When deciding on the best water heater, an individual should consider the type of fuel the heater uses, whether the heater should be a whole-house or point-of-use heater and whether the heater fits in the desired space. Additional considerations include energy efficiency and extra features.
Water heaters can be fueled by electricity, gas or a combination of both. Electric water heaters are usually less expensive, easier to maintain and heat water faster. Gas heaters have a more expensive upfront investment and have to be vented outside, but they usually aren't costly to maintain.
Whole-house water heaters run through an entire home and can provide hot water to multiple fixtures, while point-of-use heaters can only be used for a single fixture or location. Conventional and hybrid water heaters are considered to be whole-house water heaters. Conventional heaters are economical and constantly store hot water, while hybrid heaters come with a higher initial investment but can save money over time.
The best water heater is one that easily fits near an exterior wall positioned near a gas supply line, power source and a water supply line. The heater should also meet the insulation requirements set by the most current federal energy standards.