Did you know that a hot water tank could easily account for almost 25% of a family of four’s energy bill? That is more than the air conditioning and other appliances combined.
This is why many Americans are making the switch from a traditional hot water tank to a point of use / on-demand electric tankless water heater.
There are several benefits to using electric tankless water heaters; not the least of which are big monthly electricity savings, cheaper up-front costs as well as ease of installation.
In general, electric tankless water heaters are used under a sink or for single appliance use. If you need a tankless water heater for your whole home, we recommend looking at a gas powered unit. You can find lots of information by checking out our Tankless Water Heater Buying Guide.
If you want to see a detailed breakdown, scroll down to our list of electric tankless water heater reviews.
Electric Tankless Water Heater Comparison Chart
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Electric Tankless Water Heater Reviews
The following units have earned our top reviews of the best electric tankless water heaters in each category.
Our Top Pick: Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus
Stiebel Eltron’s flagship product, the Tempra Plus, has some of the very best electric tankless water heater reviews in the market. With one of the highest GPM flow rates available at 4.0 GPM with the ability to raise the temperature 50F. This is by a wide margin, the best performance you can expect from an electric tankless water heater.
We also love that even though this unit is the most powerful you can find, it is not much more expensive than a unit half its size. And that makes it all the worthwhile when paired with the advanced flow control, which we’ll explain.
The Tempra Plus is one of the only units to also have advanced flow control. You can limit the amount of flow when it’s not required, resulting in even more energy savings. Think of it as Eco Mode for your water heater. For more information on advanced flow control, have a look at this short video:
While this unit is the most powerful you will find in electric tankless, it is not powerful enough to provide hot water to an entire home. We would recommend installing a unit in each room that requires hot water. It is powerful enough to run a shower and a bathroom sink; a washing machine and laundry sink or a dishwasher and a kitchen sink.
The bottom line: If you want the best electric tankless water heater available, and don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, this is the unit for you.
Close Second: EcoSmart ECO
The EcoSmart ECO is a close second among our top electric tankless water heater reviews. The top model (Eco 36) has one of the best GPM flow rates available at an impressive 3.5 GPM with a temperature rise of 40F. While not as powerful as the Tempra Plus, this unit is generally sufficient to provide hot water to an entire room, such as a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room.
If you are looking to power your entire house with the EcoSmart ECO line, you will need to purchase several units, ideally one for each room.
As you’ll see with the rest of the tankless water heaters, both the EcoSmart ECO and the Tempra Plus are in their own class. Their performance is roughly similar and sufficient for any’s room needs. What we prefer about the EcoSmart is the design, it is the clear winner in terms of visual appearance. If you need to place this in a laundry room, it will have an elegant and modern feel even if the water heater is exposed.
If you want an in-depth review of the product, check out this great video that shows how to install it, power consumption, water temperatures and more of the Eco 27 Unit.
The bottom line: If you want a powerful and beautiful electric tankless water heater, this is the unit for you.
Best Value: Rheem RTEX-18
Rheem continues to be an industry leader in hot water heaters, from commercial grade tanks to residential electric tankless. Their top electric model, the Rheem RTEX-18 offers some of the best value in water heating. On top of the peace of mind you get when buying from a company that has been around for decades, you get most of the features available from premium models at a lower price. The premium brands usually cost more, but in electric tankless water heating you can get the big brand for less.
Rheem claims this unit can provide 4.4 GPM of hot water flow, but in real-world tests with cold incoming water, we have found 3.0 – 3.5 GPM is more reasonable to expect. Of course, 3.5 GPM is a sufficient flow rate to power the hot water needs of most any room in the house.
The challenge is that it may take up too much space under a sink. In addition, it isn’t the most visually appealing unit either. But these might not be factors for you, if you have lots of hidden space to place the unit.
The bottom line: If you want good value and a good brand for an affordable price, this unit is for you.
Best Infrared: SioGreen IR8000
If you live in an area with particularly hard water, or you are looking for a water heater for an RV or tiny home, you should consider the SioGreen IR8000.
This electric tankless water heater was made with non-metallic materials, meaning limescale doesn’t build up in the unit. This is one of the only heaters in the market that doesn’t require any maintenance thanks to this innovative technology.
Of course, this tremendous advantage is not without its downside. The SioGreen IR8000 isn’t capable of very high flow rates at a 50F temperature rise. It is definitely best suited in late spring to early autumn or in warm climates that don’t require a high-temperature rise.
Infrared technology in tankless water heating is a relatively new technology and we expect to see improvements over the coming years as the maintenance aspect of going tankless can be an issue for many people.
It is also worth noting that this water heater is visually appealing and looks as high-tech as it is. This water heater is advertised as a whole house electric tankless water heater, but we think you’d be disappointed with a single unit for an entire house.
The bottom line: If you don’t want to bother with annual maintenance and don’t require a lot of power, this unit is for you.
Most Affordable: Bosch Electric Tankless
Rounding out our list of the top electric tankless water heater reviews is the Bosch Electric Tankless. A compact, highly efficient unit that uses very little energy and it is backed by a premium brand.
This could be exactly what you need if you have very modest water heating needs. If you are looking for a simple water heater to install in your summertime cabin or cottage for a small bathroom, this is the perfect water heater. For less than $200, you can enjoy hot water just like at home!
It would also be suitable for providing hot water to a sink. Anything more than that and this will prove to be insufficient. That said, there is no need to spend a lot of money on a water heater if your needs are modest.
The bottom line: If you want a small, simple and affordable water heater for the summertime, this is the perfect unit for you.
What Are Electric Tankless Water Heaters?
Electric tankless water heaters heat water directly. When hot water is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, and the electrical element heats the water. With tankless water heaters, there is a continuous supply of hot water to showers, dishwashers and washing machines.
We love that tankless water heaters don’t produce standby energy losses, as opposed to traditional storage water heaters. This saves you lots of money in the long run!
Benefits of Electric Tankless Water Heaters
● More affordable to install than gas tankless
● Versatile installation: indoor & outdoor
● Additional storage space
● Doesn’t produce greenhouse gases
● Uses less energy
● Lasts longer than tank heaters
● Lower energy bills
● You’ll never run out of hot water
● Could even improve the resale value of your home
- Electric Tankless Water Heater Comparison Chart
- Electric Tankless Water Heater Reviews
- Our Top Pick: Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus
- Close Second: EcoSmart ECO
- Best Value: Rheem RTEX-18
- Best Infrared: SioGreen IR8000
- Most Affordable: Bosch Electric Tankless
- Benefits of Electric Tankless Water Heaters
- ● More affordable to install than gas tankless ● Versatile installation: indoor & outdoor ● Additional storage space ● Doesn’t produce greenhouse gases ● Uses less energy ● Lasts longer than tank heaters ● Lower energy bills ● You’ll never run out of hot water ● Could even improve the resale value of your home
- When to Use a Tankless Electric Water Heater
- When Not to Use a Tankless Electric Water Heater
- Electric Tankless Water Heaters: Buying Considerations
- Tankless Water Heater Installation
- How to Take Care of Your Tankless Electric Water Heater
When to Use a Tankless Electric Water Heater
The two key benefits of moving to this technology are:
1) A huge space saver, and…
2) A huge energy saver.
Here are a few situations where you may find them particularly useful:
A Guesthouse or Pool House
You have a compact space, to begin with. So, everything in these rooms needs to be the miniature version of what you would put inside your home. You probably already have a mini bar fridge, smaller furniture, and most likely a small 2-piece bathroom.
A tankless electric water heater works magically in these spaces, as it gives you access to hot water, without having to give up the equivalent of an entire closet space for a traditional 50-60 gallon water tank.
But, if you add a shower into the mix, you will want a whole house electric tankless water heater. More on that later.
A Cabin, Vacation Home, Lake House or Cottage
Do you have a cozy little retreat that you use over the warmer months? This could be the perfect solution, depending on the amount of family, friends, and guests you expect to stay over.
Your standard tankless electric water heater unit is perfect to keep your sinks and faucets running hot water. However, if you’re looking at showers and bathtubs, you’re going to want to explore whole house electric tankless water heater options.
A lot of vacationers love these units when it comes to close up shop for the season and winterize the home. A traditional water tank takes forever to drain (to prevent freezing), whereas a tankless heater is drained in a few seconds.
When Not to Use a Tankless Electric Water Heater
These are perfect in a lot of situations… But, not all of them. You should definitely keep a tankless water heater’s restrictions in mind in any of the following situations.
Back-to-Back Showers For the Whole Family
Most of the models out there are not really for use to supply hot water for a shower or bathtub. This is particularly true for a family home where multiple people will be taking a shower, often one right after another to get ready in the morning.
Hot water is already a precious enough commodity in the morning and this is asking too much of most of these systems.
Dishwashers and Washing Machines
Next to the shower or bathtub, your dishwasher and washing machine are going to be the biggest drains on the hot water in your home.
If your dishwasher has a heating element built into it, you can likely go tankless for this kitchen. However, if that’s not the case, you could struggle to get the water warm enough and put way too much pressure on the unit.
Meanwhile, some modern front-loading washing machines are built with tankless heaters in mind, so they can operate in a good range of efficiency. However, you need to be absolutely positive that you buy the right unit. Not all modern washers are built this way, even if they’re energy-efficient and boast how little water they use.
Any time you are looking to add appliances into the mix, odds are good you need a whole house electric tankless water heater.
Just to be clear about exactly what we’re talking about here. There are solar water heaters available on the market today and they certainly have their place. But, right now, we’re talking about trying to use a tankless water heater in a solar-powered home
If you have (or you’re building) a solar-powered home, you’re already aware of the fact that you need to be mindful of the usage and efficiency of all your appliances, and how much demand you’re putting on your home’s own little power grid.
As of right now, it’s not really possible to heat the water with a solar thermal panel. So look into other options.
Cold Environments and Climates
If you’re living in a colder or more northern community and pipes freezing are an issue that you have to think about every year, you need to be very careful how and when you use a tankless water heater.
You especially need to think twice about keeping the unit outside or in poorly insulated/ poorly heated rooms.
Electric Tankless Water Heaters: Buying Considerations
There are several factors that need to be considered before you purchase an electric tankless water heater, which we’ve outlined below.
Incoming Water Temperature
Electric water heaters work best when they don’t need to raise the temperature more than 30 F. Even the most powerful units aren’t capable of producing a temperature rise of 50 F with any reasonable flow rate. If you live in the Northern United States or Canada, you may want to consider buying a hot water tank, or opting for a gas powered unit that is capable of a higher temperature rise. If you live in the Southern United States or plan to use the heater during spring and summer months, an electric unit can be the perfect choice.
Flow Rate Needs
Different appliances and faucets require different amounts of water. For example, a bathroom sink will use far less hot water than a washing machine or a dishwasher. Electric tankless water heaters will be rated in terms of their flow rates, and it’s an important factor when deciding which unit to buy. In general, the higher the flow rate, the more expensive the unit and the more electricity it will use.
|Bathroom Sink||0.5 GPM|
|Standard Shower||2.5 GPM|
|Low-Flow Shower||1.5 GPM|
|Washing Machine||1.5 GPM|
|Kitchen Sink||0.5 GPM|
|Laundry Sink||1.0 GPM|
These water heaters come in a variety of sizes, and it’s important that you measure the space you plan to install the unit, before you purchase. In especially tight spaces such as under a kitchen or bathroom sink, you may need to opt for a smaller unit to preserve space.
Most traditional tankless water heaters use metal materials that will build up limescale and require annual maintenance. However, there are newer technologies being used, such as infrared, that build up much less scale and require less maintenance, but for a higher price and generally smaller flow rates. Depending on how hard the incoming water is, you may want to opt for an infrared unit that will require far less maintenance and won’t be likely to break down
Tankless Water Heater Installation
Is this something the average DIYer can tackle? Maybe, but this is a pretty advanced process. Also, gas tankless water heater installation is best left to professionals.
However, electric tankless water heater installation is doable, if you’ve worked with plumbing and electrical systems before. You should also have a strong background in carpentry to frame and box the actual unit.
You will also need access to the following tools and materials:
- Spade drill bits
- A power drill
- Adjustable wrenches
- A screwdriver set
- A torch kit and solder
- A reciprocating saw
- A hand saw
- Black pipe
- Pressure treated lumber
- Metal ducts
- Pipe insulation
Your best bet is to probably watch a few electric tankless water heater installation videos on YouTube or home improvement sites to see the steps and decide if this is something that is truly within your comfort zone.
If not, your best bet is to call in a professional.
How to Take Care of Your Tankless Electric Water Heater
Like any appliance or major purchase for your home, the life you get out of your tankless heater will depend on the TLC and ongoing maintenance you give it over the years.
A well-maintained unit will operate at maximum efficiency over a long period of years. However, a neglected unit will see its interior eroded and clogged with mineral deposits, which will make it work much harder than it should and greatly shorten its lifespan.
Let’s take a look at how to maintain and care for your unit. These steps should be done about once every year, and they are an absolute must if you’re in an area with hard water.
Step 1. Safety First
The first step is to make sure everything can be done safely and turning off the power from the breaker in your fuse box.
Step 2: Close the Valves
Next, you will want to turn off the 3 water valves attached to this unit. You should see:
- The cold water valve (most likely blue)
- The hot water valve (most likely red)
- The main valve that runs the water into your home.
Make sure all 3 are closed.
Step 3: Purge the Pressure
Remove the caps slowly from the purge valves on the cold and hot water valves using the t-shaped handles.
This is why the previous step was so important, because you need to make sure the hot water valve is shut tightly. Ensure that the rubber washers are in place.
Step 4: Attach the Hosing Lines
You might need to check the unit’s manual for specific instructions to do this properly. You might even need a sump pump and connect hoses that will flush the water from the unit using the cold and hot water valves.
If your heater didn’t come with hosing lines, you can buy them at most hardware or plumbing supply stores. Your lines need to be long enough to comfortably extend between your unit and your bucket.
Step 5: Open the Purge Port Valves
Twist them perpendicularly to the cold and hot valves.
Step 6: Use a Safe Cleaner to Flush
This tankless water heater is most likely going to be the source of your family’s water. Make sure you’re not using any toxic or harsh cleaners to clean the pipes within the unit. Consider 2.5 gallons (9.46 liters) of undiluted white vinegar as a safe choice.
Now, follow your manual’s instructions for your unit’s flushing and draining procedure. Allow for this to take up to 45 minutes.
Step 7: Close the Purge Port Valves
Turn the “T”-shaped handles once the flushing process is finished.
Step 8: Disconnect the Hoses
Now remove the hosing lines from your unit’s water valves.
Step 9: Replace the Caps
Put the purge port valve caps back onto the purge valves. Twist them tightly and firmly, without damaging them or the washers.
Step 10: Restart the Unit
Once again, the exact safe procedures and the step-by-step process will vary from model to model. Check your manual to see how to restart yours.
Key Takeaway Here: Never Throw Out Your Manual!!
In many cases, you will rotate and open the cold and hot water valves until they are parallel with the main valve that leads into the house.
Step 11: Get the Air Out
Now, turn on the hot water tap on your taps and fixtures slowly to let the air pass out of the pipe. This could take a few minutes, until you see and hear the water running without any bursts of air pockets.
Buying an electric tankless water heater is a much simpler task than going with a gas powered, whole house electric tankless water heater. Depending on the appliances to be used with the water heater, you will purchase the adequate size for your needs. The main factors are the incoming water temperature (the colder it is, the more power you need) and the flow rates you require.
Despite what all the manufacturers say, there is no electric tankless water heater that can adequately provide hot water to an entire house, especially if you don’t live in the south. We highly recommend that you install a separate water heater in each room that requires hot water.
You can also extend the life of your water heater by purchasing a whole house water filter at the source.
This concludes our 5 top best electric tankless water heaters list! We hope this information helps you make the right choice for your home.
Whatever you choose, it’s no doubt that electric tankless water heaters are a fantastic investment. They provide you with hot water whenever needed while also keeping energy bills down. They are also slimmer than their traditional counterparts, so they require only a tiny bit of storage space. What more can you ask for?
Searching for the top electric tankless water heaters wasn’t easy, but we hope this article made it a little easier for you. All you have to do now is consider the pros versus cons and decide which electric tankless water heater suits your home and your needs.