The best 50 gallon electric water heater is the perfect solution for more pleasant showers and other warm water-related activities and chores for a household of five. It’s energy-efficient, eco-friendly, sweat-free to install, and effortless to care for and maintain.
Unfortunately, choosing one from many 50-gallon electric water heaters isn’t always a walk in the park. Different brands look essentially the same. It’s a good thing we talked with existing owners to learn three crucial parameters they considered in buying their 50-gallon electric water heaters.
- UEF Rating: Experts formulated the Uniform Energy Factor to make choosing a 50-gallon water heater more straightforward. As a rule, the closer the UEF rating is to 1.0, the more efficient the water heater is. Buyers might want to look for an appliance with at least 0.90 UEF to enjoy better energy savings.
- FHR Value: A 50-gallon water heater’s first-hour rating describes how many gallons of warm water it can produce in an hour after filling the tank. A 65-gallon FHR will be better than a heater with only 55 gallons of FHR.
- Recovery Rate: A 50-gallon storage tank unit must “recover” warm water when someone uses it. Ideally, buyers will want 50-gallon electric water heaters to deliver as many gallons of warm water per hour with continuous operation. For example, you can pick a unit with a 30-gallon RR over a 25-gallon RR option.
We prepared a buying guide to help you appreciate these factors and other parameters worth your consideration. But before that, let’s look at how we considered these attributes in the following reviews of the best 50-gallon electric water heaters.
Table of Contents
4 Best 50-gallon Electric Water Heaters
1. Bosch Thermotechnology Tronic 5000T ES50M 50-Gallon Electric Storage Water Heater
It’s easy to appreciate why Bosch Thermotechnology’s Tronic 5000T ES50M is a top rated 50-gallon water heater. It’s a neat-looking unit with a performance few brands can match.
Although the PROE50 beats this 50-gallon water heater’s UEF value by 0.03, 92% is still a commendable measure. At least it outclasses the ENS-50 ProMax’s FHR score by three gallons, delivering 60 to a family of five.
My favorite is this heater’s dual anode rods, accounting for its unmatched corrosion management. Unsurprisingly, Bosch is willing to stake its reputation on this product’s longevity by offering a ten-year coverage. Rheem and A.O. Smith can only cover six years on average.
A unique glass material also lines the tank’s interior, further improving the 50-gallon water heater’s resilience against corrosion. I also appreciate its standby heat loss management, thanks to the two-inches thick HFO insulation.
This 50-gallon electric water heater features a matte black finish. I find it a shame to hide this appliance in the basement because it’s that elegant – a welcome aesthetic improvement in a market flooded with gray tanks. Placing this in a crawlspace shouldn’t be an issue because it’s short and compact.
Unfortunately, this best rated 50-gallon water heater has a slightly hefty price tag. I could almost get two Rheem PROE50 T2 RH95s for this appliance’s price. Only the A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax Short is more expensive, but only by a few hundred dollars.
Still, unparalleled German technology and superior quality hold a high premium over other brands. This heater is excellent for families who believe we cannot put a price tag on impeccable water-heating performance, efficiency, and functionality.
- Exceptional water heating performance with a good FHR
- Dual anode rods and glass-lined tank for better corrosion protection
- Better-than average HFO insulation for improved energy efficiency
- Stylish and compact design for homes with space limitations
- Ten-year warranty
- A bit pricey
2. Rheem PROE50 T2 RH95 50 Gallon Residential Electric Water Heater
Rheem continues to fascinate with its PROE50 T2 RH95. This 50-gallon water heater features impressive water heating performance metrics, including high energy efficiency and more robust heating elements.
This Rheem electric water heater beats the ES50M, ENS-50, and RE350T6 in energy efficiency, possessing a 93% UEF rating. The number might not seem substantial, but other parameters confirm this product’s edge over its competitors.
For instance, its FHR is seven gallons more than the ES50M and RE350T6 and ten gallons ahead of the ENS-50. My family could use these “extra” gallons of warm water for extending our showers or washing more clothes and dishes.
I will never fret about corrosion hitting this heater because it has a premium-quality anode rod. Even the lower heating element has excellent corrosion protection, with an ingenious Lifeguard system protecting it.
Maintenance is a breeze, thanks to the heater’s EverKleen system. I learned this technology prevents sediments from accumulating at the tank’s bottom. The drain valve also has better flow, ensuring faster draining and flushing.
There’s an over-temperature protector and a fully automatic thermostat to make operation more anxiety-free (which I love and appreciate). And with a price tag about half that of the ES50M, I consider this product an exceptional buy.
However, I’m sad to hear some folks complaining about their Rheem 50 gal units failing within five years. A few users experienced busted control boards and burned-out heating elements.
Regardless, the brand provides a six-year warranty on its tank and parts. Its energy efficiency and FHR ratings are also very high. Yet its price is the lowest. Buyers couldn’t get a better value for a 50-gallon water heater than this.
- Unmatched energy efficiency and impressive first-hour heating performance
- Reliable corrosion protection systems for longevity
- Integrated self-cleaning technology and drain valve for hassle-free maintenance
- With over-temperature protector and thermostat for incident-free operation
- Great value for money with a six-year warranty
- A few issues with quality control
3. A.O. Smith ENS-50 ProMax Short Electric Water Heater
I asked my grandpa once, and he told me A.O. Smith was one of the most trustworthy brands during their time. It still is, with the brand’s ENS-50 ProMax Short 50-gallon electric water heater delivering a sufficient warm water supply to a household of three to five.
Although this 50-gallon water heater’s UEF value is lower than Rheem’s PROE50, it’s still a better score than the industry average of 0.90. At least my family and other households will never fret about wasting energy on our warm water activities (i.e., hot showers).
Product information materials say this 50-gallon heater complies with National Appliance Energy Conservation Act requirements. Users should feel confident about their heater-related energy expenditure if the data is accurate.
I like the DynaClean technology-embedded dip tube, which other brands don’t have. It’s a crosslinked PEX polymer that reduces the chances of sediment and limescale buildup, ensuring heater longevity.
I also appreciate the CoreGard system, an aluminum anode rod with a stainless steel core. Although there’s only one rod, I am confident the technology can keep corrosion at bay for many years.
Draining and flushing this heater is also more straightforward than others. Moreover, the drain valve features a design that resists tampering.
As mentioned, this AO Smith 50 gallon water heater is the most expensive entry on our list, beating the ES50M by a couple of hundred dollars. Unfortunately, its slightly lower FHR value makes its price tag somewhat unappealing to some.
Families trust this company for their water-heating needs, as our grandparents did. It’s reliably functional and delivers enough warm water for household members to enjoy.
- Reliable water heating for three to five people without using too much energy
- Ingenious CoreGard anode rod technology for better corrosion protection
- Dependable sediment and limescale prevention technology with DynaClean tube
- Hassle-free maintenance (i.e., draining and flushing)
- Tamper-resistant drain valve
- NAECA-compliant heater
- Costs a lot
4. Bradford White BWC RE350T6-1NCWW 50-Gallon Electric Storage Tank Water Heater
Bradford White is another trustworthy water heating brand that makes reliable 50-gallon electric versions. Unsurprisingly, its BWC RE350T6-1NCWWW deserves a spot on this list.
This 50-gallon water heater’s energy efficiency is the highest on this list at 95%. It also matches the PROE50’s First Hour Rating, delivering 67 gallons of hot water in the first hour after filling the tank.
I love the innovations integrated into this 50-gallon heater, especially the Vitraglas technology lining the tank’s interior. I’m glad it has this feature to mitigate potential rust in our tank when we use it.
I also appreciate the manual reset, safeguarding the tank against excess heat damage. There’s also the HydroJet Total Performance System ensuring better corrosion control while improving the tank’s water heating performance.
Standby heat losses are the least of my concerns because this unit has a non-CFC foam. I commend the company’s engineers for including heat traps in the tank and preserving the heat in pipes. Surprisingly, the heat traps also reduce noise from the unit during operation.
This Bradford White 50 gallon water heater has top performance attributes. Unfortunately, some users have reported problems with the tank that seem to be manufacturing defects.
Still, this 50-gallon water heater’s six-year warranty should help assuage any worries about its integrity and quality. Moreover, it’s not as pricey as the ES50M and ENS-50 ProMax, giving it a well-deserved spot on this list.
- Dependable performance with 95% efficiency and 67 gallons of FHR
- Advanced HydroJet Total Performance System for improved corrosion protection
- Manual reset for safeguarding against overheating and heat traps for less noise
- Vitraglass-lined tank interior for corrosion prevention
- With excellent thermal insulation to minimize standby heat loss
- Some manufacturing defects
What to Look for When Buying 50 Gallon Electric Water Heater
Households with three to five members will find it more convenient and hassle-free to shop for a 50-gallon electric hot water heater by focusing on the following three essential parameters.
- UEF Value
The Energy Department describes UEF as the most crucial parameter when shopping for water heaters, regardless of type. It reflects the 50-gallon appliance’s water heating performance relative to its energy consumption. You’re heating water with less energy if your unit is efficient.
Buyers must read the appliance’s Energy Guide label to determine its UEF value. The closer the number to 1.0, the more efficient the heater. For example, a 50 gal electric water heater with a 0.95 (or 95%) UEF is more energy efficient than a 0.93 UEF unit.
The minimum UEF value you must look for is 90% or 0.90.
- First Hour Rating
Water heaters also have an FHR value on their Energy Guide stickers. The Energy Department describes this parameter as the hot water volume the water appliance can produce in an hour after a full tank.
You might have noticed in our product reviews that electric hot water heaters vary in FHR values, despite having identical nominal capacities (50 gallons). The variance underscores the influence of other factors on the heater’s performance.
Although we can discuss technicalities, we deem it proper to set the rule for shopping for the best electric water heater 50 gallon unit. Look for electric heaters with a higher FHR score.
For example, a 50-gallon water heater with a 67-gallon FHR is better than a similarly-sized unit with only 57 gallons of FHR.
- Recovery Rate
Another parameter worth considering when buying a 50-gallon heater is the recovery rate. This factor describes how much hot water the heater can produce per hour with continuous usage.
Storage tank-type water heaters lose hot water when a faucet or appliance is open. Cold water enters the tank and mixes with the hot water, resulting in a lower temperature than ideal. Hence, these units must “recover” the water temperature lost.
Unfortunately, not many manufacturers publish their recovery rates. But there’s a workaround to this dilemma.
First, multiply the temperature rise (the temperature difference between the water entering the tank and the water exiting it) by 2.42. Next, divide the heater’s wattage rating by the product obtained in the first step.
Suppose you have a 5000-watt unit and want to shower in 130-degree water that’s heated from 70 degrees. In that case, subtracting 70 from 130 gives us 60. Multiplying 60 by 2.42 gives us 145.2. Dividing 500o watts by 145.2 gives us 34.4 gallons.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Our product reviews highlighted more attributes than UEF, FHR, and RR values, underscoring the importance of these considerations. We will discuss them in greater detail in this section.
- Thermal Insulation
Storage tank-type water heaters (regardless of fuel source and capacity) are susceptible to standby heat losses. These losses result from the unused hot water in the tank.
For example, if you fill a bottle with hot water, it will no longer be as warm after several minutes because heat dissipates into the surrounding environment.
Unsurprisingly, a residential 50 gallon water heater can lose between 1400 watt-hours (electric water heaters) to 8300 watt-hours (propane or natural gas heater units). Meanwhile, tankless water heaters don’t have issues with standby heat losses.
An insulated tank improves thermal efficiency by minimizing standby heat losses with thermal insulation. Manufacturers can build thicker-walled tanks or incorporate insulation systems in the electric heater tanks.
- Physical Dimensions
Fifty-gallon heaters are larger than 30- or 40-gallon units. For example, the average tank diameter of the 50-gallon water heaters reviewed and featured in this article is 22.15 inches. Hence, buyers should be ready with at least two square feet of floor space.
And then there’s the height. The average tank height of the 50-gallon heaters we reviewed is 52.25 inches or a little over four feet and four inches. The room for these water heaters should have a vertical clearance of at least five feet.
Of course, you can always pick a 50-gallon Lowboy electric water heater for vertical space-limited rooms.
Like any electric appliance, a 50-gallon water heater is vulnerable to electrical safety issues (i.e., short circuits, dry firing, and overheating). Moreover, the increased temperature can also spike intra-tank pressure, raising the risk of a tank explosion.
Corrosion, limescale formation, and sediment buildup are also concerns, especially for households with unusually high levels of hard minerals in their water. Although water softeners or conditioners can help, a water heater-integrated anti-corrosion technology minimizes these issues.
The products reviewed feature advanced glass tank lining, proprietary anode rod designs, and other technologies to address corrosion and limescale buildup.
Some buyers don’t consider this 50-gallon heater attribute in their decision-making. We must point out that “warranties” underscore how much the brand “believes” in its product – they’re vouching that the 50-gallon water heater will last as long as claimed.
Buyers must check the water heater manufacturer’s warranty guidelines. For example, a Whirlpool 50 gallon water heater can have a tank and parts warranty of six to twelve years, while its labor is only good for three.
If something goes wrong with your 50-gallon water heater, you can have the company fix or replace it or maybe even get a refund. We recommend getting a 50-gallon water heater with the longest warranty coverage.
- Maintenance Requirements
Most electric water heaters are more hassle-free to maintain than gas heaters, with some brands integrating advanced technologies to make maintenance a breeze.
For example, some electric water heaters feature a self-cleaning dip tube to improve tank life and corrosion resistance and ensure better energy efficiency.
Others improve their brass drain valve components and other elements to make maintenance a breeze. These innovations ensure optimum water heating system functioning and guarantee longevity.
Although electric water heaters cost less than gas units, prices vary across brands and models. Our reviews show that 50-gallon heaters range from about $500 to $1,300, with some brands possibly costing more.
Many factors can contribute to a 50-gallon water heater’s price. Some companies integrate cutting-edge technologies to jack up prices, while others rely on tradition to command a premium price.
We recommend examining each 50-gallon water heater and researching the differentiating features. Analyze these attributes and determine how they justify the water heater’s price (together with the water heating performance).
What is 50 Gallon Electric Water Heater? How Does It Work?
A 50-gallon water heater is a residential-grade water heating appliance designed to serve hot water to a household of 3 – 5 members. It runs on electricity to heat two heating elements inside a storage tank.
The storage tank features a dip tube connecting a water inlet valve at the top with an opening at the bottom. Room-temperature water from the home’s main supply line passes through an inlet valve and the dip tube, exiting at the other end to fill the tank.
A lower heating element raises the temperature almost instantly, while an upper heating element only activates when the temperature drops (i.e., taking a hot shower).
A thermostat controls each heating element, determining how much electricity must pass through to heat the water to the desired temperature (i.e., 120 or 130 degrees Fahrenheit).
Unfortunately, water entering the water heater tank isn’t pure unless the house has a water purification or filtration system. Hence, hard minerals (i.e., calcium, iron, and magnesium) and sediments can produce limescale formation and corrosion.
Manufacturers design their storage tanks with anode rods and glass lining to combat these occurrences (sedimentation, scaling, and corrosion).
Moreover, excessive pressure can build up inside the storage tank, increasing the risk of a tank explosion. Hence, a temperature and pressure relief valve is necessary to vent excess heat and pressure.
Why Do You Need 50 Gallon Electric Water Heater?
A 50-gallon water heater offers several advantages over a similarly-sized gas-powered version or a lower-tank capacity model (i.e., 30 or 40 gallons). These benefits underscore why you need such a water-heating appliance.
You need a 50-gallon water heater if your family comprises three to five members. A sixth person in the household would be welcome, but that’s pushing the water heater’s limitations.
A 50-gallon water heater is also for you if you favor lower startup costs (i.e., purchase price and installation). Maintenance costs are also lower than gas-powered versions, giving you more time and money for your family.
Lastly, a 50-gallon water heater is for you if you want to contribute to a greener planet. Unlike gas water heaters that vent combustion byproducts, an electric unit doesn’t emit harmful substances into the air.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a 50 gallon electric water heater last?
A well-maintained and dutifully cared-for 50-gallon water heater can continue delivering warm water for at least a decade. Some units can extend their lifespan to 15 years. Limescale formation, sediment buildup, and corrosion can have a significant effect on the appliance’s longevity.
Can a 50 gallon electric water heater be used for commercial purposes?
No, a 50-gallon water heater can only accommodate about four to six users at a time. Unless your business only caters to this number of “guests,” an electric heater with a higher capacity is more suitable.
For example, restaurants need more heated water than residential homes to wash and sanitize kitchen utensils, dishes, pots, pans, silverware, and other items. A 50-gallon water heater might be enough to meet these needs during off-peak hours but not during peak times.
How long does it take a 50-gallon electric water heater to warm up?
The average 50-gallon electric hot water heater needs two hours and 25 to 30 minutes to heat the water.
It’s worth noting these figures depend on the temperature rise (the difference between the target temperature and the incoming cold water temperature) and the water heater’s wattage rating.
The higher the temperature rise (i.e., 80 degrees vs. 50 degrees), the longer the water heater takes to heat. Moreover, the higher the water heater’s wattage (i.e., 4500 watts vs. 3500 watts), the quicker it is to heat the water.
Is Rheem or AO Smith better?
A.O. Smith and Rheem are two of the most reliable and trusted water heater manufacturers. So, buyers can pick either brand and never worry about its quality and performance.
Rheem edges A.O. Smith in availability and extensive heating technology range. Meanwhile, A.O. Smith’s customer service dedication is unparalleled.
As for 50-gallon heaters, Rheem’s PROE50 T2 RH95 50 edges out A.O. Smith’s ENS-50 ProMax Short in UEF values (0.93 vs. 0.92) and First Hour Rating (67 gallons vs. 57 gallons).
How many people can shower with a 50 gallon water heater?
The number of people who can shower with a 50-gallon heater depends on how much water each consumes per warm shower and how long each needs to shower. The average is three to five people using heated water within an hour.
The best 50 gallon electric water heater delivers at least 57 gallons of warm water in the initial hour after filling the tank. It is at least 92% energy efficient, offers excellent thermal insulation, and ensures better protection against corrosion and limescale/sediment buildup.
Buying the most appropriate 50-gallon water heater for your family or household shouldn’t be challenging anymore with our buying guide. And if you’re still confused, our product reviews should give you an excellent start.
As the founder of Usawaterquality, I have been working to deliver quality advice on utilizing water components for numerous households. Here, we believe that water quality is the most critical part of health care, so the investment and attention for the water system will never go to waste.