top of page

Tankless Water Heaters vs. Storage Tank
Water Heaters


Category: Water Heater

One unexpected blast of chilly water from your shower is all it takes to realize how luxurious on-demand hot water is. Not only can a broken water heater provide a harsh awakening at home, but it can also slow down facility operations that depend on hot water for tasks like cleaning, sanitizing, and cooking.

The first decision you may have to make is whether to go with the conventional storage tank water heater or switch to a tankless heater when it comes time to replace your old water heater or install one in new construction. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, as with any significant equipment choice.

Tankless Water Heater

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), tankless water heaters are gaining popularity, storage tank water heaters continue to be installed in the majority of new homes in the country. Although they are not new—patent applications for "continuous flow" water heaters were made in the United States in the late 1920s—they are getting more attention now that people are more conscious of their energy use and environmental impact.

Water is not stored with tankless heaters; instead, cold water enters the device and is heated as needed. In two ways, this can save energy:


  • No “standby heat loss,” in which a tank loses heat to a surrounding environment

  • No need to heat gallons of water that aren’t being used

Due to the continuous flow feature, tankless heaters, which can be either gas or electric, also cannot run out of hot water. The supply won't run out after taking a shower, two more showers, and then cleaning the dishes.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

From tiny point-of-use heaters that contain only 6 gallons to large industrial heaters that hold 100 to 120 gallons, storage tank heaters come in a variety of capacities. You may choose the perfect size by being aware of your water usage and usage trends. They are available in gas and electric models, just like tankless heaters.

Unlike tankless heaters that transfer cooler water through the pipes and past the heating element, which can occasionally cause a delay before the continuous feed of hot water comes, water is stored in the tank and kept at a steady temperature, making delivery of hot water nearly immediate.

Considerations When Deciding

Energy efficiency: Depending on the volume of water used, the DOE estimates that tankless water heaters outperform storage tank heaters by 8–34% in terms of energy efficiency. It is possible to somewhat reduce this discrepancy by insulating a heater for a storage tank. Some versions include additional insulation, or you can buy a blanket of insulation to surround your water heater. Make sure the blanket is compatible with the gas or electric storage tank heater you have.

Initial costs: Full-size tankless heaters and storage tanks are both reasonably priced, but gas heaters of both varieties are more expensive than electric. A tankless heater's installation costs, however, can be higher. According to Consumer Reports, upgrading from a storage tank to a tankless water heater may include both a plumbing retrofit and an update to the gas or electric supply.

Long-term costs: While tankless heaters' cost reductions will vary from situation to situation, the lower energy demand will result in appreciably lower utility bills.

According to the DOE, tankless heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years, while storage tank heaters only have a life expectancy of 10-15 years.

Comfort and convenience: If you need to replace a broken water heater urgently—37% of homeowners, according to a poll by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance—the change could be made more quickly if you stick with the same model of heater.

According to the DOE, several, simultaneous hot water requests might strain a tankless heater's capacity and cause hot water delivery to be more unequal when it comes to usage. With regard to a specific flow rate, which is expressed in gallons per minute, tankless heaters contain a "temperature increase" component that indicates how many degrees the tank can heat the water (GPM).

Compared to storage tank heaters, tankless heaters are more compact. Compared to storage tank heaters, which can reach heights of at least 5 feet, full-facility tankless heaters are often less than 2 feet wide and 3 feet high, fitting on a wall. Smaller spaces, such an eye and face wash station, can receive hot water from under-sink electric tankless types because they are even more compact.

Finally, be aware that users of tankless heaters may experience a lack of hot water during a power outage. An electronic control panel is required even for tankless heaters that run on gas.

Interested in a free, over-the-phone price estimate?
In need of an urgent repair?
Contact Ori at 818-612-8772 or email

bottom of page