Have you ever wondered, “How much does a 50 gallon water heater weigh?” After all, you don’t want to break your back when transporting or moving this hefty appliance during installation or replacement.
Fifty-gallon water heaters have an average weight of 150 to 200 pounds, excluding the water. Hence, we can expect a fully-filled 50-gallon water heater to weigh 550 to 650 pounds. It’s worth noting that a gallon of water is about 8.34 pounds.
Proprietary water heater technologies (i.e., glass lining and smart controls) can also influence the 50-gallon water heater’s weight. As a rule, electric water heaters are lighter than gas options because they have burner assemblies.
So, as much as we would like to give you a definite answer, several factors can impact the 50 gal water heater’s weight. Please continue reading to broaden your knowledge about water heater weights.
Table of Contents
Typical Weight Range for a 50-gallon Water Heater
Knowing how heavy a 50-gallon water heater is is essential for most homeowners, especially first-timers and families seeking to upgrade or replace their old water heaters.
Unfortunately, no concrete answers exist. Although water heaters have a single purpose, they vary in design. Moreover, manufacturers often introduce innovations to make their water heaters better (or lighter) than the competition.
Our research showed that 50-gallon water heaters range in heft from 150 to 200 pounds. We saw several models outside this range, both lighter and heavier.
So, what’s the inside scoop on this weighty issue?
1. Specific weight information
Two weight parameters are vital when determining the weight of a 50-gallon water heater – empty and full weight.
A water heater’s empty weight describes the 50-gallon unit’s “shipping weight” as defined by the manufacturer. For example, a Rheem Professional Prestige Maximus might weigh 247 pounds when empty, while an AO Smith Proline Master Ultra-Low Nox only weighs 168 pounds.
These figures are still hefty for the average person. Although no legal consequences exist for lifting a 150-pound water heater, you’re increasing the risk of injuring yourself. After all, the maximum weight men must lift is 55 pounds.
And that’s why you’ll need at least three technicians to move a 50-gallon water heater from one location to another.
Filling the storage tank with water increases the weight of empty water heater units by an average of 8.34 pounds per gallon of tank capacity.
Hence, a 200-pound empty 50-gallon water heater will add 417 pounds to weigh full. Filling the tank with water will bring the system’s weight to 617 pounds (50 gallons x 8.34 pounds = 417 pounds | 200 pounds + 417 pounds = 617 pounds).
2. Weights of different water heater brands and models
In our examples above, we mentioned two brands of water heaters. Although Rheem and AO Smith gas-powered appliances hold 50 gallons, the former is heavier.
This observation makes us believe that water tank weight varies across brands and models. We prepared a table summarizing the empty and full weights of popular water heater brands. Hopefully, it will emphasize our point.
|50-gallon Water Heater Brand and Model
|Weight with Water
|Rheem PROP G50-50U RH HE EC3 Professional Prestige Maximus (Gas)
|Rheem PRO+G50-50N RH67 PD Professional Classic Plus (Gas)
|Rheem PROPE50 T2 RH CG Professional Prestige with LeakGuard (Electric)
|Rheem XE50T09CG55UO Performance Plus (Electric)
|AO Smith HUR-50 ProLine Master Ultra-Low Nox (Gas)
|AO Smith GDHE-50 Vertex Ultra-Low Nox (Gas)
|Bradford White RE250T6 Upright Water Heater (Electric)
|Bradford White RG250S6N Commander Series (Gas)
Based on this information, we conclude that electric water heaters are lighter than gas versions (average = 126.7 pounds vs. 193.4 pounds).
Water heaters within a brand can also vary in weight, despite having the same capacity (50 gallons). For example, Rheem’s gas-powered Professional Classic Plus is 87 pounds lighter than the gas-fueled Professional Prestige Maximus.
So, what factors influence a water heater’s weight?
Factors Influencing the Weight of 50-gallon Water Heaters
So far, our discussion led to one inescapable truth. The weight of water heaters is more than its capacity. Materials, insulation, and technological innovations can influence a 50-gallon water-heating appliance’s weight.
Water heaters can feature stainless steel, copper, or polymer heating chambers. Each material has a weight that can increase the water heater’s heft. For example, copper is heavier than stainless steel, making water heaters with copper construction heftier than stainless steel.
Some manufacturers integrate fiberglass insulation into their water heaters. Although fiberglass is lightweight, its addition to the appliance can still increase the water heater’s weight.
AO Smith and other brands continue to create differentiating features to set them apart from the competition. For instance, the company has glass-lined water heaters, making them heftier than units without interior glass surfaces.
Some water heater manufacturers also add smart controls. These technologies might seem small, but they can still add weight.
- Energy Source
You might have noted in our table that electric gas water heaters are heftier than electric versions. Check the image below differentiating a gas and an electric water heater. What do you see?
You’ll notice that gas water heaters have slightly more components (and are bulkier, too). The gas burner at the tank’s bottom is metal. The water heater also has a metal column rising from the burner to the flue vent at the appliance’s top.
Although these water heater elements don’t seem hefty individually, they can still increase the 50-gallon gas water heater’s weight.
Why Does Knowing the Weight of Your Water Heater Matter?
We’ve been talking about a 50-gallon water heater’s heft. But have you ever wondered why it’s crucial to learn this attribute?
- First, safety. Can you imagine lifting a 150-pound water heater and bringing it to the basement yourself? You’re risking hurting your back. And if you slip, there’s a good chance you’ll suffer bruises, if not fractures.
- Second, convenience. Knowing a water heater’s heft allows you to plan your water heater replacement project. You could ask for assistants to help you, depending on the appliance’s weight. Or, you could rent a machine to help lift and carry the water heater.
- Third, you’ll want to ensure the platform the water heater will sit on is sturdy enough. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a damaged water heater because the appliance might fall from its pedestal. Worse, it can damage the floor.
- Lastly, you’ll appreciate draining the water heater before repositioning or replacing it with another appliance. If a 50-gallon water heater is hefty enough, filling it with water adds more than 400 pounds to its weight.
There’s no point getting flustered by the riddle, “How much does a 50 gallon water heater weigh?”
With or without outside influences, an empty 50-gallon water heater can range from about 125 pounds to 250 pounds (average = 150 to 200 pounds). Filling it with water can add 417 pounds to the heft.
Gas water heaters are also heftier than their electric counterparts. And even if water heaters come from the same company, their weights could still vary because of materials, features, and insulation additions.
A 50-gallon heater’s weight matters for your safety during relocation and installation.
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.