The Best Gas Water Heaters 
for your Home Use in 2023

Polaris gas water heaterPolaris gas water heater

Find out who builds the best gas water heater - AO Smith, Bradford White, Rheem, or American? Explore details and unique features of the best-rated gas-powered tank-type models.

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The best gas water heaters utilize condensing technology boosting the energy efficiency above 90%, much more than the conventional type, which is around 60%. Gas condensing water heaters have a higher initial cost but can reduce the energy consumption up to 30% providing substantial savings.

Furthermore, condensing units heat water faster, so the recovery time and first-hour rating for the same tank size are better when compares to the conventional type.

While searching online for the best gas water heater, take a look at the condensing type.

Condensing or near-condensing heaters are the ultra-efficiency models, Energy Star qualified that the government incentivizes through the tax breaks of up to 30%. Just look for the Energy Star blue label.

A review of the best gas water heaters and buying tips

AO Smith Vertex gas water heater

AO Smith GDHE 50 Vertex - gas water heaterAO Smith Vertex gas water heater

AO Smith Vertex GDHE-50 is one of the best and high performing gas water heaters from this manufacturer, and it utilizes the most advanced features found on the market today.

Vertex is a condensing tank-type heater, recommended in many user reviews, plumbing forums, and by online expert reviewers such as consumersearch.com.

The AO Smith Vertex gas water heater is a high-efficiency unit with an energy factor of 0.96 EF, almost the same EF as the top tankless models, but it has lower installation costs than tankless while still providing lots of hot water.

The Vertex GDHE-50 model is the power direct vent unit that is offered with the capacity of 50 gallons for high-demand homes. With the first hour rating of amazing 164 gallons per hour and water flow delivery of over 4 gallons per minute, Vertex provides more hot water than models with the larger tanks.

Superb features such as the powerful burner and durable heat exchanger that provides 100,000 BTUs, the advanced digital control panel, and the ability for remote monitoring makes

Components such as the glass lining and two anode rods are commercial grade; a heat exchanger with the helical design provides greater heat transfer while the burner is Eco-friendly as it produces a reduced amount of NOx gases.

American Polaris High-Efficiency Water Heater

American Polaris gas water heaterAmerican Polaris gas water heater

Polaris PG10 50-199-3NV from the American water heating company is the high-efficiency gas water heater that offers over 95% thermal efficiency and incredible first-hour recovery of 257 gallons per hour, much more than the above Vertex.

Polaris is the best gas water heater due to its high efficiency and quality elements. The high-grade 444 stainless steel tank and metal fiber burner produce very clean and low NOx flame. The flue is also made of stainless steel. It has a specific spiral design that significantly reduces energy loss and ensures reliable and effective heating with the submerged combustion chamber. Stainless steel construction and its high corrosion resistance eliminate the need for anode rods also.

Polaris PG10 50-199-3NV comes with a 50-gallon tank size. Its powerful 199,000 BTU burner is recommended not only for domestic water heating but also for home heating (radiant hydronic heating and forced air hydronic heat).

Such high-quality materials allow Polaris to provide a 10-year warranty. Other superb elements include Self-Diagnostic Control System that indicates the operating status and makes the troubleshooting easy, hot surface ignitor and ultra-quiet radial blower.


Westinghouse WGR050NG076 gas water heaterWestinghouse gas water heater

Westinghouse WGR050NG076 is the 50 gallons water heater that comes with 97% energy efficiency - another great unit but cheaper than the above Polaris; it costs around $2500, which is almost as Vertex. It also has a 10-year warranty but a lower first-hour rating than both models - 133 GPH.

The main features include the stainless steel tank, ultra-low NOx gas burner, and LCD display with the Eco mode for savings and environment-friendly usage.

Things to consider when selecting the best tankless water heater

High efficiency, as found on the above products, is achieved through the specific water heater design. This includes thicker insulation, a unique flue system, heat traps, an electronic ignition system, and efficient burners.

The best gas water heater has all the above features, plus the premium quality of the material used and workmanship. The best-rated gas models are either Power Vent (PV) or Direct Vent (DV), which maximizes combustion, increases efficiency and safety.

The warranty is longer, 10 - 12 years. Some gas water heaters have the stainless steel tank, which does not require anodes, while others have bigger anode rods or powered non-sacrificial anodes, and quality porcelain tank lining, for durability. The stainless steel tank is corrosion-free, doesn't leak, and the warranty is a limited lifetime.

Sediments and lime buildup are reduced to a minimum by adding the self-cleaning systems and dip tubes with the turbulent water flow.

How to find the best gas water heater?

When searching for the best gas water heater, this is what you should consider:

  • High First Hour Recovery - FHR. FHR combines the tank capacity with how much water it can heat in an hour. See the number of gallons used at your home and make sure the unit can provide that. Water heaters presented here have extremely high values of FHR when comparing to the conventional models, which makes them the best. Check the first hour delivery from the yellow Energy Guide sticker found on the heater.
  • Don't buy storage tank water heaters solely based on the capacity (in gallons). Check the heating power (BTU) and how many gallons it can be delivered during peak hours (FHR). This is what defines how fast your unit can heat water.
  • Look for the Energy Star models - models with the energy factor (EF) 0.67 or higher. The best gas water heater is condensing or near-condensing models whose Energy Factor is above 0.9.
  • Check out the tank quality. The tank liner is usually glass/porcelain lining, and it protects the metal tank from corrosion. If it is cracked, aggressive water action will affect the metal tank (it will rust). The best models have a stainless steel tank.
  • The best gas water heater has two anodes (excluding the Marathon model), one large commercial-grade or powered anode, which will provide additional protection. Usually, models with more extended warranties come with better corrosion protection.
  • The best-rated water heater comes with a high R-value. Lower insulation value, such as R-6, means a cheaper water heater but less efficient (it losses much more energy through the wall than R-24, for example).
  • The best water heaters are equipped with advanced features such as the FVIR, self-cleaning system, heat traps for heat retention, durable brass drain valves, powerful burners, hot surface ignition instead of the pilot light, direct or power vent, etc.


As you can see, the best models are unique, built strong with high-quality materials and features. Higher prices mean top-notch quality and state-of-the-art technology, and for some, it justifies what they are getting in return. This is why these are listed as the best gas water heaters.

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