Conventional or Tankless Water Heater?


Which is better, Conventional vs. Tankless Water Heater

Need a new hot water heater? If you are thinking about replacing your old one, it’s important to do your research. There are two main types of water heater, the conventional and the tankless. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to figure out which of these best fits your needs.

Which is Best?

When it comes to water heaters, there are pros and cons to both types. They differ in how they work to heat your water, in energy efficiency, in cost and in size. Here is a breakdown of each:

Heating Water

A conventional hot water heater will store and preheat anywhere from 30 to 50 gallons of water in its tank. Your home will then use that preheated water whenever someone takes a shower, does laundry, washes the dishes, etc. As you use the water, the tank refills to be reheated again and the cycle continues.

With a tankless hot water heater, a heat source, either electric or gas, warms up cool water as you need it, instead of storing hot water in a tank.

Conventional Hot Water Heater


  • Lower Upfront Costs – It typically costs about half as much to install a conventional hot water heater when compared to a tankless water heater.
  • Easier, and Cheaper to Replace– With a conventional water heater, installation is less complex, so there are fewer things to go wrong. When it comes time to replace one, it is much easier to do.


  • Higher Utility Bills – Since a conventional water heater heats and reheats water at a pre-set temperature regardless of your water needs, it is always filling the tank, and always heating. This causes your electric bills to rise.
  • Take up More Space – These types of water heaters take up more room than a tankless water heater, and they cannot be placed outside (like a tankless one can). You have to have enough space in your home to place one.
  • They Run Out of Hot Water – If you’ve ever had to follow a family member who takes long showers and found yourself out of hot water, that’s the fault of your conventional water heater. While you can avoid this problem by purchasing a larger tank, this will cost you more upfront and on your monthly bills.
  • Shorter Lifespan – A conventional water heater lasts about 10 to 15 years. This is about half the lifespan of a tankless water heater.

Tankless Water Heater


  • Saves You Money Down the Line – says homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily can save as much as 34% on their energy bills when compared to a conventional water heater.
  • Less Space – Tankless water heaters are small and are easier to find a home for, and then can even be placed outside.
  • Lifespan – Typically these water heaters last for over 20 years.
  • Hot Water On Demand – A tankless water heater can provide you with 2 to 3 gallons of hot water per minute, when you need it.


  • Higher Upfront Costs– A tankless hot water heater is more expensive at the onset.
  • Installation is more complicated – A tankless water heater costs more to install because it is tricky.

Which is Best?

A tankless hot water heater can save you about $100 each year, but they do cost more upfront. Those on a limited budget may prefer the conventional hot water heater because upfront costs are much less. Look at the pros and cons and decide which is best for your family. Any Time Plumbing installs all types of water heaters, call today for a free estimate.