Tankless Vs. Storage Tank Heaters

The debate between storage tank and tankless water heaters has persisted for a while. Previously, many homeowners preferred storage tank heaters. However, recent technological developments have improved tankless models and made them competitive enough to consider. If you want to install a new or replace your old system, learn more with this comparison between these two water heater appliances to help you decide.


A storage tank heater works by storing water in a reservoir tank that you heat up with the available energy source. The efficiency will depend on your energy source, but all storage water heaters will be active. Thus, this type of heater outputs constant heat to retain the water at an ideal temperature that the homeowners can access at any time. However, this setup leads to standby heat loss.

You can fit a tankless water heater at the output point where you need the water. Thus, you only have direct access to hot water when you activate the water heater. You do not suffer any losses from standby heat. Also, you only use energy when necessary rather than employ the heater full-time. For this reason, tankless water heaters are more energy conservative than their storage tank counterparts.


Storage water heaters always have hot water ready to access. However, once hot water depletes in the tank, you must wait for a while before you can access it again. Thus, you must consider the hot water usage in your house before you decide on the tank capacity.

Tankless water heaters do not have immediate access to hot water. You have to wait a few seconds before the water becomes warm or hot enough for you to use. While this wait time is a disadvantage against storage tank heaters, the inconvenience is tiny. Thus, you will always have access to hot water unless too many people access the heated water. Many of the modern units have recirculating pumps incorporated into them as well as smart technology that can recirculate the hot water at the times you use it most to eliminate wait times.

Initial Costs and Setup Requirements

Storage tank heaters have lower initial costs compared to tankless variants. The only considerations you make are the size of the reservoir and the type of fuel your house has access to. However, the tank size will affect the amount of space you must use to install the system. You might have to refurbish your house to accommodate the tank if you do not have adequate space.

Tankless water heaters are more expensive than tank heaters. They only share one consideration with the tanked variants, the type of fuel source. However, their small size means they can fit in very many spaces without extensive renovation or refurbishment to install them. Unfortunately electric units aren’t very dependable and consume a lot of energy. We would only recommend gas or propane units as this time.


Storage tank heaters have fewer repair requirements, making them less expensive to fix and maintain. However, tankless water heaters have complex designs that can require more effort to repair. Thus, storage tank heaters are more favorable in terms of maintenance than their tankless counterparts. Something else to keep in mind is that most tankless units now come with a longer warranty than a storage tank heater.

Life Span

Since storage tank heaters are always on, they can generate more wear and tear over the years and last at least up to 15 years. To prolong the storage tank heater’s lifespan, users must regularly replace the anode rod when it starts to degrade. However, tankless water heaters only require activation at the time of use. Thus, users can expect them to last at least 20 years.

Whichever option you pick, consult a plumbing service to help you install and maintain these two water heater systems. Contact us at Spartan Plumbing Inc for water heater installation and maintenance today. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have so that you can enjoy the best water heater possible for your home’s needs.

Spartan Plumbing Inc.

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