Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heaters

Published On: April 27, 2015Categories: PlumbingTags: ,

Woman in the shower

Need a new water heater?  The first thing to decide is if you’re going to consider a tankless water heater instead of a traditional tank water heater.  Both types have their strengths and weaknesses.  This article will explore the pros and cons of each type.

What are the differences between traditional water heaters and tankless water heaters?

First of all, it’s important to understand how each type of water heater works.

Tankless water heaters (aka on demand water heaters) uses gas or electricity to heat cold water on-demand, whenever you need it, rather than heating and storing water in a tank.

Tank water heaters preheat gallons of water (typically 30-50 gallons, depending on the size of the tank) and store it in the tank.  The preheated water is used whenever someone in your family washes dishes, does laundry, or showers or bathes.  When the stored hot water has been used, the tank refills and is heated once more.

Pros and cons

Let’s examine the pros and cons of tankless vs. traditional water heaters.

Tankless water heaters


  • Doesn’t take up a lot of space: Tankless water heaters come in different sizes according to your particular needs, but all of them are smaller than traditional water heaters.  They can be installed almost anywhere, including small crawl spaces, attics, and even on an outside wall.
  • Longer lasting: They have a longer lifespan than traditional water heaters – nearly twice as long.
  • On-demand hot water: This is the number one reason many people choose tankless water heaters.
  • More energy efficient: Up to 40% more energy efficient, saving you money in the long run.


  • High upfront cost: Tankless water heaters come with a higher price tag than traditional tank models.  Homeowners can inspect to pay from $2800 to $4500 for tankless water heaters (including installation).

Traditional tank water heaters


  • Lower initial cost: Traditional water heaters are less expensive than tankless water heaters.
  • Easy to replace: Tank water heaters are easy to purchase and easy to install.


  • Bigger size, less installation flexibility: Their larger size limits where they can be installed.
  • Shorter lifespan: Expect to replace your traditional water tank every 10-15 years.
  • Run out of hot water: Once all the water stored in the tank has been used, it takes a while for the tank to heat, fill, and store water.  And, no one likes a cold shower.
  • Higher utility bills: Because they are less efficient than tankless water heaters, your utility bills will be higher.

Lots to consider, but we can help out with that.  We stock both traditional tank models and tankless models and can help recommend the best choice for your family.


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