Consumer Search ranks water heaters by looking at expert reviews, and some of the top brands included Whirlpool, Rheem and GE. Water heaters are ranked by the type of fuel used (propane, natural gas or electric); the way the water is stored or provided (on demand or tank); and energy efficiency.
One top-rated gas hot water heater is the Whirlpool N40S61-403 40-gallon model due to its energy efficiency and money-saving cost of operation. The Rheem Fury 22V40F1 40-gallon option is one of the most economical and durable hot water heaters of the least expensive models. As of 2015, the top-rated whole-house tankless water heater was the EcoSmart Eco 27. It is 99.8 percent efficient, providing unlimited on-demand hot water, while the GE GeoSpring GEH50DEEDSR offers several optional efficient running modes, including vacation and hybrid mode.
The solar-powered Stiebel Eltron Accelera SBB 300 Plus is at the higher end of the cost spectrum, but it saves thousands of dollars in energy costs over the long term and qualifies for tax rebates and incentives.
More than 25 percent of a household's utility expenses are attributed to the water heater; therefore, the long-term savings of an energy efficient model can more than pay for the difference in initial investment. The top-ranked water heaters vary in price from $420 to $2400.