Best Heat Pumps Water Heaters: Review and Buying Tips

Explore the best heat pumps to buy online or offline for potable water heating in residential homes and get maximum savings, convenience, and comfort, no matter where you live. Check out the list and review of the top 50-gallon models and selling units in North America, and take advantage of government and utility rebates and credits.

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Heat pump water heaters (HPWH), also known as hybrids, are the only electric models with ultra-high energy efficiency and Energy Star approval, resulting in significant energy and water savings. This is what makes them a great buy.

However, before delving into buying tips, it's important to understand how a heat pump works, explore the types, check out the comparison table, and understand the advantages, benefits, installation, and buying tips.

Unlike electric-powered storage tank models that utilize heating elements to heat water, electric hybrid water heaters have a hybrid design for efficient water heating: a heat pump for moving warm air from the surroundings to the water and heating elements as backup or support.

During summertime, the heat pump and its hybrid technology make the room environment comfortable for living - the air gets colder and drier, resulting in less energy used for AC. During wintertime, its efficiency gets reduced, so it is not recommended in areas with cold climates.

A review of the best heat pumps for water heating and buying tips

These hybrids are popular because they can save energy, reduce pollution, and deliver plenty of hot water anytime.

  • GE GeoSpring
  • AO Smith Voltex
  • Rheem hybrid

The electric heat pumps typically have higher initial costs than conventional storage-tank type, but they have lower operating costs that can offset the higher purchase and installation costs. Additionally, they are eco-friendly, as they produce no exhaust gases like those found in gas models.

The best heat pumps offer considerable savings to homeowners, as their energy efficiency is two to three times that of conventional models.

Heat pumps are as easy to install as conventional electric units, but they are more complex and sophisticated, offering more flexibility and options by using advanced electronics.

This article reviewed and compared three superior models from the top brands General Electric, AO Smith, and Rheem. The price of the best heat pumps ranges from $1000 to $1500.

While the top models are expensive, they are a cost-efficient solution in the long run.


GeoSpring hybrid water heater from General Electric

GE GeoSpring heat pump water heaterGE GeoSpring heat pump
(photo: amazon)

The GeoSpring GEH50DFEJSR is a heat pump manufactured by General Electric and is one of the top-selling models online.

According to the manufacturer and its specifications, the model consumes up to 62% less energy than conventional electric water heaters. According to the energystar.gov site, this translates to up to $330 in savings.

The heat pump comes in the most popular capacity of 50 gallons and has almost the same footprint - 61" x 22" x 23" - as conventional models, including the connections. However, it produces more hot water, with a First Hour Rate of 69 gallons, and is more efficient with an EF of 3.25.

The high efficiency and reliable operation come from the dual work of the heat pump and heating elements, which have the power of 4,000 and 4,500 watts. The unit is as quiet as some large household appliances, with only 54 dBA.

The advanced electronics allow the heat pump to operate in several different modes: vacation, hybrid, electric, heat pump, and high demand, making the unit very flexible and powerful for demanding customers while being economical at the same time.

The factory-installed control panel and LCD display provide convenient temperature control and easy problem diagnostics, while the ConnectPlus module gives the user remote control when using their smartphone. The GeoSpring heat pump comes with a 10-year warranty, which is pretty much standard in the industry.

According to the GE website, there are over 1000 reviews (as of 2017), and the average rating is 4.7, which means that users were mainly satisfied with the unit.


  • Energy factor: 3.25
  • First Hour Rating: 69 gal.
  • Noise level: 54 dBA
  • Warranty: 10 year

AO Smith Voltex hybrid water heater

AO Smith Voltex heat pump water heaterAO Smith Voltex
(photo: amazon)

The AO Smith Voltex HPTU-50N is a 50-gallon model designed to work using either the heat pump, electric heating elements, or a combination of both, making it a hybrid model.

Thanks to this hybrid technology, the Voltex can provide excellent performance and superior water heating with an ultra-high energy factor of 3.42, which is slightly higher than the EF of the GE GeoSpring. However, the first-hour rating of 66 GPH is lower. According to AO Smith, the heat pump can reduce water heating costs by up to 58%.

The AO Smith hybrid uses one heavy-duty anode rod for corrosion protection, which protects the unit from the aggressive nature of water and potential corrosion, offering an extended warranty of 10 years.

Like other heat pump water heaters, the Voltex is equipped with advanced electronics and a user-friendly control panel with an LCD screen, allowing easy control and monitoring, and flexibility to set one of four different heating modes, maximizing energy and savings.

This 50-gallon unit uses two 4500-watt heating elements as a backup and to help the water heater recover quicker, especially during high hot water demand. It provides enough hot water for up to 3 showers operating at the same time.


  • Energy factor: 3.42
  • First Hour Rating: 66 gal.
  • Energy cost: $153
  • Warranty: 6 years

Rheem heat pump PROPH50 heat pump water heater

Rheem HP50RH heat pumpRheem HP50RH
(photo: amazon)

The next best heat pump comes from another popular manufacturer in the US and Canada: Rheem. The Rheem hybrid water heater is the 50-gallon unit from the Prestige series and is the most efficient and "smartest" unit in a wide range of Rheem water heaters.

Of all three models reviewed here, the Rheem Prestige has the highest energy factor of 3.55, and according to the manufacturer, the payback period is only 2 years. The low noise level of 49 dBA makes it one of the quietest models on the market, with an operating temperature range of 37 to 145 F, which is the widest in class.

The heat pump won the 2014 AHR Innovation Award in the plumbing category.

Another great advantage is its duct-ready setup. No duct adapter is needed, making the installation easier, even in homes that lack space.

Also, if there is a water leak, Rheem's exclusive water leak detection alert sends a notification to the user's phone, allowing them to react fast and prevent costly repairs. This also applies if there is high pressure or temperature inside the tank; the alert is sent to the user's smartphone.

This is possible with remote access through the EcoNet system, which automatically delivers notifications, alerts, and other useful information, either at home or away.


  • Energy factor: 3.70
  • First Hour Rating: 67 gal.
  • Yearly energy cost: $110
  • Sound level: 49 dBA
  • Warranty: 10 years

Things to consider when looking to buy the best heat pump for your home

To find the best heat pump water heater, check the following features and data:

  • Look for the highest energy factor (EF) - most heat pumps have an efficiency of around 2, while higher is always better. The EF is an indicator of how much electricity is used per year or how much money you will save.
  • Size the unit properly as a smaller tank and insufficient capacity results in a lack of hot water and increased electricity usage. The most popular tank sizes are 50 and 80 gallons. For a family of four, 50-gallon units are recommended.
  • Look for a model that is designed with a high First Hour Recovery, calculated in gallons per hour. This information allows you to estimate whether the water heater can provide enough hot water during peak times or not.
  • Recovery rate is also very important, so the unit produces hot water fast enough, and you don't wait too long for hot water between two showers. Depending on your hot water usage pattern, make sure to buy the heat pump with a high recovery rating.
  • The quality of the components is usually related to longer unit warranties. The heating elements should be made of quality material such as stainless steel and include dry-fire protection. The anode rods should provide years of corrosion-free operation - choose the model with powered anode or commercial-grade anodes (more is better). The foam insulation should be at least 2" thick and have a high R-value. To reduce the negative influence of sediment build-up, look for a model with a self-cleaning system.


The best heat pump water heater is a high-efficient unit with Energy Star approval, equipped with quality components and high-tech features, a commercial-type anode rod, excellent reviews, and comes from a reliable and proven manufacturer.

The best heat pump heats water with less energy, provides more hot water compared to its electric counterpart, saves energy of the dehumidifier, and makes other appliances work more efficiently.

These models will have lower annual operating costs and will meet all your hot water needs, even for high-demanding applications. Installation won't be too complicated (it will fit most homes), and spare parts and service will always be available. Our recommendation for the best electric water heater? Go "green" and buy a heat pump.

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