There are several reasons why you might want to buy a tankless water heater, all of which are difficult to put a price tag on.
That is why it can be difficult to recommend or not recommend a tankless water heater: the reasons for buying one might go beyond price.
Here are a couple of justifications for buying a tankless water heater that have little to do with price:
- You love the sleek look of a tankless heater. Tankless heaters look great in the home.
- You have space that you want to use, and you are not willing to give that space up to a huge water tank. Thus, you opt for a tankless model.
- You want to go as completely green as possible in your home, and that means not installing a hot water heater that heats water even while you are sleeping. Tankless water heaters are definitely the most green model on the market.
Now, onto more practical considerations, what are the main factors that affect tankless water heater prices.
The more hot water a unit can produce in a minute, the higher the price. Usually, the price difference between a small capacity unit and a bigger capacity unit is only minimal, so you may as well choose the tankless heater that can produce more hot water by demand.
Another factor that affects the price of tankless hot water heaters is the brand or make. Most tankless heater brands have similar price range, but there are brands that market their heaters for the “higher end” markete. Brands such as Noritz, Rheem, Bosch, and Rinnai have competitive prices, but may vary in quality.
As a rule, the more cost-efficient a tankless heater is, the higher the price. You can get greater savings by spending more upfront rather than choosing a cheaper yet less efficient model.
Price Range for Tankless Water Heaters
So, how much do tankless water heaters cost, and are they worth the higher price?
Tankless water heaters cost more upfront and more to install, so be prepared for sticker shock as you shop. These higher prices are somewhat justified by the units’ greater energy efficiency. Water is only being heated when hot water is needed. That’s why these models are also called “on demand” heaters.
If you want a standard tankless hot water heater for the entire house, you will spend between $500 and $2,000.
A good median price is $650-$1000.
Installation costs, which should be figured into your total cost, will also be about double what a tank model runs, whether it be gas or electric. It can take a plumber a full day or day and a half to install your tankless heater because new pipes are required, etc. That will boost your cost by another $500 in many cases.
Are tankless water heaters worth double the cost, are the high prices justified? Maybe, maybe not. The data is still coming in because these models are relatively new on the market. Tankless heaters are indeed 20+% more energy efficient, but that usually adds up to no more than $100/year for you. If your tankless heater lasts 20 years, as most manufacturers claim that they will, then you will save $2,000 with a tankless heater, making it worth your while.
If you are only staying in your home a few more years, than a tankless heater is probably not a wise investment. The price will be too high.
Another way to approach installation of tankless water heaters is to buy several mini-heaters for different spots in your home. Mini-heaters can be as inexpensive as $150 apiece, but the total installation cost for several units will add to these prices quickly.
One final consideration should be the amount of hot water used simultaneously in your home. If several people take showers at the same time in your home, or you run the clothes washer at the same time as you shower, then a tankless water heater might not be your best option. Most are unable to provide consistently hot water to two showers at once.