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Tank vs. Tankless Water Heater: Which is Best?

Installing a new water heater and wondering whether a tank or a tankless water heater is the best option for your home?

We wish there was one, simple answer to this question, but whether a tank or a tankless water heater is best for your home really depends on your personal preferences and hot water usage.

To help you determine which type of water heater is best for your home, we’ll compare tank and tankless water heaters in regards to:

After walking through these key considerations, we hope you have a better idea of whether a tank or a tankless water heater is the best option for your home.

Need help from a professional?

If you’d prefer to have a professional assess your home and hot water usage to determine which type of water heater is best for you, we’d be happy to help.

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Consideration #1: Price

On average, tankless water heater heaters are more expensive to install than tank water heaters are.

However, tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than tank water heaters are, so although they are more expensive upfront, they can save you money in the long run.

According to Energy.gov, tankless water heaters can be 24-34% more energy efficient for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily. Over the lifespan of a water heater, increased energy-efficiency can add up to a significant amount of savings.

Consideration #2: Longevity

Typically, tankless water heaters last longer than tank water heaters do.

Tankless water heaters typically last between 15-20 years, whereas tank water heaters usually last about 10-15 years.

This is largely due to the fact that tankless water heaters only “turn on” when you need hot water, whereas tank water heaters keep a tank full of water constantly heated and ready for when you need it.

Essentially, the internal parts of a tank water are used constantly, which means they usually wear out faster than tankless parts do, decreasing the overall lifespan of the water heater.

Consideration #3: Size

Tankless water heaters take up significantly less space than tank water heaters do.

This is because tank water heaters actually hold 30-80 gallons of water, whereas tankless water heaters simply heat water as it passes through the heater.

Most homes are built with a water closet or some other space to host a tank water heater, but if you have limited space in your home or just want a smaller water heater, a tankless water heater is a better option.

Note: Gas tankless water heaters are much larger than electric tankless water heaters, so you will need a decent amount of wall-mounting space if you are thinking of installing a gas tankless water heater.

Consideration #4: Amount of hot water

Tankless water heaters provide a never ending supply of hot water whereas tank water heaters run out of hot water after x-amount of gallons.

However, tank water heaters can supply hot water to an unlimited number of hot water appliances at once, where tankless water heaters are limited to one or two appliances at a time.


Because tankless water heaters heat water on demand, they can only heat so much water at one time, which makes them unable to supply a lot of hot water at once.

Tank water heaters preheat 30-80 gallons of water at one time, so you could call for hot water at every single appliance in your home and your tank water heater could supply hot water. However, that hot water will run out after you’ve used the number of gallons in your tank.

So, it all comes down to preference.

If you’d prefer to be able to run a shower for an hour without losing hot water, a tankless water heater is the better option for you.

However, if you’d prefer to be able to run the dishwasher, washer and shower at the same time, a tank water heater is a better option.

Note: If you are set on a tankless water heater but want to be able to use multiple large appliances at once, you can install one whole-home tankless water heater and a few point-of-use tankless heaters. Point-of-use heaters are installed to provide hot water to one appliance (usually an appliance that uses a lot of hot water, like a washer). This way you get the benefits of a tankless water heater and are still able to use multiple hot water appliances at once.

Ready to install a new water heater? Hire techs who can tackle anything: Michael & Son!

Whether you think a tank or tankless water heater is the best option for you (or you’re still on the fence about it), we’re here to help. Our highly-trained techs will provide you with expert recommendations and can handle any installation with no problem.

This blog was written on Jan 13, 2021. Any pricing information is subject to change.