Traditional Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

Traditional Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater


We recently informed you about the warning signs that your water heater is about to fail. So if you’re in the market for a replacement, you have some options. Two of the most common types are the traditional water heater, that most of us are familiar with, and a tankless one. To help you narrow down your search, here are the pros and cons to both:

Traditional Water Heater: A traditional water heater stores and preheats 30-50 gallons of water in a tank. That preheated water is used whenever someone showers, does the laundry or washes dishes. The tank then refills to be reheated once again.



  • Lower initial cost:  A traditional water heater installation can be half as much as a tankless water heater.

  • Easy and less expensive to replace:  Less installation complications means that there’s less that can go wrong.


  • Higher utility bill: Since these types of water heaters heat and reheat water at a pre-set temperature regardless of your water needs, your utility bill is typically higher.

  • They’re bigger: Traditional water heaters occupy more room and can not be placed outside.

  • Shorter lifespan: Traditional water heaters usually last between 10-15 years. Since there is more turnover, you need to buy them twice as often as a tankless one.

Tankless Water Heater: A tankless water heater uses a heat source to warm up cool water on-demand whenever you need it.


  • Saves money in the long run: For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, tankless water heaters can be 24-34% more energy efficient than traditional ones, according to

  • Easier storage: Tankless units are small and have more options for installation places.

  • Longer life: Typically a tankless water heater lasts up to 20 years, which is nearly double the time of a traditional one.

  • Hot water on demand: Two to three gallons of hot water is provided on demand with these water heaters.


  • Higher initial cost: These units cost more to purchase, as well as more to be  installed. Retrofitting adds to the installation cost, making this more of an initial investment than a traditional water heater.

Deciding on which unit is best for you is a personal decision that depends on your lifestyle, water usage and budget. If you find that you are in need of a water heater repair or replacement, turn to the professionals at A.B. May.