Electric Vs Gas Tankless Water Heaters – A Comprehensive Guide

Have you thought of buying a water heater for residential or commercial needs? You might have considered upgrading your water heater to a tankless model.

Modern tankless water heating systems can provide up to 5 gallons of water per minute. A single tankless water heater can serve a large family that needs a lot of hot water every day.

But, how will you choose between gas and electric versions of tankless heaters? Let’s discuss the topic of electric vs gas tankless water heaters.

Upfront Cost – Electric vs Gas Tankless Water Heaters

The purpose of both the gas and the electrically operated tankless water heaters is to produce hot water. However, the major difference is in the source of fuel.

While electric water heaters are fueled by electricity, gas water heaters are driven by natural gas. You need to consider several factors to decide on the right type of water heater.

Cost is one of the biggest concerns for most users. Premium quality gas models cost more than $1,000, and more complicated models mean a higher upfront cost.

But, non-condensing water heaters with a tankless system are an affordable option. However, the installation cost of these heaters is high because of venting needs.

In case you’ve purchased a condensing tankless model, you don’t need to think of venting. It’s more advanced and a bit costlier.

Electric units are comparatively more cost-effective and provide you with long-lasting value.

Which Tankless Water Heater Is Easier to Install?

Man Install the water heater

Installing a gas water heater is more complicated when compared to that of an electric heater. Non-condensing gas-fueled water heaters need an intricate ventilation system for a smooth airflow that allows combustion. They may need costly stainless steel venting material.

Even if your house already has gas lines, they may not work with a gas tankless water heater. Also, you need to modify your home to meet venting needs.

If you desire an easily installable model, you can invest in an electrically driven tankless heater.

Still, also rely on an electric service provider to ensure proper installation of the unit. The electric unit is smaller and more compact than a traditional water heater. It involves no gas combustion and doesn’t need ventilation. Also, you can install the system in any place you prefer.

The design of a tankless electric water heater is less complicated. While constructing your house, you can plan your electrical setup for installing the tankless water heater. If you don’t need to upgrade your home’s electric power, it’s easier to install an electric heater. However, in older houses, modern power appliances may not be compatible.

How Much Hot Water Do You Need?

Water output is another important factor when choosing between electric and gas water heaters. You need to know the flow rate of water (measured in GPM). GPM refers to the number of gallons of water flowing per minute.

Most commonly, an average household needs around6 to 8 GPM of hot water. Houses in colder areas find lower GPM rates, as the incoming water is comparatively cooler.

The appliance has to work harder to make the water hot and reach the desired temperature. You can choose a gas heater if you need a large amount of hot water. The best gas-operated water heaters can deliver more than eight GPM of water.

The maximum output of electric water heaters is eight GPM. The temperature of the incoming water can affect the GPM of both gas and electric tankless heaters.

Depending on the hot water demand, you can make a decision.

How Much Does It Cost to Operate Water Heaters?

While determining the operating cost, you should focus on these factors:

Cost: Natural Gas Versus Electric

As the fuel type is different for electric and gas water heaters, know the cost. The cost of natural gas is lower when compared to the cost of electric supply. However, the fuel price is not the same in every region. Know the local fuel price before making a decision.

The gas price fluctuates very often, and there is a chance of higher gas prices in the near future. However, electricity cost is comparatively stable.

Efficient Fuel Usage

Another factor relevant to the operating cost is efficiency. Most consumers prefer an energy-efficient water heater for their regular needs. Manufacturers are trying to make the water heater more efficient.

If the gas price in your region is very high, you can buy tankless water heating systems. In case the electricity charge is high in your locality, energy-efficient models can solve the problem. You’ll find higher energy savings every month.

Energy Source Availability

Before deciding on the tank model, you need to know whether the chosen energy source is easily available. The easy availability of gas or electricity is the most significant factor.

Water heaters need a substantial amount of electricity to heat water. However, the total energy usage is comparatively low.

In the case of an electric water heater, your house needs to have 200 to 240V electric service to operate the appliance. Some residential and commercial houses have no considerable amount of electric power. That is why they have to upgrade the electronic configuration.

Similarly, when you have invested in a gas unit or other traditional models, ensure easy accessibility of the fuel oil.

Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

plumber Maintenance water heater

Maintenance is highly important so the water heater can function at the optimal level. Proper maintenance also increases the life expectancy of water heaters.

As gas-driven tankless heaters are traditional models, they need a lot of maintenance. You need to hire a licensed technician to inspect your gas water heater. He should ensure that there’s no risk in the fuel combustion process.

Without maintenance, these gas models will have mineral-scale accumulation. That is why they need to be flushed more frequently.

Alternatively, an electric tankless heater needs minimal maintenance for a constant supply of hot water. You have to clean the water inlet screen filtration system to prevent lime scale buildup.

Service Life and Warranty of Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters with storage tanks have a risk of leakage. So, you may need to replace them very often.

A modern tankless hot water heater is designed to provide you with lasting value. You only have to replace the damaged parts. Most gas and electric water heaters without tanks have served users for more than 20 years.

Gas water heaters are a bit more challenging to service, as they have complicated units. You can find variations in warranty depending on the brand you have chosen.

Check the heat exchanger warranty while buying the water heater. Manufacturers provide warranty on other parts, as well.

Various factors can affect the tanklesswater heater’s service life.

  • Acidic water affects the functionality of the heat exchanger
  • Water containing several minerals causes scale build-ups within a short time
  • You can’t make the best use of the water heater without proper installation.

Safety for the Environment

Today, buyers are highly concerned about carbon footprint, which is the measure of greenhouse gasses released into the air each day. Many people in the market for a water heater focus on energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient devices not only save on costs, but also protect the environment. You can find 99% efficiency in the best electric water heaters.

However, some tankless gas units produce greenhouse gasses that are harmful to the environment. This is a concern that can be discussed before purchase.

Rely on Your Preference to Buy Water Heaters

While choosing the water heater type, you should compare the features of both gas and electric heaters. From a safety perspective, electric units are a better alternative. If you don’t like to use propane or natural gas to run your device, you may depend on the electric models.

Compare the pros and cons of every branded water heater. It’s also essential to check the product’s warranty before making the purchase.


You can make a considerate decision from our discussion on electric vs gas tankless water heaters. Every household has unique hot water needs.

So, we can’t say that a particular type of water heater is suitable for everyone. Most professionals think electric models are a better choice, as they are cost-effective and easily installable.

If you want to buy a water heater, you should consider the fuel sources. It’s also essential to check the features of the chosen heater model. Purchase a water heater of the most reputable brand.

With years of experience under his belt, Adam decided to put his water heater knowledge to work. By providing high-quality content and expert guides, Adam hopes to help anyone looking for expert water heater advice.