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tank vs tankless water heater

Tank vs Tankless Water Heater: Pros and Cons

We use hot water for a number of things, including laundry, dishwashers, and showers. Hot water is especially useful during the cold season for nice warm showers – no one wants an ice-cold shower in the middle of winter! 

Depending on your needs, there are several types of water heaters to choose from. However, tank water heaters and tankless water heaters are by far the most popular. Homeowners often choose one of the two to ensure they have a reliable amount of hot water.

While they are both efficient, when choosing between a tank vs a tankless water heater, there are some pros and cons worth noting. Keep reading to learn more about each type. 

What is a tank water heater?

A tank water heater, also called a storage water heater, is one of the best ways to heat water in your home. It delivers instant hot water by maximizing your water heating capacity.

If you opt for a storage water heater, you’ll need an energy source. Some of the most common energy sources include electricity, propane, oil, or natural gas. There’s also the option of using solar power to heat your water.

A standard tank water heater can hold up to 80 gallons of water. The tank needs to be full before it can begin heating the water. Next after the hot water is turned on, it’s released from the holding tank.

As the hot water is used, cold water flows from the bottom and refills the storage tank. Unfortunately, if you don’t use up the hot water in the tank, it cools down. This is known as standby heat loss.

What is a tankless water heater?

Another way to have hot water in your home is by installing a tankless water heater. This type of water heater delivers hot water on demand. There’s no storage for hot water, so you get it when you turn on the heater.

Tankless water heaters can heat up to five gallons at a time and are typically fuelled by electricity, natural gas, or propane. When choosing a tank vs a tankless water heater, most homeowners prefer the tankless water heater since it’s more efficient and reliable. 

Another benefit is that you don’t waste energy from standby heat loss as water is only heated as needed. However, waiting for the water to heat up can be annoying when you want to use hot water for multiple things at once.

Tank water heater pros and cons

When comparing a tank vs a tankless water heater, weighing the pros and cons of each makes the comparison a bit easier. We’ve outlined the pros and cons of each to help you decide. 


1. Easy to install and repair

A storage water heater is an easy device to install in your home. You might need to hire an expert to do the job, but the entire set-up doesn’t take long. When they’re done, you can start using the hot water almost immediately. 

Also, when it comes to repairs and replacements, fixing tank water heaters is a fairly simple process. 

2. Different sizes

Tank water heaters can hold between 20 to 80 gallons of water and you can choose the capacity that best suits your home. Contact one of our professional technicians to help you determine which size will best suit your home’s hot water needs. 

3. Affordable

One main reason why homeowners prefer to have tank water heaters in their homes is affordability – this system won’t cost you a fortune!

On average, tank water heaters cost around $300 to $2,880. Plus, the installation and maintenance costs aren’t super expensive either.  


1. Standby heat loss

A storage water heater holds hot water in place until you need it. If you don’t use up all the hot water, it loses heat, and you end up with cold water. When this happens, you will have to reheat the water which can negatively affect your energy bill.

2. Takes up space

Storage water heaters, even the smaller sized ones, tend to be bulky and cumbersome. If your home is small or low on space it may not be the best system for you.  

3. High energy consumption

A tank water heater needs an energy source to heat water. If you don’t perform regular maintenance on this heating system, it can lead to high energy consumption. As a result, you end up paying more to have hot water for your home.

Tankless water heater pros and cons


1. Sufficient hot water supply

The availability of hot water round-the-clock is a major difference between tank and tankless water heaters. Unlike a tank storage heater, a tankless water heater delivers hot water to your home on demand.

You simply flip a switch and the hot water runs out of the tap. This is an excellent system, especially in winter when the demand for hot water is high.

2. Good for small spaces

While tank water heaters have their advantages, tankless water heaters are better suited for smaller spaces. With this type of heater you can avoid having to store a bulky storage tank.

3. More energy efficient

With rising energy costs, energy efficiency has become a popular topic in recent years. 

According to the US Department of Energy, a tankless water heater is almost 34% more energy efficient than a tank water heater. The efficiency is best seen if your household uses over 41 gallons of hot water a day. (For reference, the average US household uses over three times that amount)  


1. Can be costly 

The cost of a tankless water heater vs a tank heater is another important comparison point to consider when making your purchase decision. Buying and installing a tankless water heater can be expensive. Depending on the model, a tankless water heater can average $500 to $2000 per unit. This doesn’t include installation, which can cost up to $2500. 

2. Affected by power outages

If power outages are common in your area, the tankless water heater may not work well for your home. Electric and gas water heaters need electricity to supply hot water to your home. Power outages may result in no hot water or no water at all. 

Which is better: A tank or tankless water heater?

So which one should you pick: a tankless or tank water heater system? 

Both tank and tankless water heaters are reliable. However, be sure to note all the pros and cons of each before making your decision.

A tankless water heater can be a good option since it’s energy efficient and delivers hot water whenever you need it. However, you might want to use a storage water heater if you live in a region with frequent power outages. It’s easy to keep using the hot water in the tank even when the lights go off.


If you need help making a decision for your home water system, the professionals at Plumb-Tech are here to help.  
Schedule an appointment with a technician today.

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