Gas Vs Electric Tankless Water Heaters – Which One is Right For you?

The biggest challenge for most homeowners is deciding whether to use an electric or gas tankless water heater. So, how do you choose between the two? Keep reading to learn more!

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters?

Energy-efficient tankless water heaters have become increasingly popular in recent years. Tankless water heaters, commonly referred to as instantaneous or demand-type water heaters, produce hot water only when required. They don’t cause the standby losses that traditional water heaters do, which can result in cost savings.

But, like with any technological advancement, some advantages and disadvantages come with these water heating systems.

The Advantages of a Tankless Water Heater

  • Lower operating costs
  • More eco-friendly
  • It takes up less space
  • More durable
  • Cleaner and safer
  • It’s easy to winterize
  • Ease of installation

The Disadvantages of a Tankless water heater

  • Higher cost of installation
  • Models with high GPM capacities are expensive
  • Longer payback periods

Electric VS Gas Tankless Water Heater: Main Differences

Gas and electric tankless water heating systems are great options. However, they are different in several ways. Below are the essential things to consider when choosing between gas and electric tankless water heaters.

Electric Vs. Gas Water Heaters
FACTORS

ELECTRIC 

GAS

Price less expensive  Generally more expensive 
Installation Costs A lot less expensive to install in most cases. Still, you must ensure the model you choose has enough electrical service. Venting Requirements increase the installation cost, increasing the payback time on investment-need to validate gas line sizes, venting alternatives, and fresh air flow.
Operational Costs They are more expensive. The electricity costs are more predictable and expected to rise considerably more slowly than gas prices in the future; in some places, they are already less expensive than propane. Less expensive. Although natural gas is marginally less expensive to operate, natural gas prices are expected to climb considerably in the future, and gas tankless water heaters are long-term investments of approximately 20 or even more years.
Flow Rates Between three and 3.5 Gallons Per Minute in cold areas during winter and up to 8 Gallons Per Minute in warmer regions. In warmer regions, up to 8 Gallons Per Minute or even more
Environmental Impact There are no emissions of greenhouse gases. The small size decreases the environmental impact during the production, and disposal-future energy production will come from sustainable resources such as wind, solar, or wave energy. Increases dependency on fossil energy and releases greenhouse gases
Maintenance Less maintenance required Needs annual maintenance
Venting  There is no need for venting, and it can be fitted virtually anywhere Needed. It makes installation costly and impossible in many regions due to the absence of venting alternatives.
 

The following are the key distinctions between gas and electric tankless hot water heating systems:

Purchase Cost

Electric tankless water heating systems are significantly more affordable than gas ones. Some alternatives could reduce the overall costs if you choose a gas tankless water heater.

Related: Heat Pump Water Heater Vs. Tankless Water Heater

Running Costs

When considering operational costs, it’s essential to consider two things: fuel cost and the unit’s efficiency.

  • Energy Costs

Electricity costs are more expensive in certain areas than gas, making an electric heating system more costly. However, it is logical to conclude that electricity costs are much more predictable than gas prices.

While gas costs vary depending on the area and fluctuate regularly, electricity has a narrow price bracket range.

  • Efficiency

The most significant distinction between an electric tankless water heater and a gas tankless water heater is their efficiency. A gas tankless water heater generally has an efficiency of 80–85 percent, compared to an average of 98–100 percent for an electric tankless water heater. A gas tankless water heater is also cheaper and often lasts longer.

Despite being more costly than gas, electricity’s pricing is typically more steady and predictable. Due to their ability to provide more hot water while using less fuel, electric heating systems are also seen as being more efficient.

Installation Ease and Cost

A tankless water heater must be installed properly to guarantee optimum efficiency and safety. We strongly advise hiring an expert to install your tankless water heater safely and correctly because they are expensive investments, irrespective of whether they’re electric or gas.

  • Gas Heaters

In addition to being more expensive, installing natural gas systems can be much more complicated. Most gas water heaters need a venting structure to supply the necessary airflow, making the installation challenging.

  • Electric Heaters

Tankless electric water heating systems are significantly smaller than most gas water heating systems, making installation more straightforward and less expensive. They likewise do not need a ventilation mechanism due to the absence of gas combustion and are significantly less complicated overall.

Maintenance

Gas tankless water heaters demand more maintenance and care than electric tankless water heaters. Unlike electric units, gas units must be inspected annually to ensure they operate safely and effectively. Electric heating systems only need their screen filters cleaned out yearly for maintenance.

Water Needs

The typical GPM required for an average family ranges between 5 to 8 GPM, although this might vary based on your individual needs.

For people with larger families, gas tankless water heating systems are preferable to electric ones since they can provide a higher GPM. Electric water heaters can still produce a reasonable amount of heated GPM, but not as much as gas.

The effectiveness of both units in supplying hot water is affected by the temperature of the water.

Related: Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for RV – 5 Top Picks in 2022

The Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters

The following are our top picks for the best electric tankless water heaters we reviewed:

Best Overall: Stiebel Eltron 36 Plus Tempra

Best Budget: EcoSmart Eco 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater

Premium Choice: Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater – Tempra 24 Plus

The Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters

Best Overall Whole House Electric Tankless Water Heater

Stiebel Eltron 36 Plus Tempra

Stiebel Eltron Tankless Heater – Tempra 36 Plus – Electric, On Demand Hot Water, Eco, White

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This model tops our list as the best electric on-demand water heater. With an 8 GPM flow rate, you can use a faucet, shower, and washing machine all at once.

Even when you go above your GPM limit, it will constantly produce hot water at the desired temperature since it offers a consistent temperature performance. If too many fixtures are running at once, it will slow the water flow to ensure you don’t get lukewarm showers.

Pros:

  • 8 Gallons per minute for 30 degrees Fahrenheit Temperature Rise
  • It occupies very little room.
  • Improved flow controls for increased water demand
  • No venting required
  • Auto modulation reduces energy costs by 30%

Cons: 

  • Installation costs are expensive
  • A specialist can only perform installations

Check the Stiebel Eltron 36 Plus Tempra’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Budget Electric Tankless Water Heater

EcoSmart Eco 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater

EcoSmart ECO 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 13KW at 240 Volts with Patented Self Modulating Technology

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The EcoSmart 11 is both eco-friendly and smart, as its name implies. This best-value electric tankless heater is ideal for your household, office, or any other place you want a low-flow-suited water heater.

Pros:

  • This electric heater should save you electricity and money thanks to its self-modulation mechanism.
  • Installations are straightforward 
  • It is easy to maintain
  • EcoSmart has outstanding customer services

Cons:

  • The electric water heater is most effective in regions with moderate winters
  • Since it is a point-of-use heater, it can only heat water for a single sink

Check the EcoSmart Eco 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Premium Whole House Electric Tankless Water Heater

Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater – Tempra 24 Plus

Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater – Tempra 24 Plus – Electric, On Demand Hot Water, Eco, White, 20.2

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While small, portable, and practically silent, the German-engineered Stiebel Eltron tankless water heater produces sufficient hot water for the whole household. The Stiebel Eltron is available in various voltages and sizes, allowing you to select the best one for your house and family.

Pros:

  • A whole-house electric tankless water heater suited for many houses and apartments.
  • Excellent warranties are included.
  • Low power consumption and no standby energy losses
  • A great savings monitoring feature

Cons

  • Although this model has a high initial cost, it will ultimately result in cost savings.
  • Installing it could be somewhat tricky.

Check the Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater’s latest prices on Amazon

Our Top Gas Tankless Water Heater

The best tankless gas water heater will save your utility expenses while providing enough hot water to meet your family’s needs. 

Best Overall: Rinnai RU160iN

Best Value: Eccotemp i12-NG 

Best Portable: Camplux 5L Outdoor Portable Water Heater

Best Gas Tankless Water Heater

Best Overall Gas Tankless Water Heater

Rinnai RU160iN

Rinnai RU160iN Condensing Tankless Hot Water Heater, 9 GPM, Natural Gas, Indoor Installation

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The Rinnai RU160iN gas water heater is among the best tankless water heaters, offering significant power while remaining very energy-efficient. This gas water heater is an excellent option for households seeking an efficient but robust water heater. 

That’s because it is reasonably priced, well-reviewed across many sales platforms, and ENERGY STAR® accredited.

Pros:

  • Excellent flow rate at 9 gallons per minute
  • At only 47 decibels, it is quiet
  • At 0.93 Uniform Energy Factor, it is extremely energy efficient
  • The heat exchanger has a 15-year warranty, a 5-year warranty for parts, and a 1-year labor warranty

Cons:

  • Low BTU at 160,000
  • It is big. The second largest among tankless water heaters

Check the Rinnai RU160iN’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Value Gas Tankless Water Heater

Eccotemp i12-NG Gas Tankless Water Heater

Eccotemp i12-NG Tankless Water Heater

Eccotemp i12-NG Tankless Water Heater installed

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This top tankless water heater has a 3 Gallons Per Minute flow rate, sufficient to run a faucet and a shower simultaneously. It has a consistent temperature rise, with a rise of 35–40° F at 3 Gallons Per Minute and 77°F at a 1.5 GPM flow rate. It is also childproof and has UL-listed child-lock functionality to stop unintended use.

This gas water heater makes installation more manageable because it plugs into a regular wall outlet. It is a fantastic option for mobile homes or houses with 1-2 bedrooms.

Pros:

  • Ideal for mobile homes
  • Easy installation with LED display
  • Energy saving features
  • LED display
  • Child lock safety

Cons:

  • The low flow rate of 3 GPM
  • It’s not durable

Check the Eccotemp i12-NG Gas Tankless Water Heater’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Portable Gas Tankless Water Heater

Camplux 5L Outdoor Portable Water Heater

Camplux 5L 1.32 GPM Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater

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With this model, you can access hot water while off the grid or camping. This water heater that runs on propane is made to deliver 1.32 GPM, which is plenty of hot water for a quick shower or dishwashing.

Even while the Camplux can’t heat sufficient water to supply a whole household, it can be a valuable addition in settings where there are no other hot water options.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Small unit
  • Simple to use
  • Great for camping

Cons:

  • Not suitable for supplying a whole household

Check the Camplux 5L Outdoor Portable Water Heater’s latest prices on Amazon

Final Thoughts

A tankless water heating system is an expensive and significant investment for your household. However, there is no one-size-fits-all option in the electric vs. gas debate. Each household has different needs. Therefore, they should each make their own decisions. We hope this guide will help you make an informed choice that meets your family’s needs.

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