How to choose the right water heater: selection criteria, pros and cons

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The lack of centralized water supply or frequent accidents on heating mains make many urban and the vast majority of rural residents install autonomous supply complexes hot water. The main question in this case is how to choose the right water heater.

Most often, autonomous hot water supply complexes are designed on the basis of electric water heaters. Although water heaters have similar functionality, many of their parameters determine the quality of the water heating system.

For a non-professional, seeing a huge number of devices from different manufacturers in a hardware store, it is difficult make a choice of exactly the one that would be distinguished by reliability and durability, while having an affordable price. Let's try to help figure out which water heater is better.

water heater

The content of the article:

  • Types of electric water heaters
  • Instantaneous water heaters
    • Choice of mounting method
    • Choice by power
    • Selecting an installation location
    • Evaluation of advantages and disadvantages
  • Selecting a flow heater
    • Purpose of use
    • Selection by availability of water improvement functions
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  • Storage water heaters
    • Selecting the capacity of the water heater tank
  • Storage heater selection
    • Selection by type of heating element
    • Selection according to the material of the inner tank
    • The choice of methods of protection against corrosion and scale
    • ECO mode
    • Form and method of installation
  • Storage heaters for typical applications
  • conclusions

Types of electric water heaters

There are 2 types of water heaters according to the principle of operation:

  1. Flow-through - small devices that heat water "in real time". In this case, the degree of heating is determined by the pressure of water and the power of the device.
  2. Accumulative (boilers) - tanks with a volume of 10-200 liters. Some time in them is spent on heating cold water to the desired temperature, and then this temperature is maintained.

If boilers have already become classics, then instantaneous water heaters were invented relatively recently. Now both types of devices are used in everyday life.


Instantaneous water heaters

Instantaneous water heaters, capable of almost instantly heating water flowing from a tap to 20-60 ˚С, naturally have a high power (more than 3 kilowatts).

Choice of mounting method

With such a device, you do not need to wait for the water to heat up. You can immediately use hot water for washing dishes or washing your face. There are built-in and mounted flow heaters. The first are a nozzle on the crane, and the second are attached to the wall.

Both types of water heaters can be equipped with a faucet and a shower head. A number of models have the ability to serve more than one water intake point.

Increasing the power of the instantaneous water heater increases its performance and ease of use.

Choice by power

Built-in heaters of a relatively low power of 3 kW, providing a throughput of 1.3 l / min, make it possible to wash hands and wash dishes. But now it’s no longer possible to take a shower comfortably.

To ensure a full-fledged shower, an instantaneous water heater capacity of 2-3 l / min is required, which a device with a power of 3.5-5 kW or more can provide. At the same time, not every electrical network is able to withstand such a current for a long time, especially in old residential premises.

If the house is located in a gardening partnership, then the owner is provided with problems not only with internal, but also with external electrical networks. After all, they are almost universally outdated and will not be able to pull the load, even with a power of 5 kW, which is required for an average water heater and other electricity consumers in the house.

water heater

For fully functional heaters, the power consumption reaches 10-15 kW, which require a three-phase connection, which is often absent in summer cottages.

If the dwelling has no problems with external electrical networks and the internal wiring is made using the power lines of the necessary section, the flow heater will serve as an excellent addition to the storage electric heater or hot water supply from boiler room.

Selecting an installation location

The latest models are characterized by safe design and ease of installation. They have options that protect the device from turning on without water and turn off the power when overheating.

For example, a flow heater can be placed in the kitchen sink so that you are not dependent on family members taking a shower and do the dishes in peace.

In the case of a summer cottage, which the owners almost never visit in winter, one instantaneous water heater, having several water intake points, or a pair of built-in heaters in the kitchen and bathroom enough.

Evaluation of advantages and disadvantages


  1. Low price.
  2. Compact, easy installation.
  3. Fast hot water supply.


  1. Limited application. Inability to provide hot water to the entire dwelling.
  2. High power consumption.
  3. Insufficient water heating for showering.
  4. Inability to connect to a regular outlet. The need for a direct connection to the electrical panel.

Selecting a flow heater

To select the best device, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of the dwelling and the particular operation of the heater.

Purpose of use

For a kitchen sink, bathroom or toilet, you can choose a low-power flow-through faucet heater that replaces an ordinary faucet.

Often the best choice for a kitchen in a summer cottage and in a house is a model with a heating indication and a flexible spout that allows you to adjust the height of the gander and the depth of the take-out at the mixer site.

For a stylish bathroom, it is better to choose a more expensive device, equipped with a number of heating modes, a security system and having a stylish appearance.

If the plans of the owners include not only washing hands and washing, but also taking a shower, it makes sense to choose small-sized instantaneous water heaters of mounted type, equipped with both a faucet and a shower head. They are easy to install in the smallest rooms, and the capacity of 2 l/min is enough for a shower.

Faucet and shower

Selection by availability of water improvement functions

Frequently used water is too hard. At the same time, the equipment for giving it softness has not yet become widespread.

In order to reduce the effect of hard water on the heater, it is equipped with an anti-scale function. The methods of such protection may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the absence of such protection in hard water systems will lead to premature failure of the equipment.

Due to the ease of installation and affordable price, the popularity of instantaneous water heaters is constantly growing.

Storage water heaters

Storage water heaters are still the main source of hot water supply in a permanent dwelling. They need time to heat the water, but with proper selection of the volume of the tank based on the number of residents and their tastes, the supply of hot water, as with continuous heating, can be made continuous.

For storage heaters, even the most powerful devices, designed for a volume of 100 liters, as a rule, have a power of up to 2 kW. Modern models are very different from previous devices, which were a simple metal cylinder in a heat-insulating case with a heating element.

Today's appliances have become smarter. They are highly energy efficient. In addition, the service life of the heaters has increased, the appearance has improved and the functionality has expanded. Innovative solutions are present not only in top models. They can also be found in budget series.


Selecting the capacity of the water heater tank

For convenience, we summarize the data in a table.

Capacity, l Purpose of installation Number of people
10-15 Washing 0
30 Wash and shower 1
50 Wash and shower 2
80 Wash and shower 3
100 Bathroom, sink, shower 4
150 Bathroom, sink, shower 6
200 or more Bathroom, sink, shower More than 6


  1. They provide hot water to the entire household without being tied to any one point of water intake.
  2. Economical. The power is 2-3 times less than that of flow heaters.


  1. It takes some time to heat up the water.
  2. The need for regular maintenance.

Storage heater selection

The purchased storage electric water heater should serve for a long time. This leads to a detailed approach to the choice of instrument. Let's look at some options that may affect the purchase.

Selection by type of heating element

The water in the tank is heated, as before, using a heating element. However, in addition to the classic heating element that is in direct contact with water, there is also a “dry” heating element. The name speaks for itself.

The heating element is placed in a special flask, which allows avoiding contact with water, and, as a result, preventing the formation of scale. The contactless heating system does not make the heating element eternal. From time to time the heating element needs to be replaced. But for a "dry" heating element, this happens less often.

At the same time, replacement is easier, since it does not require draining the liquid from the tank. Therefore, when choosing the type of heating elements, it is best to give preference to "dry" heating elements.

Selection according to the material of the inner tank

The main obstacle in the fight against corrosion, which cannot be avoided in any place where water is heated, is the material from which the internal tanks are made. Manufacturers of heaters include 2 types of internal tanks in the design:

  1. Alloy stainless steel.
  2. Made of enamelled steel.

Both types of materials are resistant to corrosion. This allows the tank to maintain tightness for a long time, and the device to remain operational. The manufacturer gives a guarantee for a stainless steel tank up to 8 years, and for an enamelled tank up to 7 years.

In reality, the service life is longer. After all, it saves from scale, in addition to the metal of the tank, a number of other solutions.

The choice of methods of protection against corrosion and scale

In an electric water heater, corrosion protection is entrusted to 2 types of anodes:

  1. Magnesium - exclude corrosion of the walls and seams of the tank and make the heating element service life longer. In this case, the anodes themselves are destroyed, requiring periodic replacement. Leading models of storage heaters are supplied with oversized magnesium anodes.
  2. Titanium (electronic) - during operation, such anodes are stored without needing to be replaced. However, heaters with a stainless steel tank and a titanium anode cost 3,000 rubles more. rub., in comparison with analogues with an enameled tank and a magnesium anode. But such a difference in cost makes it possible not to call the master every year to replace the anode, spending 2 thousand rubles. rub. for one. Equipment with a titanium anode will pay off quickly.

ECO mode

Modern water heaters of the above-budget segment are equipped with a built-in ECO mode to protect heating elements from scale and increase their durability. When it is turned on, water is heated quickly, but only up to 50-55 ˚C. Scale at this temperature almost does not occur, and the magnesium anode is subjected to less consumption.

Sometimes the user may need to change some settings remotely. The latest models are equipped with a WiFi module, which is built-in or optional. Even more perfect control is made by voice assistants like Alice - the choice of a new generation.

Form and method of installation

Rectangular devices with the possibility of various orientations have long proved their convenience and ergonomics. The water heater can be installed both vertically and horizontally.

New flat water heaters are safer to operate and take up less space in the home.

Storage heaters for typical applications

To simplify the choice, we present a number of series of water heaters that solve typical problems:

  1. Electronic control, stainless steel tank, titanium anode - not the most "advanced", but reliable equipment - the choice of buyers who do not need extra, from their point of view, options.
  2. Mechanical control, stainless steel tank, dry heating elements, magnesium anode – choice of opponents of electronic control systems.
  3. Electronic control, enamelled steel tank, dry heating elements, magnesium anode, water sanitation complex is the choice of customers who value security and fine-tuning.
  4. Mechanical control, compact small-capacity square design, enamelled steel tank, magnesium anode - the choice for the owners of a summer house in an old garden cooperative. Rapid heating of a small amount of water. (20 minutes - 10 liters).


For a small summer cottage equipped with a shower, an instantaneous water heater with scale protection is quite suitable. For real hot water supply, it is better to choose storage water heaters. The recommended choice is quality goods of famous brands.

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