Unless you’re living in Iceland, Japan, or a similar place where there are plenty of natural hot spring water sources, finding a way to heat your water yourself is pretty much a must. One of the best ways to do this is to obtain an electric water heater – a contraption that turns electricity into heat by means of some clever engineering!
The way this thing works is really quite simple. Electricity heats up some pipes, which is connected to a water tank. After some time has elapsed, the water inside will reach the designated temperature and then it’s ready to use. The time required for this process to happen depends on the power rating of the heater onboard, as well as the amount of water the full tank has in itself when the heating process starts.
In this article, we’ll talk about electric 50-gallon water heaters. We’ll provide 3 products in this particular category so that you can decide which one of them you like the best. Also, there’s a buying guide we’ve organized you can consult in case you’re not entirely familiar with the ins and outs of electrical water heaters.
Right then folks, without further ado, here’s the deal!
50-Gallon Electric Water Heaters – A Brief Buyer’s Guide
One of the most important aspects of an electric water heater, or any electric appliance, really, would be how well it fares when it comes to saving energy. Nowadays, it can be said that this particular parameter is even more important than the power of the unit itself! (Just the mark of the times we’re living in, really.)
Be that as it may, it’d be also fair to note that it’s only natural to wish for your water heater NOT to spend a fortune preparing your shower water. Generally speaking, you can tell an energy efficient house appliance from an energy-wasting one, so to speak, simply by looking at its features.
For example, if a water heater has excellent insulation, that means it will require less energy to conserve the temperature of the water in the tank. Also, if the heating unit has a big power output, it will take less time to heat a certain amount of water. (But then again, this also means it will require more energy to do so.)
Last but not least, the size of the tank itself plays a role in its overall power rating. The more water a heater needs to heat, the more energy it will need to do it. Simple maths!
Regardless of its power source, every water heater deals with roughly the same problems when it comes to the mineral residue left inside the tank.
For example, imagine you’re living in an area with a poor quality of the water in the pipes. What this effectively means is that your water heater is going to start accumulating mineral residue at the bottom and on the walls of the tank – meaning you won’t have as much space to work with later on.
To battle this, various manufacturers of these heating appliances have decided to wrap the ‘insides of the tank’ with a special layer of protective material, so that the accumulation of harmful sediments can be greatly reduced if not completely averted.
Type of Water Heater
When it comes to the shape or even the very existence of a tank in a water heater, these appliances can be roughly split into three different categories. First, there are water heaters with a storage tank. As their name itself suggests, the working principle here is quite straightforward. There’s a tank that is filled with water and then a heating element inside it goes to work to heat up the liquid inside.
As a rule, this type of heater is convenient for having large quantities of water at once at your disposal, but don’t fare that well in the department of saving energy, so to speak.
The second type of water heater would be the ‘tankless’, or ‘on-demand’ water heater, as it’s also known. These heaters are typically much smaller than their ‘tanked’ cousins because they don’t have a tank, of course. The idea behind this design is to only heat up the water you’ll be using at the moment, thus saving energy and water at the same time.
The downside to this principle would be that you can’t really secure large quantities of water at once, which is a bit of a bummer if you have a large household. (Also, it’s not really a good idea if you like having long baths with a full bathtub.)
Water heater type number three would be the heat pump or hybrid water heater. Its main working principle pretty much involves a heating element that captures the heat from the surrounding air and transfers it onto the water in the tank. Getting one of these can save you a lot of money in the long run, but you would need to live in an area that sufficiently hot to make it work. (It’s not really as efficient in cold environments.)
Other than these three, there are also solar heaters and condensing heaters. The solar ones, as their name implies, use solar power to heat water. (So you need a special solar panel to make it work, which can be expensive.) The condensing ones are powered by gas, so there’s no point discussing them further here.
Virtually all water heaters, regardless of their type or construction, face the same problems when it comes to poor quality of water. Indeed, no matter how well designed or energy-efficient your water heater happens to be, if the quality of water from the source you’re using is questionable, you’re still going to face a bunch of problems with your water-heating appliance down the road.
The thing is, dirty or otherwise unrefined water carries in itself lots of minerals that tend to stick to the inside walls of the tank or to its pipes. This can cause clogging and reduce energy efficiency to a large extent if you leave the mineral scale build up over time. To tackle this annoying phenomenon, many water heater manufacturers opt to equip their products with an anti-scale device – a simple fan-like structure at the bottom of a tank that swirls the water and thus prevents the minerals to stick to its inside surfaces. (Well, at least to an extent. You can never get rid of the stuff with 100% efficiency, really.)
This simple addition doesn’t really add up too much to the overall cost of the water heater, so you should definitely try to find a model that possesses this feature.
Although not necessarily the most crucial piece of technology on a water heater, a digital display can still offer plenty in the department of ease-of-use. There are a few parameters that need to be monitored when it comes to water heaters, in general.
The level of water remaining in the tank, for example, or the temperature of the water inside. These are easy to figure out if you’ve got an easy-to-read display, so if you’re looking for user convenience with these devices, definitely take a look at a water heater with a good control board and display!
Best 50-Gallon Electric Water Heaters
1) Rheem – Marathon Tall Electric Water Heater
With a design reminiscent of a full metal jacket bullet, this Rheem 50-gallon electric water heater is a unit that can do wonders when it comes to saving energy and giving you enough water to fill an entire bathtub with hot water whenever you like!
These excellent stats are possible thanks to an excellent recovery rate amounting to 20 GPH (meaning 20 gallons per hour). This means you can comfortably use hot water whenever you like without dealing with the risk of running out of water in the middle of a shower.
Since one of the biggest problems with water heaters and other appliances that come into contact with water is corrosion, the folks at Rheem have made sure that the tank of this particular contraption is made out of polybutene – a material that is completely impervious to rust and corrosion. In fact, the Rheem people are so confident in the toughness of their product that they issue a limited lifetime warranty on the tank and a 6-year warranty on other parts!
- The excellent recovery rate of 20 gallons per hour
- Brass drain valve
- Seamless polybutene tank
- Polyurethane insulation
- Limited lifetime warranty on the tank
- 6-year warranty on other parts
- Some users have reported problems with leaks
- Some users have complained about poor customer service
2) Westinghouse – Electric Water Heater with Durable Stainless Steel Tank
If you’re looking for a tough and durable water heater that will serve you for years to come, this here model from Westinghouse can be just the thing for you. Its massive 52-gallon tank can provide excellent service for larger households of 5 or more people, so if you’re living in a larger house and need a secure and ongoing source of hot water, this Westinghouse model can be just the thing for you.
When it comes to the material of choice, the folks at Westinghouse decided to go for a high-quality ‘breed’ of stainless steel carrying the signature 316L. The entire tank construction is welded with a laser, so you can rest assured that the seams won’t produce leaks.
Possibly the biggest upside to buying one of these appliances from Westinghouse would be its incredible recovery rate. Namely, once you turn this thing on, it will be able to heat up to 71 gallons of water just in the first hour of the operation!
- Sturdy stainless steel construction
- Energy factor of 94
- High recovery rate
- An excellent choice for larger households of 5+ people
- 6-year limited warranty (in residential applications)
- Some customers reported dents in the tank upon reception
- Some users have reported issues with the heaters breaking down haphazardly
3) A. O. Smith. – ProMax Short Electric Water Heater
With the appearance of a WWII bomb, this simple-looking electric water heater from A. O. Smith hides some excellent features ‘underneath the hood’. In fact, its durable tank, as well as all the other secondary components, meet all the currently issued regulations set forth by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, or NAECA, as it’s often abbreviated.
To ensure that the inside of the tank won’t succumb to rust and corrosion over time, the folks at A. O. Smith has installed a permaglas glass coating. This thing provides a safety layer between the water and the inner walls of the tank.
It’s not only the tank that’s sufficiently durable to make this thing run for years, however. The drain valve is made out of durable brass, so that even after a long time of use it can still perform its task well, so to speak.
- Features an excellent permaglas glass coating
- Comes with a durable brass drain valve
- Meets all the regulations from NAECA
- 6-year limited warranty on the tank and the parts
- Some users have reported electrical issues with this unit
- A bit pricey