40 Gallon vs. 50 Gallon Water Heaters: What to Pick?

Water heaters can fail us at the most unexpected times. If you notice signs of wear or reduced effectivity, it’s better not to wait for the heater to fail explosively.
When it comes to acquiring a new heater, it is important to know, that a bigger size does not always mean better quality. Currently, the most popular water heaters come in the size of 40 gallons and 50 gallons.

Here are some useful tips for choosing the correct size water heater for your home.

40 Gallon vs. 50 Gallon Water Heaters: What to Pick?

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Difference Between a 40-Gallon and 50-Gallon Water Heater?

Both 40 and 50-gallon gas water heaters have the same technology and serve the same purpose, however, the main difference is the size and capacity.

Usually, the BTU output remains steady for both 40 and 50-gallon gas water heaters and they share the same sediment combatting features.
As mentioned you should focus on these two aspects when choosing a water heater.
Due to its compact size, a 40-gallon gas water heater tank can effortlessly fit into more spaces for installation and is easy to maneuver.
The main benefits of the 50-gallon water heater include more available water upfront and a better first-hour rating. However, this should be a deciding factor only if you have a VERY large family.

40-Gallon Gas Water Heater

Easier Installation

A 40-gallon water heater will save you a lot of headaches during the installation. You will not be very limited in your choices as it can easily fit it into tighter spaces.
Bulky, wide, and heavy standard water heaters that come with a tank can be a real challenge to fit into some houses.

A key factor for the installation of a tank-style water heater is the height. With vent and water pipes and gas lines running around, it can be tough to install a wicked tall water heater.
The 40-gallon water heaters are shorter, therefore you can much effortlessly fit them vertically into space.

50-Gallon Gas Water Heater

First Hour Rating and Capacity

The major difference between a 40-gallon and 50-gallon natural gas water heater is the capacity and, most importantly, the first-hour rate. This rate determines the amount of the available hot water in the first hour of the water heater usage when the tank is full.

A 50-gallon water heater is a convenient choice for bigger families as it can supply a sufficient daily amount of hot water to all family members.
A 40-gallon gas water heater will perfectly accommodate a family of 4, however, the added capacity of a 50-gallon gas water heater makes it a better choice for larger families.


If after reading our detailed reviews, you still have questions about these 40-gallon gas water heaters, please take a look at the frequently asked questions. The answers below will clear out any confusion and help you select the best unit for your home.

Is a 40-Gallon Water Heater Enough?

Choosing the proper size gas water heater is crucial, as a big water heater will result in increased utility bills and a very small water heater will not provide a sufficient amount of water. A 40-gallon water heater will perfectly accommodate the needs of a family of 3 or 4. Thus, if your family consists of 4 members, the 40-gallon water heater is the right choice for you.

Is There a Big Difference Between a 40-Gallon and 50-Gallon Water Heater?

The main difference between the two gas water heaters is that the 50-gallon one has a heating element with higher wattage reading. Otherwise, both water heaters can perfectly accommodate the needs of a family with four to five members (for 40-gallon, 3-4 members).

How Long Can You Shower With a 40-Gallon Water Heater?

Equipped with a large storage tank, this heater can supply enough hot water for conveniently taking two 1-hour showers. However, if you are simultaneously using the hot water supply of the heater for any other water appliances, some time might be required to re-heat the water.

How Long Will a 40-Gallon Hot Water Tank Last?

The heating element determines how long the water tank will last. 40-gallon gas water heaters require half the time of an electric water heater to recover. Unlike electric water heaters that take up to two hours to reheat the water, gas water heaters do the job within only one hour.

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