Short vs. Tall Water Heater: How To Choose?

Last Updated on December 11, 2021

Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Tronic 3000 T 4-Gallon (ES4

If you are planning to install a water heater, you may be wondering whether you need a short or a tall water heater. We need hot water for lots of everyday activities such as cooking, bathing, and cleaning, so it’s important that you get your choice of water heater right. Keep reading to find out the characteristics of these two types of water heaters and the pros and cons of each type.

Tall Water Heater

Tall water heater

A tall water heater from American Standard

Tall water heaters have storage tanks that are between 46 to 60 inches tall and have a diameter that ranges from 18 to 21 inches. They can store up to 100 gallons of water. They are suitable for places like basements and garages. In areas like these, the height of the space allows the heater to fit easily.

In addition to the height of the water heater, you’ll have to accommodate the height of the plumbing connection needed to connect the water heater to the plumbing of your home. This connection can be up to 40 inches in height. Bear this in mind when doing your measurements for your heater. This pipe can be angled if needed, in case things start to become tight.

  • Larger storage capacity
  • Take up more space

Also see: 5 Different Types of Water heaters

Short Water Heater

Short Water Heater

A Short Water Heater from Rheem

Short water heaters have storage tanks that are between 30 to 49 inches in height. They have wider diameters to offset the lost water storage capacity due to them being shorter than tall water heaters. Typically, they have diameters that range from 20 to 26 inches, which results in a maximum capacity of around 50 gallons.

As with a tall water heater, you’ll have to consider the height of the plumbing connection needed to connect a short water heater to the plumbing of your house. This connection is usually about 32 inches in height. Short water heaters are best suited for areas such as attics, closets, crawlspaces, or even under cabinets. In other words, they are best for areas with limited headroom.

Budget-minded consumers should note: a short water heater is much more energy-efficient than a tall heater—up to 40% more efficient. Additionally, short water heaters provide a better gallons per minute rate than tall water heaters.

  • Less storage capacity


Whether you go with a tall or short water heater is dictated mostly by the available space you have for putting the heater. If you have limited space, then a short water heater may be your only option. However, if you have limited hot water needs, a short water heater may work for you even if you have the available space to accommodate a tall water heater. This will leave you more space to use for other purposes—at it may save you some money, too.

Wading your way through all the information related to water heaters can be stressful and time-consuming which is why we’re here to help. We hope that this article has been insightful and that it will help you on your journey to choosing a suitable water heater for your needs.