The Different Types of Water Heaters: What’s Best For You?

Different Types of Water Heaters
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Water heaters heat water for human usage and storage. They are an essential appliance in most homes of the world over.

There are different types of water heaters on the market today like electric water heaters, tankless water heaters, solar water heaters, gas water heaters, and natural gas water heaters.

Most of them have heating systems of different types. In this blog, we will discuss the different types of heating systems and how they compare with each other in terms of energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness in heating water.

Different Types of Water Heaters

Different types of water heaters are available and each has its own advantages and drawbacks.

Some of the popular types of water heaters are storage tank water heaters, solar water heaters, tankless coil water heating systems, electric-powered water heaters, and gas-powered water heaters.

Here’s a list of water heaters that you can choose for your needs at home:

1. Tank Water Heater

Tank Water Heater
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Tank water heaters, also known as storage water heaters, store hot water in an insulated tank typically containing between 20-80 gallons of water.

These heaters are commonly used for heating water in household appliances such as washbasins, showers, and dishwashers. They are also a common choice for heating water on-site at businesses and organizations.

There are two main types of storage tank water heater: gas/oil water heaters and electric water heaters (including heat pump units).

Gas/oil water heaters typically use less energy and cost less to run than electric water heaters, although they cost more at the time of purchase.

On the other hand, electric water heaters are often more energy-efficient than gas/oil water heaters and produce less pollution. They also cost less over time due to their smaller size and lower energy costs.

In some cases, solar powered water heaters use solar panels mounted on a roof to power a closed-loop system composed of a heat-conductive material that heats the water in the tank.

This type of heater is natural- gas tank water heater that uses less energy and costs less to run than electric water heaters, although they cost more at the time of purchase.

2. Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Water Heater
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Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only when needed, saving energy and money.

They are smaller than conventional water heaters, making them a great option for small homes. They heat water quickly, using less energy and up to 80% less storage tank space.

They also have high efficiency, using less than half of the heat generated from conventional water heaters. In addition to saving energy and money, tankless water heaters are also more environmentally friendly, with fewer carbon emissions and lower water usage.

Tankless water heaters flash-heat water as you need it, which makes them an efficient choice for households that constantly use hot water.

They can provide an average of 3.5 gallons of hot water per minute, so they can help users save time and energy.

Their compact size makes them easy to install and maintain, making them a sustainable solution for households that want hot water quickly and efficiently.

3. Point-of-Use Water Heater

Point of Use Water Heater
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Point-of-use water heaters are small heaters installed near the supply fixtures. They are a great backup to gas or electric heaters, but not solar power. Point-of-use water heaters save energy by allowing users to reduce the temperature setting on a central water heater.

They are popular companions to hot tubs, guest bathrooms, and fixtures that use less than 20 gallons of hot water per day.

A common type of point-of-use water heater is tankless and uses copper heat exchangers for instant heating. These types of water heaters can be efficient and cost-effective solutions for space-constrained hot water systems

4. Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heater
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A solar water heater uses solar energy to heat water in a tank. These systems can be passive or active, depending on the solar water heating system type. Active solar water heaters use solar energy to heat water in a tank more quickly than a passive solar water heater system.

Active solar water heaters are more efficient and cost-effective, but they require direct sunlight to function properly. Passive solar water heaters heat water using the natural heat of the surrounding environment without using any external energy source. They are generally less expensive and require less maintenance than active systems.

The type of solar water heater you choose depends on your climate, storage capacity, and budget. An active system is typically more efficient, but an inactive system may be cost-effective if you are on a budget or storage capacity is limited. Active systems work best in sunny, warm climates with a backup energy source needed on cloudy days. Inactive systems are best for storage of hot water for long periods of time or cold climates that lack direct sunlight.

5. Hybrid Water Heater

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Hybrid water heaters are energy-efficient water heaters that reduce energy consumption by up to 60 percent compared to conventional tank water heaters. These heaters use heat pumps to move heat from one location to another and are two to three times more energy efficient than electric water heaters.

Heat pump water heaters pull needed heat from the air and ground, and are up to 60 percent more energy efficient than electric water heaters. Hybrid water heaters require around 7 feet of vertical space, 1,000 cubic feet of uncooled space, and a nearby drain to discharge condensate.

They are often installed in hot-water storage tanks or on refrigerators, dishwashers, or freezers for heating water. These types of water heaters can be an attractive option for energy-conscious homeowners who want to reduce their energy costs while maintaining high-quality hot water supply.

6. Combination Boiler Water Heater

Combination Boiler Water Heater
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A combination boiler water heater is a single unit designed to heat the home and water used at plumbing fixtures. They are compact and have low operating costs, making them a great option for smaller homes.

Combination water heaters can be either tank- or tankless-type, depending on the type of water heater that you prefer. Condensing water heaters are popular in the UK and come in tank and tankless versions.

Combined heating systems can be a great replacement for forced-air furnaces, as they combine both heating and cooling functions into one appliance. When choosing a water heater for your home, ensure that you opt for one that is sized appropriately for your needs.

7. Condensing Water Heater

Condensing Water Heater
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A condensing water heater works by taking advantage of the waste gas produced by natural gas systems to heat water in a tank. Condensing water heaters come in tank and tankless versions, and use gas burners to heat the water.

These heaters extract heat from the hot exhaust gas expelled through the flue, store it, and use it to pre-heat the water in the boiler. This type of water heater is typically only available as a large unit, which can be costly depending on your heating needs and budget.

However, if your home runs on natural gas, a condensing water heater can be energy efficient and help save on energy costs. It is important to do research before selecting a water heater for your home.

How to Choose a Water Heater

Water heaters come in many different types, each with its own unique features and specifications. It can be difficult to decide on the best type for your home, but by taking the time to research and understand each type, you can make a well-informed decision and enjoy water heating with minimal hassle.

Conventional water heaters are commonly used water heater types. These water heaters feature storage tank of water that is heated on-demand by a gas or electric source. In tankless water heaters, water is heated instantly as it is turned on, making them ideal for homes with hot water demands but limited hot water available from the tank heater.

The other types of water heaters are heat pump water heaters, solar water heaters, and indirect-tank water heaters. Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research and consider each type carefully before making a decision.

Also read: Calculating Solar Panel Needs – What You Need to Know to Power Your Home

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of water heaters?

There are five main types of water heaters- Storage water heaters, Solar water heaters, Coil water heaters, Heat pump water heaters, and gas-condensing water heaters.

Storage water heaters have a large tank that holds water and can be either electric-powered or gas-powered.

Solar water heaters mounted on roofs use sunlight to heat water and supply about 80% of the hot water for the home.

Coil water heaters use coils submerged in a tank of water to heat the water quickly.

Heat pump water heaters use energy from the grid to pump hot water from a lower temperature source (like a hot water tank) into your home, heating it up on-site.

Gas-condensing water heaters work similarly to a conventional refrigerator by converting gas into hot water.

What are the pros and cons of each type of water heater?

When it comes to water heater types, conventional storage water heaters have a large tank for heated water and can either be electric-powered or gas-powered. Energy can be wasted through standby heat loss with these types of water heaters.

Heat pump water heaters are the most energy-efficient type available as they transfer heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. In addition, solar powered water heaters use roof-mounted solar panels to transfer energy from the sun. These types of water heaters are energy efficient and environmentally friendly, with long lifespans and backup heaters.

Which type of water heater is best for me?

If you’re in the market for a new water heater, then conventional storage water heaters are the most popular type of home water heating system. They’re affordable, fast to heat up water, and can accommodate larger families or homes.

Natural gas water heaters are perfect for large family homes as they heat water quickly and are cost-effective. They’re also great for heating pools as gas is a natural gas-based fuel.

Heat pump water heaters are the most energy-efficient option on the market and are two to three times more efficient than traditional water heaters. This means that they don’t generate heat directly and are more environmentally-friendly.

Gas water heaters are the best type of water heater for pools as they heat water quickly and efficiently. Plus, they’re easy to use and operate.


While water heaters are a common fixture in most homes, they have certainly evolved over the years. Water heaters of different types vary greatly in their efficiency and heating sources, which makes it essential to understand their advantages and disadvantages before making a decision that could affect your water heater for years to come. You can compare water heaters of different types on water to help you make an informed decision.

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