The efficiency requirements for water heaters have leveled out the competition for efficiency ratings of water heaters. Most water heaters sold today will have an energy factor of .58.
Most manufacturers have a line of energy star water heaters that will usually cost more to install and maintain, not to mention the added cost of the tank.
Starting April 15, 2015 the new energy requirements will affect all types of water heaters by raising the energy factor requirements.
There requirements for gas tanks will be the following.
Gas Water Heaters
55 gallons and under .61 Energy Factor
55 gallons and over .76 Energy Factor
Electric Water Heaters
55 gallons and under .95 Energy Factor
55 gallons and over 2.0 Energy Factor
Gas fired Tankless
.82 Energy Factor
When it comes to electric water heaters the cost is so high that spending a few hundred dollars more for a high efficiency unit will actually pay itself back in less than two years.
A hybrid electric water heater will operate for about $300 less than a traditional electric water heater.