Best Heat Pump Water Heaters of 2021

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If you’re searching for the best heat pump water heater for your home or small business, we have got you covered with 5 top-picks. Our selected models are highly-efficient and highly reliable.

Heat pump (also called HPWH or hybrid water heater) is the improved version of conventional water heater. It is a dream appliance for homeowners looking for versatility and reduces their utility costs dramatically.

This appliance features the benefits of an electric boiler with the efficiency of a heat pump design. It is ideal for commercial applications and high-demanding residential homes.

Check out our heat pump water heater review to find the best models of 2021.

Comparison Chart

Before you dive into our detailed review, we highly recommend you check the following comparison chart in advance.

Product NameCapacity
(gallons)
Energy
Factor
Recovery
Rate (GPH)
AO Smith Voltex, HPTU-50N503.4566
Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 ACC300802.574.2
RUUD HP40RU/JPYA-A040J11402.056
A.O. Smith FPTU-80 Voltex  803.2776.3
Stiebel 233059 Accelera 300 E79.83.3974.2

Our Top-Picks & Reviews for The Best Heat Pump Water Heater in 2021

After researching and testing several available models, analyzing user feedbacks, and obtaining expert advice, we’ve made this top list.

Five superior models are reviewed and compared here, from the reliable and top brands- AO. Smith, Stiebel Eltron, and RUUD.

Explore them.

1. AO Smith Voltex Water Heater, HPTU-50N- Best 50-gallon Electric Heat Pump

AO Smith Voltex, HPTU-50N

We can’t talk about water heating products without mentioning the brand A.O. Smith. It is one of the biggest US manufacturers of HVAC equipment. This brand has a wide range of water heaters for both residential and commercial uses.

Voltex HPTU-50N is a 50-gallon high-end water heater available right now. It comes with several premium features. Its performance and reliable quality offer you the best value for your money.

This 50-gallon unit is designed for warm climates. It does a great job in supplying plenty of hot water for two showers simultaneously. All thanks to its dual 4500 watts heating elements.

It also has a relatively fast recovery time of 66 gallons per hour, especially during the period of high demand.

When it comes to reducing utility bills for your water heating, AO Smith Voltex is unbeatable. It runs with ultra-high efficiency. Notably, this model is two times more efficient than the conventional type. A.O. Smith claims that it can reduce your water heating costs by up to 58 percent.

One of the nice aspects of this unit is its four energy-saving settings. The electric, vacation, efficiency and hybrid modes make this water heater extremely useful.

Plus, the user-friendly control panel with the digital display allows easy control and monitoring. It offers you the flexibility to set four different heating modes, therefore maximizing energy efficiency and savings.

Another impressive feature is this unit pulls heat from the surrounding air to dehumidify the remaining air. Thus it cools down the room. Again, once inside the system, this heat is used to heat the water. Consequently, Voltex HPTU-50N reduces water consumption and operating costs for water heating.

For durability and corrosion protection, AO Smith Voltex product line uses one heavy-duty anode rod. It makes this hybrid unit protected from potential corrosion due to the aggressive water nature. It also offers an extended warranty of 10 years.

Pros

  • Designed for 2-3 showers operating at the same time
  • Ultra-high efficiency
  • Fast recovery time
  • Easy to control and monitor
  • Corrosion-resistant and durable
  • Energy Star compliant

Cons

  • Not recommended to use in colder regions
  • Somewhat noisy operation (noise rating: 51 dB)

2. Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 ACC300 – Best 80-Gallon Hybrid Water Heater

Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 ACC300

Stiebel Eltron is one of the popular brands, manufacturing heat pump water heaters in Germany for over 30 years.

Stiebel ACC300 is an 80-gallon capacity electric water heater. It provides 50 gallons of uninterrupted hot water before you activate its built-in backup heating element. This is sufficient for maximum five users to take a shower of 10 minutes.

Accelera 300 is a versatile unit that you can use in both warmer and colder areas. Thanks to its compressor motor and fan.

It can draw warmth from the outside air and pumps cool air into your home in a warmer climate. Thus it helps cool down the room, much like an air conditioner.

On the other hand, in a cooler climate, you can install it in your basement. As a result, it’ll help you by performing the duties of a dehumidifier.

It is a great unit that runs on either 208 or 240 volts. For every 1-watt used, this water heater produces the same amount of 35-watt of hot water.

What is stunning about this unit is its ultra-efficiency for energy savings. Reportedly, it saves you as much as 80% on your utility bills. Amazingly, in the heat pump mode, it uses less energy even than a toaster.

You’ll also appreciate its super-quiet operation. The unit is sound-deadening insulated at the top and bottom for noiseless operation. This feature makes it perfect for placing it nearly anywhere in your home.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Designed to use throughout the year
  • Superb design and reliable quality
  • Minimal operational costs
  • Energy Star rated
  • Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities
  • Superior insulation

Cons

  • Warranty is valid only if installed by a licensed professional.
  • Quite large, so you may have to compromise a bit of space to install it.

3. RUUD HP40RU/JPYA-A040J11 Residential Electric Heat Pump

RUUD HP40RUJPYA-A040J11

Ruud is a respected brand name when it comes to the most efficient residential hybrid water heater.

RUUD HP40RU combines quality elements and heat pump technology to ensure reliable, ultra-efficient and safe operation.

This model can operate in the wider ambient operating range (37 to 145-degree F) than its competitors. Thanks to its advanced features and hybrid technology.

HP40RU/JPYA-A040J11 has a 40-gallon capacity that provides enough hot water for two showers simultaneously. It delivers hot water faster than most standard electric water heaters.

High-quality stainless steel dual resistor heating elements are also part of this system. This ensures backup heating and increases the recovery rate. The first-hour rating is 56 GPH, while the recovery rate at 90-degree F rise is 21 GPH.

RUUD HP40RU offers you more than you expected. The advanced technology extracts the heat from the warm surrounding air. Thus, it helps cool down the room where it’s placed.

The extracted heat goes through the compressor and evaporator, which then transforms the air into heat to heat the water. In this way, it ensures increased energy efficiency.

Plus, the 2.5-inch thick Non-CFC foam insulation reduces the standby heat loss. It makes this model’s efficiency even three times higher than that of the conventional gas or electric type. RUUD claims that you can save up to $480 per year on heating expenses.

This ultra-efficient unit is designed with a high energy factor of 2.0, double the standard electric water heaters.

Installation of this residential electric heat pump won’t be a hassle for you. It easily replaces any standard electrical counterpart. Conveniently, there is no need for any clearance on the sides.

Notably, this model comes with easy access side connections. Front located condensate connection lets you install it against a wall.

Moreover, it includes a user-friendly control panel with an LCD screen and touch-pad. So, you can change, select or check the water temperature easily. It also lets you diagnose the system during failure and check out the history of the errors.

Another nice aspect is it allows you to check and adjust all the parameters even if it is installed in dark rooms. Thanks to its backlit control panel and full-color LCD.

It is worth noting that RUUD HP40RU allows you to choose five operating modes that give different temperatures of hot water, water supply and energy efficiency.

RUUD also cares about the safety of the unit. It features dry-fire protection.

Premium-quality anode rod with resistor adds to the life of the storage tank. Furthermore, the exclusive Ruudglas tank lining protects the metal tank from corrosion and aggressive water action.

RUUD offers a 10-year limited warranty on tank and parts. However, you can expect it will last 15 to 20 years if properly installed and maintained.

Pros

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Different heating modes
  • Easy Installation and maintenance
  • Energy Star qualified
  • Highly durable
  • Design certified to NSF/ANSI 372

Cons

  • The warranty does not cover labor costs.

4. A.O. Smith FPTU-80 Voltex Hybrid- Best 80 Gal Electric Heat Pump

A.O. Smith FPTU-80 Voltex

FPTU-80 Voltex is one of the best-capacity A.O. Smith hybrid water heaters. This hybrid model earns industry recognition and more than lives up to its impressive reputation.

It offers the benefits of the A.O. Smith electric Vertex series and the efficiency of hybrid design. This results in significant energy and money-saving.

With 80-gallon capacity, this unit does a great job delivering an ample amount of hot water- up to five showers operating simultaneously. It is an excellent unit for a household of three to five people or more than three bathrooms.

You’ll be satisfied with its excellent performance. It generates heat through the heat pump technology instead of heating elements. Thus it delivers tremendous savings on energy and money. FPTU-80 is four times more efficient than a regular electric unit.

It provides superior water heating with an ultra-high energy factor of 3.27 (Efficiency Mode), 3.06 (Hybrid Mode) and 0.92 (Electric Mode). Reportedly, it can reduce the water heating cost by up to 73% compared to any standard electric model.

You can install this heat pump in the garage or basement. It pulls heat from surrounding air while dehumidifying and cooling the ambient air simultaneously. The compressor transfers heat to the water. This, in turn, reduces running costs.

Amazingly, Voltex FPTU-80 matches heating requirements to hot water demand and environmental conditions. Thanks to its features five different settings. It includes heat pump, vacation, electric, energy saver and high-demand mode.

For everyday routines such as washer, dishes or showering, energy saver mode is perfect. During winter, when you need extra hot water, the high-demand mode is just perfect.

In addition to the heat pump technology, this hybrid model comes equipped with two heating elements. These help the water heater to recover fast during the periods of high demand.

The standout setting is vacation mode. It reduces operating costs and provides freeze protection while you are away for longer. Conveniently, the user-friendly electronic panel allows easy control of operating modes, temperature settings and communicates diagnostics.

There is a heavy-duty anode to protect the storage tank for years to come. It protects the tank from the corrosive effects of hot water and thus ensures long tank life.

Pros

  • Ideal to use in all climates
  • Highly-efficient
  • Innovative design
  • Easy to install
  • User-friendly and convenient to use
  • Meets ENERGY STAR qualifications
  • Well-made and durable

Cons

  • The recovery time is a bit slow in energy saver and heat pump modes.

5. Stiebel Eltron 233059 Accelera 300 E -Best for the Money

Stiebel Eltron 233059 Accelera 300 E

Next, we have another high-efficiency model from Stiebel Eltron. This time it is Accelera 300 E heat pump water heater. The excellent and high-quality manufacturing process of this model will fulfill the highest expectations of performance and reliability.

This 79.8-gallon unit runs for a family of 3 to 5, possibly 6. The electronic control panel has no complicated modes. It makes the unit simple-to-operate. The display also shows the total volume of hot water available and other performance information.

Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 E provides superior energy efficiency in addition to comfort. A specially engineered, low-wattage single backup element is located at the tank’s top (near the hot water draw point). It ensures hot water comfort plus low energy usage.

The design includes a rolling piston compressor motor on one side and a heavy-duty fan on the other side. It pulls out the air from the surrounding that helps cool down the room. The heat is then transferred to the compressor to heat the water and you get hot water at a minimal cost.

The nice aspect is in warm climates you can place it either in the garage or inside the house.  Again, in cooler climates, you can place it in the basement, where it’ll act as a dehumidifier.

Reportedly, Accelera 300 E reduces hot water costs by up to 80%. The super-insulated tank minimizes stand-by losses means less energy is wasted.

The standout feature of this model is its redesigned airflow. Conveniently, the air intake and exhaust are in angle positions. This design allows the opportunity for installation the heater in compact spaces.

This German-manufactured heat pump is both efficient and quieter. There is sound-deadening insulation at the top of the housing. Besides, it produces minimal noises due to increased fan diameter and separate airflow and refrigerant loop.

Another outstanding feature is its electronic anode that never needs maintenance. Of course, this appliance is backed by a 10-year warranty.

Pros

  • Large storage capacity
  • Ultra-low stand by loss
  • Engineered to use in a wide range of climates
  • Very quiet operation
  • Maintenance-free protection
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • Expensive but it’ll be the most cost-efficient solution in the long run.

How to Choose the Right Heat Pump Water Heater

Selecting the right HPWH takes keen consideration of certain factors.

Here are the essential features and data that you should keep in mind while choosing a heat pump for yourself.

  • Storage Capacity

Depending on your hot water needs, choose the right capacity model. The smaller size or insufficient capacity unit won’t meet your requirements and ultimately increase energy usage. Heat pump water systems come with 40 to 80 gallons storage capacity. For a family of two, a 40-gallon unit is sufficient, while for three to four-member family, a 50-gallon and four to five members an 80-gallon unit is recommended.

  • First Hour Recovery Rate

Check the first-hour recovery rating (calculated in gallons per hour- GPH) of your selected model. This data lets you estimate whether the unit can deliver sufficient hot water during the high-demanding time or not. We recommend going for a model with a high rating.

  • Recovery Rate

It is another important factor to consider. It determines how fast the system produces hot water. First, consider your hot water usage pattern and then choose a model with a high recovery rate.

  • Energy Factor (EF)

It indicates how much electricity the unit uses per year and how much money you’ll be able to save on your water heating bill. Most of the models come with an efficiency of around 2. However, a higher EF factor is always better.

  • Quality of the Elements

High-quality elements ensure the long lifespan of the unit. 

The heating elements should be made of premium quality materials. Besides, the anode rod should provide corrosion-free operation for years to come. We recommend going for a model with a commercial-grade anode or powered anode.

The unit should include dry-firing protection

Another factor is foam insulation. It should be at least 2-inch thick. A unit with a self-cleaning feature will reduce the negative influence of the sediment build-up inside the tank and keep your water clean.

The material used for the storage tank is also essential. A tank with glass lining will ensure better durability.

Conclusion

Say goodbye to all the issues with your traditional water heater with any of these best heat pump water heaters.

When compared, this appliance has higher initial costs than conventional and electric water heaters. But these HPWHs are highly-efficient and provide more hot water. And above all, they have lower annual operating costs to save on utility bills and ultimately cover the unit’s cost in the long run.

Hopefully, with all the keen considerations, you’ll be able to invest in the right model that is perfect to meet your needs.

Thanks for reading!