Last Updated on November 20, 2020
Heating costs can add up quickly, especially during the winter months. An easy and inexpensive way to lower that bill is to use a blanket on your water heater.
A water heater blanket works by providing insulation. Your heater can lose a vast amount of heat, even when not in use, due to poor insulation. A blanket will help keep the water inside warm and prevent the heater from continuously having to keep the water up to the required temperature. This simple and inexpensive addition could reduce your annual energy costs by 7-15% and reduce heat losses by up to 45%.1
These blankets come in a wide variety of materials, and it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. We’ve created this list of in-depth reviews for the best water heater blankets.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Frost King SP60||
|Best Value||Thermwell Products SP57-5||
|Premium Choice||SmartSHIELD Water Heater Blankets||
|M-D Building Products 4663||
The 6 Best Water Heater Blankets — Reviews 2020
1. Frost King SP60 Water Heater Insulation Blanket — Best Overall
The Frost King SP60 is our top choice overall and works for heaters up to 60 gallons in size. The blanket is made from vinyl-backed fiberglass and is suitable for gas, electric, and oil heaters. The fiberglass will absorb and hold heat, and the vinyl backing will prevent moisture from passing through into the insulation. This will keep your blanket dry and mold-free. It is 3 inches thick and measures 60 inches by 90 inches in size. The blanket is conveniently shaped to fit right onto most standard heaters, which negates the need for complicated sizing and cutting. A roll of plastic tape is included so you can fit the blanket right away.
Several customers report that the blanket does not fit a 60-gallon tank as advertised, and there may be a gap of up to 3 inches left over. The blanket is also tricky to install with the poor instructions.
2. Thermwell Products SP57-5 Water Heater Blanket — Best Value
The SP57-5 from Thermwell Products is great value, considering the low price, and is the best water heater blanket for the money. This blanket will fit tanks up to 60 gallons and is safe for use with electric, gas, and oil water heaters. It is constructed from high-quality, vinyl-backed fiberglass for mold-free and water-resistant insulation. The blanket is 1.5 inches thick and measures 48 by 75 inches. A roll of tape is also included so you can get installing it right away!
Several customers had trouble getting this blanket all the way around their heater, leaving at least a 6-inch gap. The included tape is basically worthless and will peel away in no time. The blanket is also comparatively thinner than some other blankets on the market and may not provide optimum insulation, keeping it from our top position.
3. SmartSHIELD Water Heater Blankets — Premium Choice
If you are looking for ultimate effectiveness in insulation, the SmartSHIELD water heater blanket may be the choice for you. This blanket will reflect 97% of radiant energy, has a vapor barrier to protect against moisture and mold, and can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. It has 3mm closed-cell polyethylene foam that is sandwiched between pure aluminum outer layers for unsurpassed insulation. The material is lightweight yet strong and easy to cut and install. It is also non-toxic and has a Class 1/Class A fire rating for further safety and peace of mind. It is also heat-sealable, meaning you can seal the cuts after installation.
While this blanket may be highly reflective, it is fairly thin, and the insulation effectiveness may be questionable. Several customers report that the material tears easily too.
4. M-D Building Products 4663 M-D 0 Water Heater Blanket
This water heater blanket from M-D Building Products is easy and quick to install and made from highly insulating fiberglass. The fiberglass is vinyl backed for increased durability and water resistance and can be safely used on gas, oil, and electric heaters of up to 60 gallons in size. The blanket is 2 inches thick and comes with a roll of adhesive tape included for immediate installation.
Depending on the model of your heater, this blanket may not fit all the way around the outside and may leave the top uncovered. The fiberglass insulation is loosely woven, so be sure to wear protective gear when cutting and installing this blanket. Also, the facing on the outside tears easily, so cut and handle this material carefully.
5. SmartJacket SJ-60 Water Heater Blanket
The SJ-60 SmartJacket water heater blanket is safe to use for electric or gas heaters and fits tanks up to 60 gallons in size. The blanket uses an effective system that creates a space between the jacket and your heater, resulting in heat loss reduction of up to 40%. The blanket contains no fiberglass, which can be harmful to your health, and is both non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. It is made from a heavy-duty foam core that is sandwiched between two layers of pure aluminum on both sides. It also comes with aluminum foil tape.
This blanket may not fit a 60-gallon tank, depending on the unit you own, leaving a gap for heat to escape from. It is also tricky to install this blanket, so be prepared to put time into it. Some customers report that the thin, non-fiberglass insulation foam does not perform as well as fiberglass blankets.
6. AES Industries Bb-223 Water Heater Blanket
The reflective foil of this water heater blanket from AES industries will stop 99% of radiant heat loss and will fit tanks up to 80 gallons in size. The blanket is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic and contains no foam or fiberglass. It is suitable for gas and electric tanks and is easy to install with the included step-by-step instructions. It also comes with aluminum tape, so you can install it right away.
This blanket will reflect heat well but is not particularly thick and contains no fiberglass or foam insulation. This means that it will not insulate your heater as well as many other blankets on the market. The aluminum backing is prone to flaking off after time and can rip easily during installation.
Water heater blankets come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and it can be confusing to choose the right one. There are a few things to take into consideration to help you make the right choice.
The material that your water heater blanket is made from is arguably the most important decision to make. While these blankets come in a wide variety of materials, the most commonly used are aluminum foil, foam, and fiberglass.
- Aluminum foil. This is used on its own or as a backing on top of foam or fiberglass. It is highly reflective and acts as a “mirror” for heat, reflecting most of the heat emanating from your heater back onto itself.
- Cotton foam. Cotton foam is great because it is easy to work with and non-toxic. However, is does not insulate as efficiently as fiberglass.
- Fiberglass is the reigning king when it comes to insulation and combined with aluminum, makes for the most effective insulation solution. That said, it is difficult to work with. The fine particles that come off this material when working with it are dangerous to inhale, so you should take protective precautions when using it.
Size and Thickness
The size of the blanket you need will depend entirely on the model of water heater you own. Some blankets come in rolls that need to be measured and cut, and some are conveniently precut to easily slip onto your heater without much modification. In most cases, you will need to alter the blanket for inlet/outlet pipes and size variations. Knowing the size of your heater will help you choose the right fit, and you’ll only have to make small alterations.
The thicker your blanket, the better it will insulate, but the harder it will be to work with. The exception to this rule is aluminum foil blankets. They are thin because they reflect heat as opposed to absorbing it, using the layer of air between the tank and the blanket to insulate.
Do You Need a Water Heater Blanket?
The short answer is yes, even if you live in warmer climates. There is a common myth that if you can touch your water heater without your hand getting too hot, a heater blanket is not necessary. However, it is only cool to the touch due to heat being lost! Even the most basic aluminum blanket will pay for itself within a few months, at most a year — provided that it is installed correctly.
Your water heater is one of the biggest energy suckers in your home, responsible for around 20% of energy use. Space heating and water heating account for about two-thirds of home energy use in the U.S. A blanket will also reduce standby heat losses by up to 45%, especially if your heater is old or in an unheated area.
Installing a blanket in your home will not only save you on energy costs, but it will also help the environment in a small way too.
While there are a few downsides to installing heater blankets like upfront costs and installation, the pros far outweigh the cons:
- Energy saving
The top choice of water heater blanket overall is the Frost King SP60. It is made from vinyl-backed fiberglass and is suitable for gas, electric, and oil heaters and will prevent moisture from passing through the insulation, keeping your blanket dry and mold-free.
The best water heater blanket for the money is the SP57-5 from Thermwell Products. It will fit tanks up to 60 gallons, is safe for use with electric, gas, and oil water heaters, and is constructed from high-quality vinyl-backed fiberglass for mold-free and water-resistant insulation. This blanket is great value for money.
There are a wide variety of water heater blankets on the market, and it can be difficult to find the perfect type. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have helped you find the best water heater blanket to suit your needs.
David Slone runs the TapIt Water blog. He first learned about water filtration and the impact it has on the world in college. Ever since that day he has worked towards making the world a better place. He writes to inform you about water filtration, the consequences of plastics, bottled water, and how we can do things better.
He loves to spend time with his beloved wife, 3 kids, and dog when he’s not writing.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 6 Best Water Heater Blankets — Reviews 2020
- 2.1 1. Frost King SP60 Water Heater Insulation Blanket — Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Thermwell Products SP57-5 Water Heater Blanket — Best Value
- 2.3 3. SmartSHIELD Water Heater Blankets — Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. M-D Building Products 4663 M-D 0 Water Heater Blanket
- 2.5 5. SmartJacket SJ-60 Water Heater Blanket
- 2.6 6. AES Industries Bb-223 Water Heater Blanket
- 3 Buyers Guide
- 4 Conclusion