job done, but you still need a couple of items. Keep in mind that the required tools may depend on the drain valve you buy. Always read the instructions first. 

      Gather the following materials:

      • Replacement drain valve
      • Wrench
      • Pliers
      • Plumber’s tape (if applicable)
      • Hose (if applicable)

      Step Two: Cut Off Power, Gas, and Water

      Shut off power to the water heater from the circuit box (for electric water heaters) or gas supply (gas water heaters). You also need to shut off water to the water heater. You can close the cold water supply, but it can benefit you to cut off water from the main water line. 

      Step Three: Drain Tank

      Open the drain valve to release the water from the tank. If you do not have a hose in place to allow for proper draining, connect a hose at the drain valve to allow water to go into a drain in the floor or outside. Ensure that the tank empties completely before moving forward. 

      Step Four: Remove Old Drain Valve

      Remove the current drain valve. Use your preferred tool to loosen it by turning it counterclockwise (lefty-loosey). Remove when the drain valve becomes loose enough.

      Step Five: Install New Drain Valve

      Install the new drain valve at the water heater supply line and tighten it until the drain valve faces the same direction as the old drain valve. Use plumbing tape to ensure a tight connection if necessary. 

      Step Six: Refill Water Heater Tank

      Turn the water back on and refill the tank by opening the cold water supply at the top of the tank. 

      Step Seven: Restore Power/Gas

      Now, you need to restore power/gas to the water heater and wait approximately 2 – 3 hours to see if the device heated the water properly. 

      Verify that the drain valve does not leak.

      What Do You Look For In The Best Water Heater Drain Valves?

      Most importantly, you want to ensure that the water heater drain valve fits your water heater. In most cases, water heaters use a ¾” connection. However, you may want to verify the specifications of your water heater before making a purchase. Not only do you want the connections to fit, but you also want the drain to fit in the necessary space, which is especially important if you need to work in a confined space.

      You also need a tamper-proof drain valve that doesn’t move or fall when it experiences everyday movement. This means that the device won’t open unexpectedly, leaving you with an empty tank. 

      Finally, you want a water heater drain valve that operates simply. In some cases, a long handle will give you everything you need to make handling user friendly. Other models come with a knob that you turn to open and close the valve. The most difficult-to-use models require a screwdriver to open and close them.

      Best Water Heater Drain Valves Reviewed

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

      Our #1 Rated Pick: House Mods HMP011 LF Brass 3/4″ MIP Water Heater Drain Valve

      House Mods HMP011 LF Brass 3/4″ MIP Water Heater Drain Valve

      Our Top Pick

      This brass water heater drain valve comes with a stainless steel ball valve, large handle over 3” long, and a garden hose cap for outdoor usage. The valve can withstand temperatures as high as 210°F. Since this valve is non-toxic, you can also use it for drinking water. 

      Pros

      • High 210°F rating
      • Long handle
      • Garden hose cap included

      Cons

      • Ball valve can clog
      • Long size may not fit
      • Plumbing tape required for tight seal (not included)

      Our #2 Rated Pick: Eastman 60092LF ¾” Brass Water Heater Drain Valve

      Eastman 60092LF ¾” Brass Water Heater Drain Valve

      Best Budget

      This brass replacement drain valve works with most water heaters with its ¾” connection. You will use the knob on the top to open and close the drain valve. It meets all safe drinking requirements and doesn’t contain lead.

      Pros

      • Lead-free
      • Small size
      • Suitable for outdoors

      Cons

      • Knob instead of easier handle
      • No ball valve
      • Not ideal for easy flushing

      Our #3 Rated Pick: Water Connection SR121 Brass Water Heater Flush/Drain Valve

      Water Connection SR121 Brass Water Heater Flush/Drain Valve

      Best High End

      Don’t worry about your drain valve getting clogged with this Water Connection drain valve that has a two-way lead-free valve and 3-inch dielectric nipple. The easy to use handle allows you to drain the water heater quickly and easily.

      Pros

      • Dielectric nipple
      • Easy to use handle
      • Prevents sediment buildup

      Cons

      • Expensive
      • Difficult to install
      • Large size

      Our #4 Rated Pick: Rheem SP12112G Brass Drain Valve

      Rheem SP12112G Brass Drain Valve

      Alternative

      Made by one of the most trusted names in water heaters, this Rheem brass drain valve provides everything you need to upgrade from a plastic drain valve to a brass drain valve on most water heaters. Open and close the valve using a screwdriver.

      Pros

      • Made by trusted Rheem name
      • Inexpensive
      • Simple installation

      Cons

      • Teflon tape required for tight seal 
      • Screwdriver operation (no handle or knob)
      • California Prop 65 warning

      Our #5 Rated Pick: B&K Industries ¾” Drain Valve Water Heater

      B&K Industries ¾” Drain Valve Water Heater

      Alternative

      Use this heavy-duty brass drain valve to control the drain line with a steel canopy knob. You can install the device easily, and it will hold up in both indoor and outdoor applications. The slightly below-average size and standard connectors make it compatible with most devices. 

      Pros

      • Inexpensive
      • Compatible with most water heaters
      • Suitable for outdoor use

      Cons

      • Knob not as convenient as handle
      • Steel knob can corrode
      • Handle doesn’t always open easily

      Final Thoughts On Best Water Heater Drain Valves

      Your water heater’s drain valve allows water and pressure to escape your water heater tank. Most water heaters come with a plastic valve, and they can break easily. Instead, replace your water heater drain valve with a brass water heater drain valve. 

      When picking a new drain valve, look for one that installs and operates easily. A handle and ball valve make the best choices. 

      FAQs for Water Heater Drain Valves

      Why is my water heater leaking from the drain valve?

      Leaking at the drain valve occurs after corrosion or sediment buildup, which both happen over time. It can also happen from using cheap, plastic drain valves. 

      What is the drain valve on a water heater?

      The drain valve opens the drain line to release water and pressure from the water heater tank. 

      Where is the drain valve on a water heater?

      You will find the drain valve on the bottom of the water heater. 

      How much does it cost to replace a water heater drain valve?

      Generally speaking, it will cost between $25 – $50 if you do the work yourself. 

      Are all water heater drain valves the same size?

      Most water heater drain valves come in a ¾” size, as this is the standard connection size for water heaters. 

      Can the water heater drain valve be replaced?

      Yes! You can even do it yourself using the following simple steps:

      Step One: Gather Materials

      Step Two: Cut Off Power, Gas, and Water

      Step Three: Drain Tank

      Step Four: Remove Old Drain Valve

      Step Five: Install New Drain Valve

      Step Six: Refill Water Heater Tank

      Step Seven: Restore Power/Gas

      What is a tamper proof drain valve?

      Tamper proof drain valves mean that the drain valve will not become affected by everyday movement around it.

      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!

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      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!

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