Top 10 Solar Water Heaters in 2021: Costs, Plus Pros & Cons

The best 2021 solar water heaters for whole-house residential use (not for pools, hot tubs or camping shower bags!) are available in two types, active and passive models.

Active vs. Passive Solar Water Heaters

The first major decision you have is which system type to select – and your local weather and climate are going to be a major factor.

In short, you can install either active or passive system in a warm climate, but where winter freezes are possible, an active system that employs antifreeze is essential. — These are indirect systems.

Here are more details describing each type:

Passive solar water heaters rely on water pressure from a municipal water supply or a well pump to move heated water from the tank through your plumbing. They are easier to install and cost significantly less. Heated water rises into the storage tank through convection/buoyancy in thermosiphon systems or it flows to the storage tanks in integrated models.

Thermosiphon heat-exchanger tank – passive solar hot water system

Active solar water heaters have circulation pumps circulating antifreeze plus more control features to regulate temperature and protect the unit from freezing in cold weather.

Active solar hot water system – how it works

Direct vs. Indirect Water Heating

Direct systems heat potable water sent directly to a storage tank or tankless water heater for use as domestic hot water – the water coming from your hot water taps or connected to a dishwasher or clothes washer.

Indirect systems circulate antifreeze, usually propylene glycol, that is heated in the solar collectors. The heated liquid is pumped through a coil of pipe in a hot water storage tank or through a heat exchanger that transfers heat to the potable water in the tank.

Top Solar Water Heaters in 2021

  1. Duda SUS304 240 Liter – Passive
  2. Sunbank 80 Gallon – Passive
  3. Rheem SolarAide – Passive
  4. Apricus WOMBAT Pressurized ET – Thermosiphon Solar Water Heater (Passive)
  5. Duda Standard 240 Liter – Passive
  6. Apricus PV Powered – Split Pump Forced Solar Water Heating System (Passive)
  7. Rheem SolPak with Electric Backup 80 Gallon – Electric Solar Water Heater (Active)
  8. Duda 300 Liter – Active
  9. Sun Earth SolaRay 2 – Active
  10. Northern Lights SWH-2 – 2 x TZ58 1800 30R – Active

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Top 10 Tankless Water Heaters: Costs, Plus Pros & Cons

If you are considering installing a tankless water heater, then undoubtedly one of the burning questions on your mind is how much will it cost and whether a tankless water heater makes sense for your home.

Cost

Our research shows the national average cost for installing a tankless water heater can range between $2,500 and $4,500, with most homeowners paying about $3,500​-$4,000 for a gas-powered whole house unit. For an electric water heater, the national average cost is closer to $2,800-$3,500.

The factors that determine the total cost are:

  • Cost of the tankless water heater itself
  • Installation labor by a local, licensed, and insured plumber
  • Installation materials
  • Permits where/when required
  • Removal and disposal of the old unit

In this guide, we will review 10 of the top tankless water heaters available today – their retail cost, some pros and cons received from homeowners, and then we will explain why we selected each model.

If you would like to get right to the reviews, you can skip down to that section below. But for those who may be thinking about changing from a traditional tank-type water heater to a tankless model, here is some information that might help you make your decision.

Top 10 Tankless Water Heaters and Their Costs

Here is the list with their retail cost. We’ve selected models from the various types of whole house tankless water heaters. There is a full review for each below, plus the installation costs.

  1. Rinnai Indoor Tankless Hot Water Heater, RL75iN Natural Gas/RL75iP Propane – $1,125
  2. Rheem Performance Plus Indoor ECO160DVLN3-1 – $800
  3. EZ Tankless Supreme on Demand Indoor EZSUPNG – $895
  4. Rinnai RLX94iN RRLX94iN, Large – $1,375
  5. A.O. Smith Signature Select Indoor GT15-510C-I – $1,100
  6. Rheem Performance Platinum High Efficiency ECOH200DVLN-2 – $1,300
  7. A.O. Smith Signature Premier Condensing Indoor GT15-540-NI – $1,540
  8. Rheem Performance Self-Modulating RETEX-36 – $560
  9. Stiebel Eltron Self-Modulating Tempra 36 Trend – $750
  10. Eemax HomeAdvantage II HA036240 – $810

The reviews are next. However, for those not familiar withthe tankless water heater options, features, and efficiency issues, we highly recommend reading our Buying Guide provided below the reviews.

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Top 10 Water Heaters: Costs, Pros & Cons – Tank vs. Tankless

We’ve researched the best water heaters available for residential use to help you, the homeowner, make a smart buying decision. In this guide, we provide the list of 10 best conventional “Tank Style” water heaters including their features, pros and cons, plus prices to consider as you make your buying decision.

Conventional water heaters are also known as tank style water heaters. You’ll notice that three brands dominate – Rheem, A.O. Smith, and Bradford White. We have no prejudice or affiliation with these competing brands. Our goal is simply to review the best water heaters for your consideration. And these brands lead the pack.

We have selected several models that give you options – gas, electric and hybrid types. Here’s our top 10 list; reviews are found below.

Tank Style Water Heaters – Top Ten List

  1. Rheem Performance Platinum XG50S12DM40U0
  2. A. O. Smith Signature Premier G12-UFDT5040NV
  3. Bradford White Residential Atmospheric Water Heater
  4. Rheem Performance Platinum XP50T12DM36U0
  5. Rheem Performance Platinum Gladiator Smart XE50T12CS55U1
  6. Rheem Performance Plus XE50M09EL55U1
  7. A. O. Smith Signature Select E9-50R55DV
  8. Bradford White RE350S6-1NCWW
  9. Rheem Performance Platinum Hybrid Smart Tank XE50T10H45U0
  10. A. O. Smith Signature Premier Hybrid HP10-50H45DV

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