best 40 gallon water heater

The Spruce / Amelia Manley

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A water heater ensures that you have access to tướng hot water for showers, handwashing, kitchen tasks, laundry, and more. There are plenty of high-performing gas and electric water heaters to tướng choose from, including tank and tankless versions. 

Picking the best water heater depends on your hot water usage, existing installation requirements, and budget. Doyle James, President of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, advises homeowners: “Make sure the water heater you are looking at purchasing is the correct size, meaning the physical size, capacity, and output.” Keep in mind that you can’t use the storage tank capacity as the only determining factor. “Sometimes the unit could be the same gallon capacity but be shorter or wider,” says James. Measure the space you have available and factor in the amount of hot water you need, especially during the first hour of use, to tướng pick a water heater that will suit your needs. 

We researched water heaters from the top brands, judging them on effectiveness, energy efficiency, and ease of maintenance.

When deciding on the best water heater to tướng buy, you have two options: gas or electric. Within each category, you have the choice between a conventional tank model or a space-saving tankless option. 

  • In the case of a gas water heater, a burner supplies the heating power. For electric water heaters, an electric element does the job. Most modern electric waters have two elements to tướng ensure that the water heats quickly. 
  • Tank-style water heaters hold water at a phối temperature. As the tank empties, a water supply line refills the tank, and the appliance heats the incoming water.
  • A tankless water heater operates differently. Rather phàn nàn keeping gallons of water hot and ready, these appliances use multiple heating elements to tướng warm the water as it passes through the heater. The process happens on-demand when you turn on the hot water at a plumbing fixture, lượt thích a sink or shower. As a result, you sometimes have to tướng wait a short period of time for the hot water to tướng start flowing. Once it does, the supply is virtually unlimited since the heater will keep operating until you shut off the hot water. 

For more shopping help with water heaters, kiểm tra out our What to tướng Look for Section below.

Rheem Performance Plus 50 Gallon Electric Tank Water Heater

Home De Pot

What We Like

  • Dual 5,500-Watt heating elements

  • LED indicator lights

  • Self-cleaning to tướng reduce sediment build-up

  • Easy to tướng install

What We Don't Like

  • No leak detection

  • Lacks digital control for setting target temperature

The Rheem Performance Plus Electric Tank Water Heater is well-equipped to tướng supply hot water for showers, washing hands, or doing dishes. This 50-gallon model is the right size for a family of 3 to tướng 5 individuals, and it comes with a 9-year warranty for peace of mind. While electric water heaters aren’t as energy-efficient as gas versions, this model has a Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) rating of 0.93, qualifying it as an energy-efficient electric water heater. 

The simple design of this popular electric water heater makes it very easy to tướng install. While it has a short list of features that don't include newer innovations lượt thích Wi-Fi integration or the option to tướng receive an alert on your điện thoại thông minh if a leak is detected, it does have LED indicator lights to tướng give you at-a-glance notice if one or both of the 5,500-watt elements are operational. The lower element, which is more likely to tướng fail first, is made of stainless steel for durability. The glass-lined water tank has a self-cleaning design that helps to tướng reduce sediment build-up, along with a long-lasting anode rod.

The first-hour delivery rating for the Rheem Performance Electric Tank Water Heater is 62 gallons, enough to tướng supply several showers with hot water. You adjust the water output temperature from 90 to tướng 150 degrees Fahrenheit using a dial knob rather phàn nàn digital controls. While digital controls are preferred by some users who want a fast and precise way to tướng adjust the temperature, the knob on this model does just fine.

Price at time of publish: $679

Heating Source: Electric | Type: Tank | Tank Size: 50 gallons | Heating Power: 5,500 watts | Flow Rate: Not applicable

Rheem Performance Power Vent Natural Gas Tank Water Heater

Home Depot

What We Like

  • Filter-free design for less maintenance

  • Includes vacation mode for energy savings during periods of non-use

  • 68 gallon first-hour delivery rate

What We Don't Like

  • Not equipped with an ultra low NOx burner

  • Analog dial for setting temperature

If your trang chính has a natural gas water heater, our top recommendation is the Rheem Performance model. It has push-button ignition for the pilot light, a factory-installed pressure relief valve, and a simple-to-use dial for setting the water temperature or turning the unit to tướng vacation mode to tướng conserve energy. The temperature range spans 45 to tướng 160 degrees, but it’s worth noting that you only have phối intervals to tướng pick from, rather phàn nàn making a specific temperature selection using a digital control lượt thích you may find on more advanced water heater models. 

This 40-gallon model is capable of outputting 68 gallons of hot water in the first hour of use; it’s the right size for households of two to tướng four people. If you need an even longer-lasting supply of hot water, the Rheem Performance series also includes models with larger storage tanks—up to tướng 98 gallons. Regardless of which tank size you choose, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes from having a glass-lined tank and an anode rod to tướng attract minerals or particles of iron and limestone that may be in your water supply.

A filter-free burner also cuts down on maintenance tasks, but keep in mind that while it has a low NOx burner, it doesn’t qualify as an ultra-low NOx burner, as required in some states. But for under $600, this gas water heater makes an excellent buy and is noted for its ease of installation and reliability.  

Price at time of publish: $549

Heating Source: Gas | Type: Tank | Tank Size: 40 gallons | Heating Power: 36,000 BTU per hour | Flow Rate: Not applicable

Rheem Performance Electric Tank Water Heater

Home De Pot

What We Like

  • Two 4,500-watt heating elements

  • 6-year warranty

  • Anode rod to tướng slow corrosion

What We Don't Like

  • May need to tướng replace the copper elements over time

  • Basic tools required to tướng adjust temperature settings

The Rheem Performance Electric series is frills-free but an easy-to-install choice for a hot water heater. This 40-gallon model supplies up to tướng 53 gallons of water in the first hour of use. It will meet the needs of small households of 2 or 4 people, but you can size up the tank if you have more frequent demands for hot water. It has a UEF rating of 0.93, which isn’t impressive enough to tướng earn it Energy Star certification, but it is on par for the size and price point of this electric water heater.

This budget electric water has two 4,500-watt elements. Unlike the Rheem Performance Plus series, which has a stainless steel lower element, both elements in this model are made of copper. Copper elements are more affordable but less durable. However, the screw-in elements can be replaced if needed. There are two thermostats to tướng adjust the burners independently; a panel on the water heater covers each thermostat dial, and you’ll need a small screwdriver to tướng make the adjustments. This is a bit more work phàn nàn what you’ll find on some water heaters with digital temperature controls, but in most cases, you won’t need to tướng adjust the water temperature too often. 

Other maintenance-friendly features of this economic model include a glass-lined tank and anode rod for reducing sediment and corrosion. This model lacks other bells and whistles, but for less phàn nàn $450, it supplies your trang chính with hot water for showers, dishes, and laundry. 

Price at time of publish: $439

Heating Source: Electric | Type: Tank | Tank Size: 40 gallons | Heating Power: Two 4500-Watt elements | Flow Rate: Not applicable

Lowe's Envirotemp 40-Gallon Tall 3-year Limited 35500-BTU Natural Gas Water Heater


What We Like

  • Self-cleaning dip tube

  • LED status lights

  • Low NOx burner

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn’t satisfy requirements for ultra low NOx burner

Natural gas water heaters offer better efficiency phàn nàn electric models but bởi cost more initially. If you’re looking to tướng offset the investment, pick an economical but efficient model lượt thích the Envirotemp 40-gallon Natural Gas Water Heater. It has a 35,500-BTU low NOx gas burner and essential components lượt thích an anode rod, ceramic tank shield, and push-button pilot ignition. LED status indicator lights are also helpful in checking the status of the appliance, while a self-cleaning dip tube means you can drain the tank less often.

The 40-gallon tank of this budget gas water heater has a 65-gallon first-hour delivery rate, making it a good choice for three- to tướng four-person households. Larger families can size up to tướng a bigger tank while still capitalizing on the economy of the Envirotemp water heaters. An electronic gas valve makes for simple temperature adjustments, and a vacation mode ensures maximum savings when you’re away. The biggest tradeoff for the economical price is a shorter warranty period. You’ll only have 3 years of coverage, compared to tướng 6 years or more for some other models. 

Price at Time of Publish: $549

Heating Source: Gas | Type: Tank | Tank Size: 40 gallons | Heating Power: 35,500 BTU | Flow Rate: Not applicable

Ecosmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater


What We Like

  • Stainless steel heating elements 

  • Digital display 

  • Adjust temperature in 1-degree increments

  • Saves floor space by mounting on wall

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What We Don't Like

  • May not be as effective for large homes in cold-weather

A tankless water heater saves space and energy, making it an appealing choice for homeowners who want a streamlined and efficient option. The Ecosmart ECO 27 is a top choice because of its easy-to-use control panel, highly adjustable temperature output, and small footprint. It measures 17 by 17 inches and can be installed on the wall in a closet or basement.

Flow rate is one of the biggest considerations when it comes to tướng choosing a tankless water heater. The greater the flow rate, the more plumbing fixtures that can be in use at once (like sinks, showers, or appliances lượt thích a dishwasher). The ECO 27 offers a flow rate between 2.7 and 6.5 GPM, depending on incoming water temperatures. At a minimum, you can expect it to tướng keep up with hot water demands from a shower and sink simultaneously. In colder climates, don’t count on it to tướng heat water for much more phàn nàn a single shower; if you need more hot water simultaneously, you may need to tướng upgrade to tướng a larger model in the Ecosmart ECO series. 

A popular feature of this tankless hot water heater is its digital temperature control, which allows you to tướng read and adjust the target temperature in 1-degree increments. Temperature settings range from 80 to tướng 140 degrees Fahrenheit. As water passes through this tankless water heater, a stainless steel heating element warms the water to tướng your ideal temperature before passing it through your pipes to tướng the plumbing fixture in use. The steel heating elements inside the unit carry a lifetime warranty, ví you can expect years of reliable performance from this tankless water heater. 

Price at time of publish: $599

Heating Source: Electric | Type: Tankless | Tank Size: Not applicable | Heating Power: 27 kilowatts | Flow Rate: Between 2.7 and 6.5 gallons-per-minute

Rinnai RL Series HE+ Tankless Hot Water Heater


What We Like

  • Equipped with ultra low NOx burner

  • Compact dimensions

  • Temperature range of 98 to tướng 160 degrees Fahrenheit

What We Don't Like

  • 0.4 GPM activation flow 

  • Professional installation recommended

If you have a natural gas connection and want a space-saving hot water heater, consider a tankless version lượt thích this Rinnai model. This non-condensing gas water heater is about the size of a small suitcase and mounts on the wall in your basement or utility closet, but it can also be installed in attics or crawl spaces, as long as a vent is available for hot exhaust. It offers a flow rate of up to tướng 7.5 gallons per minute; even in the coldest climates, you can count on this model to tướng supply hot water to tướng at least two showers. Set the water heater to tướng a temperature that suits your needs, ranging from 98 to tướng 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Reviewers agree that the supply of hot water from this model is consistent—once it begins. The fact that the water heater has a minimum activation rate of 0.4 GPM means that some low-flow faucets aren’t sufficient to tướng trigger the tank’s heater. In addition, there can be a little lag as you wait for hot water to tướng begin flowing from a fixture. This isn’t a unique problem for tankless water heaters, which don’t keep hot water ready and waiting for use. Most people don’t mind waiting a short while for hot water in exchange for energy savings and the fact that the hot water won’t lập cập out due to tướng a depleted tank. This unit has a UEF rating of 0.81 and an ultra-low NOx burner that meets the strictest of emissions standards. 

Price at time of publish: $1,054

Heating Source: Gas | Type: Tankless | Tank Size: Not applicable | Heating Power: 180,000 BTU | Flow Rate: 7.5 gallons per minute

A.O. Smith G6-S7576NV Signature 100 Series 74-Gallon Short Natural Gas Water Heater


What We Like

  • Short tank for installation in compact spaces

  • First-hour rating of 125 gallons

  • 75,100 BTU low NOx gas burner

What We Don't Like

  • No smart features

  • Temperature settings can be challenging to tướng adjust

When picking a water heater for a large family, you need to tướng choose a model that is capable of keeping up with frequent and simultaneous hot water demands. If that’s your situation, we recommend the A.O. Smith Signature 100 Series 74-gallon Natural Gas Water Heater. This high-capacity water heater heats quickly and delivers 125 gallons of hot water in the first hour of use, meaning that you can lập cập multiple showers back-to-back or at the same time without worries over losing hot water. The low NOx burner has 75,100 BTU to tướng heat water rapidly as the tank refills. It’s recommended for households of 5 or more people. 

Despite having such excellent capacity, this gas water heater has a short tank design. It’s more compact for fitting into utility closets or tight spaces and installs easily, according to tướng reviewers. Other features to tướng point out include a self-cleaning dip tube and anode rod to tướng protect against corrosion and reduce maintenance tasks.

An electronic gas valve allows for better control over temperature settings. However, that’s one area where reviewers sometimes express dissatisfaction since the water is hotter phàn nàn expected. An analog dial allows you to tướng pick a setting that suits your preference for performance and energy efficiency, or you can phối the unit to tướng an energy-saving vacation mode when you’re away. 

Price at time of publish: $1,199

Heating Source: Gas | Type: Tank | Tank Size: 74 gallons | Heating Power: 75,100 BTU | Flow Rate: Not applicable

A. O. Smith Signature Premier 50 Gallon Electric Water Heater with Hybrid Heat Pump

A. O. Smith

What We Like

  • Four operating modes to tướng pick from

  • Washable filters to tướng clean out sediment

  • Back-up heating elements for reliable performance

What We Don't Like

  • Compressor can be noisy

  • Less effective in cold weather

A heat pump water heater draws heat from the ambient air to tướng warm up water for your shower, sink, dishes, and more. Most models for residential use are equipped with a back-up electrical heating element, ví you’ll often hear them referred to tướng as hybrid electric water heater. This model from A.O. Smith is an example of the efficiency and technology that these water heaters are known for. As an Energy Star-certified hot water heater, this model is estimated to tướng only use about $130 of electricity each year. It supplies up to tướng 66 gallons of hot water in the first hour of use and includes features that make it durable for years to tướng come, including a ceramic-fused tank shield, anode rod, and washable filters.  

The A.O. Smith Electric Water Heater with Hybrid Heat Pump has four operating modes: Efficiency, Electric, Hybrid, and Vacation. You select the mode that balances performance with energy usage. In hybrid mode, you can expect the most significant savings on electricity. However, two 4,500-watt copper heating elements are ready to tướng take over if the hybrid function isn’t enough to tướng sufficiently warm your water. Using the ‘Electric’ mode could be your best bet in cold weather conditions, since the ambient air may not supply enough transferable heat.

As the hybrid water heater draws heat from the air, it has the added benefit of cooling and dehumidifying the area. Just keep in mind that noise from the compressor is sometimes an issue for homeowners, but isn’t a khuyễn mãi giảm giá breaker if you’re installing this water heater in a basement or other less-utilized space in your trang chính. Most people agree that it’s no louder phàn nàn a standard dehumidifier. 

Expect to tướng spend more on a hybrid water heater phàn nàn you would for a standard electric water heater. The A.O. Smith Electric Water Heater with Hybrid Heat Pump retails for three times as much as our best overall pick for an electric water heater. Even still, it offers long-term utility savings and is an efficient choice, especially in warm weather climates.

Price at time of publish: $1,950

Heating Source: Heat pump, electric | Type: Hybrid | Tank Size: 50 gallons | Heating Power: Two 4,500 watt copper heating elements | Flow Rate: Not applicable

Final Verdict

If your trang chính is phối up for a natural gas water heater, the Rheem Performance Natural Gas Water Heater is easy to tướng use and install and heats quickly, thanks to tướng the 35,500-BTU low NOx burner. The 40-gallon tank is the right size for families of 2 to tướng 3 people, but you can pick a model with a larger tank if necessary. But if you’re interested in a continuous hot water supply, consider a tankless water heater. The electric Ecosmart ECO 27 requires minimal installation space and can supply multiple fixtures with hot water, especially in warmer climates. 

Size and Capacity

The size of a water heater refers to tướng its physical dimensions. Whether your water heater is installed in a basement, utility closet, garage, or other area of your trang chính, it’s important to tướng measure the space available to tướng ensure that you pick a model that will fit properly. 

The capacity of a water heater is a measure of how many gallons of water it holds in the storage tank. It’s related to tướng size because larger water heaters usually have increased capacity. Most water heaters are offered in various tank capacities, starting at 40 gallons and ranging up to tướng 75 or 100 gallons. A 40-gallon water heater is typically the right choice for a household of two or three people, while a large-capacity water heater, lượt thích the A.O. Smith Signature 100 Natural Gas Water Heater is a better fit for large families that place frequent demands on a hot water heater. 

When deciding what capacity water heater you need, Doyle James, President of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, says that your old water heater can be a guide. “If the previous unit provided the needed hot water output, a similar size and capacity unit should bởi the job.” 

Gallons per Minute and Flow Rate

If you are shopping for a tankless water heater, you should be aware of its flow rate, which is measured in gallons per minute. James explains that gallons per minute is the amount of water that passes through the system during a one-minute time period. “It is important especially in the case of tankless water heaters, as they are normally rated for a specific GPM capacity before they are no longer able to tướng keep the temperature at the phối level during operation.” Tankless water heaters with a higher GPM capacity will tư vấn more plumbing fixtures simultaneously. 

Flow rate also comes into play when you turn the hot water on at a fixture, lượt thích a bathroom sink. The demand for hot water must meet a threshold to tướng activate the tankless water heater. Some low-flow fixtures may inhibit a tankless water heater from working as effectively. As an example, the Ecosmart Eco 27 (our best tankless, electric option) is activated when water flows at a minimum rate of 0.25 gallons per minute.

Energy Use

When it comes to tướng energy use, water heaters are often compared using the Uniform Energy Factor (UEF). The higher the UEF, the more efficient the water heater. Electric water heaters typically use more energy to tướng heat water and have lower efficiency ratings, while gas models typically have higher UEF ratings when compared to tướng electric models. Depending on utility costs in your area, this means that a gas water heater can save you money on operating costs. A hybrid electric water heater is an exception, since the design of this water heater allows it to tướng achieve significantly better efficiency ratings when compared to tướng most electric water heaters. As a case-in-point, the A.O. Smith Electric Water Heater with Hybrid Heat Pump has a 3.42 UEF rating that tops the energy efficiency of any other water heater on our list. 


  • What kind of maintenance bởi water heaters need?

    When it comes to tướng routine maintenance tasks for a water heater, plan to tướng flush the tank annually. This reduces sediment buildup. Tankless water heaters also require a flush each year, which helps to tướng reduce sediment build-up in the heater exchange tubing. James reminds homeowners to tướng take an important step: “Before performing work on a water heater, drain the tank by turning off the power at its circuit breaker and opening an exterior faucet or drain valve. This will allow any remaining water in the tank to tướng be drained out.” 

    In addition, most tank waters have an anode rod that attracts minerals and other particles from the water supply. While this helps to tướng slow corrosion within the tank, it means that the anode rod will require occasional replacement. How frequently you need to tướng replace the anode rod is largely dependent on incoming water quality. 

    Electric water heaters may also require element replacement. Because of corrosion, the heating element can become defunct. Most water heaters have screw-in elements that allow a replacement element to tướng be installed, rather phàn nàn requiring the purchase of a new water. 

  • What is better: a tank or tankless water heater?

    Most homes are equipped with a conventional tank water heater, but tankless water heaters have become a popular alternative for their energy efficiency and compact design. When deciding which one is better for your trang chính, James advises homeowners to tướng consider any conversions that would need to tướng take place to tướng accommodate a tankless water heater. For example, he points out that a gas tankless water heater may need a larger gas supply line and vent pipe. Electric tankless water heaters might require a higher amperage electrical circuit. “The biggest benefit of a tankless water heater is, if properly sized to tướng the needs of the trang chính, a continuous supply of hot water,” James says. “Instead of running out of water when the tank of water that was preheated runs out, a tankless water heater heats the water as needed.”

  • What is the difference between an electric and gas water heater?

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    The biggest difference between an electric and gas water heater is efficiency. James says, “A gas water heater is more cost-effective and is usually the choice over electric, if gas is available. Gas water heaters typically will also recover more quickly phàn nàn electric during heavy use.” When considering the best water heaters, there are high-performing models of both types, but if you have the set-up for a gas water heater, it usually holds a slight advantage over an electric water heater.

This article was researched and written by Erica Puisis, who is a professional writer that specializes in large and small trang chính appliances, along with trang chính improvement features and plumbing fixtures. Erica has been writing for The Spruce since 2017 and has covered everything from trang chính saunas and infrared heaters to tướng water softeners. To choose the best options for gas and electric water heaters, she compared the most popular models, including tank and tankless options. Each water heater was compared based on factors that affect the appliance’s performance on a day-to-day basis, such as the heating power, tank size, and energy efficiency. 

Our Experts:

  • Doyle James, President of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. James spoke about the factors to tướng consider when deciding between a gas or electric water heater or a tankless versus a tank water heater. He also provided tips on the routine maintenance homeowners should expect with a water heater. 
  • Daniela Galvez, senior editor at The Spruce