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The Best 50 Gallon Gas Water Heaters

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

best 50 gallon gas water heater

Households with five or more members will never worry about an insufficient hot water supply if they have the best 50 gallon gas water heater. The best products provide exceptional savings from energy bills, allowing families to enjoy hot water without worrying about prohibitive energy expenditures. These water heaters are effortless to operate and maintain, increasing their overall value.

The top-rated gas-powered water heater with a 50-gallon capacity has characteristics that potential buyers must understand. We identified three crucial factors in determining a gas water heater’s suitability for modern residential applications.

  • First-hour Rating: This factor describes a gas water heater’s ability to deliver hot water within the first hour of operation. In general, the higher the FHR value, the more efficient the gas water heater is. For example, a gas water heater with an FHR of 100 gallons is better than a product with an 80-gallon FHR.
  • Recovery Efficiency: A 50-gallon gas water heater has a tank for storing and heating water. When people open a hot water fixture, the tank’s contents decrease. Hence, cold water enters the tank to replenish it. Unfortunately, this also reduces the water temperature. The water heater must recover the lost water temperature by reheating the water.
  • The higher the water heater’s recovery rating, the better it is. For example, a product with a recovery rating of 60 gallons is better than a water heater with a 40-gallon per hour recovery rate.
  • Vent Design: Gas water heaters produce exhaust gasses as byproducts of combustion. Hence, homeowners must divert these exhaust gasses into the outside environment. Gas water heaters come in different vent types, including standard atmospheric vents, power vents, direct vents, and power-direct vents.

Other crucial factors include thermal efficiency, protective elements, gas valve type, price, warranty, and innovative features. We will present and discuss these attributes in the buying guide section and the following product reviews.

Top 1

AO Smith GDHE-50-NG

Weight 297 Pounds
BTU Rating 100,000
Warranty 6 Year Limited

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Top 2

Rheem PROG50-42N RH67

Weight ‎160 Pounds
BTU Rating 42,000
Warranty 6 Year Limited

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Top 3

Westinghouse WGR050NG076

Weight 155 Pounds
BTU Rating 76,000
Warranty 10 Year Limited

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Table of Contents

Top 7 50-gallon Gas Water Heater Reviews

1. A.O. Smith GDHE-50-NG Gas Water Heater

The A.O. Smith GDHE-50-NG Residential 50 Gallon Water Heater is an excellent choice for medium-sized households. It has one of the highest energy efficiency ratings, translating to exceptional savings. This gas water heater also has a few safety features, giving users peace of mind.

I love this natural gas water heater 50 gallon unit. Its 100,000 BTU output can quickly heat the water inside the storage tank, giving it an overall thermal efficiency of 96%. Unsurprisingly, this attribute allows this gas water heater to deliver superb water-heating performance.

Moreover, the design gives this water heater a 0.88 Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) rating. Most gas water heaters on the market only have UEF values between 0.55 and 0.70. I can only imagine how much savings families can get from using this water heater.

This gas water heater can deliver up to a hundred gallons of hot water within the first hour of operation. That is more than 42% of what a 40-gallon gas water heater can deliver. Families can take turns showering, doing the dishes or laundry, and performing other hot water-related tasks.

And if they have visitors, they can always rely on this gas water heater’s exceptional recovery rate. It can heat 129 gallons of cold water at a 90-degree-Fahrenheit rise.

I also love its power direct vent design, reassuring families harmful gasses will never accumulate inside the home. It works well with its low-NOx architecture, giving people peace of mind.

However, its warranty is only applicable for six years. It also costs more than the average 50-gallon gas water heater.

  • 96% thermal efficiency for better savings
  • 88 UEF value for energy efficiency
  • Delivers 100 gallons in the first hour
  • 129-gallon recovery rating for optimum hot water use
  • 100,000 BTU output for faster heating
  • Power vent and low NOx for improved safety
  • High price
  • Warranty’s not very long

Regardless, this gas water heater remains an excellent choice for modern families. It delivers exceptional thermal and energy efficiency, safety, and a steady hot water supply for everyone.

2. Rheem PROG50-42N RH67 PV Water Heater

It might not be the Rheem Performance Platinum 50 Gal Natural Gas Heater, but the PROG50-42N RH67 PV remains an exceptional water heater for modern households. It is a water heating appliance that delivers top performance with enough features for safe and effortless operation.

I love Rheem products because of their performance. This gas water heater is not different. It delivers an industry-standard UEF of 0.67, minimizing heat loss in the tank. People can also wrap a heat cover around it to improve energy efficiency.

Its first-hour rating is lower than what the A.O. Smith GDHE-50-NG delivers. However, 87 gallons of hot water is still more than enough for a family of five. Showers will be enjoyable, and washing clothes and dishes will be worthwhile. Families will never complain of having insufficient hot water for their activities.

Although its recovery rate of 32.4 to 42.4 gallons is not the highest, I still find it commendable. I know of gas-powered water heaters with substantially lower recovery ratings.

I also appreciate this gas water heater’s automatic air/fuel shutoff mechanism and low nitrous oxide (NOx) design. These attributes complement its power vent element in ensuring a safer home environment during operation.

Its R-Tech anode rod also improves tank protection against corrosion and scale buildup. The feature also reduces maintenance frequency, which is welcome news for families.

According to several 50 gal gas water heater reviews, the principal drawback of this appliance is its durability. Some users reported tank failures within six years. In addition, Rheem does not honor warranty of products bought from unauthorized retailers.

  • UEF value of 0.67 for efficiency
  • 87-gallon first-hour rating
  • Recovers 32.4 to 42.4 gallons at 90-degree rise
  • Power vent, low NOx design, and automatic air/fuel shutoff for improved safety
  • Advanced R-Tech anode rod for corrosion and limescale protection
  • Warranty only applies if unit bought from authorized retailers
  • Some issues with product durability

That said, this gas water heater still earns our nod because of its performance and safety.

3. Westinghouse WGR050NG076 Water Heater

I believe the Westinghouse High Efficiency Gas Water Heater 50-Gallon is the top 50 gallon gas hot water heater money can buy. I give it five stars for its stunning look, exceptional performance, remarkable construction, and effortless operation.

One look at this gas water heater is enough to think it is extraordinary. It features a rectangular block that extends at the front, giving it a more modern look. This component houses the gas water heater’s intelligent controls, including an Eco Mode for improving its energy efficiency. The LCD is bright, and the digital buttons are touch-sensitive, making operation a breeze.

Its thermal and energy efficiencies are also exceptional. I appreciate its 97% thermal efficiency rating, optimizing its 76,000-BTU, ultra-low NOx output to heat the water in a flash. People will never wait long for their water to reach its desired temperature.

Its recovery rate is also astounding. Although there is no information on product leaflets, real-world experience shows it can recover up to three gallons of hot water per minute. It translates to a remarkable recovery rate of 120 to 180 gallons per hour.

I also admire its tank construction that features premium-quality 316L stainless steel. This material not only improves the gas water heater’s corrosion and limescale resistance but also makes it more lightweight than conventional tank water heaters. Installing this water heater in the home should never be a concern.

While I love its ease of use and exceptional water-heating performance, I wish it were quieter.

  • 97% thermal efficiency
  • Recovers three gallons of hot water per minute
  • 76,000 BTU output with ultra-low NOx design
  • 316L stainless steel tank construction for durability and lightness
  • Eco mode and advanced digital interface for effortless operation
  • Creates some noise while working

Despite this concern, I love this 50-gallon gas water heater. It works beyond expectations, and its ultra-modern look can add a new design element to the home.

4. A.O. Smith GPVL-50 ProMax Water Heater

The A.O. Smith GPVL-50 ProMax Power Vent Gas Water Heater is another exceptional choice for a family of at least five. True to the company’s philosophy, this gas water heater delivers hot water safely, continuously, and efficiently.

I love this 50-gallon gas water heater Power Vent, especially its 0.72 UEF score. It might be lower than the GDHE-50-NG’s 0.88 UEF value but is better than the PROG50-42N RH67’s 0.67. Energy Star also gives this gas water heater high scores in energy efficiency, using only 214 Therms yearly. If natural gas costs a dollar per Therm, families will only spend $214 in annual water heating.

These savings are exceptional, considering other brands use up to 300 Therms per year. Households can save money on their water heating bills while enjoying many hot water benefits. I consider this gas water heater an excellent choice.

I also adore this gas water heater’s first-hour rating. Although it cannot compare to the WGR050NG076, it provides 79 gallons for the first 60 minutes. A family of seven can take turns in the shower without complaining about the water turning cold. Its recovery rate is also commendable at 44.7 gallons per hour.

I like its exhaust valve with its ingenious three-position, rotatable design. People can install this unit in almost any position without worrying about its venting requirements. The power vent also improves safety in the home, preventing the backdraft of harmful gasses. At least, families will not worry about inhaling toxic substances.

Sadly, the company only offers a six-years warranty for this gas water heater.

  • 79-gallon first-hour rating
  • Recovers 44.7 gallons of hot water per hour
  • 72 UEF value for higher efficiency
  • Uses only 214 Therms annually, on average
  • Advanced three-position, rotatable power direct vent design for safety
  • Only six years of warranty

Nevertheless, I still recommend this 50 gallon hot water heater because of its better-than-average water-heating performance. Its cost and energy efficiency are excellent selling points. Its flexible installation is an extra plus.

5. Reliance 6 50 YRVIT Power Gas Water Heater

Reliance might not be as popular as the leading brands, but it can stand out next to industry leaders. The YRVIT Power Vent DV is an energy-efficient 50 gallon natural gas water heater for households with at least five members. It is a safe and high-performance system that guarantees a sufficient hot water supply for modern families.

I like this appliance’s Energy Star rating of 96 gallons in the first hour. Nine people can take turns in the shower without causing the water to drop its temperature. Its energy efficiency rating of 0.70 is also at the upper limit of industry standards, proving to everyone that even unpopular brands can deliver exceptional performance.

Adding to this gas water heater’s outstanding performance is its 56-gallon recovery rate. It might not be as robust as other brands, but it is more than sufficient for the average home. The waiting period is minimal for families living in mild to moderate climates. People can enjoy almost limitless hot water with this appliance serving the household.

I am surprised to learn it only has a 50,000-BTU output. It is commendable because some products with higher thermal output are less efficient than this 50 gallon water heater. I have to laud this water heater for its excellent design.

Speaking of design, I love its Intelli-VentR electronic gas control valve. This component is better than mechanical systems because it ensures greater temperature control precision. The system guarantees reliable performance while empowering the heater to recover hot water faster. It also improves the water heater’s overall energy efficiency.

One thing I noted about this product is its size and heft. It would be best to have professionals install this to avoid breaking the back or getting leaky issues.

  • Energy Star-rated 96-gallon first-hour rating
  • 56-gallon per hour recovery rate
  • 70 energy efficiency rating
  • 50,000 BTU output for faster water heating
  • Intelli-VentR control valve for accurate temperature and efficiency
  • Bulky and heavy

Still, this 50-gallon gas water heater is worth the money. It works better than other brands despite its lower BTU rating.

6. A.O. Smith XCR-50 ProMax Gas Water Heater

Families who love A.O. Smith products but dislike their prohibitive price can consider the XCR-50 ProMax high efficiency gas water heater 50 gallon. This water heater has excellent craftsmanship, durability, reliability, and admirable performance without breaking the bank.

I love this gas water heater’s first-hour rating of 88 gallons. Seven to nine people can use hot water simultaneously without causing a substantial drop in water temperature. Sanitizing the dishes and washing the clothes are more worthwhile with this appliance. Even if people continuously use hot water for several hours, it will still be efficient in heating 41 gallons per hour.

I also like this appliance’s thoughtful components that contribute to its durability and reliable performance. For example, it has an electronic gas valve that differentiates it from mechanical devices. It ensures more precise temperature control and faster water heating.

The advanced microprocessor also improves the water heater’s energy efficiency. It continuously monitors crucial hot water parameters, keeping the temperature as constant as possible. Inside the tank is an ingenious PEX x-linked polymer DynaClean diffuser tube that eliminates sediment and limescale buildup.

I appreciate this gas water heater for meeting all National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) requirements, ensuring users have an eco-friendly and energy-efficient water heating appliance.

Although I love its 10-year tank warranty, it does not extend to other water heater components. The burner, gas valve, and other non-tank elements only have limited six-year coverage. Moreover, its energy efficiency rating of 0.62 is the lowest on this list. However, the EF score is still within industry standards.

  • Delivers 88 gallons in the first hour
  • Recovers 41 gallons of hot water per hour
  • Reliable and durable water heating components
  • More affordable than other A.O. Smith gas water heaters
  • Complies with NAECA regulations
  • 10-year tank warranty
  • UEF of 0.62 only
  • Only six years warranty on non-tank water heater components

Overall, I like this 50-gallon gas water heater. It delivers exceptional hot water performance at a price modern households will appreciate. Its reliability and durability are bonuses worth considering.

7. A.O. Smith GCG-50 ProMax Water Heater

Rounding up our list of the top-tier 50-gallon gas-powered water heaters is the A.O. Smith GCG-50. Most people also know this top rated 50 gallon gas water heater as the A.O. Smith ProLine GCG-50. This option is very similar to the XCR-50 ProMax. The most notable difference I see is the warranty.

I love this gas water heater like I do other A.O. Smith products. It delivers sufficient hot water for up to eight people, allowing them to wash their dishes and have a pleasant shower almost simultaneously. Its 88-gallon first-hour rating typifies gas water heaters of this capacity, while the device’s 41-gallon per hour recovery rating is above-average.

Families can always depend on this gas water heater to provide them with hot water whenever they need it. It does not matter if there are guests in the house or not. It delivers performance modern families can rely on.

Safety is also top-notch with this gas water heater. It features a Green Choice burner system, guaranteeing exceptional low NOx emissions. The tank also has several standout elements, such as the DynaClean, Blue Diamond, and Coregard technologies. These components protect the tank against sediment and scale buildup while improving its overall heating performance.

I also like its electronic gas control valve. Unlike mechanical valves, this component ensures improved precision. It allows users to enjoy hot water at the right temperature.

My only concern is that this gas water heater is not Energy Star-qualified. It also does not have the XCR-50 ProMax’s 10-year tank warranty. Instead, this product has six years of warranty.

  • 88-gallon first-hour rating
  • 41 gallons per hour recovery rate
  • Coregard, Blue Diamond, and DynaClean technologies for optimum performance
  • Ultra-low NOx Green Choice burner design for safety
  • Electronic gas control valve for precise temperature control
  • Not Energy Star qualified
  • Only 6-year warranty

Still, I would not be surprised if people rate this gas water heater favorably. Its efficiency is commendable, and its safety is above average. On top of that, this gas water heater has the friendliest price tag on this list.

What to Look for When Buying 50 Gallon Gas Water Heater


Several factors are crucial in choosing the right 50-gallon gas-powered water heater. Potential buyers should learn and understand these attributes to make intelligent decisions.

First-hour Rating

All gas water heaters have a first-hour rating (FHR) that describes the volume of hot water the appliance can deliver in the first hour of operation. It would be best to understand that the FHR is not similar to the water heater’s rated capacity. For example, a 50-gallon water heater does not necessarily have an FHR of 50 gallons.

A water heater’s FHR value depends on its BTU rating and heating efficiency. The water heater’s FHR rating increases with its BTU value and thermal efficiency.

The tank’s hot water content decreases every time someone uses hot water. Hence, cold water enters the tank to replenish it.

Unfortunately, replenishing the tank content reduces the water temperature. That is why the water heater’s thermal efficiency and BTU ratings matter. A gas water heater with a high FHR value keeps up with the hot water demand for an hour.

Hence, it would be best for buyers to choose a 50-gallon gas-powered water heater with a high FHR value. All of the gas water heaters on this list have an FHR of around 80 gallons, sufficient for a family of at least five members.

Recovery Efficiency

As mentioned, cold water replenishes the tank’s content every time someone uses hot water. Heavy hot water consumption can dilute the hot water in the tank with cold water, reducing the overall water temperature. It would take some time for the device to heat the water back to the ideal temperature.

Hence, one crucial factor to look for in a gas water heater is its recovery efficiency. Most brands rate their products in gallons of hot water recovered per hour at a 90-degree-Fahrenheit rise. It would be best to buy a gas-powered water heater with a recovery efficiency of at least 40 gallons per hour.

Vent Design

All gas water heaters produce exhaust due to combustion. Harmful gasses can accumulate inside the home if people do not direct them into the external environment. Therefore, vent design is a crucial parameter to look for when buying a gas water heater.

  • Standard atmospheric vent – These venting systems are the most common type. Atmospheric vents rise straight up from the water heater and rely on the vertical direction of hot air. They are common in furnaces.
  • Power vent – This venting system comes with an electric fan or blower to force the exhaust gas and heat through the vent and outside the house. The blower also uses the exhaust heat to aid in water heating, improving the water heater’s energy efficiency.
  • Power direct vent – This vent is similar to a power vent. However, it also draws in air from the outdoors to improve combustion. It is suitable for families who install their water heater in a room with inadequate ventilation.
  • Direct vent – This vent is ideal for water heaters with insufficient ventilation around them. The system draws in air from the outdoors as the sole means of combustion.

Thermal Efficiency

One should not confuse thermal efficiency with energy efficiency. A gas water heater’s thermal or heating efficiency describes the proportion of power to output. Experts consider a water heater thermally efficient if it heats the water quickly without spending too much fuel.

Although gas water heaters are more thermally efficient than electric water heaters, it would still be best to consider their efficiency rating. A gas water heater with a 95% thermal efficiency is better than one with a 90% rating. One should also check for an Energy Star certification.


All water heaters, regardless of type, must have built-in protections. Examples are features that protect the water heater against sediment and limescale buildup, and corrosion. Tanks with state-of-the-art anode rods and glass lining shield the water heater against rust, scale, and deposits to improve its longevity.

Gas Valve Type

Electronic gas valves are more accurate and reliable, allowing users to control the water temperature more precisely. They also promote a faster recovery rate while managing the hot water within tighter parameters.

Unfortunately, this technology can add to the water heater’s overall price. If cost is an issue, it would be best to get a water heater with a mechanical gas valve.


Gas water heaters have a shorter service lifespan than electric versions. It would be best to get a 50-gallon heater with an extended warranty. For example, a 50-gallon gas water heater 12-year warranty is better than a unit with only six years of coverage.


People might think a cheap 50 gallon gas water heater will suffice for the home. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee about its quality construction and water-heating performance. Low-end units can cost about $400, while the more expensive ones can cost up to $3,000 or more.

Other Features

It would be worth noting a gas water heater’s other features. Some brands offer WiFi compatibility, allowing users to control their water heaters anywhere. Other gas water heaters have advanced microprocessors and digital user interfaces to improve operation and performance.

How Long Does It Take for a 50-gallon Gas Water Heater to Heat Up

How long a 50-gallon gas-powered water heater takes to heat the water depends on several factors. These include the water heater’s first-hour rating, recovery efficiency, and cold water inlet temperature.

Most homeowners set their water heaters between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Suppose the water temperature entering the hot water tank is substantially low. In that case, it would take the water heater a longer time to heat the water than if the water temperature differential is minimal.

For example, suppose the cold water temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the device must heat it to 120 degrees. In that case, the water heater will take about 40 minutes to reach 120 degrees. However, if the incoming water temperature is 40 degrees, it will take 53.5 minutes to reach 120 degrees.

Is 50 Gallon Gas Hot Water Heater Big Enough

A 50-gallon gas-powered water heater is sufficient for a household with more than five members. On the other hand, the same family might need an 80-gallon electric water heater. The difference boils down to a gas water heater’s faster water heating and recovery times in comparison with electric units.

However, one should determine the household’s peak hot water consumption and compare it with the gas water heater’s first-hour and recovery ratings.

Suppose a family consumes 70 gallons of hot water during peak hours of the day. In that case, it would be best to get a gas water heater with at least an 80-gallon first-hour rating. Most 50-gallon gas-powered water heaters have an FHR value between 80 and 120 gallons, making them suitable in such cases.

How Long Should a 50-gallon Water Heater Last


A good 50-gallon gas-powered water heater should last about eight to twelve years, while electric versions can last up to two decades. However, it would be wise to understand that several factors impact a water heater’s longevity.

One such factor is the water’s chemical properties. A water heater’s lifespan is short if the water contains sediments, limescale-forming substances, and corrosive agents. That is why many experts recommend installing a water softener and other water treatment systems to protect water heaters and improve their lifespan.

The good news is many water heater companies design their products to resist sediment and limescale buildup. For example, many hot water tanks have a glass or porcelain lining and anode rods. These components minimize the impact of limescale and sediment, but they are useless against other water contaminants.

Hot water consumption can also impact a water heater’s lifespan. The more frequently the water heater cycles through its recovery process, the faster the heating mechanism’s degradation is. Hot water volume dispensed at a time also matters.

It is impossible to measure a water heater’s longevity accurately. However, one can look at its warranty period. Water heaters with extended warranties last longer than products with short guarantees.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a 50 Gas Gallon Water Heater

Replacing a 50-gallon gas-powered water heater can cost between $815 and $10,000 or possibly more, depending on several factors.

A 50-gallon gas-powered water heater can cost anywhere between $400 and $3,000. These water heaters also require the correct venting. A direct vent system can add $500 to $1,000 in labor costs, while a power vent is $300 to $600 costlier.

Labor costs depend on the geographical location, averaging $45 to $150 per hour. Professional plumbers can complete the setup in two to three hours, putting the installation cost at about $90 to $450. If one adds the vent installation cost, the labor expenditure can run between $600 to $1,500 for a direct vent and $900 to $2,100 for power vents.

Homeowners must also consider other potential expenses, such as permits, expansion tank, tank removal, unit relocation, fuel conversion, and materials. Permits can cost families an extra $50 to $1,500,while adding an expansion tank can increase the overall expenditure by $40 to $350.

Removing the old tank can also set a family back by $100 to $500. Relocating the tank involves a few modifications to the existing layout. Wall framing, water line rerouting, drywall installation, electrical extension, and gas line addition can add another $2,100 to $6,900 to the cost.


The best 50 gallon gas water heater is more than adequate for a family of at least five members. It heats the water more quickly than electric versions and is faster to recover, too. Although it is more expensive than electric water heaters, the gas-powered water heater gives families exceptional savings in the long run.

When picking the right 50-gallon gas-powered water heater for the home, it would be best to consider several factors. These attributes include first-hour rating, recovery efficiency, vent design, and thermal efficiency. One can also consider the products we reviewed and shared in this article.

5/5 - (3 votes)