For many years, the only real option for residential water heaters was the tank variety. These systems use large storage tanks to keep a large supply of hot water ready at all times. With the advent of tankless water heaters, though, homeowners have started asking us which water heater type is objectively “better.” The truth is that the type of water heater that will serve you best will depend on your individual situation. However, we can still go over the general pros and cons of each water heater type.
Tank Water Heaters
Tank water heaters operate almost constantly to maintain a standing supply of hot water. This makes them very convenient, as there is very little delay between when you open a hot water faucet and when hot water is made available. It also makes tank water heaters much more difficult to overwhelm with demand, as there is a lot of hot water on hand. However, the constant operation to keep a supply of warm water on hand ends up making the system waste a lot of energy. The storage tank can also take up quite a bit of space, depending on the model.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters are water heaters that don’t store water. Instead, a tankless water heater runs water through a heat exchanger to heat it on the way to its destination. Tankless water heaters only activate when they are needed, and turn off as soon as there is no more demand. This makes them quite a bit more energy efficient than tank water heaters. They also don’t have the space requirements that tank water heaters do, since they don’t have storage tanks. However, they are easier to overwhelm if there’s too much demand on them, since there’s no large supply of hot water to fall back on.