Tankless Water Heater vs. Standard Tank Water Heater: What’s Best for You?

Open faucet fills the sink with hot water and steam.

When it comes to choosing a water heater for your home, you have two primary options: tankless water heaters and standard tank water heaters. Each type of water heater has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them can have a significant impact on your energy bills, hot water supply, and overall comfort. Explore the key differences between tankless and standard tank water heaters so that you can make an informed decision when it’s time to upgrade.

The Difference Between Tank and Tankless Water Heaters

Before diving into the specifics, let’s clarify the fundamental distinction between these two types of water heaters.

Tank water heaters, also known as storage water heaters, operate by heating and storing a specific volume of water in a tank. They come in various sizes, typically ranging from 20 to 80 gallons, depending on the household’s hot water needs. Tank water heaters use electricity, natural gas, or propane to heat the water inside the tank. Once the hot water in the tank is used, there is a waiting period for the tank to reheat and provide more hot water.

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, heat water only when needed. They do not have a storage tank and instead, heat water directly as it flows through the unit. Tankless water heaters are available in electric or gas-powered versions. They provide hot water continuously and on demand, eliminating the need for storage and reducing standby heat loss. 

Now that we understand the basic concept behind both types of water heaters, let’s delve deeper into the key factors that differentiate them.

Efficiency and Energy Savings

One of the most significant advantages of tankless water heaters is their efficiency and energy savings:

Tank Water Heaters

  • Tank water heaters maintain a constant temperature in the tank, leading to standby heat loss. This means they continuously consume energy to keep the water hot, even when you’re not using it.
  • Energy consumption varies depending on the insulation and efficiency of the tank, but overall, tank water heaters tend to be less energy-efficient.

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Tankless water heaters only heat water when there is a demand for hot water. As a result, they have minimal standby heat loss, making them highly energy-efficient.
  • Tankless models can be up to 30% more energy-efficient than tank water heaters, leading to substantial long-term energy savings.

Installation and Operating Cost

The cost of installation and operation is another critical factor to consider when comparing these two types of water heaters:

Tank Water Heaters

  • Tank water heaters typically have lower upfront installation costs because they are more common and straightforward to install.
  • Operating costs may be higher due to continuous energy consumption and heat loss.

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Tankless water heaters have a higher upfront cost due to the complexity of the unit and installation.
  • However, the long-term energy savings can offset the initial investment, resulting in lower overall operating costs.

Hot Water Supply

The availability of hot water can greatly influence your choice of water heater:

Tank Water Heaters

  • Tank water heaters provide a finite amount of hot water based on the tank’s size. Once the hot water is depleted, there is a waiting period for the tank to reheat more water.
  • Homes with high hot water demand may experience shortages during peak usage times.

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Tankless water heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water as long as there is a demand. 
  • They are ideal for households with varying hot water needs or high demand.


The lifespan of your water heater is an essential consideration for long-term cost-effectiveness:

Tank Water Heaters

  • Tank water heaters typically have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
  • Over time, sediment buildup can reduce their efficiency and lead to maintenance issues.

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan, often exceeding 20 years.
  • They are less prone to corrosion and sediment buildup, which can extend their operational life.

Which Water Heater Is Right for You?

Choosing between a tankless water heater and a standard tank water heater depends on your specific needs and circumstances. If you prioritize on-demand hot water, energy efficiency, and can invest more upfront, a tankless water heater may be the better choice. It provides continuous hot water and significantly lower standby energy consumption, resulting in potential long-term cost savings.

On the other hand, if you have budget constraints, a smaller household, or can tolerate occasional hot water shortages, a tank water heater may suffice. They are generally more budget-friendly initially and straightforward to install. Your decision should align with your hot water usage, available space, and long-term goals. 

Consulting with a professional plumber or HVAC technician can provide valuable insights and help you make the best choice for your home’s hot water needs, whether you opt for the energy-efficient tankless model or the budget-friendly tank water heater.

Enjoy Hot Water on Demand With RR Electric

When it comes to choosing the perfect water heater for your home, the experts at RR Electric are here to guide you every step of the way. We understand that every household is unique, and our wide range of water heaters includes both standard tank and tankless water heaters for installation in Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, and the surrounding areas. 

Whether you prioritize energy efficiency, on-demand hot water, or budget-conscious solutions, our experienced team can help you make an informed decision. With RR Electric, you can count on receiving expert advice, professional installation, and reliable hot water solutions that are tailored to your specific requirements.

Your comfort and satisfaction are our top priorities, so let us assist you in finding the ideal water heater for your home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your water heater installation