Water Heaters – Choosing Between Tankless And Traditional

Are you looking for a new water heater but not sure where to start?

The first thing you need to know is that water heaters fall under two main types: traditional water heaters and tankless water heaters.

 To help make your purchasing decision easier, we’ve put together this water heater buyer’s guide so that you will:

  • Understand the differences between tankless and traditional water heaters
  • Learn the pros and cons of each
  • Know which one is perfect for your needs

What’s the difference between tankless and traditional?

Tankless water heaters warm up cool water on-demand via a heat source (either electric or gas) rather than storing hot water in a tank.

Traditional water heaters use a tank to store and pre-heat 30-50 gallons of water to be used whenever someone showers, does the laundry, or washes the dishes. The tank then refills with water from its source and the cycle continues.

Pros and cons of tankless water heaters


  • Saves energy. According to Energy.gov, “For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.”
  • Compact and versatile. They are small and can be put anywhere—even outside on a wall.
  • Long life. Lasts 20+ years. That’s up to double a traditional water heater’s life.
  • Reliable. Provides two to three gallons of hot water per minute on demand.


  • High product cost. Can cost much more to purchase than traditional water heaters.
  • Expensive installation cost. If you are replacing a traditional water heater, the retrofit to install a tankless can add to the purchase cost. 

Pros and cons of traditional water heaters


  • Low cost to buy and install. Cost is much less than tankless water heaters and installation is simpler.
  • Inexpensive and easy to replace.


  • Higher utility bill. They heat and re-heat water at a pre-set temperature whether you need the water or not. This increases your utility bill.
  • Big and harder to place. They occupy more room and can’t be placed outside.
  • Less reliable. You can run out of hot water, which is a pain for those who get in the shower last. This can be avoided by purchasing a larger tank.
  • Short life. Lasts 10-15 years.

Which one is right for me?

It all depends on your water usage and lifestyle situation. 

Tankless water heaters can save you about $100 annually. Therefore, if you can handle the upfront costs, you can save more money in the long run.

However, if you have a traditional water heater, and are on a limited income and need a quick replacement, then the less expensive water heater tank is your best bet.


Need a new water heater for your Florida home?

Schedule a free estimate with Plumbing Today, and we’ll help you select the water heater that’s within your budget and meets your home’s specific needs. View our service area in Florida.

Posted in: Buyer's Guide

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