Best 50 Gallon Water Heater Reviews – (Gas, Electric)

People often underestimate how much we rely on hot water throughout the day. It is something we rarely even think about until that dreaded moment where we go turn on the shower, and we are blasted with freezing cold water. Having a reliable, efficient 50-Gallon water heater makes life easier in countless ways. From bathing, cleaning, cooking, and that bedtime cup of tea, it is something that we truly take for granted.

When the time comes to upgrade or replace your current 50-Gallon water heater, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. There are so many different options and variations that we must consider.

Your specific living situation will dictate many of these things like venting type, electric or gas, and everything in between. Throughout the guide, we will tell you all about the best 50 Gallon water heaters on the market today and with our handy buying guide, we will help you answer some tough questions that help you choose the best 50-Gallon water heater on the market today.


Best 50 Gallon Water Heater Reviews


1.A.O. Smith Signature Select 50-Gallon Natural Gas Water Heater

A.O.-Smith-SignatureHighlighted Features

  • It has a 40,000 BTU burner that is environmentally friendly and proficient.
  • The 50-Gallon tank capacity is rated to serve families of 5 with regular usage.
  • This a gravity venting unit, which means that gas is expelled without any additional venting power.
  • The valve is electronic, which is best for exact temperature changes.

A.O. Smith water heaters have been relied on in houses throughout the world for years. They are a brand that has pioneered the home water heater industry, and they are constantly evolving the market to provide consumers with the best products available.

This 50-Gallon water heater is an affordable option at under $500, and it is proficient for large families with 5+ people. There is numerous safety features built-in that ensure there are no accidental vapor ignitions.

One of the biggest factors in determining the best 50-Gallon water heater is the first-hour rating. This A.O. Smith 50-Gallon model has a first-hour rating of 84 gallons. This means that when the tank is full, you will get 84 gallons of hot water per hour.

The A.O. Smith unit has a great first-hour rating, and it is more than enough for the entire family to shower and to get some cooking done. The other thing we look for is a valve that is reliable and acts quickly, which the A.O. Smith nails with their electronic valve.

What We Like:

  • The shape of the 50-Gallon water heater is perfect for small or tight spaces.
  • There is an LED-Indicator light that allows you to know the status of the system along with error codes that tell you the exact error occurring should something happen.
  • There is an 84-Gallon first-hour rating with this unit, which is excellent for efficient water heating.
  • It is certified to be proficient in altitudes ranging from 0-10,001 feet.
  • The tank is ceramic and re-enforced to ensure a long-lasting tank with no leaks.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • We prefer drain valves to be brass or stainless steel; this one is constructed of plastic.

 


2.Rinnai V65iN High-Efficiency Tankless Water Heater

Rinnai-V65iNHighlighted Features

  • This tankless water heater is designed to be installed indoors only.
  • It can produce 6.5 gallons of hot water per minute (GPM.)
  • There is a mobile app for iPhones and Androids that allows you to schedule heat times or put the unit into vacation mode.
  • Because it is tankless, there is no limit to the amount of hot water you can produce.

Many people believe that tankless water heaters will be in every home in just a few short years. There are so many things to love about them, and the Rinnai tankless water heater checks many of those boxes.

The first thing you will notice with tankless water heaters is that there is no limit to their hot water output. There is no first-hour rating either because the system heats water as it flows through the tankless water heater.

The Rinnai system uses 40% less energy than traditional 50-Gallon water heaters, and the customizable options make it a great option for homeowners looking to upgrade their current system. It can be easily converted to liquid propane operation, and because it works with multiple gas line sizes, installation is easier than many comparable models.

The mobile app is super cool and allows us to manage our home’s hot water output from anywhere in the world!

What We Like:

  • We were really impressed by the speed of hot water delivery when requested through any valve in the home.
  • It is roughly the size of a small suitcase and takes up virtually no space when it is mounted.
  • Because it is tankless and has a compact size, it uses 40% less energy than traditional tank water heaters.
  • It comes configured to work with a natural gas heating source but for those who rely on propane, it can be converted to propane. Either one works great!
  • It allows for installation with either a ½-inch or 3/4-inch gas line, making install painless!

What We Didn’t Like:

  • It requires both a gas connection and an AC plug, which could lead to more installation costs.

 


3.Bradford White BWC RE50T6-1NCWW 50-Gallon Water Heater

Bradford-White-BWC-RE50T6Highlighted Features

  • This 50-Gallon water heater is run on electricity rather than natural gas.
  • It runs off 3500 watts to ensure that it can keep up with your home’s demand for hot water.
  • The anode rod, which protects the water heater from rusting, is made from magnesium, which helps protect against corrosion.
  • It comes standard with a 240-volt plug but other voltages can be specially requested.

The Bradford White 50-Gallon water heater is simple but extremely efficient. It has an affordable price tag and has a few features that make it a safe option for your home.
One thing we appreciate is that Bradford White made this electric water heater available in different voltages. This allows you to find a model that works with an existing plugin your home, and it will not require any additional electrician work to install.

There are several inches of insulation on the sides and top of the tank. Those of you that live in cold weather climates will greatly appreciate this because it helps ensure that even during the coldest months, your water will not freeze. Frozen water in a water heater can be a disaster for your home and wallet.

The all-brass drain valve is a nice touch for this 50-Gallon water heater, too. It will not leak and if you ever need to drain the water heater, it is fast and easy to open.

What We Like:

  • The inlet and outlet water valves are tight, secure, and clearly marked.
  • The drain valve is 100% brass, which ensures there will be no leaks and is strong.
  • We love that this system exceeds all efficiency requirements that the Department of Energy suggests.
  • All the controls on this system are automatic, and if the system detects too much energy being dispersed, it will shut off on its own.
  • The tank has foam insulation on the sides that ensure water does not freeze.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • We have had a few issues with leaking around the valves.
  • It is wider than many other 50-Gallon systems and is harder to install because of this.

 


4.Kenmore 57951 50 Gal. 9-Year Tall Gas Water Heater

Kenmore-57951Highlighted Features

  • It is a taller, slenderer tank that will easily fit into tight spaces.
  • There is a factory installed temperature and pressure valve that ensures your unit will not overheat or become too pressurized.
  • The 9-year warranty covers the tank and all the components on the unit as well.
  • This natural gas model is designed for atmospheric venting, which means there is no power to vent gas emits. It relies on gravity.

Kenmore is a fan favorite when it comes to consumer appliances of all types, and it is easy to see why with this 40,000 BTU natural gas water heater. It is rated to an altitude of 10,100-feet and comes with a few different features that help the water heater maintain efficiency and cleanliness.

In addition to the cold-water inlet that helps keep the interior of the tank clean, it also has an anode rod that keeps rust and sediment from forming as well.

We loved the slender shape of this 50-Gallon water heater. Many times, water heaters of this size are wider and need a ton of space for installation. With the Kenmore 50-Gallon water heater, it is only 21-inches wide, which allows us to install into tight spaces in the utility room.

The system can attach to 3-inch or 4-inch venting pipes, which helps because there is less chance of needing to change out the piping. The insulated tank is great for cold weather climates and will help save you money in the long run!

What We Like:

  • There are 1.5-inches of insulation throughout the tank, which keeps water temperatures stable.
  • The interior of the 50-Gallon tank is glass-lined to help with corrosion.
  • It has a first-hour rating of 81 hours, which is solid for a water heater at this price point.
  • There is a self-cleaning cold-water inlet that helps the tank fight scale build-up.
  • It can be installed with venting pipes that are 3 or 4-inches will allow for easier installation and less reworking of venting pipes.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The drain valve is plastic and not as durable.

 


5. Noritz 50 Gal. Tank Replacement 9.8 GPM Indoor Tankless Water Heater

Noritz-50-Gal.Highlighted Features

  • This system was designed to be installed by the homeowner in less than 3 hours.
  • It can produce nearly 10 gallons of hot per minute, which is a ton for a tankless system at this price.
  • The Noritz company has an app that controls your tankless water heater from either an Android or iPhone.
  • Everything needed to install the system comes in the box; nothing else is needed!

Kenmore is a fan favorite when it comes to consumer appliances of all types, and it is easy to see why with this 40,000 BTU natural gas water heater. It is rated to an altitude of 10,100-feet and comes with a few different features that help the water heater maintain efficiency and cleanliness.

In addition to the cold-water inlet that helps keep the interior of the tank clean, it also has an anode rod that keeps rust and sediment from forming as well.

We loved the slender shape of this 50-Gallon water heater. Many times, water heaters of this size are wider and need a ton of space for installation. With the Kenmore 50-Gallon water heater, it is only 21-inches wide, which allows us to install into tight spaces in the utility room.

The system can attach to 3-inch or 4-inch venting pipes, which helps because there is less chance of needing to change out the piping. The insulated tank is great for cold weather climates and will help save you money in the long run!

What We Like:

  • Because this system was designed to replace a standard 50-Gallon water heater, installation is a snap.
  • It quickly heats water as it flows through, and we love that there is no limit to hot water with this tankless system.
  • It is initially configured for natural gas, but it can easily be converted to work with liquid propane.
  • It does not take up a lot of space on the wall, and its compact size is easy to maneuver into the perfect place.
  • The heat exchanging coils are stainless-steel, and each comes with a 25-year warranty, which is great for a water heater warranty.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The maximum temperature of the unit is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than many other systems.

Is a 50-Gallon Water Heater Right for Me?

When we suggest a specific size water heater for a client, it is largely dictated by their family’s size and the amount of water they need daily.

A 50-Gallon water heater will have a tank that holds 50 gallons when full, and as you use that hot water, it will take in new water to heat up and pass through to your shower or sink. The bigger the tank, the longer you will have access to hot water, and the more the first-hour rate will be.

50 gallons is often considered the minimum required water heater for families of 5 people, but this does not mean you cannot have a 50-Gallon tank if your family is smaller!

If you are a family of 4 or maybe just a couple, you may not require a 50-gallon water heater, but by no means does it hurt anything to have one in your home. When I am consulting with clients and other homeowners, 50-Gallons is the standard that I suggest if there is enough space to install the unit in their home.

In short, a 50-gallon water heater is right for most homes. If your household exceeds six people, you will want to investigate the amount of water used daily and see what the best option for you would be, but many times, 50 gallons can handle families of 6.

Should I get a 50-Gallon Electric or Gas Water Heater?

There are several differences between gas and electric water heaters, and both have qualities and advantages to them.

We will do our best to break down the differences between the two, but when deciding which is better, it comes down to personal preference and your unique environment. Some things make it difficult to install a proficient electric water heater, and there are some situations where gas is just not accessible. But let us start with some advantages of both.

50-Gallon Gas Water Heaters

What We Like:

  • Most gas water heaters can be installed in more places than many comparable electric models. Because electric water heaters require a 240-Volt connection, which is not common throughout your household, they can have additional installation costs.
  • Converting a 120-volt plug to a 240-volt plug is not a lengthy process, but it will require an electrician and will add more time and cost to your install.
  • Gas water heaters heat the water quickly.
  • In the case of a power outage, gas water heaters can still be fully operational when electric water heaters would not be effective.

50-Gallon Electric Water Heaters

What We Like:

  • Electric water heaters are cheaper when it comes to upfront costs.
  • There is less maintenance with electric water heaters when being compared to gas water heaters. Gas heaters have much more moving parts and connectors where things could go wrong.
  • When it comes to safety concerns, many believe that electric water heaters are safer because there is no natural gas being used.
  • First Hour Rating – Why Does it Matter?
  • When it comes to 50-Gallon water heaters, the first-hour rating is one of the best units of measure that we can use to determine the efficiency and overall production of a system.

First Hour Rating – Why Does it Matter?

When it comes to 50-Gallon water heaters, the first-hour rating is one of the best units of measure that we can use to determine the efficiency and overall production of a system.

The first-hour rating refers to the amount of hot water the system can produce when the tank is already filled.

Your 50-Gallon water heater tank will constantly be refilling itself to ensure that you always have the most water available.

When the tank is emptied, the system will do its best to ensure that you still have hot water, but it takes time to fill the tank and heat the water.

Finding a system that can do this proficiently will extend the amount of hot water available to you and make life a whole lot easier.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying a 50-Gallon Water Heater

Energy Factor

Finding home appliances that are energy efficient is becoming more and more important in today’s society.

Luckily, dozens of manufacturers are focused on providing energy-efficient that saves the environment and save you money.
You need to investigate the amount of energy your 50-Gallon water heater will need to run at its most efficient.

Energy Star

You will want to ensure that the 50-Gallon water heater you choose has an Energy Star certification. This means that the unit has been tested by a 3rd-party to ensure that there is no wasted energy or resources. Many units strive to be energy efficient, but I would never suggest that you use a water heater without an Energy Star rating.

Storage Space

This is often one of the most overlooked factors when deciding on the best 50-Gallon water heater. With a little bit of research, you will notice that 50-Gallon tanks come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tall and skinny, while others are short and wide.

The reason for the wide array of sizes is because water heaters are typically placed in precarious places within homes. There are usually some other appliances like a furnace or fan system nearby, and space is at an all-time premium.

Ceiling height is also something to be aware of. Most people prefer to install a taller, more slender water heater but when it comes to 50-Gallon tanks, they can be quite high.

You also must ensure that you have enough space to allow for proper venting of gasses and exhaust pipes. Some 50-Gallon water heaters come with a power vent on the top of them to help push gas and exhaust out of the home. This adds another 16-inches on the top of the unit, making it even closer to the ceiling.

Many cities have rules about how close the top of the water heater can be to the ceiling. These rules are in place to ensure that there is sufficient space for proper venting and exhaust. Make sure to check your local regulations of this is a concern. If you have three or more feet between the top of the unit and the ceiling, you should be good, but it does not hurt to check.

Anti-Scale Devices

The number one reason why people must replace their existing 50-Gallon water heater is that over time, the tank will corrode and cause a leak.
These leaks can have devastating effects on your home, and it can take weeks to dry up all that spilled water.

Fortunately, more and more manufacturers are turning their attention to creating 50-Gallon water heaters that combat scale and mineral build-up that are usually the cause of water heaters leaking. There are a few keywords to be on the lookout for when it comes to anti-scale properties.

Glass-Lined Tanks

More and more tanks are beginning to have a glass layer on the interior of the tank. This helps with several things, but the most important is that glass is anti-bacterial.
Because of this, the glass-lined wall of the interior of the water tank helps fight bacteria from forming and attaching itself to the walls of the tank.

Additionally, because the glass is covering the tank wall, there is a barrier between the water and the tank. This helps with leaks because the water will now have to go through 2 layers of material rather than just one.

Inlet Pipe Cleaner

When water is brought into your water heater, it comes in from the cold water connected to your main water supply. Many 50-Gallon water heaters now boast a cold-water inlet filtering compound.

This helps remove some of the rust and sediment from water as it is brought into the tank, eliminating the chances of these minerals eroding the tank. Even if you have a water softener for the entire house, it is a good idea to have this added safety net for your water heater.

Anode Rod

Fight against water heater tank erosion.

An anode rod is a long metal rod that attracts corrosive elements and keeps them from reaching the outermost layer of the water tank.

The most tried and true composition of an anode rod is magnesium. This is important because it will last longer and help keep minerals and build-up at bay for longer, which is always good!

Durability

You must make sure to choose a 50-gallon water heater that can withstand all climates and years of use. When it comes to the physical water tank, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for which are commonly associated with durability.

Tank Durability

When investigating a 50,000-Gallon water heater, you want to make sure the tank can withstand the environment you are in. These things include:

Altitude: If you are over 10,000 feet, you will need to be ultra-selective about which water heaters you can choose. Because of the added pressure from the altitude, you will need to find one suited for your environment.

Insulation: This is getting to be more common across all water heaters but you must ensure the water heater you are choosing has enough insulation to handle the environment you are in.

I grew up in the coldest states in the USA, I have had my water heater tank freeze before, and I can tell you it is an absolute nightmare. Have just an inch or two of insulation can be proven to be invaluable over time.

Release Valve Material: On every 50-Gallon water heater tank, there is a faucet or valve that is there to help you empty the tank when needed. I recently replaced a 19-year-old water heater, and when I went to turn the valve to empty it, the plastic valve broke right off, and water started gushing everywhere!

If the valve were made from brass or stainless steel, I would not have had this issue. With any home product with valves like this, go metal!

Another thing that is often overlooked is the differences between the gas and control valves on 50,000-Gallon water heaters. The valve is what allows gas to be expelled into the burner with gas water heaters, and the control valve on electrical water heaters is what expels the energy needed to control the heat.

Gas And Control Valve Durability

Pipe Connections: With a natural gas water heater, the valve will be connected to the gas supply and you want to ensure that the connectors are threaded properly and that everything is solid. Gas is nothing to mess around with and if you have a bad valve that has poor gas connections, you could have a major issue on your hands.

Adjustments: On both electric and natural gas water heaters, there is a control knob on the main valve that allows you to adjust your maximum temperature and therefore indirectly controls the amount of energy being uses. Many basic water heaters will have these valves controlled by a little knob or a maybe a sliding indicator. Make sure these are durable because I have seen them break before and it is not great.

Installation And Maintenance

The thing about installing a water heater is that the installations vary from home to home so much. There is not a common, dedicated space within each home, and with the differences in venting regulations across the country, it causes a lot of variation among installing. When choosing the best 50 Gallon water heater, it is usually suggested to try and find an identical match to your current system.

Over time, water heaters and their components become obsolete or discontinued, and they replace them with a similar, improved model. If you cannot find the identical unit that you are trying to replace, the manufacturer will have a list of replacement unit numbers that can be substituted.

If you go this route, the install will be simple, and many homeowners will be able to do it, especially if it is an electric unit. With gas, we always suggest having a professional handle these connections because of the volatility of natural gas. Remember to ensure that the 50-Gallon water heater you choose matches your existing vent pipes. Many times, water heaters will be able to handle 3-inch and 4-inch pipes, most homes have these, but it is worth making sure.

When it comes to maintenance, the beauty of water heaters is that there typically is not much. You always want to ensure that your 50-Gallon water heater is operating at maximum capacity and you want to check around the unit every once in a while to ensure there are no leaks.

Warranty

I cannot stress this enough, investigate every water heater your considering’s warranty program. They vary so much between manufacturers and if you are not getting nearly 10 years of warranty, you need to revisit the model that you are choosing.

The 2nd thing to make sure of is that the warranty includes not only the water heater tank but also every single component. Aside from leaks, the most common failure with water heaters is the gas or main control valve. These are not cheap to replace and if you do not have a warranty, it could end up costing you.

How Do I Install a 50-Gallon Water Heater?

Installing a 50-Gallon water heater is a much larger project than most improvement systems. There is a lot to think about with these and there will be differences in installation needs when it comes to electric versus natural gas water heaters. But regardless of those subtle differences, the main concept is the same.

It will start by connecting your cold-water inlet line to the top (usually) of the 50-gallon tank. Flexible steel mesh hoses or copper lines are the best options for these connections. Then, there will be a water outlet valve that needs to be connected back to the hot water line that handles hot water for your entire home. Make sure these lines are correct otherwise you will have pressure issues.

If you have an electric water heater, you will need to make sure that a proper voltage outlet is nearby and then you can plug it in. Most use a 240-Volt plugin so make sure you scout out where one of those before installation. Because there is no natural gas associated with it, there is much less venting required, if any.

If you have a gas water heater, you have a few more steps to take. The gas line will need to be SECURELY connected to the inlet on the main gas valve. Do not turn on the gas until this connection is tested and plumber’s tape has been applied to ensure there are no leaks. (We strongly suggest having a professional do this) When the gas is connected, you now need to focus on venting.

On top of the 50-Gallon water heater tank will be a vent connection. Ensure that the vent pipes are securely connected and if your unit uses a fan to help get rid of gas and exhaust, you can now plug that into a normal 120-volt plug.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answered

What size tankless water heater should I get to replace a 50-Gallon standard tank?

The beauty of tankless water heaters is that they do not have a limit to the amount of hot water that they can produce in succession. They do however have a limit to the number of gallons it can produce hot water per minute. The best comparable is to find a unit that can produce more than 8 GPM.

How much does a 50-Gallon water heater cost?

The costs will vary depending on the brand name, quality of the valve, and by the venting type. There are two types of venting with a standard 50-Gallon water heater. Atmospheric venting relies on gravity (and the atmosphere) to get rid of excess gas and exhaust.

These are cheaper than power-vent 50-Gallon water heaters. Power-vent units have a small fan on the top of the water tank that attaches the venting pipes. The fan is there to push gas and exhaust out if the unit because the atmospheric style would not have been efficient. You will see prices ranging from $400-$1200 for most 50-Gallon water heaters.

How long does a 50-Gallon water heater take to heat?

Depending on if it electric or gas, the water heaters will take less than one minute typically. Gas water heaters are known to heat up water quicker than electric because of the heat source. Electric heaters use coils rather than flame-like gas water heaters, which take longer to heat up than a gas heat source.

Conclusions

It is easy to overlook the importance of a home’s water heater. We use them every day for a variety of things, and when that luxury we have become accustomed to goes missing, we realize the importance of having a reliable, quality 50-Gallon water heater.

There are tons of things to choose from regarding these water heating units and the best 50-Gallon water heater is going to depend on your living situation and your specific wants and desires.

We are confident that by following our in-depth buying review and taking a look into some of our favorite systems, you have all the information you need to choose the best 50-Gallon water heater for you. We sincerely thank you for tuning into this article, and we wish you the best of luck finding the perfect water heating system.

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Bob Allen
About Bob Allen

Bob has been a plumber for 15 years and loves it! He has always been interested in Plumbing from an early age and has the cuts and bruises to prove it as he set out to work with fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements.