Water Heater Economic Comparison Calculator

This calculator is designed to provide a side-by-side economic comparison of different water heater units.

The default values below are based on national average data, but you can input your estimated daily water use in gallons, along with your fuel prices, then select the types of water heaters you’re interested in from the drop-down menus and enter the estimated installed costs of the units (this information can usually be obtained by talking with a contractor).

If you’re not sure what your typical daily hot water use is, here are some general guidelines you can use to come up with an estimate:

  • Average 10-minute shower: 20 gallons
  • Average faucet flow: 2 gallons/minute
  • Average clothes washer, per load: 10 gallons
  • Average dishwasher, per load: 6 gallons

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Go back to the tankless water heaters topic.

Average daily hot water use gallons/day
Electricity cost
Natural gas cost $/therm
Water Heater 1
Installed cost $
Energy factor
Life span years
Water Heater 2
Installed cost $
Energy factor
Life span years
Water heater type
Up-front costs
Annual energy costs
Life-cycle costs
Incremental simple payback
period (years)
$ $ $ NA (this is the baseline)
Notes: Life-cycle costs include both up-front costs and expected annual fuel costs over the life of the water heater.
Calculator notes: Energy factor values come from Energy Star’s final criteria analysis for water heaters. Daily hot water use guidelines come from the U.S. Department of Energy’s online calculator.
Content last reviewed: