When your old hot water heater finally goes out, you are faced with a decision: either stick with a tank-style heater or switch to a modern tankless style. The following can help you make an informed choice on the best route.

Tankless Heater

A tankless heater is sometimes called an on-demand water heater. The water is not heated until you turn on the tap, but the heating process is nearly instantaneous. Small homes may only require one tankless heater, while larger homes or those with multiple floors may require tankless heaters for each zone or floor of the home.


The main benefits of a tankless water heater are that you will rarely have to deal with running out of hot water and the device will last many years. They will also save you on energy costs since the water is only heated when you need it and there is no energy expended to maintain heat in a holding tank. Further, tankless heaters require very little space. They can be installed in a cabinet or in the back of a closet.


The main drawback of tankless heaters is the initial cost. They do usually cost more than a tank heater, but the good news is that this cost will eventually be recouped via energy savings. In households with high hot water demand, you may also need to install multiple tankless heaters to handle the increased load.

Tank Heaters

Most people are accustomed to tank heaters. These store a finite amount of water in a tank. This water is preheated and then stored until you turn on the hot water tap. Once the tank is empty, it takes some time for the incoming cold water to heat back up. You purchase these with tanks of varying sizes so that they can meet your hot water needs.


Cost is the main benefit when it comes to choosing a tank heater, since they can cost quite a bit less compared to a tankless counterpart. You can also purchase a single hot water heater no matter how high your water needs, since the tanks come in a variety of sizes adaptable to nearly any household.


Tank heaters cost more in energy in the long run, and they generally have a shorter service life compared to tankless models. Further, a tank heater takes up a lot of room, especially if you need a large model for a high demand household.

If you are more concerned about convenience and energy usage instead of initial installation cost, a tankless heater may be the better choice. Contact a water heater installation service in your area for more help.