Best Electric Water Heaters For Your Home (Buying Guide)
Warm water is often touted as the defining mark of civilisation–and after a hot, relaxing shower after a hard day, it’s easy to understand why. But outfitting your home or office with an electric water heater isn’t as straightforward a task as it might seem.
There are myriad features, flow rates, wattages, and installation costs to consider – but today we aim to demystify the marketplace.
Don’t have time to read? Here is our list of the top electric water heater models you can get (There’s one for every price range):
Stiebel Eltron DHB ST (Editor’s Choice)
Below, we review the top-rated electric water heaters, each selected for a different niche and price point. Further down the page, you’ll find our handy buyer’s guide that will equip you with the knowledge you need to conduct informed comparison shopping of your own.
Top recommended water heaters for fast warmth and low bills
Whether you’re installing hot water into a room for the first time or replacing an existing heater, you’ll want to make sure you get the best value for your money. Obviously, the price tag matters, but so will installation, maintenance, and long-term energy efficiency.
Here, we present a selection of the electric water heaters best suited to fit these needs–and many more besides.
Stiebel Eltron have produced exceptional heating solutions since 1924. After nearly a century in the game, their expertise is readily apparent in the DHB ST line of electric water heaters. With four different models on offer (rated at 18 kW, 21 kW, 24 kW, and 27 kW), there’s exceptional value for money to be found for virtually any application.
Indeed, the DHB ST is imminently flexible, and is compact enough for installation anywhere in your home. However, it offers such robust heating capacity, it can easily accommodate multiple tap points. It’s not unusual to see the larger models (like the DHB 24 ST and DHB 27 ST) delivering hot water to both kitchen and bathroom simultaneously!
But it’s not just brute strength that makes Stiebel Eltron’s electric water heater our top pick. The DHB ST offers superior consistency in temperature delivery due to its 2i technology. Essentially, this system consists of a pair of special sensors which:
- Constantly monitor the temperature of water leaving the tap
- Intelligently mix in cold from the mains when temperature spikes–and fire up the heating element when temperatures are insufficient
- Accurately moderate how much power is drawn from the meter so only the bare minimum is used–boosting efficiency up to 20%
The 2i system bases its decisions upon which of the three temperature stages you choose as the baseline: 35°, 45°, or 55°. It’s all electronically controlled, and features smart temperature and pressure cut-offs for safety.
The DHB ST also features flameproof construction, and IP25 waterproofing. It does require professional installation not only for safety, but to validate the 2-year warranty. Robust, all-German workmanship from Stiebel Eltron promises many years of reliable service–even if you’ve got high-calcium water.
In contrast to the do-anything ethos of our top recommendation, the T30i from Triton Showers occupies a definite niche: handwashing. However, it serves its purpose with aplomb–and does so without costing you dearly.
A first glance at the Triton reveals a masterclass in simplicity of form and function. There’s just a single, bold rotary dial which allows you to start and stop the unit, plus set the temperature you desire. The plastic casing is entirely unpretentious, yet sufficiently stylish to blend into any modern bathroom. The 200mm faucet arm swivels where it’s needed, and remains cool enough to the touch.
At 3 kW, the T30i offers a modest flow rate. You can’t really rely on it for showers–but of course you wouldn’t! Its design is firmly geared towards producing warmth for handwashing within cloakroom toilets or building add-ons which aren’t connected to the central water heater. Its power draw is sufficient for the task, yet not so gargantuan that you need special wiring to avoid tripping the fuse box.
We appreciate how well the temperature stabilisation works, given how inexpensive the T30i is. Triton continues to defy expectations by shipping this unit with a generous 1-year warranty covering parts and labour. What’s more, there’s a progressive discount when you buy multiple water heaters, making Triton an excellent choice for property developers.
The Andris Lux Eco from Ariston certainly features the exceptional good looks Italian manufacturers are famous for. Indeed, we love interacting with this sleek LED display, which controls the highly accurate digital thermostat.
But beauty should be more than skin-deep, and there’s a lot to love under the hood of Ariston’s electric water heater. True to its name, the Andris Lux Eco features high-efficiency, ecologically sound poly insulation around its glass-lined titanium inner tank. Indeed, this unit boasts Class A energy efficiency, and will be kind to your electric bill and the planet alike.
Titanium doesn’t just possess superior thermal properties; it’s also highly resistant to corrosion. Throw into the mix an oversized magnesium anode, and you’ve got a system that will effectively stave off scaling from hard water. Consider also Ariston’s unique ABS system: an antibacterial heating cycle that produces clean, microbe-free water.
On offer are three models, rated for 10, 15, and 30L capacity. Be advised, however, that the UK classifies any water heater greater than 15L as a controlled service. Thus, you’ll need to enlist the expertise of a qualified technician for installation, plus notify your Local Authority per G3 buildings regulations. So if you want an ultra-high capacity electric water heater, there is a bit of hustle involved. Nevertheless, the Ariston Andris Lux Eco is definitely worth it.
Making a return to our list of the best electric water heaters is Stiebel Eltron, with their DHC-E series. On offer are two models, rated at 96kW and 120kW. Needless to say, both offer tremendous capacity for instantaneous hot water production, and will serve you well anywhere in the home near a sink or shower.
While there’s really no escaping the need for professional installation, the DHC-E features a simple plumb-in, plumb-out configuration. Thus, the service bill should be relatively minimal, further enhancing the value for money. In the long-term, you’ll also appreciate how little maintenance is required by the simple blank wire heating system–even in highly calcareous water.
But that’s not all that makes the DHC-E a prime pick from Stiebel Eltron’s catalogue. There’s also:
- A unique aerator that allows for an always-perfect flow pattern
- Automatic flow control, for predictable performance
- Full thermostatic control, enabling you to set safe, scald-free maximum operational parameters in any application
- Short heat-up times
- Extremely accurate, consistent temperature
With IP24 waterproofing, you can safely install the DHC-E within Zone 2 or Zone 1 of your bathroom. There’s also an automatic pressure shutoff, so you never risk bursting a pipe with routine usage.
Stiebel Eltron doesn’t cheap out on its components or construction, and this EU-made electric water heater is no exception. As always, there’s a 2-year warranty to guarantee your satisfaction with the DHC-E.
5. ATC Z-XU
Another well-respected brand, ATC offers an incredible mid-range solution in their line of Z-XU water heaters. The three on offer each feature the same 2kW heating element, but present the choice of 5, 10, or 15L tanks to fit your needs.
Even the largest ATC won’t cost you dearly, and is moreover an exceptional pick for anyone who values energy efficient, low-maintenance operation. The Z-XU’s reliability comes from:
- High-density polyurethane foam for superior insulation of the heating tank
- An industrial-grade, seamless bolt-on square flange heating element for enhanced durability and easy replacement
- A generously apportioned magnesium sacrificial anode to prevent tank corrosion
- Dry-power coated porcelain enamel tank lining, which is twice as resistant to corrosion as traditional glass
Additionally, there’s built-in overheat protection to ensure your ATC never exceeds safety parameters.
The Z-XU line deploys readily on the floor or on your wall, as ATC includes the necessary mounting hardware in the box. Be advised the manufacturer recommends 2.8m of piping between the heater and the stop valve to allow for safe expansion. As usual, you’ll need a technician to handle installation, though their job will be made easier with the inclusion of an expansion relief valve and 1m of 3-core electrical cable.
Controlling the ATC Z-XU is also simple, with on/off and temperature selection knobs. The thermostat is highly accurate, and we were well pleased with the consistency of its flow.
Finally, ATC guarantees your purchase with a 2-year warranty. All in all, if you’re looking for a cost-effective water heater for multiple basins, any of the Z-XU series will serve you extremely well.
At this point, it should come as no surprise that we’ve got yet another recommendation to give Stiebel Eltron. This time, we present their DHM mini instantaneous water heaters. Whereas the larger units are intended to serve multiple basins, this line should be reserved for cloakrooms, workshops, and the like.
Indeed, even the largest of these is just 14.3 x 19 x 8.2cm. It has wide compatibility with standard pressurised and unpressurised taps, and its size makes it fully suited to under-sink installation.
Unique amongst the other produces on our list of the best electric water heaters it the absence of thermostatic control. Stiebel Eltron eschews variability for consistency with the DHM, and its 3.5kW heating element will reliably increase the temperature of what comes from your cold mains by 25.5°.
The DHM’s instantaneous heat comes from a bare wire heating element, which is appropriately fast in its task, and extremely simple to maintain. We love that signature Stiebel Eltron flow, which is regulated by a special aerator for perfect consistency.
There are four models: DHM3, DHM4, DHM5, and DHM6. They are rated from 2.0-3.7L/min, and thanks to exceptional German engineering, these are numbers you can count on. Buy in confidence with Stiebel Eltron’s sterling 2-year warranty.
Last, but certainly not least within its niche is the Seville from Triton Showers. Whereas our other recommendations have primarily been for supplying basins or multi-functionality, the Seville is decidedly a shower heater–and a great one at that.
This review covers three models from Triton Showers, rated at 7.5kW, 9.5kW, and 10.5kW. This range allows you to tailor your purchase to fit your budget and need for hot water. However, in this case we tend to believe more is better. Sure, instantaneous water heaters don’t ever “run out” of hot water; but higher wattages will allow you to more rapidly bring the coldest water up to a comfy steam in no time. Thus, we most wholeheartedly recommend the 10.5kW model.
Beyond just the power rating, there’s plenty to appreciate with the Seville. A dead-simple control scheme includes two dials: one for selecting Cold, Eco, or High mode; another for dialling in the right temperature.
The shower head itself is well-provisioned as well, including:
- 5 different spray patterns, from wide and gentle to a robust jet (and everything in between)
- No-tangle, flexible 1.25m chrome hose
- Sturdy, 530mm riser rail, with all necessary mounting hardware
- Easy-to-clean shower head
- Plastic soap dish
The Seville’s plastic construction is plenty durable, with its IPX4 rating suitably safe for placement directly inside the shower. Yes, you’ll still need professional installation, but it’ll be an easy and cheap job.
Overall, Triton Showers offers incredible value for money, and guarantees your purchase with a 2-year warranty on parts and labour.
How to find your electric water heater
So long as you know what you’re looking for, you can be confident buying any of our recommended water heaters that fit the task. However, sometimes you don’t know precisely what you need, and comparison shopping can become rather overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve compiled this short buyer’s guide to help you assess what’s available on the market, and compare those feature sets with your personal needs.
Understanding tank storage vs tankless water heaters
There are two primary types of water heaters you’re most likely to come across in your comparison shopping: tank storage, and tankless heaters. Obviously, one has a tank while the other doesn’t. But do you know the significance of that difference?
It boils down to a few factors:
A traditional tank storage heater has a definite amount of water it can dispense, while a tankless heater can, in theory, provide continuous heat. Warm water from a tank tends to be extremely consistent–until it suddenly runs out.
Tankless heaters, on the other hand, will have to work harder if the mains are very cold. If you’ve picked an underpowered tankless heater, you’ll find it serves you better some months better than others.
Picking the right size tank or selecting enough wattage is critical to getting the best usage out of either style heater. Correctly outfitted, you’ll be happy with either.
If you tend to use around 150L or less of water per day, the tankless heater wins the efficiency contest hands down. This is because it only heats water as you need it, rather than expending energy to keep a reserve tank hot all day. Once again, though, the temperature of the water in the mains is a mitigating factor in how efficient your tankless heater is. If you live in a particularly cold climate, you can expect your electric water heater to work a good bit harder to reach par.
That said, tank storage heaters typically use natural gas, which is itself a clean, efficient fuel source. If you use a lot of water per day and have an adequately large tank, you might actually see lower bills with the tank storage heater. It is, however, paramount to get a well-insulated tank, as cold weather will increase the amount of fuel consumed to reach the preset temperature. What’s more, your tank may wait on standby all day, and you don’t want it bleeding heat due to poor insulation.
For most people, a tankless heater is the best ticket to long-term savings.
Purchase, installation, and maintenance costs
Typically speaking, tankless heaters are more technologically advanced than their traditional, tank-fed counterparts. Thus, they boast higher price tags for equivalent performance. Tankless are also more difficult to maintain and repair, as they require specialist parts and labour.
So, this is an easy win for tank storage heaters right? Not so fast…
Tank storage heaters are extremely bulky, and can use any combination of gas and/or electric fuel sources. Thus, the cost of installation can often equal the purchase price of the heater itself! However, tank storage systems are mechanically simple to maintain. You’ll need to periodically replace the sacrificial anode, and more occasionally the heating element–and that’s pretty much it.
That said, tankless heaters typically last up to a decade longer than tank storage systems. Even when you factor in the extra costs of converting from a tank storage to a tankless system, the latter will generally win out on overall savings in the long term. If you can bear the upfront cost, go with tankless.
While the tankless vs tank storage debate is a meaningful one, it’s not the only factor that should inform your shopping. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:
It might sound daft, but some heaters withstand water and moisture far better than others. After all, electronics and water are a poor combination without proper hydroelectric insulation, and rusty components can lead to decreased performance or even danger.
Always look for the IP rating, which denotes how well a device can keep out both solid debris and water droplets. You’ll see two numerical digits after “IP”, like IP22 or IP04. The first of these refers to the ability to keep out solid, dry matter, like dust, dirt, and even fingers.
The second of these numbers is far more important, but we’ll keep it simple: all electric water heaters should have at least an IPX4 rating. 4 is the level where it withstands splashes coming from any direction, while 5 and up can resist concentrated sprays of various intensities.
One should hope that IPX4 is the default for any water heater, but you’d be surprised. Always keep an eye out for this!
Flow rates and capacities
You’ll often see water heaters rated for a certain number of litres–and the numbers can vary wildly from 1 or 2 litres up to 30 or even 50 litres! Even tankless heaters seem to have some sort of capacity, what gives?
Allow us to clear it up:
- Storage tank heaters simply refer to how much water they can hold, heat, and dispense at once.
- Tankless heaters refer to how many litres of water they can raise up to a specific temperature, per minute.
So, being able to dispense 50L of water out of a tank is a very different indicator of performance to a tankless heater being able to produce 3L of water raised up to 40° per minute. Comparing two directly is meaningless, even though they are often advertised using the same units.
Extras in the box
Everyone loves freebies, but some of the things manufacturers pre-package with their heaters can genuinely save you a lot of money. Among these are pressure relief valves, tundish valves, piping, faucets/shower heads, and even the copper cable needed to wire up your electric water heater. They’re not terribly expensive to buy yourself, but your technician may upcharge you if they’re not to hand when they’ve come for an installation.
Just pay attention to what is needed, and what is (and isn’t) included with your purchase.
Hot Water Heater: Wrapping up
There are as many types of electric water heaters as there are applications for them–and then some. You may need a miniature, oversink water heater for your workshop or cloakroom; or you may need something much larger to supply hot water to multiple rooms throughout the house simultaneously.
Whatever the case, we’ve reviewed a few of the best water heaters for any application. We’ve also given you some tips we hope will prove helpful in informing your own comparison shopping beyond this article.
What do you think of our recommended electric water heaters? Do you have any advice for your fellow readers on what to consider before buying one? Let us know in a comment below!