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Best 50 Gallon Electric Water Heaters: Our Top Picks

Lady enjoying a hot bath

If you’re looking for the best 50 gallon electric water heater, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you'll learn about the benefits of large 50 gallon electric water heaters versus gas-powered heaters so you can determine which is best for your household.  

According to the US Energy Information Administration, approximately 12% of a household’s energy consumption is spent on heating water.  That’s more than refrigerating, lighting, and cooking combined. It's no wonder that there are so many households opting for energy efficient electric water heaters. 

Why Choose a 50 Gallon Electric Water Heater?


There are a number of advantages that electric water heaters have over their gas-powered counterparts, especially among the 50-gallon tank size. For example, electric water heaters are easier to install because they do not require ventilation.

The best 50 gallon electric water heaters are high efficiency devices that provide excellent performance per kilowatt-hour of energy that it consumes.

With gas water heaters, only about 50% of the fuel energy required to power it actually reaches the point of use (e.g., is converted into hot water). Roughly half of the power used to supply a gas water heater is lost in the form of:

  • Standby losses (-31%)
  • Combustion losses (-17%)
  • Distribution losses (-9%)

With an electric water heater, you don't need to worry about losing half of your power to losses. The Energy Factor (EF) for electric water heaters with a tank size of 50 gallons is 95%, which means only 5% of the device's energy is wasted or lost during the heating process.

Regarding size, a 50 gallon electric water heater has plenty of capacity for large families. If you opt for a smaller unit, such as a 30 gallon heater, you might run out of hot water if your family consumes a lot of water during peak periods.

Typically, 50 gallon water heater tanks are sufficient for families of up to five people. As a general rule, you can assume that for each member of the family you should have 10 gallons. In other words, if you have 4 members in your family, a 40 gallon tank should meet your needs. 

Man thinking with light bulb drawings
 

Is a 50 Gallon Tank Right for You?

As we discussed above, a 50 gallon tank is an excellent option for families of 4 or 5 people. For every person in the household, you can estimate that about 10 gallons are needed to meet the daily water consumption needs.

Although tankless water heater units provide the most efficient supply of hot water, they must be properly sized for your household to prevent running short of hot water on a regular basis. Plus, they are typically much more expensive than conventional tank-based water heaters.

Many families opt for a 50 gallon electric tank to combine the benefits of having hot water on demand with an energy efficient low-cost solution.

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However, you should be aware of size constraints in your home before you invest in a 50 gallon water heater to ensure that it will properly fit. 50 gallon electric water heaters tend to be between 50 and 60 inches high and over 150 pounds. Always make sure your home has ample space to store and house a tank of this size.

 

Electric vs. Gas Water Heaters: Which is Better?

Electric and gas water heaters both have their share of advantages and disadvantages. Below, you'll find some of the key differences between these two types of water heating systems, as well as where each has an edge over the other.

Electric Water Heaters

There's a lot to like about electric water heaters. Perhaps the main benefit of this type of water heater is that they have low upfront costs, as they are often several hundred dollars less expensive than gas-powered heaters. They're also safe to operate and have extremely high EF (energy efficiency) ratings.

Due to their energy efficient properties, electric water heaters are more environmentally friendly. Switching to an electric water heater reduces the amount of power consumption required to supply a family with hot water which, in turn, reduces your carbon footprint.

But keep in mind, that even though your electric heater is more energy efficient, it will cost more to operate. This is because electricity is more expensive than natural gas.

The downside, is that if the power grid goes down your water heater will too. Although, this typically isn't an issue unless you have an extended power outage.

Another shortcoming is they have longer heating rates and recovery times. This means it takes longer to heat the water and for your heater to recover back to a full hot tank. 

Pros

  • Low upfront costs
  • Safer to operate and maintain
  • Highly energy efficient
  • No ventilation system required

Cons

  • Slower heating and recover times
  • Vulnerable to power outages and blackouts
  • Higher operating costs

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Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters use British Thermal Units (BTU) to rate their heating power, where electric water heaters are measured in watts. Modern gas water heaters have BTU measurements as high a 180,000 BTUs, which can heat a 50 gallon tank faster than even the most efficient electric water heaters.

As a general rule, you can expect a gas heater to convert heat much faster than an electric water heater, making them a popular choice for households with high hot water needs.

The downside to gas water heaters is that they have higher upfront installation and unit costs. They require a purpose-built ventilation system to vent the exhaust created from combustion to outside the home. If there's ever an issue with the ventilation or a gas leak, a gas water heater can present a danger to the home and occupants.

Another drawback is that not all areas have natural gas available. 

Pros

  • Fast water heating capabilities
  • Lower operating costs
  • Rapid recovery rates

Cons

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Less energy efficient than electric water heater systems
  • Must be ventilated
 

Other Considerations

When shopping for a new electric water heater there are several factors that you should consider before making a buying decision. Here are a few key factors to consider to help guide you towards making an informed purchase.

Space Requirements - Be mindful of the space your household has to accommodate a large water heater. If you have low ceilings, for example, you may need to opt for a "lowboy" or short framed water heater.

Warranty - No water heater lasts forever. Before purchasing a new water heater system, research the manufacturer's warranty to check the coverage. In some cases, heaters can be covered under warranty for as many as 12 years.

Drain Valves - Every water heater has a drain valve at the bottom to drain the tank for repairs and maintenance. Some units come with drain valves that are made of brass or metal alloy, but if yours is made of plastic you may want to consider changing it out with a brass one before filling your tank. Plastic drain valves tend to leak after a few years of use.

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Solar Compatibility - Many modern electric water heaters can accommodate photovoltaic (PV) panels to power the heater via solar energy. If you want to minimize your carbon footprint and lower your energy bill, a solar-compatible heater may be a worthwhile investment.

 

Top 50 Gallon Electric Water Heater Picks

Let's take a look at our top five electric water heaters. These are some of the best 50 gallon electric water heaters on the market today, by the top manufacturers who ensures their product achieves the highest standards of durability, performance, and energy efficiency.

 
 
 

A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax Short 

The A.O. Smith ENS-50 is one of the premier electric water heater systems for those who want a long lasting solution that won't rust or wear quickly with time. The ENS-50 is built with permaglass coating to help shield the tank from corrosion, which adds years to its lifespan.

A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax Short Electric Water Heater, 50 gal

The ENS-50 is a bestseller that features patented CoreGard technology to protect the aluminum elements of the tank from natural wear-and-tear. Plus, a diffuser tube helps prevent the accumulation of limescale and other unwanted particles which keeps your water output strong.

The ENS-50 is one of the best electric water heaters for those who want an electric heater system that will last you well into the future.

If you're looking for a taller version, you may want to consider opting for the A.O. Smith  ENT-50T ProMax Tall Electric Water Heater, which is very similar in function and design as the ENS-50, only that it's 60.5-inches tall as opposed to 50-inches. However, the ENT-50T version is considerably lighter at 149 pounds, compared to the ENS-50's 176 pounds.

Features Included

  • Brass drain valve made with tamper-resistant alloys
  • Coregard aluminum protection
  • NAECA approved
  • Permaglas protective coating
  • Diffuser Helps prevent lime build-up

 
 

Rheem MR50245 Marathon Tall

The Rheem MR50245 Marathon Tall Electric Water Heater is not only tall, but it's also lightweight. For those searching for a lighter and thinner solution (only 100 pounds!) for a dwelling that's short on space may find that the Rheem MR 50245 is their best choice.

Rheem MR50245 Marathon Tall Electric Water Heater, 50-Gallon

Rheem's MR50245 Marathon Tall features a lifetime limited warranty for up to six years on all tank parts, putting it in the middle-of-the-pack range as far as warranty protection goes. The outer shell of the tank is built with a polyethylene mold to make it resistant to dents, scrapes, and scratches which minimizes the risk of external damage.

With an efficiency rating (EF) of 94%, only 6% of the required input energy is lost during the heating process. In other words, the Rheem MR50245 is one of the most efficient devices on the market.

Features Included

  • 20 gallon GPH with a 90° rise for fast recovery
  • Up to 94% EF energy efficiency rating
  • 100% metallic drain valves to prevent corrosion
  • Lightweight 100 lbs build
  • Tall and skinny construction ideal for tight spaces (only 62.75 inches)

 

Westinghouse WER052C2X055N06

The Westinghouse WER052CX055N06 ("WER05") is a premium electric water heater backed by a comprehensive six-year manufacturer's warranty for residential use. At 52 gallons, the WER05 is one of the largest water heaters in its class, which makes it ideal for larger families who demand large amounts of hot water.

The WER05's stainless steel construction helps prevent natural wear-and-tear, and it's 94% EF rating makes it among the most efficient machines on the market today. If you're looking for the best 50 gallon electric water heater, you may want to consider checking out the Westinghouse WER05 for its host of benefits for larger families.

Features Included

  • Replenishes 71 gallons of hot water output in it's first hour
  • Six-year manufacturer's warranty
  • Extra-large 52 gallon water supply
  • Lightweight 118 lbs construction
  • 5500 watts for ultra-fast heating times

 

Rheem PRO+ERO T2

The Rheem PRO+E50 T2 RH95 EC1 (PRO+ERO T2) is an excellent electric water heater with 240VAC voltage and 4500 total watts of power output. Although, the lower wattage may cause it to take slightly longer to heat than higher-wattage systems, it also means that the PRO+E50 T2 requires less power to operate and therefore, has a smaller impact on your energy bill.

50 gal. Residential Electric Water Heater, 4500W

Weighing only 118 pounds, the PRO+E50 T2 is one of the best options for those who need a smaller heater which doesn't take up too much space. Best of all, the PRO+E50 T2 is covered by an eight-year warranty and is made with a highly durable premium-grade anode.

Features Included

  • Eight-year comprehensive warranty
  • 4500 watts for greater energy efficiency
  • Premium stainless steel outer shell and anode rod construction
  • Exceeds ANSI requirements
  • Brass drain valve

 

Bradford White BWC

The Bradford White BWC RE350T6 is a 4500-watt electric water heater that features a magnesium anode element to prevent the onset of rust and corrosion. The RE350T6 weighs in at a slightly heavier-than-average 150 pounds. The use of reinforced stainless steel improves durability and accounts for much of the added weight and provides a heavy-duty construction.

Bradford White BWC RE350T6-1NCWW 50GAL 240V

The Bradford White BWC is 61 inches tall, which makes it a great solution if you want a skinner model that can fit into a confined space. However, buyers should note that the 4500 wattages means that it'll have a slightly slower recovery and first-hour output than higher-wattage systems.

Features Included

  • 4500 watts of power output
  • Magnesum anode rod safeguards against corrosion
  • Thin 61" build makes it ideal for confined spaces
  • Available in 240 V to 480V.