Best Hybrid Water Heater in 2022 - HVAC Judge (2022)

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Best Hybrid Water Heater in 2022 - HVAC Judge (1)

The hybrid electric water heater is an innovative and increasingly popular household appliance, heating water for millions of homes across the US and, reportedly, saving thousands of dollars of energy bills in the process.

But what is the best hybrid water heater? Can they really outperform the traditional natural gas water heater and the standard electric water heater?

Table of Contents

  • 1 Benefits Of Having A Hybrid Hot Water Heater: Pros And Unique Features
  • 2 Things To Consider Before Buying A Hybrid Hot Water Heater
    • 2.1 Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater Capacity
    • 2.2 Installation Space
    • 2.3 Energy Efficiency
    • 2.4 Stiebel-Eltron ACCELERAⓇ 300 Heat Pump Water Heater
    • 2.5 Rheem PERFORMANCE PLATINUM™ EcoNet Enabled Hybrid Water Heater
    • 2.6 A.O. Smith Voltexⓒ FPTU-50 Hybrid Electric Water Heater
  • 3 Who Can Install My Hybrid Water Heater?
  • 4 Hybrid Water Heater Frequently Asked Questions
    • 4.1 Is Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters Worth It?
    • 4.2 What Brand Of Water Heater Is The Most Reliable?
    • 4.3 How Much Does A Hybrid Hot Water Heater Cost?
    • 4.4 How Big Of A Hybrid Water Heater Do I Need?
  • 5 My Final Thoughts

We may take it for granted, but easy access to hot water has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives.

According to a 2015 survey by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the average American uses 82 gallons of water per day in their home, and since hot water flows from your shower or faucet at around 5 gallons per minute, that’s around 12,000 gallons of hot water per month for the average family of 4!

Hybrid water heaters with new additional features designed to deliver comfort and efficiency are entering the market all the time, and it can be hard to easily recognize which is the best hybrid water heater for you and your home.


I’ve drawn on my decade of experience as a licensed electrician and plumber in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry, compiling this review of some of the best hybrid water heaters available on the US market in 2021.

Benefits Of Having A Hybrid Hot Water Heater: Pros And Unique Features

Benefits Of Having A Hybrid Hot Water Heater: Pros And Unique Features

High energy efficiency compares to traditional water heating appliances reduces your regular water heating costs

Energy Star Ⓒ certification

Additional operating modes, such as ‘economy’ or ‘vacation mode’’ that turns on further energy-saving settings

(Video) 2020 Top 5 Heat Pump Electric Tank Water Heaters

Smart home integration such as Wi-Fi connectivity

Typically last twice as long as conventional hot water heaters- around 20 years

Usually offered with a generous 10-year warranty

Things To Consider Before Buying A Hybrid Hot Water Heater

Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater Capacity

When deciding on the right capacity hybrid water heater to purchase, it’s important to consider how many people live in your home and how often they’ll be using hot water.

One with a capacity that’s too small will mean there isn’t enough hot water to go around for everybody, and an overworked heater is likely to be more prone to breakdown and regular repair.

On the other hand, one that’s too big will mean you’ll waste energy and money on your hot water costs by heating water that isn’t actually used. Not great for the environment, and definitely not great for your wallet.

Most modern hybrid water heaters come with water storage capacities of 40 gallons, 50 gallons, 66 gallons, or even 80 gallons.

Taking the average rate of water usage at around 5 gallons per minute, the smallest 40-gallon heaters are only enough to provide for 1 or 2 people. 50 gallons is enough for 2 to 4 people, a 66-gallon heater for 3 to 5 people, and a home with 5 or more inhabitants should use an 80-gallon capacity hybrid water heater.

You can also use the government advice page on how to properly size your hybrid water heater.

Installation Space

Because of how heat pump hybrid water heaters work, it’s important that they’re installed in a space that has clearance on all sides of at least 12 inches. Otherwise, the heater cannot operate efficiently and safely.

A hybrid water heater uses a heat pump system to absorb warmth from the outside air and deposit it to the evaporator coil. This heating element uses a very cold refrigerant that enables it to draw heat from the air in all but the coldest climates.

The heat exchanger then heats the water within the tank to the desired temperature, and voila! Your faucets, appliances, and showers now all have hot running water!

However, if the heater is installed in a space without that 12-inch clearance, it cannot access the heat it needs from the surrounding air and your water won’t be nearly as warm as you’d expect.

It also cannot be installed in any space that’s likely to drop below freezing in the winter, such as an unheated garage or basement.

(Video) Rheem Hybrid Heat-Pump Water Heater, Thoughts after the First Month

This can make storage space somewhat of an issue if you live in an apartment or small home that simply doesn’t have an available unoccupied space, in which case a tankless heater may be a better option to consider.

Energy Efficiency

In 2021, energy efficiency is an important consideration for many as we look to reduce our carbon footprint and minimize the amount of energy we waste in our everyday lives.

One of the biggest advantages, and one of the most appealing selling points of a hybrid water heater, is their high efficiency compared to that of the traditional natural gas or electric water heater and tankless water heaters.

A hybrid heat pump water heater combines the best features of both these conventional methods of water heating.

A natural gas and electric water heater heat from the bottom, with hot air rising through the unit before exiting at the top, so energy wastage can be quite high.

Tankless heaters use copper piping to heat water, so they save more energy but don’t use continual storage of hot water– so you could run out before you even realize it.

By using advanced heating elements such as a heat pump and extra efficiency settings such as economy, a hybrid water heater consumes far less power to operate and uses up to 3x less energy than conventional methods of heating water, so your monthly energy cost will be much lower.

And, unlike a tankless water heater, a hybrid heat pump water heater contains a reservoir that will always hold water. This ensures that your home will never run out of hot water.

It’s perfect if, as has happened to me and probably many others, you’ve ever been late to work because your family all beat you to the shower and yours could only run cold!

How energy efficient a hybrid water heater is represented by its Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) rating. This is calculated based on per unit of fuel consumed to heat the water for your home on a regular day. An energy-efficient water heater will have a higher energy factor rating.

Natural gas and standard electric water heater typically have energy factor ratings of between 0.65 and 0.95, while the best hybrid water heaters are much more highly rated, coming in at an average of between 2.75 and 3.5.

The first-hour rating of a unit is another good way to estimate how energy efficient the unit will be. This rating tells you how many gallons of hot water a unit can generate within the first hour of being switched on.

Considering this factor along with the tank capacity can give you a good idea of whether the heater will be able to keep up with the demands of your home.

Additionally, many modern hybrid water heaters have recently been awarded certified by Energy Star ⓒ, meaning they meet very high standards of energy efficiency set by the federal mandate.

The high energy efficiency of most modern hybrid water heaters means your lifetime savings on water heating costs could be between as much as between $1320 and $5560, or between $160 and $490 a year.

You can use the government’s estimation guide to calculate a good idea of how much your home can specifically save by installing a hybrid water heater. Hybrid Water Heater Buying Guide.

Stiebel-Eltron ACCELERAⓇ 300 Heat Pump Water Heater

Best Hybrid Water Heater in 2022 - HVAC Judge (2)

Stiebel-Eltron is a German HVAC manufacturing company, founded in Berlin by Dr. Theodor Stiebel in 1924. It’s an internationally operating brand that employs over 3700 staff worldwide and has forged a reputation for quality and innovation regarding renewable energy resources.

The first thing that will strike you about the ACC300 is that it is a big, hefty, and solidly-built example of German engineering.

Seriously, the higher water tank capacity models of this unit weigh around 300lbs, and are almost 6ft4inches tall! So you’ll definitely need a good amount of space for this to be properly installed.

(Video) Water Heater Buying Guide 2022 - Energy Star rating, price, fuel, rebates, etc.

The 80-gallon capacity can easily provide sufficient hot water for a family of between 3 and 5 people, and Energy Star Ⓒ certified energy factor rating of a whopping 3.39 ensures it does so while keeping your energy usage as low as possible.

The simple and easy-to-read LED display doesn’t offer the same performance modes as some other hybrid water heaters, but then it doesn’t need to when it’s built to operate with such an impressive energy factor rating.

There’s no Wi-Fi remote controlling option here, so you’ll need to install it somewhere you can easily reach to change settings.

If placed inside the home, the heat pump technology that absorbs heat from its surroundings can double as a kind of air conditioner, with further energy savings.

The Stiebel-Eltron ACC300 is a big heater, with a big upfront cost and even bigger energy-saving potential, forgoing advanced features in favor of sturdiness, reliability, and simplicity.

Rheem PERFORMANCE PLATINUM™ EcoNet Enabled Hybrid Water Heater

Best Hybrid Water Heater in 2022 - HVAC Judge (3)

The Rheem Performance Platinum range of hybrid water heaters comes from a brand recognized for its quality, affordability, and durability. Rheem has been manufacturing HVAC products for almost a century, and this expertise shows in that they regularly produce hybrid water heaters that are impressively efficient and user-friendly.

This unit can turn cold water into hot water at an ambient operating range of between 37°F and 145°F, which is far and away from the widest and most dynamic range for this type of heater.

Extra unit operating modes can be turned on according to your current needs and desires. High demand mode uses both the heat pump and backup electricity supply for the quickest water heating during times of high demand such as in the morning when your household is showering or washing. This mode is also the least energy efficient.

Energy-saving mode fully utilizes the compressor and gives excellent energy efficiency with low power consumption.

Vacation mode maintains a steady hot water temperature of around 90°F for a programmable period of between 2 and 28 days, so you’ll never have to come back from time spent away from home to cold water again!

The Performance Platinum unit comes with smart home technology and Wi-Fi connection capability, allowing users to control their settings and energy usage through the designated EcoNet app.

This inclusion of smart home technology such as an LCD screen, integrated water sensor alerts, and an audible alarm that lets you know of any potential issues before they arise, is all very nice to see at this comparatively low price point.

That’s not to say that Rheem hybrid water heaters are cheap– they still cost a fair amount more than standard electric and gas tank hot water heaters and are the costliest heater Rheem offers- but they’re super-low energy consumption more than makes up for that.

A.O. Smith Voltexⓒ FPTU-50 Hybrid Electric Water Heater

Best Hybrid Water Heater in 2022 - HVAC Judge (4)

It’s fair to say that hybrid water heater reviews would be incomplete without looking at a unit from AO Smith, the largest manufacturer, and marketer of the electric heat pump water heater in North America today.

The unit comes with an impressive energy factor rating of 2.78. By using advanced heating elements, the AO Smith Voltex can reduce energy usage by 73% whilst dehumidifying and cooling surrounding ambient air– perfect for use in hotter climates.

The large LCD screen uses status icons to show the selected operating mode (of which there are 4 including vacation and energy saver), the safety lock features, and heat source indicators.

There’s also a generous 10-year warranty included with every purchase so you won’t have to outsource expensive part replacements in the future.

One downside is that although AO Smith claims that the inclusion of a magnesium power anode offers superior protection against corrosion, I found that after a month of steady usage the anode started to give off an unpleasant sulfur smell which smells like bad eggs. Not great if the unit is installed somewhere inside the home.

Who Can Install My Hybrid Water Heater?

(Video) $1500 Heat Pump Water Heater - Worth it?

I’ve seen plenty of how-to guides around online that offer instructions on how to install a hybrid water heater yourself. This can save you money on upfront labor and installation costs– probably between $400 to $750. They’re relatively easy to install and hook up to your water supply if you know what you’re doing with the right knowledge, tools, and equipment.

However, unless you have some experience of installing electrical appliances yourself, I’d recommend using a licensed HVAC contractor to install your new hybrid water heater or you risk damaging the unit as well as your water supply.

Incorrect installation can be unsafe to you, and anybody else living in your home, and can end up landing you in hot water!

It’s also unlikely that a brand will honor your warranty if they deem any issues further down the line to be caused by something that wasn’t done right during the installation process, so you’d end up spending the money you thought you were saving anyway!

Hybrid Water Heater Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters Worth It?

Hybrid heat pump water heaters are an innovative and energy-efficient solution to the world’s water heating needs.

They come with higher upfront and installation costs, but because of their high thermal efficiency, hybrid water heaters can offer high energy savings which in turn reduces your monthly energy bills. Using a hybrid heat pump water heater can net your lifetime savings of between $1320 and $5560!

If the initial outlay isn’t a problem for you, then a hybrid water heater can definitely be seen as a worthwhile investment for you and your home that should last around 20 years with proper care and maintenance.

What Brand Of Water Heater Is The Most Reliable?

Reliability is an important factor to consider when deciding which hybrid water heater unit to purchase. It’s something that isn’t always easy to measure since a proper answer requires consistent use over a long period of time to be accurately gauged.

A.O.Smith, one of the US’ oldest and most recognizable water heating brands- founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1874- is also one of the best when it comes to building reliable and energy-efficient hybrid water heaters.

They offer a 10-year limited warranty that indicates your hybrid water unit should last at least a decade, and I’ve found that most can last twice as long with proper care and maintenance over its lifespan.

Rheem is another well-established company with a reputation for making quality, affordable water heaters. As you would expect from a company with almost 100 years of experience within the HVAC industry, Rheem’s hybrid heat pump water heaters are also some of the most reliable around.

How Much Does A Hybrid Hot Water Heater Cost?

While, as discussed previously, many hybrid heat pump water heaters consume up to 3x less energy than a conventional electric water heater, they also come with a higher upfront cost.

In fact, most hybrid water heaters by top, established brands cost between $1200 for 50-gallon tanks and $2500 for an 80-gallon tank unit. The gallon capacity is certainly the biggest influencer in determining how much you’ll be paying upfront.

How Big Of A Hybrid Water Heater Do I Need?

The size of a hybrid water heater that’s right for you and your home will depend on a number of factors, including the number of inhabitants living and using water in your home, the tank capacity and storage space available to hold the hybrid water heater, and the unit’s first-hour rating.

Most hybrid water heaters come with a 40, 50, 66, or 80 gallons of hot water tank capacity. I’d recommend a 40-gallon heater for a 1 or 2 person home, 50 gallons for 2 to 4 people, 66 gallons for 3 to 5 people, and an 80 capacity heater for 5 or more inhabitants.

My Final Thoughts

I’ve found hybrid electric water heaters to be an energy-efficient and easy-to-install option to heat the water you need to use in your home. They take up less space than traditional heaters by using a small storage tank, or even no tank at all.

They may come at a premium initial outlay, but in return for that, you’re getting access to some of the latest energy-saving technology that could save you thousands of dollars off your energy usage bills in the future.

With that in mind, I’d highly recommend considering a hybrid water heater over traditional gas or electric tank water heaters.

If you don’t mind the upfront cost and have the high demand and storage space to properly use it, the Stiebel-Eltron ACC300 is the best hybrid hot water heater on the US market today.

(Video) Why Heat Pumps are Essential for the Future - Explained

FAQs

What is the most efficient hybrid water heater? ›

Best Hybrid Water Heater
RANKPRODUCT NAMERATING
1ProTerra 40 Gal. Hybrid High-Efficiency Smart Tank5/5
2Stiebel Eltron 58-Gal Heat Pump Hybrid Electric Water Heater4.5/5
3Rheem Performance Platinum 50-Gal Hybrid Water Heater4.5/5
4TriangleTube 36-Gal Indirect Hybrid Electric Water Heater4/5
1 more row
9 Jul 2021

How reliable are hybrid hot water heaters? ›

A hybrid heating system (using heat pump technology) is very reliable. Invented in 1948, heat pump technology has been around a very long time. Depending on the quality of materials and build of the system, heat pump technology can last for decades.

Are hybrid water heaters better? ›

Hybrids and tankless water heaters are both far more energy-efficient than standard storage tank water heaters. A tankless water heater saves energy by only heating water as it is needed instead of maintaining constant heat on a tank.

What is the quietest hybrid water heater? ›

The Rheem Performance Platinum is also known for being the quietest heat pump water heater on the market. It runs at 49 dB (a low hum) compared to AO Smith's 51 dB and Bradford White's 55 dB.

How long does a hybrid water heater last? ›

The lifespan of a hybrid water heater is 15 years, so with proper maintenance, you will return and recoup your investment including Blue Planet's installation and water heater cost.

Are hybrid water heaters worth the extra cost? ›

Hybrid water heaters, when used correctly, are incredibly energy efficient– they can save homeowners about $470.00 a year on water heater costs compared to a standard electric water heater!

Are hybrid water heaters noisy? ›

Yes, hybrid or heat pump hot water heaters can make noise equal to anywhere from 40 to 80 decibels or more. According to decibel noise level charts, this is about as loud as conversation or regular home noise on the lower end, and a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, or a noisy restaurant on the high end.

Do Hybrid water heaters work in cold climates? ›

Yes, today's heat pump water heaters work efficiently - even in cold climates. Heat pump water heaters (or “electric hybrid” water heaters) operate best in spaces where surrounding air temperature remains at or above 40°F.

Which water heater lasts longest? ›

A tankless water heater can last up to 20 years, sometimes even longer. Also called “on-demand” water heaters, these appliances do not work continuously to maintain a supply of hot water—and, as a result, they last longer than their tank-style counterparts.

What is the most efficient hot water system? ›

An electric heat-pump hot water heater uses much less electricity than an electric storage water heater, and are the most efficient hot water systems on the market.

How much electricity does hybrid water heater use? ›

So if an average shower uses 16 gallons of hot water, the heat pump would run about 2 hours to reheat the water and use about 1.2 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Which is better a hybrid water heater or tankless? ›

When considering space, tankless wins out over the hybrid solution. In warmer climates, hybrid units can pull from the air and heat water using very little energy. Also, the energy savings on both systems outmatch and outlast traditional water heaters.

How much does it cost to install a hybrid water heater? ›

A hybrid electric water heater costs $1,200 to $2,500. Installed, this costs an average of $1,500 to $4,000.

Are Rheem hybrid water heaters noisy? ›

One of the reasons that people have favored the Rheem/Ruud heat pump water heaters is because they are quiet. Rated at a low 49 dB, you could install one in most places around the house and not notice it operating.

How can I make my hybrid water heater quieter? ›

How Loud is a Hybrid Water Heater? #rheem #aosmith #soundwaves

Does Rheem make good water heaters? ›

Rheem is a good, mid-level water heater brand that's not too expensive. Its reputation for manufacturing durable, reliable water heaters makes it a good choice for most homes. The company sells water heater models in gas, electric, tankless, solar and hybrid styles.

Will hybrid water heater cool garage? ›

A great way to keep your water hot and cool down your Garage is by upgrading your water heater to a ELECTRIC HYBRID WATER HEATER. A brand we trust and recommend often is Rheem. The initial cost is more expensive than a standard water heater but the long-term savings and benefits of the job it performs is worth it!

Do hybrid water heaters dehumidify? ›

A heat pump water heater, also known as a hybrid water heater, employs the same process but in reverse. A fan at the top of the unit draws in air across an evaporator, which is a series of refrigerant-filled tubes. The evaporator acts like a dehumidifier, blowing cooler, drier air back into the space.

Can you put a hybrid water heater in a closet? ›

Petersen Plumbing does not recommend installing one of these heaters in a closet, in a very small room, or in the heated part of a house.

Do Hybrid water heaters work in cold climates? ›

Yes, today's heat pump water heaters work efficiently - even in cold climates. Heat pump water heaters (or “electric hybrid” water heaters) operate best in spaces where surrounding air temperature remains at or above 40°F.

Is a hybrid heat pump worth it? ›

A hybrid heat pump system can make your home more energy efficient because it selects a different fuel as and when the efficiency or heat demand changes. If you're mulling over the question 'Should I swap my boiler for an air source heat pump' or similar, hybrid heat pumps are a viable consideration.

What is a hybrid hot water heater? ›

Hybrid Water Heater

Hybrid water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse.

What is hybrid heat pump water heater? ›

Hybrid electric heat pump water heaters use heat from the surrounding air to heat your water. This minimizes operating costs and maximizes savings. High Efficiency. A. O. Smith hybrid electric heat pumps have up to a 3.45 UEF and are ENERGY STAR® certified.

Will hybrid water heater cool garage? ›

A great way to keep your water hot and cool down your Garage is by upgrading your water heater to a ELECTRIC HYBRID WATER HEATER. A brand we trust and recommend often is Rheem. The initial cost is more expensive than a standard water heater but the long-term savings and benefits of the job it performs is worth it!

How much electricity does a hybrid water heater use? ›

So if an average shower uses 16 gallons of hot water, the heat pump would run about 2 hours to reheat the water and use about 1.2 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Where do you put a hybrid water heater? ›

When going through the location selection process, be sure to keep in mind different space and noise considerations as well as the location of the nearest power source and drain. Basements, garages, and laundry rooms are some of the best places to install a hybrid water heater.

Are hybrid HVAC systems worth it? ›

Best estimates suggest that a hybrid heating system can save a homeowner between 30 and 50 percent in energy costs over the course of a year. Many hybrid systems pay for themselves within three to five years.

How does a hybrid HVAC system work? ›

Depending on the demand for power, a hybrid vehicle decides to run on battery power or power from a gasoline engine. With hybrid HVAC, the system's computer selects either an electrically-powered heat pump or a furnace that burns natural gas, propane or fuel oil.

Who makes hybrid heat pumps? ›

How does a hybrid heat pump work? - YouTube

How big of a hybrid water heater do I need? ›

Size Up Your Current Water Heater to a Hybrid

If you have a 30 gallon water heater, size up to a 50 gallon hybrid water heater. If you have a 40 gallon water heater, size up to a 65 gallon hybrid water heater. If you have a 50 gallon water heater, size up to a 85 gallon hybrid water heater.

Are hybrid water heaters noisy? ›

Yes, hybrid or heat pump hot water heaters can make noise equal to anywhere from 40 to 80 decibels or more. According to decibel noise level charts, this is about as loud as conversation or regular home noise on the lower end, and a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, or a noisy restaurant on the high end.

How much does it cost to install a hybrid water heater? ›

A hybrid electric water heater costs $1,200 to $2,500. Installed, this costs an average of $1,500 to $4,000.

Is a hybrid water heater the same as a heat pump water heater? ›

A heat pump water heater (HPWH), also called a hybrid water heater, is two to three times more efficient than a standard electric water heater, according to the DOE. The difference between the two is that a HPWH, includes a tank, compressor, and a fan all in one unit, as you can see in the image at the top.

What should I look for when buying a water heater? ›

7 Things to Consider When Choosing a New Water Heater
  • Quality of the Tank and Heating Element. ...
  • What type of fuel does my hot water heater require? ...
  • Should I rent or buy a water heater? ...
  • Where will it be located? ...
  • Should I choose a tank or tankless water heater? ...
  • What capacity does my household need? ...
  • Is it energy-efficient?

What temperature is a heat pump not effective? ›

Heat pumps do not operate as efficiently when temperatures drop to between 25 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit for most systems. A heat pump works best when the temperature is above 40. Once outdoor temperatures drop to 40 degrees, heat pumps start losing efficiency, and they consume more energy to do their jobs.

Videos

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3. Inverter Technology: Unlocking the Full Potential of Heat Pumps to Decarbonize the Northeast
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4. All About Water Heaters | Ask This Old House
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5. SoCalGas & GTI Present: “Res Gas-fueled Heat Pump Water Heaters – Tech Advancements & Demo Results"
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6. Buildings Hub Live Episode #:1 Decarbonizing Buildings With Geothermal Heat Pumps
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