Tank vs Tankless Water Heaters

Water heaters are an essential element in every home. We rely on water heaters to heat our water for almost every water function – cooking, cleaning, bathing, showering, laundry, etc. For years, the primary type of water heater used was the traditional standing tank water heater.

In more recent years, tankless water heaters have become very prominent as a sufficient water heater option. So the question is, which type of water heater should you get in your home? Go with the standard traditional water heater or make the change to a tankless water heater?

Differences Between Tank vs Tankless Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters and tankless water heaters essentially perform the same function – heating your water. However, they perform the function in different manners, and each has its own positive and negative attributes.

Let’s break it down by each type of water heater.

Traditional Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters can be operated through either electricity or gas power. The traditional water heater is designed with a holding tank. The tank is filled with water, which is heated and stored in the tank.

When you use hot water, it comes already heated from the tank, and the tank then refills and heats as the water is used. You can adjust the temperature of the water in the tank, and the tank becomes pressurized to prevent it from exploding.

Traditional tanks can hold anywhere from 20-80 gallons of water. Obviously, you can run out of hot water and have to wait for it to replenish and reheat. However, the water in the tank remains constantly heated through its power source, which means it is constantly using power. The biggest con to traditional tank water heaters is they can rust or corrode and leak water everywhere.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters heat water on an as-needed basis rather than storing large sums of water. When hot water is called for from your water source or faucet, it runs directly through the tankless heater to be heated as it travels to the faucet.

This means that when you’re using hot water, you essentially won’t run out of hot water, and you don’t have to wait for a tank to refill and heat either. You can maintain a constant flow of hot water. With a tankless water heater system, you can install multiple water heaters if necessary.

Tankless water heaters can often be more energy-efficient because they are not using constant power to heat or keep stored water heated. They use power only when you need hot water. However, tankless water heaters are more expensive to initially purchase and install. Tankless heaters also tend to last longer than traditional water heaters.


Which type of water heater you use is up to your preferences and budget. Both types have their own pros and cons. The biggest challenge to a tankless water heater is installation location and potential plumbing and electrical work for installation.

As you determine which will work best for you, consider your uses, your ability to invest money and space, and what you specifically want to achieve with your water heater.

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