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The Best Water Heaters for Hard Water

best water heater for hard water

Only the best water heater for hard water is tough and durable enough to minimize the impact of limescale formation in your water heater and other water appliances. Regardless of where you live, you can rest easy knowing that this appliance will continue to provide your family with an adequate hot water supply.

The big question now is how do you pick the best water heating system for your home with hard water? Let us start by looking at some of the bestsellers on the market.

Best Water Heater for Hard Water Reviews

1. Bosch Tronic 3000 T ES4 Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater

You have got to love the Bosch Tronic 300 T ES4. Not only is it the best hot water heater for hard water you can buy. It is also the most awesome-looking and most versatile tankless water heater you can have in your home.

Inside this water heater is a superior-quality heat exchanger that guarantees up to 98 percent thermal efficiency. Only a fraction of the generated heat will turn to waste, allowing homeowners to enjoy extraordinary energy and cost savings.

The heating components are also durable, complete with special treatment to minimize the mineral content of hard water.

This tankless water heater type can function in three ways. First, it can serve as a supplement to an existing water heating system. Second, the tankless water heater can work as a buffer for systems with intermittent cold water issues. Lastly, you can use this technology as a standalone heater under your kitchen sink.

Installing this water heater is effortless. You can mount it on a stable base on your floor, hang it on the wall, or place it on a shelf. There is no worrying about its durability. The tank has premium quality glass lining that prevents hard water mineral adhesion.

I wish Bosch can increase the power cord’s length to at least five feet and make plugging the device less cumbersome. I also find its built-in 4-gallon tank’s 6.8 GPH recovery rating unacceptable. It can only recover about 14.5 ounces of hot water per minute, far less than the 1-GPM of conventional tank heaters.

Pros
  • 98% thermal efficiency score for exceptional energy savings
  • Premium-quality heat exchanger for maximum durability
  • Superior quality glass-lined tank for enhanced durability
  • Multipurpose functionality for versatility
  • Multiple installation options for enhanced flexibility
Cons
  • Short power cord
  • Modest recovery rate
Nevertheless, I believe the Bosch Tronic 3000 T ES4 makes for an excellent heating system for hard water. Its heating elements and heat exchanger components are heavy-duty, protecting it against limescale formation for many years. Its versatile design also gives you plenty of options on how you want it to best serve your family.

2. EcoSmart ECO 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater

EcoSmart continues to wow its growing fan base with reliable and durable heating items. If you are looking for a dependable electric hot water heater for hard water, the ECO 11 is worth your consideration.

At the core of this electric tankless heater is a self-modulating technology that saves as much as 60 percent from your domestic water heating energy cost.

It also works with the other components in mitigating the limescale-forming effects of hard water. Of course, you may still want to install a dedicated water softener or conditioner to optimize this device’s performance.

Operating this appliance is as effortless as any modern gadget. It automatically adjusts its heating element’s energy consumption to provide your household with an energy efficiency of 99.8%. It also has an unheard-of UEF score of 0.98, making it one of the most cost-effective heating solutions on the market today.

I love its user control settings, especially the bright LCD screen and easy-to-use control knob. The power button is responsive and doubles as a toggle mechanism for choosing between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

As an on-demand tankless water heater, I find its 3.1-GPM maximum flow rate interesting. Most tankless systems I know cannot even deliver half that. You will never have issues with insufficient hot water supply again.

Unfortunately, I found some complaints about the product’s durability and warranty. I recommend buying different installation hardware if you want your unit to last long and without leaks. Its package content is admirable, nonetheless.
Pros
  • 8% energy efficiency score for improved energy savings
  • 1 GPM maximum flow rate for optimum water use
  • Innovative self-modulating technology for hassle-free operation
  • High-quality heating components for increased hard water resistance
  • User-friendly controls and digital display
Cons
  • Mediocre-quality supply line fittings
  • A few customer complaints about warranty
Suffice it to say that I am impressed with the EcoSmart ECO 11. It is energy-efficient, provides good flow, and has excellent technologies that help slow down hard water-induced limescale formation.

3. Rinnai V75iP Propane Tankless Hot Water Heater

The Rinnai V75iP is a tankless water heating appliance that can outclass a high-end 50-gallon gas water heater. It has a thoughtful design, robust construction, and solid performance that will make you forget other brands.

This water heater is perfect for a home with mild to moderately hard water levels. It has an integrated scale detection system that alerts you to the early signs of limescale formation. You can take preemptive measures to ensure calcium and magnesium will never deposit in your appliance’s heat exchanger and heating elements.

I like this appliance’s robust construction because it can last up to two decades, which is twice what standard systems can offer. You get the best value for every penny you spend on its purchase, guaranteeing the unit will serve your family for a long time.

I also find this product’s performance exceptional. Most tankless water heaters only have about 3 to 5 GPM. This appliance delivers a whopping 7.5 gallons every minute.

If you think that is not admirable, you should see how it delivers hot water to three appliances without missing a beat. You can have your shower, dishwasher, and washing machine running simultaneously without ever complaining about having cold water.

Unfortunately, I wish the brand endeavored to have its energy efficiency ratings Energy Star qualified for added peace of mind. While it is straightforward to install, I would recommend hiring a plumber and a gas technician to install the system. It is always best to err on the side of safety and caution.
Pros
  • Integrated advanced scale detection system for improved durability
  • Twice durable as conventional tank heaters
  • Supports up to three appliances simultaneously
  • 5 GPM maximum flow rate for uninterrupted hot water supply
  • Exceptional value for money
Cons
  • Professional installation highly recommended
  • Not Energy Star qualified
These issues are minor compared to what the Rinnai V75iP can provide. You will never be in the dark, second-guessing whether you already have limescale in the system or not. Very few products have this feature, making it an excellent choice for households with hard water.

4. Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus Tankless Water Heater

If you fear hard water will snuff the life out of your water heater, don’t! As long as you have Stiebel Eltron’s Tempra 29 Plus, you can kiss your limescale formation woes goodbye. It has a stunning design and a performance like no other.

The secret to this hard water heater’s remarkable limescale buildup-prevention capabilities is its solid copper components. Hardness minerals are less likely to adhere to the heat exchanger’s copper surface than other materials.

That is why many households consider its copper water heater element for hard water the appliance’s crowning glory.

Not only does this device take care of your hard water concerns. It also ensures you get the best savings from your heating needs. This tankless water heater has a UEF score of 0.99, putting substantial savings into your pocket than on energy bills.

I love the tankless water heater appliance’s fully automatic controls, including self-modulation, advanced flow control, and temperature memory presets.

What blew me away is the appliance’s unique user display. Not only does this tankless water heater provide you with accurate temperature readings. It also informs you about how much you already saved in energy bills.

Of course, something has to give with all these innovations. It is expensive, so I strongly recommend getting a professional to set the water heater up for you. It is still possible to make it a DIY project, but you do not want to void the warranty.
Pros
  • Solid copper heating elements for improved hard water resistance
  • High uniform energy factor of 0.99 for enhanced cost savings
  • Highly advanced flow controls for effortless operation
  • Preset temperature memory buttons for hassle-free control
  • Revolutionary display with cost savings information
Cons
  • Costs higher than other water heaters for hard water
  • Professional installation ideal
The Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus is one of the most spectacular water heaters you can ever get for your house. It may be expensive, but it can outclass all other brands and models on the market. Its cost savings display is one surefire hit among cost-efficiency-conscious folks.

5. Titan SCR2 N-120 Electric Tankless Water Heater

If you want an affordable and reliable tankless water heater for well water, Titan has something for you. The SCR2 N-120 is currently one of the market’s most trusted water heating devices for households with high levels of hardness minerals in their water.

This tankless water appliance is ideal for small households, although it should also ensure adequate hot water supply to medium-sized families. Its 99.5% energy efficiency grade puts it at par with leading tankless water heaters, giving you good value for your buck.

You will also like its 10-GPM flow rate, as I do. Gone are the days when you have to scratch your head because of a measly volume of water coming out of your showerhead or faucet. This device has your family’s hot water needs covered for the next ten years or so.

Installing this water heater is a breeze. As long as you have basic knowledge of electrical systems, you should be able to get this device up and running in under an hour.

People love the device’s uncluttered control layout. This tankless heater has ten progressive LED indicator lights that tell you how hot or cold your water is. There is also a blue down button and a red up button for adjusting the temperature. You cannot get a control interface simpler than this.

Unfortunately, I find its control panel too uninteresting and outdated. While I appreciate the LED bars, there is no way of telling the actual water temperature in the tankless heater. I also found a few complaints about some electronic components overheating.
Pros
  • Recommended for small to medium-sized households
  • 5% energy efficiency for enhanced cost savings
  • Higher flow rate than others
  • Simple control interface for hassle-free operation
  • Compact and lightweight design for installation ease
Cons
  • No temperature display
  • Some parts tend to overheat
While the Titan SCR2 N-120 is not the best tankless heater to address your hard water problems, it does offer excellent energy efficiency. You get to save extra from your water heating while ensuring everyone in your family enjoys a hot shower whenever they like.

6. EcoSmart ECO MINI 2.5 Electric Mini Tank Water Heater

The EcoSmart ECO MINI 2.5 is a small tank hot water heater for hard water, perfect for point-of-use applications. You can install it directly under your kitchen sink and never worry about not having hot water to wash your dishes ever again.

You can also install this appliance in your RV, garage, pool house, utility shed, and other places where you want a steady hot water supply. It is also as energy efficient as any other product to come out of EcoSmart’s assembly line. Its on-demand functionality further improves the cost savings you get.

I like its quick recovery, raising the water temperature by 60OF in 15 minutes. As such, if you have a 40-degree cold water temperature entering the appliance, you can enjoy warm 100-degree water in a quarter of an hour.

I love the product’s straightforward control panel design. There are no complicated buttons to push. You only have a dial to set the temperature, and two status indicator lights on either side of the dial. The unit also comes with a freeze protection setting, in case you decide to install it in your shed.

If this appliance is this good, why is it not at the top of our list? First, its flow rate is a bit mediocre, at only 21 to 25 ounces per minute. However, I have seen worse, so it should not be a big deal. Second, you will need additional fittings because the accompanying hardware is either cheaply made or not the correct size.
Pros
  • Ideal for point-of-use applications
  • 8% energy efficiency grade for improved cost savings
  • Faster recovery than conventional heaters
  • Straightforward to operate with freeze protection
  • Versatile design
Cons
  • Lower flow rate than ordinary heaters
  • Additional installation hardware required
The EcoSmart ECO MINI 2.5 may not be ideal for whole-house applications. However, it is a worthy point-of-use investment. It is robust and efficient, giving you an uninterrupted hot water supply in your kitchen sink or wherever you decide to place the unit.

7. GASLAND 10L BS264 Propane Tankless Water Heater

Are you looking for a reliable and efficient tankless water heater hard water system to go into your RV, cabin, or almost anywhere? If so, you might want to give the GASLAND 10L BS264 a chance to serve you. Its portable design makes it the ideal solution for instant outdoor showers, and enjoying hot showers at the campgrounds.

You do not have to fret about hard water wreaking havoc in the tankless heater, either. Its heating elements feature robust materials that minimize mineral deposition and slow down limescale formation. You can rest assured this appliance will continue giving you hot water for many years.

I am amazed at the bevy of protective technologies present in this compact device. You get the security of advanced overheating and anti-freezing protection systems.

If its sensors detect a water temperature over 167 degrees Fahrenheit, the device will automatically shut itself off. It also automatically discharges water from the system if the environmental temperature drops too low, preventing freezing.

Although small, this hot water heater can provide an astonishing 2.64 GPM flow rate. Its heating element can produce up to 68,000 BTUs, saving you up to 11.5% of your energy consumption. Your usual $500 energy bill will become $442.50. Your family will love the lower energy cost and savings you get from using this device.

However, it is essential to understand that you cannot use this heater in places higher than 3,300 feet above sea level. Its efficiency also decreases in areas with strong winds. While installation is straightforward, the manual can be pretty confusing.

Pros
  • Higher flow rate than other hot water heater units
  • High BTU score for 11.5% energy savings
  • Heavy-duty burner and heat exchanger components
  • Multiple device protection technologies
  • Portable and compact design for installation flexibility
Cons
  • Not applicable at high altitudes
  • Confusing instruction manual
Nevertheless, I recommend the GASLAND 10L BS264 tankless gas water heater to anyone who wants a portable, flexible, energy-efficient, and high-performance water heater that can resist hard water effects. It is worth every penny you spend.

8. Chronomite SR-20L/240 HTR Instant-Flow Tankless Water Heater

The Chronomite SR-20L/240 HTR is an electric water heater designed specifically for point-of-use applications only. Installing this electric tankless heater under your kitchen sink makes perfect sense because you can have hot water in an instant. You can also place it in your utility room, shower, or garage for ready access to hot water.

I love its advanced microprocessor, requiring only two seconds to heat your water. Other products take about five to six seconds before noticing an improvement in the water temperature. Its design makes it one of the fastest heating appliances you can have in your home.

I also like its heat exchanger’s construction. It is solid and well-built, ensuring optimum operation for many years. Its robust design and construction reduce the likelihood of limescale formation, guaranteeing substantial gains.

Ideally, you should install this appliance horizontally. However, you can also mount it standing up, giving you plenty of installation options. It does not require any modification to your existing plumbing. A quick cutting of a section should put the device up and running.

Unfortunately, its flow rate leaves it wanting. I know that tankless systems should allow for a 2 GPM flow rate. This water heater only has a quarter of the industry average. If you are looking to use copious amounts of hot water, you may want to look elsewhere. Moreover, it has an inconsistent hot water delivery performance.

Pros
  • Recommended for point-of-use applications
  • Super-fast heating element for instant hot water availability
  • Advanced microprocessor for higher energy efficiency
  • Dual installation option for flexibility
  • Solid and heavy-duty heating elements
Cons
  • Modest flow rate
  • Inconsistent water heating
Nevertheless, the Chronomite SR-20L/240 HTR remains an excellent choice for homes with low hot water consumption. It heats the water fast and installs effortlessly, too. Its heavy-duty construction is also worth your consideration, especially if you live in an area with mild to moderately hard water.

What is the Best Water Heater Device for Hard Water/ Who This is for

best-hot-water-heater-for-hard-water

The best electric or natural gas water heater for hard water has a heavy-duty heat exchanger component and robust heating elements. These components resist hard water mineral deposition and limescale formation.

Some water heaters may feature additional elements or technologies that minimize calcium carbonate adhesion, eliminating the need for a separate water softener or water conditioner for hard water reduction.

These water heaters are ideal for families who live in areas with mild to moderate levels of hard water minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also suitable for budget-conscious households with insufficient financial resources to install a device that addresses hard water issues.

Water Heater for Hard Water Buying Guide

Choosing the best water heater for hard water applications is easy if you know what features to identify. We prepared this buying guide to help you navigate the vast collection of water heaters that can serve your needs.

Tankless or With a Tank?

The first thing you have to consider when buying a water heater is the type. Do you need a tankless water heater or a system with a storage tank?

Tankless water heaters provide on-demand hot water, giving you better cost savings and energy savings. Tankless water heaters are also space-savers and are more straightforward to install than water heaters with storage tanks.

If you consume at least 50 gallons of hot water at a time, a storage water heater might be a better choice than tankless water heaters.

Electric or Gas?

In general, natural gas water heaters are more cost-efficient to operate than electric water heaters. You can also use propane gas, in case you want to bring your tankless water heater outdoors or in your RV. Unfortunately, you may have to be proficient in making the right connections in both your water line and gas supply line.

Electric tankless water heaters are ideal for households that have lower electric energy bills. These water heaters are also effortless to install, eliminating the need for propane or natural gas supply line connections. It may be pricier to operate, unfortunately.

Limescale-reduction or Inhibition Features

Since you are looking for a tank or tankless water heater that works even with hard water, you may have to look for robust features. For example, a tankless water heater may include an advanced limescale inhibition technology that prevents hard water mineral deposition in the water heater’s heat exchanger and heating element components.

Some tankless water heaters may use a different material for their heat exchanger. For instance, they can use solid copper, which is highly resistant to limescale formation than other products. Unfortunately, not many tankless or tank water heater manufacturers publish their limescale-reducing or limescale-inhibiting features in their marketing materials. That is why you may have to dig deeper into the available literature.

Energy Efficiency

You spend energy every time you heat something, including water. Your heat source can be either electricity or propane or natural gas. These energy sources are not free. That is why you will want to get a water heater with a high energy efficiency score. In simple words, you will want to heat your water fast without spending more energy than necessary. You also have to minimize heat loss.

As much as possible, one should choose a tankless or tanked water heater with an energy efficiency score of at least 95%. One may also want to look at the product’s Uniform Energy Factor grade or UEF. Ideally, the higher the UEF score, the better is the water heater.

Other Water Heating Parameters

Three parameters are crucial to any water heater: first-hour rating, recovery rating, and water flow rate. One should understand that the first two parameters do not apply to tankless water heaters because they do not have storage tanks. If one chooses a water heater with a storage tank, one will want a product with a high first-hour and recovery rating.

As for the water flow rate, one should always choose a tankless or tanked water heater with a high value if one wants an uninterrupted hot water supply. However, it is essential to recognize that tankless water heaters have a lower water flow rate than tanked water heaters.

On average, a tankless water heater should have a water flow rate of at least 2 gallons per minute. Tanked systems can provide as much as 10-20 GPM.

Frequently Asked Questions

electric-hot-water-heater-for-hard-water

What are the most trusted water heater for hard water brands?

Bosch and Stiebel Eltron are two of the most trustworthy water heaters for hard water brands you can buy. Established in 1886, Bosch is a global name in engineering and technology solutions. You can expect its water heaters to be top-notch.

Stiebel Eltron is another German company with almost 100 years of experience making innovative heating products. Other noteworthy water heater brands include Rinnai, EcoSmart, Titan, Chronomite, and GASLAND.

If you want to use other water heater brands, reading consumer reports can give you a clue as to a brand’s real-world performance.

Do I really need a special water system for hard water?

The need for a special water system for hard water depends on how ‘hard’ the liquid running through your plumbing system is. For example, the US Geological Survey considers a fluid with no more than 60 mg/L of calcium carbonate as ‘soft’. If the CaCO3 is between 61 and 120 mg/L, you can look at it as ‘moderately hard’.

Any CaCO3 reading beyond 180 mg/L is ‘very hard’. The higher the CaCO3 level present in your water, the greater is the risk of limescale formation. This chalky plaque can wreak havoc in your water heaters, forcing the heat exchanger to work hard and using more energy than necessary, increasing your electric or gas bill.

That is why it is always a good idea to have a water softener or any other technology that can prevent CaCO3 from forming limescale in your plumbing system and water appliances, such as a tanked or tankless water heater.

Can you use tankless water heater with hard water?

Ideally? No, you should not use hard water with a tankless water heater. Fluids that contain at least 180 mg/L of CaCO3 can form limescale in the pipes and the tankless device’s heat exchanger. Limescale can reduce the tankless hot water heater element’s heating efficiency, requiring higher energy to heat your water than usual. It can increase your electric or gas bill.

If you have to use a gas or electric tankless hot water heater with hard water, our best advice is to look for a hot water heater that has a superior-quality heat exchanger and heating elements. The more durable these components are, the more resistant they are against limescale formation.

Another solution is to place a water softener in your plumbing system before the water goes through the hot water heater. There are also water conditioners that you can install, such as an electromagnetic unit or a catalytic scale inhibitor system.

How to care & clean?

The amount of cleaning and caring for your hot water heater depends on the device type. Tankless water heaters are pretty straightforward to care for because there are no storage tanks to worry you. However, it is best to keep the tankless water heater free of dust and dirt. Regular checks by a licensed electrician are also a must.

If you have a water heater gas system, checking the burners and gas pipes is crucial for ensuring safety and optimum operation.

A hot water heater with a tank requires periodic flushing and cleaning as frequently as once every three to four months. Removing sediments and other debris from the tank is essential for maintaining its optimum working condition.

Where to buy?

The majority of consumers today choose Amazon when buying almost anything, including a hot water heater for hard water. Amazon not only has the most extensive collection of heaters. It also has exceptional customer service, warranty, and delivery.

Other noteworthy platforms to buy a tanked or tankless water heater include Sears, Lowes, and Home Depot. You may also want to check your local home appliance store that carries domestic heating solutions. Affiliates can also help you.

Conclusion

Choosing the best water heater for hard water is similar to buying any domestic heating system, with one exception. It is essential to look for unique features that make the device more resistant to limescale formation.

If you want to extend these features’ limescale formation-busting capabilities, you may want to add a water softener or conditioner to your domestic plumbing system. It is the best way to address the effects of hard water in your heater, pipes, and other water appliances.