Electric tankless water heaters are quickly gaining popularity, and with extremely good reason. Tankless (which is sometimes known as instantaneous or on-demand) water heaters possess extensive benefits when compared to the traditional tank water heaters.
However, in addition to the multitude of benefits, there are also a few limitations that need to be addressed before pulling the trigger on one of the best electric tankless water heater options for your home.
In this large-scale guide, we will cover those benefits and potential drawbacks, provide some additional pertinent information, and dive into what we consider to be the five best electric tankless water heater options currently on the market. In the end, we anticipate you will be armed with the knowledge necessary to make a well-informed buyer’s decision.
|Sio Green IR260||30 amps||6.75 lb||9||Check Price|
|Stiebel Eltron 12 Plus Tempra||50 amps||13.5 lb||10||Check Price|
|Eemax EEM24018||40 amps||14.5 lb||9||Check Price|
|Rheem RTEX – 24||NA||17.8 lb||9||Check Price|
|EcoSmart ECO 11||33 amps||6.5 lb||9||Check Price|
What is an Electric Tankless Water Heater?
The best electric tankless water heaters options have become increasingly popular in recent years. This is largely in part to its compact design and impressive energy efficiency. These tankless water heaters are more than capable of delivering heated water on demand by only doing so when necessary. Conversely, traditional hot water heaters store heated water in large tanks, using energy to keep this water hot while waiting to be utilized.
Pro-tip article: Switching to Tankless Water Heater: Benefits and Drawbacks
To put it simply, when you own an electric tankless water heater, your hot showers aren’t limited by the size of the tank of a water heater sitting in a basement or a laundry room or a garage. Instead, the energy is only used for heating water. No energy is utilized to keep and store hot water. What this means it that heated water is delivered when needed, not sitting in a tank.
How does a Tankless Water Heater work?
The premises behind tankless water heaters are extremely simple. When hot water taps in a sink, shower, washing machine, etc are opened, cold water pushes into tankless units. The cold water in the tankless unit passes through electrical heating elements or gas burners, which fire into action. They heat this water as it passes through the unit. Then, this water leaves the tankless water heater already hot and ready for action.
These on-demand systems are more than capable of the delivery of consistent supplies of hot water. However, they have limitations, for example the flow rate of the unit. Flow rates are the amount of water that an electric tankless water heater is able to heat at a given time.
If your tankless water heater’s flow rate is too low, then it will not have the capacity to deliver ample hot water for household needs. Choosing a unit that is large enough is an important decision point, and can prevent you from running out of heated water.
The 5 Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Getting the best electric tankless water heater can be quite the confusing process. We at Just Home Improve are here to make the process a bit easier by providing strong research and testing procedures of our own. For this product, we selected 20 different electric tankless water heaters, eventually narrowing them down to our favorite five options. After diving into each of the five, we are providing a buyer’s guide to assist in the purchasing process.
SioGreen IR260 – The Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for Small Spaces
SioGreen’s IR260 electric tankless water heater is incredibly small. In fact, it is so small that it may make you wonder if it can actually heat up enough water to ensure a nice hot shower. Can it? The quick answer is yes. The reasonings are below.
The SioGreen IR260 is one of the lightest weight tankless water heaters that we tested. It is also one of the most simple to install. The iPhone of the best electric tankless water heater options. In fact, it only comes with a single knob, which adjusts the temperature.
Read our full review of the SioGreen IR260 here.
With this knob, preparing the SioGreen IR260 initially is a breeze. Our recommendation is to turn the knob to the hottest setting off the bat. As the water begins to flow, slowly dial down the knob to a temperature that works for you, your preferences, and your electric bill. This will prevent you from affecting the initial flow of water.
Don’t worry, you aren’t going to have the potential issue of getting burned. When you turn it on for the first time, the SioGreen IR260 is typically not too hot. That doesn’t mean to let your guard down, though. Things change quickly, and this machine can heat water up very quickly.
So feel free to hook your sinks, faucets, showers and more up to the SioGreen tankless water heater. It can handle all of them and more, without a significant drop in water temperature. Perfect for everything from small tiny homes to shipping container houses and small-to-medium sized houses, this option is a wonderful all-around product, and comes at a surprisingly affordable price.
Stiebel Eltron 12 Plus Tempra – Editor’s Pick for the Best Electric Tankless Water Heater
One of the most common issues homeowners face in colder seasons is higher electric bills. This increase in electricity has a silent killer that isn’t the heating unit in your home. Instead, it is the utilization of a massive water heater tank, or multiple water heaters.
An extremely effective solution to these higher electric bills is to grab one of the best electric tankless water heater choices on the market today: the Stiebel Eltron 12 Plus Tempra.
Read our full review of the Stiebel Eltron 12 Plus Tempra here.
The Stiebel Eltron 12 Plus Tempra is one of the most solid tankless water heaters that can be purchased right now. This compact but powerful water heater has the capacity to single-handedly supply enough hot water to handle medium-to-large homes with ease. Note: to test this, we ran a dishwasher, shower, washing machine and bathtub at the same time. No issues found.
The best part? After a month of use, many have found that their electric bills had decreased significantly from past months, as well as the same month in prior years. This product is built to last, as most German-engineered products are, and comes with an impressive warranty. It is a wonderful tankless water heater, and can handle anything that is thrown at it. A true workhorse, it is an impressive replacement for tank water heaters.
Eemax EEM24018 – The Easiest to Install Tankless Water Heater Option
One of the most common problems faced by those thinking about switching from a tank to a tankless water heater are the costs. The second highest cost is typically that of having the heater professionally installed. One visit from an electrician and/or plumber could easily close in on the cost of the machine itself.
The Eemax EEM24018 tankless electric water heater solves this issue by making self-installation a breeze.
Read our full review of the Eemax EEM24018 here.
Many times, tankless water heaters can appear to be a complex item to install. After all, you are working with electricity and water. Time after time, we have learned that the two should never mix. As such, a do-it-yourself approach to installation is usually out of the question.
This quandary is a thing of the past with the Eemax option above. This compact electric tankless water heater is very light, fits into small spaces, and is incredibly easy to install yourself. To be honest, it was reminiscent of the easiness of installing a smart home thermostat.
If you are running into issues when installing based on given instructions, Eemax has a wonderful community full of those willing and able to assist. In fact, there are many detailed and informative YouTube videos that explain exactly how to go about the installation process. These come straight from the manufacturer Eemax themselves, and can easily save you hundreds of dollars compared to alternative tankless water heaters.
Not convinced that something so small could power medium to large homes, we ran it through the same paces as the Stiebel model above. We ran a dishwasher, shower, washing machine and bathtub at the same time. Again, this model handled things with ease once the supply of water had fully stabilized. We were very impressed, and easily added this to our list of the best electric tankless water heater options.
Rheem RTEX 24 – The Powerhouse Tankless Electric Water Heater
Finding space for your electrical equipment can often be a challenging task. After all, not all of us live in houses with spacious basements and attics. This is often the case for those who live in tiny homes, shipping container houses, and smaller condos. In such cases, installing a 40-gallon water heater is going to eat up the little space that you do have in your home.
Read our full review of the Rheem RTEX 24 here.
Situations such as this is where Rheem’s RTEX 24 enters the picture and shows its true driving force. While a small and neat water heater that fits into the smallest of corner spaces, don’t let this option sneak up on you. It is a true powerhouse that can fit into the most diminutive of spaces. In fact, once installed you can forget about its existence. The workmanship is superb, and this option can easily last for decades without the need for anything outside routine maintenance.
It needs to be noted that you will need to install three separate 40-amp breakers to power this bad boy. If you aren’t sure about how to do this, we recommend calling in a professional to assist in the installation. This is only a one-time exercise, and will provide the vehicle to reap the rewards Rheem offers. If you want the power to handle multiple long, hot showers, the Rheem RTEX 24 is the perfect option.
EcoSmart ECO 11 – Most Reliable Tankless Electric Water Heater
There will be times when you do not want the best-selling beasts we’ve listed above. Instead, you want a product that is less powerful and easier on your wallets. However, you will also want something that still gives good performance and delivers hot water whenever you want. For such situations, the EcoSmart ECO 11 is your #1 choice.
Read our full review of the EcoSmart ECO 11 here.
It is small, easy to install, easy to operate and best of all, very easy on your wallet. The device has an auto-power adjust feature that allows it to save electricity consumption without compromising on the water temperature. It is ideal for small homes and apartments where you will almost never have to use two or more showers at the same time.
Don’t get us wrong though, the ECO 11 can actually handle two to three showers at the same time, but it is not as efficient at doing so as the other electric tankless water heaters on this list. That being said, it is a great choice for small cottages as well, where you can run a shower while running a dishwasher at the same time. This is the perfect product for you if you are on a budget but still want a quality product.
Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters: Buyer’s Guide
On-demand electric tankless water heaters have become extremely common in Europe and Asia. Over the past ten years or so, they have gained extreme popularity in the United States. This comes largely from their environmental friendliness, minimal size, and economical operation.
Many view tankless electric water heaters as the appliance of the future, and a wonderful home improvement option. While still relatively new, and with plenty of room for enhancements, the increased popularity of these appliances will continue the decrease in price.
Those constructing new homes are also quickly switching to tankless water heaters. This enables homeowners to either install tankless water heaters during construction, or easily transition to one later. Choosing to install tankless systems are a wonderful move, and is one of the most effective home improvement upgrades that can be made.
Pro-tip article: Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters: Make the Right Choice
Pros and Cons of Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Much like any other home product, electric tankless water heaters come with extensive benefits, but also the potential for disadvantages. We aren’t naive here at Just Home Improve. We are well aware that both advantages and drawbacks exist. Below is our list of pros and cons for electric tankless water heaters.
Advantages of Electric Tankless Water Heaters
- Operational Costs and Energy Savings – These water heaters have no standby heat loss. This is common in traditional water heaters, but doesn’t occur in on-demand tankless water heaters.
- Longevity of Operation – Electric tankless water heaters will typically have far longer service lives compared to traditional options. It is estimated on average that with routine maintenance, a tankless water heater can last two decades or more.
- Replaceability of Parts – Extended service lives are common, as tankless water heaters are manufactured to be repaired. If regular tank water heaters start to leak, the odds are high that the whole thing will need an expensive replacement. However, tankless units are built such that all parts can be replaced if needed.
- A Far More Compact Design – For tankless water heaters, far less space of your home is going to be needed. Many can be wall-mounted, and others can be installed outdoors.
- An Endless Supply of Heated Water – Shower length no longer needs to be determined by the size of a water heater storage tank. When properly selected, tankless water heaters can provide a home with an endless supply of heated water.
- Fresh, Not Stagnant Water – Heated water never sits in tanks that can have mineral scale and rust build-up if not properly managed. When hot water is necessary, this water is heated immediately and delivered instantly.
- No Risk of Leaks – As tankless electric water heaters have no storage tanks, there is no need to be concerned about the all to common issue of tank leaks. This is often a headache for those with older water heater tanks.
Disadvantages of Electric Tankless Water Heaters
- Associated Starting Costs – It should be expected that you will spend a bit more money when you are buying a tankless water heater. It is commonplace for these technological marvels to cost almost double what standard water heaters cost by the time of installation.
- Capacity Issues – Sometimes homes need more hot water in a hurry. When this happens, it could be required to have two large tankless hot water units installed. Another alternative is a smaller pinpoint water heater that is used to specifically serve something like a master bathroom.
- Upgrades to Power – The best electric tankless water heater options will still require a good bit of electricity for on-demand hot water. Several different homes can’t support tankless options without an upgrade to the power source.
Pro-tip article: Tankless Water Heater Pros and Cons: Read Before You Replace!
Selecting the Best Electric Tankless Water Heater
For many, there isn’t much room for problems when you are researching which tankless water heaters you will be having in your home. Compared to standard water heaters, tankless options don’t have the buffer of reserve water. If tankless heaters can’t properly heat the water as it passes by, the delivery will be tepid at best.
As such, there are some important things that need to be considered before finalizing a choice for the best electric tankless water heater.
Determining Energy Efficiency and Savings
As energy savings is one of the most common reasons for switching to or installing a tankless option, it is one of the most important considerations. Pay attention to this, and dive deep when looking for the perfect unit. Remember, this is going to be a few hundred dollars. Don’t skimp on the research.
One thing to note is that the energy savings and efficiency of on-demand tankless systems decrease as the need for hot water in a household increases. However, even through this, one can expect tankless water heaters to outperform traditional options for energy efficiency.
Water heaters utilize something called an EF rating (EF stands for energy factor). This EF rating is a determination of the energy efficiency of a unit. Based on the amount of hot water produced by a single fuel unit consumer, the higher the EF rating, the more efficient the unit. More information can be found at EnergyStar’s website.
But. EF ratings do not tell the entire story in terms of operational costs. Electric water heater systems have higher EF ratings than gas alternatives. However, as gas is a less expensive fuel source, gas units can potentially delivery lower operational costs. As a result, it’s crucial that energy savings is only one single factor to consider.
Checking on Warranty Coverages
Warranties for the best electric tankless water heater choices will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and from model to model. Many will require registration of your water heater. Those same manufacturers will also require a professional installation for eligibility of coverage.
The comparison of warranties is a crucial piece of selecting a tankless electric system. When brands are willing to stand behind their product with the warranty offered, it’s a strong indication that they truly believe in the longevity and reliability of their products.
Typically, ranges for warranties for tankless electric heaters will be 10 to 15 years for the heat exchanger, two to five years for parts, and a year for labor.
Selecting the Necessary Size for Your Needs
Many manufacturers will size their electric tankless water heater units by determining the rise in temperature necessary to achieve specified flow rates. Once these factors are calculated, you can choose a tankless water heater that will meet your needs and your family’s demand for hot water.
As a standard rule, you can anticipate your heater to deliver between two and five gallons per minute of flow rate. These systems that are electric will be safer and more environmentally friendly than gas, but at a lower flow rate. Don’t fret, these are the best electric tankless water heater options.
When you size a standard tanked water heater, the idea regards capacity (for example, an 80-gallon tank). However, with tankless water heaters, it is crucial to change to thoughts of flow in gallons per minute. Locating the perfect-sized unit to serve your home hot water needs is vital. Remember, there isn’t going to be a storage tank that buffers potential shortages of high-use periods.
Why Choose An Electric Tankless Water Heater Over Gas?
Electric tankless water heater variants will tend to be a bit less expensive to install and purchase than their gas counterparts. However, they will require quite a bit of electricity to operate effectively. Remember, if it becomes a necessity to upgrade the electrical system of your house, the installation cost can increase a good bit.
On-demand tankless units that are electric will have a far simpler design than their gas-powered alternatives. This makes them a lot easier to diagnose, troubleshoot and fix if needed. Additionally, they will come at a higher EF rating, and require far less maintenance. These are all important to longer service lives.
Added benefits of electric tankless water heater options include:
- Size wise, electric tankless water heater units are a third the size of gas alternatives.
- Unless electrical upgrades are needed, these are far more inexpensive and less error prone than gas.
- While more energy efficient, these can still deliver close to eight gallons per minute of hot water.
- Simplistic design without a ton of complex parts lead to a longer product service life.
Finally, electrical prices will generally be far stabler than gas prices. It is typical that electricity prices will rise far slower than gas alternatives as well. The best electric tankless water heaters are definitely worth consideration if looking at a gas option.