Best Water Heater Buying Guide [ 10 Factors To Consider Before Buying A Water Heater ]

India is a land of extreme weather conditions. Talking about the winters specifically, we do love the winter season, but we often feel sluggish when it comes to having the morning showers with cold water. 

Leaving a bath just because the water is cold is not a good habit, actually. Why feel sluggish just for taking a bath when you have water heaters. Of course, your teeth will be rattled, and your body may trembles in winters. However, the water heaters are something that helps you enjoy your bath.

Now the problem is that there are so many varieties of water heaters in the market. So when you have so many variants of water heaters, making a decision becomes more complicated.

Having deep knowledge about water heaters may make your things easy. That is why we are here with a detailed Water Heater Buying Guide to help you make an informed buying decision.

What Is A Water Heater

As the name suggests, a water heater is used to increase the temperature of the water. It uses an energy source to increase the initial temperature of the water. If it’s an electric water heater, a heating element is used, and if it is a gas water heater, a gas burner is used to heat the water.

Types Of Water Heater

Here are the different types of water heaters available in the market. However, if you talk about the Indian market, only the storage tank water heater and the instant water heaters are available.

  • Storage tank water heater
  • Instant water heater
  • Heat pump water heater
  • Solar-powered water heater
  • Condensing water heater

Storage Tank Water Heater

Storage tank water heaters are the most common type of water heaters available in the market. As the name suggests, it uses an insulated storage tank where water is heated and stored until it is required to use.

There is a temperature and pressure relief valve that opens whenever pressure or temperature goes beyond the safety limit.

storage tank water heater

Storage tank water heaters come with an electric heating element or a gas burner as a heating source. Although the initial investment is more for gas burner-based models, it consumes less energy.

Tankless Water Heater / Instant Water Heater

Tankless water heater or instant water heater, or on-demand water heater does not use any tank to store the hot water. Instead, it heats the water instantly as and when you need it. A continuous water flow is required to get hot water from instant water heaters.

Instant water heaters use a heating element to increase the water temperature, but the problem is that you will get a limited flow of water as there is no storage. You can not use an instant water heater for multiple applications like for showers and in the kitchen, unlike storage tank water heaters that can be used for multiple applications.

instant water heater

The cost of instant water heaters is less, and the size is very slim. So if you have minimal space, instant water heaters are a good option to consider.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters do not use electricity. Instead, it uses the heat from the surrounding air to heat the water. Heat is transferred from the surrounding air to the water heater using a heat pump.

The heat pump working principle is exactly the reverse of how a refrigeration system works. In the refrigeration system, heat is thrown out of the refrigerator into the atmosphere. But in the case of a heat pump, heat is accumulated from the atmosphere and thrown out to the machine connected to it.

heat pump water heaters

A heat pump water heater does not work well in icy areas. You need to have a minimum of 40oF- 90oF outside temperature and 1000 Ft3 space around the water heater to get it to work.

The size and space required for heat pump water heaters are similar to storage tank water heaters, but the energy consumption is almost 80% less than any other water heaters.

Solar Powered Water Heaters

Solar-powered water heaters use solar heat energy instead of electricity to increase the temperature of the water. The roof-mounted solar cell absorbs the sun’s heat and passes it on to an anti-freeze fluid that runs to the water tank inside the water heater.

solar powered water heater

This water heater is best for summer and areas where you don’t see any issue in getting adequate sunlight. However, most solar-powered water heaters come with a backup method of heating the water like a heating element or a gas burner.

Condensing Water Heaters

Condensing water heaters are similar to any gas burners-based water heaters but with an additional heat exchanger. Condensing water heater increases the efficiency of gas burner-powered water heaters.

In a traditional storage-tank water heater ( Gas burner powered), cold water enters the tank with a heat exchanger coil around it. The heat exchanger receives heat from the flame generated by a gas burner and transfers the same heat to the cold water to get hot water at the outlet. Simple concept. Right? It is similar to heating water in an oven.

But do you know that a large amount of heat is wasted in this process? The waste is about 15-20%. To reduce the waste, in condensing water heaters, a secondary heat exchanger is used that uses the waste exhaust to preheat the cold water before it goes to the main heat exchanger.

Since the exhaust is used to heat the water, there is no heat loss or energy loss. That is why condensing water heaters are very energy efficient.

10 Factors To Consider While Buying The Best Water Heater In India

Following factors, you should always consider before you buy a water heater. Although the list is not exclusive, you won’t buy the wrong water heater for sure if you consider these factors.

1. Storage Tank Capacity Of Water Heater

How large the storage tank should depend on the usage types. For example, if you want hot water during the shower and in your kitchen, you may need a large size tank. However, if you want hot water only during the bath, you don’t need a storage water heater. An instant water heater will do the job for you.

Instant water heaters are cheap and only good for a single application with very minimum usage. You will get instant hot water in the instant water heater. However, if you need a water heater for multiple applications, then you should get a storage water heater.

water heater buying guide

For an average Indian family of 2-3 members, 15 liters storage tank capacity is more than enough even for multiple applications. However, for large families, you can opt for 25 liters capacity. Here is a chart showing the storage tank capacity based on the family size.

The following chart assumes that you will use the water heater only for a single application ( Bath) because, in India, most people use water heaters for bathing only.

geyser capacity based on family size

2. Minimum Heat Loss ( Insulated Storage Tank)

Heat loss affects the water heater’s efficiency, and that costs you in the form of power bills. More heat loss means more power is required to increase the temperature of the water and more power means more cost to you.

So always choose a water heater that has an insulated storage tank so that minimum heat is dissipated. Materials like ceramic and PUF are perfect for heat insulation. The good news is that most of the Water heaters come with some heat insulators.

3. Resists Scale Formation

Scaling is the biggest enemy of all ferrous metals. Scaling reduces the effectiveness of metals and can easily break the metal. Therefore your water heater must come with features that resist scale formation.

A scale can be formed in a water heater on the storage tank liners or on the heating element itself. So if you notice that even you bought an excellent water heater, but still your power consumption is shooting up, or you are not getting hot water, this may be due to the scaling inside the water heater.

When the scale is formed, heating elements can not transfer heat to the water efficiently, and in the same way, the storage tank can not retain the heat due to the scaling. So basically, scaling affects both heat transfer and heat retention.

glass coated heating element
Glass Coated Heating Element

To solve this problem, choose a water heater with a glass heating element ( Or glass coated heating element) or some coating on top of the metal heating element. For water tanks, choose one that comes with a corrosion-resistant coating.

4. Compatibility With Hard water

In India, we usually get hard water ( More salt) unless treated and delivered to you. Hard water is not suitable for water heaters as it increases the chance of scale formation and takes more heat to raise the temperature.

best water heater

More heat means more power consumption, and more power consumption means more electricity bills. So hard water is directly impacting the monthly expenses that we are spending on water heaters.

Therefore always choose a water heater that has a system to convert hard water into soft water. If not, you may need a water softener before it gets into the water heater.

5. Safety Features

Even though water heaters are easy to use, safety is something that we should not ignore. Firstly we should look at the safety features that are in-built in a storage water heater.

There is a safety valve that you will find in storage water heaters. It relieves the pressure if the pressure and temperature get too high and prevents the water heater from blowing up. So, Make sure of this consideration before buying a water heater. Also, standing loss is something you should consider.

Thermostats are used in water heaters to cut off the power to the heating elements so that water does not get too hot. At what temperature the thermostat should cut off the power depends on the temperature that you set in the water heater. This is an excellent and essential safety feature that ensures you don’t get extreme hot water that your body can not tolerate.

6. Power Saving Features

Many of us are scared of installing a water heater just due to the excessive power bills. Somewhat it is justified too. Water heaters are always power-hungry.

That is why you should always consider some power-saving features in water heaters. For example, a thermostat cuts off the power when the desired temperature is reached, thus saving power.

If you buy a water heater with an insulated tank, that reduces heat dissipation, and that way, it saves more power.

Similarly, if you buy a water heater with some coating for corrosion resistance, that indirectly saves power for you while using a water heater.

One more thing that you need to look for in the star rating. More the star rating, the better the water heater is in terms of power consumption.

7. Size Of Water Heater

A lot depends on the size of the water heater before buying one. For example, if you have minimal space available, buying a storage tank water heater does not make sense. An instant water heater is more justified.

If you plan to buy a heat pump water heater then you need a good amount of free space around the water heater. So you need to make sure that you have ample space for a water heater before choosing one.

8. After Sales Service

For any product, after-sales service is essential, especially when you are buying a water heater. There is a good chance that your thermostat may not work or the water heater is not heating the water. So having good after-sales service is crucial. That is why you should always go for some reputed brands, as shown below.

Best Water Heater Brands In India

Here are a couple of brands that are the most popular for water heaters

AO Smith

Electric instant water heaters by AO Smith are the best in the market. No matter if you are looking for gas, electric, or tankless water heaters. AO is undoubtedly the best and proudly known for its high-quality features and huge customer base.

 Havells 

Another popular water heater brand is Havells. They offer a wide range of instant and storage water heaters. They are stylish in design and highly suitable to install on your homes. It comes with capacities of 35 and 50 liters that are capable of fulfilling all your needs.

V-Guard

On the performance front, V-Guard water heaters are undoubtedly the best in the Indian market. This brand includes a wide range of water heaters in a capacity of 6 liters and above. And, if you are looking for water heaters with easy operation, their new age storage waters can be a great option for you.

Crompton

Crompton brand is also a quite famous brand in India. It is famous for water heaters and a leading manufacturer of power products like fans, light, pumps, and air coolers.

Morphy Richards

When it comes to highly efficient water heaters, Morphy Richards may be at the top of the list. They offer a high-quality range of storage water heaters loaded with attractive features like Glass-lined heating elements, digital temperature displays, Glass-lined tanks. Etc.

Bajaj

When you are talking about water heaters, you can’t ignore Bajaj electric and gas water heaters. They are cheap in price yet feature-packed. So you are looking for water heaters that fit your pocket, Bajaj is the brand you can consider.

9. Warranty

Many times we ignore the warranty norms and later pay a huge price for that. Not only water heaters, but for any products, you should seriously consider warranty as a crucial factor before buying the product.

Most of the water heater comes with 2 years of comprehensive warranty, 5-7 years warranty on the storage tank 2-4 years warranty on the heating element.

So choose a product that offers more years of warranty so that you have peace of mind in using it.

10. Budget

Budget plays an important role in our decision-making process. A water heater may be perfectly suitable for us, but we may not go for that because it is too costly.

If you are budget conscious, then storage water heaters may not be a good option because storage water heaters are costly. However, you need to decide your priority and requirement and then only choose a water heater.

Instant water heaters are the cheapest to go for, but it has its own problems like using it for multiple applications and can heat a minimal amount of water. So you need to take a call wisely.

Additional Features In Water Heaters That You Should Consider

We spoke about essential features before, but here are some of the additional features that you may consider while buying a water heater.

 Brass valves

Tanks of your water heaters have a valve at the base. It works to allow for easy draining during routine maintenance. The brass valves are highly durable and last longer than plastic.

Please make a note that you should do routine maintenance at least once per year.

Glass-lined tank

A Grass-lined tank is nothing but a heavy-duty porcelain glass layer inside the water tank of your water heaters. It bloodshed the corrosive effects of water storage.

Digital display

Digital displays make the water heater easy to use and monitor the setting conveniently. Everything is going digital nowadays, why not the water heaters.

digital display water heaters

Signs That Tell You To have A New Water Heater

Replacement or repair the water heater? This question is quite tricky that often comes to our mind. However, we think replacement is the best option for you. The reason is simple, sometimes a repair may not last long, and you will end up losing your money on its maintenance cost. Typically, water heaters work for 10-12 years, and if your water heater is getting old and often faces leaking issues, you should change it. 

Here, we have outlined some signs that clearly depicts when to replace the water heater.

Age of water heater

There is a serial number on your water heater, which has a manufacturing date written on it, telling you the heater’s age. Typically, the lifespan of storage water heaters is 8-12 years. If your water heater exceeded that threshold, consider replacing it.

No Hot Water 

If you are not getting the hot water, that is one more sign that something is wrong with your water heaters. After inspection, if you see that the damage is not worth repairing, consider buying a new one.

Dirty Water 

When dirty water like mud and sand comes out from your water heater, this is the perfect sign that something is wrong with your water heater. And it is something not easy to repair. Sometimes unusual smell also indicates the disturbance in your heater’s water tank.

Strange Sounds 

If your water heaters start making rumbling sounds, then you should understand that your water heater is failing. The reason behind this is that water heaters are designed to operate silently.

Factors defining Electrical Consumption Of Water Heater

The power ratings mentioned on the water heater are just an indication, but the real story is something else. It depends on the individual how they use their water heaters. It’s a fact the more you use your water heater, the more electricity it will consume. So here, we have talked about the defining factors.

 Volume

In water heaters, electrical consumption is directly proportional to the volume of water you are using in it.

Input water temperature

Generally, Colder water takes a longer time to get hot. The reason is the colder water takes a lot of time to reach the threshold thermostat temperature.

That is why a water heater will consume more electricity in Delhi than in Bangalore due to the extreme cold weather.

Thermostat temperature

Thermostat temperature is another factor behind electrical consumption. If you keep the thermostat temperature low, it will consume less electricity.

Standing loss

Standing loss is another factor that we can’t ignore. It is a heat loss through the surface of your water heaters. The standing loss will be there in all water heaters. So choose a water heater with low standing loss.

Heating Element Wattage

Wattage has a direct relation with electrical consumption. The water heaters with more wattage heating elements will consume more electricity. 

Conclusion: Best Water Heater Buying Guide

Today, Water heaters have become a need for every household. However, it is observed that most of us get confused while choosing the best water heater.

That’s the reason we have talked in detail about the water heaters in this water heater buying guide. I hope this guide is helping you in making an informed decision.

If you have any questions or queries, please do write in the comment section and I will be happy to help.

You may also like to read:
1) Refrigerator Buying guide
2) Air Conditioner buying guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Water Heater Buying guide

Storage tank water heater Or instant water heater. Which one is better?

An instant water heater is better if you want hot water quickly and the running cost is low. But the problem is that you can not use it for multiple applications.
Storage tank water heaters can store hot water for a longer time and deliver hot water any time you want.

What are the advantages of Geyser over traditional heating methods?

Traditional heating of water takes a long time to heat, and it is not at all safe. You can not control the temperature of the water also.
On the other hand, geysers can give you hot water any time and instantly. Using a geyser is safe, too, as most modern geysers come with many safety features.

What is the function of thermostat in a geyser?

The thermostat cuts off the power to the heating element when the desired temperature is reached. So it is a safety feature as well as a power-saving feature.

What happens if I forgot to turn off the water heater?

The water heater won’t turn off by itself if it does not have that feature. But water inside won’t overheat due to the thermostat. The thermostat will cut off the power to the heating element, and that is why water won’t be overheated.

What is the ideal temperature setting in a geyser?

In the case of a storage-tank water heater, you can set the thermostat temperature as 50 degrees Centigrade. Below that, bacteria can get contaminated. In the case of instant water heaters, there is no such option, though.

Rajib

Rajib is the Co-Founder and the Lead Product Analyst of RiansTech. A BTech in Mechanical Engineering and a veteran in the Home Appliance industry with over 17 years of experience in designing appliances for industry leaders like GE and Whirlpool. He also runs a successful niche blog (RiansClub) on Mechanical Engineering

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