Water Heater Showdown: Tank vs. Tankless

Ah, the joys of hot water! We often take it for granted until our water heater throws in the towel. When it’s time to replace that old, inefficient water heater, you’re faced with a big decision: tank or tankless? Read on as we break down the pros and cons of both options, helping you make an informed choice for your home and family’s hot water needs. 

The Tank Water Heater

Let’s start with the classic—the tank water heater. This appliance has been a staple in homes for decades. Here’s what you need to know. 


  • Cost-Effective: Tank water heaters are generally more affordable upfront than tankless, making them an attractive choice for budget-conscious homeowners.
  • Easy Installation: If you’re replacing an old tank water heater, installing a new one is often straightforward and usually fits into the same space and uses the same connections.
  • Reliable: Tank water heaters are known for their durability and longevity when properly maintained.
  • Gas or Electric: Get the right fit for your home’s needs with both gas and electric models available. In general, an electric water heater will have a lower purchase price, but a gas system will heat water much faster. 


  • Limited Efficiency: These systems constantly heat and reheat water in the tank, even when you‘re not using hot water. This results in energy waste and higher utility bills. 
  • Limited Hot Water: Once the tank runs out of hot water, you’ll need to wait for it to heat up again, which can be frustrating during peak usage times. 
  • Space Requirements: Tank water heaters take up valuable space in your home, and if you need more hot water for your household, you’ll need a larger tank, which can be a space challenge. 

The Tankless Water Heater

Now, let’s take a look at the more tech-savvy option—the tankless water heater.


  • Energy Efficiency: Tankless water heaters heat water on demand, which means they only use energy when you need hot water. This leads to energy savings and a lower utility bill!
  • Unlimited Hot Water: Say goodbye to cold showers! Tankless heaters provide a continuous hot water supply, ideal for households with high hot water demands. 
  • Space-Saving: Tankless water heaters are compact and can be installed in smaller spaces, freeing up room in your home. 
  • Longevity: When properly maintained, a tankless water heater can last 15-20 years or more, while a tank water heater’s lifespan averages 8-12 years.
  • Gas or Electric: Tankless water heaters also come in gas or electric models to ensure a perfect fit for all home needs. Electric units are, on average, more energy efficient, while gas water heaters tend to be more cost-efficient due to lower costs of natural gas and propane. 


  • Higher Initial Cost: Energy Star-certified tankless water heaters can be pricier to purchase and install, but they may pay for themselves over time through energy savings. 
  • Installation Complexity: Installing a tankless water heater may require changes to your home’s gas or electrical systems, which could increase installation costs. 
  • Maintenance: While they have a longer lifespan, tankless heaters may require periodic maintenance to prevent scaling and other issues. 

Choosing the Right Size

Now that you understand the differences between a tank and tankless water heater, what size is right for you? There are a few key things to consider:

  • Number of people in home
  • Daily hot water usage
  • Types of household appliances
  • Local plumbing codes

Learn more in this episode of Goettl Homeowner Tips on YouTube.

Choosing between a tank and tankless water heater depends on your specific needs and budget. If you prioritize lower upfront costs and have space to spare, a tank water heater might be a suitable choice. However, if energy efficiency, unlimited hot water, and saving space are your priorities, then a tankless water heater is the way to go. 

Water (heater) you waiting for?

Ready to upgrade your water heater? Contact Goettl today for expert advice and professional installation services. Make the switch to a more efficient and reliable hot water system. 


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