Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters


You’re replacing your water heater and you want to know which is better: tank or tankless water heaters.

Well, it depends on many different factors (which we’ll go into more detail below).

But, in general, here are our recommendations:

  • Choose a tank water heater if: You want something cheap and reliable and your current tank water heater has served you well.
  • Choose a tankless water heater if: You want an endless supply of hot water and/or you want something smaller that takes up less space.

Want more info on what makes these 2 types of water heaters different? Keep reading.

Traditional (tank) water heaters

The default water heater in the U.S. is the tank-style water heater. They work by heating water in a large storage tank so you have a supply of hot water ready when you need it.


  • Lower upfront cost. A traditional tank style water heater installed will usually run $700 to $2,000 while a tankless water heater is much more, usually coming in between $3,200 to $4,500.
  • Simpler maintenance. Both types of water heaters need to be maintained, but a tank’s maintenance is much simpler and usually less expensive than tankless maintenance.


  • Runs out of hot water. Traditional water heaters can run out of hot water and then have to reheat a new batch of water (which can take some time).
  • Less energy efficient. Because they’re always on and always keeping the water in the tank warm, they use more energy than tankless water heaters.
  • Large (and getting larger). Tank water heaters won’t fit in tight spaces. And recent energy efficiency guidelines have made new water heaters even larger.
  • Don’t last as long. Traditional water heaters typically last 10-15 years where tankless versions can last up to 25 years.

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters don’t have a storage tank for hot water. Instead, they only heat water when you need it.

That’s why they’re sometimes called “on-demand” or “instantaneous” water heaters.


  • Never runs out of hot water. Since tankless water heaters heat water when you need it, you’ll never run out. (However, that doesn’t mean you can run 5 showers at once. Tankless water heaters are limited by flow rate.)
  • More energy efficient. Tankless water heaters don’t have tanks, so they don’t waste energy keeping the tank warm all day long.
  • Takes up less space. Without a storage tank, you can fit them in tighter spaces.
  • Lasts longer. Tankless water heaters can last up to 25 years.


  • High upfront cost. This is the biggest knock on tankless water heaters. They usually cost $3,200 to $4,500 installed while a traditional tank style water heater runs $700 to $2,000.
  • Won’t recoup costs. Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient. But they likely won’t recoup the additional upfront costs even over their longer lifespan.
  • Requires more maintenance. Manufacturers usually require you have your tankless water heater serviced every 6-12 months to maintain the warranty.

Schedule a water heater consultation

Want some prices on what it would cost to replace your water heater? Contact us for a free estimate. Our plumbers serve Citrus County, Sumter County, Marion County, Levy County, Alachua County, Lake County, and Hernando County.