Electric Tankless Water Heater Cost

Electric Tankless Water Heater Cost | Gas Water Heater System Price Guide

This electric tankless water heater buying guide is the most comprehensive of its type. It includes electric tankless water heater cost & prices for the units, installation labor cost if you hire a pro, top electric water heater brands and models and their prices plus details about permit costs, what’s involved and the time-frame for installing an electric water heater.

The goal of this page is to assist readers in making an informed buying decision about electric water heaters, the right size for your home and how much to budget for the project.

Average Costs for Electric Tankless Water Heater Installation & Replacement

The average cost of an electric water heater installed by a plumber is about $625 for a point of use model and around $1,150 for a whole house electric water heater.

The total cost range is under $300 to more than $2,000 when considering the whole range – from a small DIY unit to a large whole-house water heater professionally installed.

Full cost details below will allow you to accurately budget for your water heater purchase.

Close up of a Electric Hot Water Heater Control

Keep in mind: Electric water heaters come in two types. Point of use electric water heaters are dedicated to a single outlet like a sink, dishwasher or jetted tub. Capacity is usually less than 1 gallon per minute (GPM) to about 2.5 GPM.

Whole house electric water heaters offer GPM of between 4.0 and 8.5. They are designed to serve 2 to 4 locations.

Info Tip: You won’t get the maximum GPM! The GPM of electric water heaters is listed according to the minimum rise in water temperature.

For example, the Rheem RTEX-36 is rated for a possible 8.8 GPM. However, if the incoming water has to be raised 40 degrees to reach 120 degrees for hot water, the GPM drops to 6.0. If it must be raised 60 degrees, GPM is only 4.0.

In other words, you won’t get anything near the maximum GPM unless you live in a warm climate where the water coming into your home is 70F or warmer.

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Average Cost of a Tankless Electric Water Heater

What is the cost of a tankless electric water heater?

Let’s first look at the cost of just the water heater, and next, the cost of the installation labor if you plan to hire a pro for the job.

Electric water heater cost is $120 to $950 for just the unit. Price factors are hot water GPM capacity, the quality of the water heater and its features.

Electric Tankless Water Heater Cost Comparison
Capacity/GPM Unit Cost Type
0.5 $120 – $200 Point of Use
0.5 to 2.0 $145 – $345 Point of Use
2.1 to 3.0 $275 – $495 POU/Whole House
3.1 to 4.0 $365 – $625 Whole House
4.1 to 5.0 $440 – $700 Whole House
5.1 to 6.0 $485 – $750 Whole House
6.1 to 7.0 $530 – $815 Whole House
7.1 to 8.0 $580 – $865 Whole House
More than 8.0 $675 – $950 Whole House

Electric Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost

How much does an electric tankless water heater installation cost?

There are three price tiers: DIY, Replacement and New Water Heater Installation.

  • DIY – $0 to $100: Some point of use units come with a 115V plug, so you can plug them into an existing outlet, mount them, connect the plumbing and use the water heater. You might have to buy minor supplies like a coil of wiring, junction box or outlet.
  • Replacement of an existing water heater – $225 to $575: The cost is reasonable when the wiring and plumbing are already in place. Minor adjustments to the water lines or electrical might have to be made.
  • Installation of a new unit where none existed – $700 to $2,100: The cost involves mounting the water heater, connecting the cold water line into the unit and the hot water line out, adding a circuit to the electrical panel and wiring the water heater.

Electric Tankless Water Heater Costs for Top Brands

Here are the top electric water heater brands, information about what they offer and prices for the water heaters. Refer to the section above on installation cost to determine what the total cost of your electric water heater might be – the unit plus installation labor.

Rheem

Rheem makes the largest selection of electric water heaters available. They are found in two quality tiers from 3kW to 36kW units. The GPM range is 0.5 GPM to 8.8 GPM maximum. Its technology is proven, and consumer ratings are among the best of any brand. Prices are mostly midrange, but the cost of Rheem’s most expensive models are quite pricey.

Stiebel Eltron

This German brand is another industry leader. Tempra is its popular whole house electric water heater brand. The company makes several point of use series including the reliable Stiebel Eltron DHC water heaters and the newer Mini Series for handwashing sinks.

EcoSmart

This brand makes gas water heaters in addition to electric models. Sizes start at point of use 0.5 and 1.5 GPM units to whole house electric water heaters with ratings from 4.4 to 8.8 GPM.

Bosch

The Bosch Tronic Series is available in several sizes, though not as many as offered by the brands above. The  Tronic 3000 Series begins with a 120V 0.4 GPM unit and maxes out with the Tronic 6000 Series with up to 3.5 GPM which can provide continuous hot water to 2 or possibly 3 locations at once.

AO Smith

AO Smith has made tank-style water heaters for generations and got into the tankless market about a decade ago. Its tankless electric water heaters are 208/240V units from 12.2 to 32 kW. The GPM range from 1.3 to 8.7 GPM depending on unit size and the temperature of the incoming water.

Eemax

This brand is sold at Lowes, Home Depot and other home improvement retailers. Your options are a small range of point of use tankless units from 8 to 13 kW up to 2.0 GPM and whole house electric tankless water heaters from 18kW to 36kW capable of delivering 3.0 to 6.5 GPM – again, based on size and incoming water temperature.

Atmor

This is another brand that sells pretty well at home improvement and online retailers. Sizes begin with POU 3.5 kW units with a GPM rating of about 0.5 to 36kW units with a maximum GPM of 7.0. A total of about 10 models give you plenty of size options for point of use and whole house applications from 1 to 5 simultaneous uses.

Here are the top electric tankless water heater brands and prices.

Note on cost: These are accurate prices from top sellers. You can often find a higher cost from some online retailers. But if you do, shop around – that’s almost certainly not the best price available.

Electric Tankless Water Heater Costs by Brand
Brand Cost Range Sizes
Rheem $250 – $725 3.5 to 36 kW
Stiebel Eltron $160 – $875 3.5 to 36 kW
EcoSmart $230 – $925 3.5 to 36 kW
Bosch $175 – $885 3.0 to 36 kW
AO Smith $370 – $815 14 to 32 kW
Eemax $200 – $875 3.5 to 36 kW
Atmor $140 – $735 3.5 to 36 kW
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Electric Tankless Heater Operating Costs

How much does it cost to run an electric tankless water heater?

Generally, more than it costs to run a gas tankless water heater of comparable or even larger size.

Most electric tankless water heaters come with an Energy Guide – the yellow label that tells you the average cost per year to operate them. In our experience, the Energy Guide labels estimate on the low side. If you have a small household, it might be accurate. But larger households will use more electricity – and so have a higher operating cost – than is listed on the Energy Guide label.

This chart is based on the average cost of electricity in the US, which currently is $0.15 (15 cents) per kilowatt hour.

Cost tip: See your monthly utility bill for the exact cost of electricity where you live – or contact your energy provider for the price of electricity.

Electric Tankless Heater Operating Costs
Capacity/GPM Annual Cost
0.5  Up to $40
0.5 to 2.0  $35 – $175
2.1 to 3.0  $130 – $220
3.1 to 4.0  $175 – $280
4.1 to 5.0  $220 – $335
5.1 to 6.0  $265 – $400
6.1 to 7.0  $330 – $470
7.1 to 8.0  $415 – $545
More than 8.0  $490 – $650

Permits & Installation Schedule

Permit and Inspection Costs

When new electrical or plumbing of any kind – a circuit in the panel, wiring to an installation location, or new water line – is needed, you should apply for a permit. Or ask your installer to “pull” the permit, which they usually do as part of their service.

  • The cost of an electrical permit for an electric tankless water heater is $65 to $150.
  • The cost of a plumbing permit for an electric tankless water heater is $60 to $125.

Specific cost varies by municipality and often according to the total cost of the job.

Timeframe and Installation Schedule

Most electric tankless water heaters can be installed in a single day. If a new circuit or subpanel must be installed, or new water lines added, the work might carry over into a second day.

Replacement of any type of electric tankless unit is much easier than when new plumbing and electrical must be added.

  • Point of use installation using existing electrical: 2-5 hours
  • Point of use installation with new wiring: 3-6.5 hours
  • Whole house installation using existing plumbing and electrical: 3-6 hours
  • Whole house installation with new plumbing and electrical: 6-12 hours

The Best Electric Tankless Water Heater

Here are the top electric tankless water heaters in a range of sizes to meet specific point of use or whole house needs in your home. Prices vary because so many retailers, local and online, sell them, you are sure to find differing costs.

Overview of the Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Brand/Model Flow Rate Annual Cost Type
Bosch Tronic 3000 0.5 GPM $215 – $250 Point of Use
Stiebel Eltron Mini 6 1.0 GPM $160 – $215 Point of Use
EcoSmart ECO 18 2.7 GPM $425 – $500 Whole House
Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 4.6 GPM $640 – $695 Whole House
Rheem RTEX-27 6.6 GPM $630 – $700 Whole House
Eemax 36 6.0 GPM $745 – $795 Whole House

Factors Affecting the Electric Tankless Heater Cost

What is the difference between an electric tankless water heater costing under $200 and one closer to $900? Cost factors!

And there are cost factors related to the tankless electric water heater you choose and installation of the unit. Product + Installation = total cost.

So, here are cost factors for both parts of the equation.

Factors Affecting the Cost of the Electric Tankless Unit

This section is all about the water heater – the product.

  • Size – The size of a tankless water heater is also called its capacity in gallons per minute (GPM) or the amount of electricity it uses in kW, from 3.0 to 36 for most brands. The bigger the unit is, the more it costs.
  • Brand/Quality – When comparing electric water heaters of the same size, the one that offers better quality will cost more. Bosch and Eemax, for example, tend to be costlier brands than Stiebel Eltron and Rheem. All those brands are on our list of top electric tankless water heater brands.
  • Features – Advanced technology included in some models raises the cost. These include features like auto-modulation that controls energy use for efficiency and WiFi connectivity. Very few, if any, electric tankless models have re-circulation pumps included.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Electric Tankless Heater Installation

Whether you DIY or hire a pro – which of course costs more – there are factors that affect cost.

  • DIY vs Pro – This is the most significant factor. Depending on the cost of the unit, installation labor accounts for 50% to 75% of the total cost when hiring a plumber to install the water heater.
  • Replacement vs New – When an old unit is replaced, the job goes faster and takes fewer plumbing and electrical supplies, so cost is far lower. Expect labor cost to double when a new circuit and plumbing must be installed.
  • Access – When conditions are cramped or the site is hard to reach, installation cost goes up.
  • Where you Live – The cost of living affects labor rates.

Electric Vs Gas Tankless Water Heaters

Electric water heaters offer a simple trade-off. The water heaters cost less than gas water heaters and they don’t require venting, so installation cost is usually lower.

But operating costs are much higher, so your utility costs will be higher, and they don’t provide as much hot water as most gas tankless units.

Electric tankless units are ideal for point of use locations, but operating costs mount when used in whole house applications. On the other hand, gas models are better suited to whole house use because of the volume of hot water they can produce. Plus, because of their higher total cost including expensive venting requirements, using them to supply all the water for your home is more cost-effective.

Consider all the factors with the help of our Electric vs Gas Tankless Water Heaters Guide.

Electric vs Gas Tankless Water Heater Unit Cost

Point of use electric water heaters start below $200 for just the heater. The average cost for a whole house model is about $600 while the most expensive top $900.

Gas tankless water heaters start at about $200 for newer point of use units with lower GPM, but typically cost closer to $800 to $1,200. The largest, most efficient gas water heaters $2,500 to $3,000 depending on the model and where you buy it.

Electric vs Gas Tankless Water Heater Installation Cost            

This section is about the labor charges only. Cost includes the work plus installation supplies for plumbing, wiring and venting, if needed, the water heater.

There are two installation types: New and replacement.

Replacement means removing an old water heater and installing a new unit of the same type – like for like, aka direct replacement.

New installations include mounting the water heater, running plumbing lines and wiring for either electric or gas water heaters. For a gas-fired water heater, you must also run a gas line and vent the unit, if it is installed indoors.

So, total installation costs for a new gas water heater are much higher than for a new electric heater. For gas, outdoor installation costs less than indoor installation because no venting or minimal venting is required.

  • Electric tankless water heater replacement: $225 – $450
  • Gas tankless water heater replacement: $275 – $575
  • New electric tankless water heater installation: $700 – $1,600
  • New gas tankless water heater installation: $950 – $2,100

Yearly Cost, Electric Vs Gas Tankless Water Heaters

See the table above showing yearly operating costs for electric water heaters of various sizes. The overall range for the cost to run an electric water heater is around $215 to $800.

Gas models use either natural gas, NG, or liquid propane, LP. Propane generally costs more than natural gas. Gas water heaters cost around $90 to $550 per year to operate. See the notes below.

  • Electric water heater annual operating costs: $215 to $800
  • Natural gas water heater annual operating costs: $90 to $375
  • Propane gas water heater annual operating costs: $180 to $550

Notes: These are average costs covering 90% of households. In small households, a point of use water heater in a guest bathroom might get little use. In large households, a whole house unit will get higher-than-average use, so costs to operate might exceed those shown.

Costs are also largely dependent on local electric and gas costs. They vary significantly, especially electricity costs, across the country. However, natural gas and propane prices fluctuate too.

Electric Tankless Water Heater Repair Costs

Point of use electric tankless water heaters are usually replaced instead of repaired. It doesn’t make sense to pay a $150 repair bill on a unit that’s 5 years old and cost $200 to replace, for example. The issue is much the same with the new, small point of use gas water heaters that produce 1.0 to 1.8 GPM and cost around $200-$250.

Whole house units are worth repairing, if the cost isn’t more than half the cost of replacement. That’s a general rule. The age of the unit plays a role in deciding too – the older it is, the more cost-effective it is to replace it.

Labor is typically the largest part of the repair cost. Plumbers charge $90 to around $130 per hour for their work depending on where you live and the level of expertise the plumber has.

Electric water heaters: Typical repair is $115 to $500. Parts – $10 to $175; Labor $100 to $300.

Gas water heaters: Typical repair is $165 to $750. Parts $10 to $400; Labor – $100 to $350.

At about $500, it makes more sense to replace an electric tankless water heater.

At about $650 to $800, depending on replacement cost, it begins to make sense to replace a gas tankless water heater.

Electric Tankless Water Heater Repair Costs & Prices
Repair Heater Type Parts & Labor Time
Thermostat Either $200 – $385 1-2 hours
Wiring Either $115 – $225 1 hour
Cleaning Either $150 – $250 1-1.5 hours
Heating element Electric $140 – $250 1-2 hours
Recirculation pump install Gas whole house $600 – $1,000 3-4 hours
Heat exchanger Gas $375- $600 3-5 hours
Ignition Gas $225 – $350 1-2 hours
Flame sensor Gas $190 – $315 1-2 hours
Gas valve Gas $265 – $485 2-3 hours
Venting issues Gas $125 – $500 1-3 hours
Condensate drain Gas $150 – $325 1-2 hours
Free Repair Estimates from Local Pro’s

What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

This common question is answered by adding up numbers from the list below.

This is a universally used chart showing how much water is needed for various applications:

  • Water-Saver Shower Head – 1.5 GPM
  • Standard Shower Head – 2.0 GPM
  • Standard Hand Sink – 0.5 GPM
  • Kitchen Sink – 1 to 2 GPM
  • Bathtub – 4 GPM
  • Dishwasher – 1 to 2 GPM
  • Washing Machine – 1 to 1.5 GPM

Which of these are likely to be in use at the same time? Add up the required GPM to determine water heater size.

For example, if a shower is in use (1.5 to 2.0 GPM) while the dishwasher is running (1 to 2 GPM) while a hand sink might also be used, you’ll need a minimum of 1.5 or 2 (shower) + 1 or 2 (dishwasher) + .5 (hand sink) for a total of 3.0 GPM to 4.5 GPM.

Buying tip: Remember, do not buy your water heater based on its rated GPM. You probably won’t get that much hot water where you live. Instead, make your buying decision based on the GPMs for your location, which is based on the temperature of the incoming water. For more buying tips see our complete tankless water heater buying guide.

In our equation, if you need 3.0 to 4.5 GPM, we recommend a tankless water heater with a rating of 6.0 to 8.0 GPM, especially if you live in a cool climate.

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