So the old water heater broke and you are trying to decide on a new water heater.  There are two different types from which to choose. This article explains the differences between the traditional water heater and the tankless water heater, along with the pros and cons of each.

The Traditional Water Heater

This type of water heater can store and preheat between thirty to fifty gallons of water per tank. The preheated water is used whenever hot water is needed such as for washing dishes, taking a shower or doing the laundry. The Traditional Water Heater then refills itself to be heated once again.


  1. One of the biggest pros about the traditional water heater is that the initial installation is about half of that for a tankless water heater.
  2. The traditional water heater offers easier and less expensive replacement installation.


  1. One of the cons regarding the traditional water heater is that the heating is pre-set, no matter what your heating needs are. This leads to a higher utility bill, particularly during the winter months.
  2. The traditional water cannot be placed outside and occupies more space than the tankless water heater.
  3. Depending upon the size of your tank, the traditional water heater can run out of hot water faster than the tankless water heater. And on a cold winter’s night, this can be uncomfortable for your family.
  4. The traditional water heater has a shorter life span than the tankless water heater, lasting between 10-15 years. This means that you will have to buy the traditional water heater more frequently, leading to more expenses for your heating needs.


The Tankless Water Heater

This type of water heater uses your home’s heating source of electric or gas to heat up the cooler water supply. It does not use a tank like the traditional water heater.


  1. One of the pros of the tankless water heater is that it is more cost efficient than the traditional water heater in the long run. According to, homes that use forty-one gallons or less of hot water with a tankless water heater are saving between 24% and 34% each year on their heating bill.
  2. The tankless water heater is small and can easily be installed outside on a wall.
  3. Another positive about the tankless water heater is its lifespan is twenty years or more. It has double the life span of a traditional water heater.
  4. The tankless water heater can deliver between 2 to 3 gallons of hot water on demand.


1)The tankless water heater has a higher initial installation cost than the traditional water heater.


As always, it is important to research before buying. The tankless water heater may be more beneficial for those with large families, as you will be using more hot water and will want to save in the long run. However, the traditional water heater is easier and less expensive with regards to the initial installation. Before making a final decision, think about the amount of hot water your family will need and how often it will be used.