A new hot water heater is an investment in your home and not just a casual purchase. You need to consider this investment carefully as a hot water heater can be very expensive, but no doubt you need to use it every single day. The hot water heater can also be a major expense when it comes to your utility bills every month, so getting one that is more energy-efficient for your home can be a good choice. Before you shop, however, you might note a few terms and phrases you'll see; this will help you best decide the right type of hot water heater for your family and for your house as well. In turn, you'll have the hot water you need while still saving as much money as possible on energy costs.
Unless you buy a tankless hot water heater that heats water as it flows to your home's taps, you'll need to consider the recovery efficiency. This refers to how efficiently heat is applied to water in order to heat it. The higher the recovery efficiency, the faster you'll have more hot water when it's used; in homes with lots of people using the shower in the morning, you want to invest in a high recovery efficiency so you don't run out of hot water.
This refers to how much heat is lost every hour that the hot water heater is not on and heating water. For colder environments where the hot water heater itself may get cold on the outside, you want less of a standby loss. A hot water heater with less of this loss will be better insulated against outside cold. If you live in the tropics or a warm area, you might be able to do with a higher standby loss, since the hot water heater won't get as cold overall.
This is a bit different than standby loss; this refers to how much heat is lost when the water is running through the hot water heater. As with standby loss, a heater that is more well-insulated will have a lower cycling loss, and this can be important for larger families and constant demand on the heater. The lower the cycling loss, the less time you will need to wait for the water in the tank to get hot again. This will also mean less energy used to reheat the water once you use the heater.