Are you looking for a tankless RV water heater you can depend on when traveling? Having hot water to shower with is critical for the comfortable camping experience you are expecting. An on-demand water heater is the key to achieving that.
Similar to water heaters in traditional homes, these can vary greatly and aren’t all offering the same level of quality. So, how do you pick the best tankless RV water heater?
In this PlumbingNav review, you will learn:
- What is a tankless RV water heater?
- How do on-demand RV water heaters differ?
- On average, how long do tankless water heaters for RVs last?
- Is the cost of an instantaneous RV water heater worth it?
- And, of course, what are the best tankless RV water heaters on the market?
Camplux Tankless Propane Water Heater, 2.64 GPM
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Camplux 5L Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater, 1.32 GPM
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Furrion Tankless RV Gas Water Heater, 2.4 GPM
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RecPro RV Tankless Gas Water Heater
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Ecotemp i12-NG Tankless Water Heater, 3 GPM
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Our Overall #1 Rated Tankless RV Water Heater
The Camplux Tankless Propane Water Heater offers 2.64 GPM (gallons per minute) of on-demand hot water, powered by propane gas. This compact and modern-looking tankless water heater is also convenient to install with its standard fittings.
Safety is a top concern with 6-in-1 multiple protection that offers flame-out, over-heating, airflow pressure, and safe electronic ignition system protection. These features and others allow for energy-efficient usage.
Overall, it is an affordable, efficient, and eco-friendly option.
Our Top 5 Tankless RV Water Heaters for 2021
- Camplux Tankless Water Heater
- 5L Outdoor Portable Water Heater
- Furrion Tankless RV Water Heater
- RecPro RV Tankless Water Heater
- Ecotemp Tankless Water Heater
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What is a Tankless RV Water Heater?
Tankless RV water heaters, also known as on-demand or instantaneous water heaters, are popular because they provide immediate, endless hot water without using a tank. No more waiting for propane to heat up your water or storing water in a separate hot water heater tank.
The tankless RV water heaters work by passing the water through the device, which heats it up as it goes instead of heating water up in a separate storage tank. This saves space and time. It also uses less water and power – offering long-term cost savings.
How Much Does a Tankless RV Water Heater Cost?
The cost of tankless RV water heaters range from around $150 for a basic option to more than $1,000 for more advanced water heaters. However, most are around $300 to $500.
Prices vary based on the size, flow rate, and temperature rise time. The same tankless water heaters used in homes could potentially be used in an RV if set up correctly. When in doubt, always consult a professional. And expect these residential brands to be more expensive.
Are Tankless RV Water Heaters Actually Worth It?
Tankless water heaters for RVs are more efficient, take up less room, and offer instant gratification. Most RVers find these devices to be a valuable addition to their rigs and enjoy the ability to save on water, propane, and space.
Having a more efficient device for heating water can help you minimize costs as well. On-demand water heaters can be 24-34% more efficient, or more!
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tankless RV Water Heater?
The top advantages of a tankless water heater for an RV are that they offer a highly efficient, environmentally friendly option that can provide long-term savings due to using less water and power.
As for disadvantages, tankless water heaters often cost more upfront than conventional storage water heaters. And, although they are usually more energy-efficient, options with a constantly burning pilot light can end up still wasting energy.
What Should You Look for in the Best Tankless RV Water Heater?
Keep size, GPM, and BTUs in mind when searching for the best tankless RV water heater for your rolling home. The best devices will fit in your RV easily, have a high enough flow rate (gallons per minute) to heat enough water for your regular use, and have a high heating capacity (the higher the British Thermal Unit number, the better!).
It’s also important to know the best power source for your purposes. If planning to be hooked up at a campground, electric may make the most sense. In contrast, propane may be ideal for more boondocking.
How Long Do Tankless RV Water Heaters Last?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the life expectancy of tankless RV water heaters is usually 20 years or more. Their parts are also often easily replaceable, which can extend how long they last.
For comparison, storage water heaters usually only last 10-15 years.
What are the Different Tankless RV Water Heaters?
The size of your RV and hot water needs will help narrow down which tankless RV water heater will work best. Many RVs now come with these devices pre-installed, with Truma being a popular option. But if yours didn’t come with a tankless water heater, many brands are easy to install – some are even portable!
One of the top considerations in tankless RV water heaters is the flow rate, or gallons per minute (GPM). Another is how long it takes the water temperature to rise to the desired output, measured in BTUs (Britsh Thermal Units).
You should consider your preferred fuel type for powering the device as well. Options are usually propane, natural gas, or electricity. Ensure that power source will be readily available while traveling and that you have room if you need a propane tank.
Here is an overview of one of the pre-installed RV tankless water heaters for an example:
Tankless RV Water Heaters Reviewed
Now let’s explore our favorite units so you can decide on the perfect choice for your situation.
Our #1 Rated Pick: Camplux Tankless Water Heater
Best Overall Pick
The Camplux on-demand water heater is affordable, easy to install, and makes safety a priority. It uses liquid propane and offers 2.64 GPM of unlimited, on-demand hot water.
- 6-in-1 protection
- Space-saving design
- Easy install
- Energy-saving options
- Not as effective in colder weather
- Controls can be confusing
Our #2 Rated Pick: 5L Outdoor Portable Water Heater
Best for Budget
The Camplux 5L offers 1.32 GPM and, while small, is a great affordable option for those wanting to have access to hot water while RVing, or even tent camping!
It only needs 3.0 PSI of water pressure to get started and is powered by liquid propane. While meant for outdoor use, it can also be set up for longer-term use inside.
- Super quiet
- Built-in fire protection
- All-season use
- Set up can be confusing
- Doesn’t come with water pump
- Low flow rate when high use
Our #3 Rated Pick: Furrion Tankless RV Water Heater
Best High End
This 2.4 GPM tankless water heater is built specifically for the road and offers high heating power (60k BTU) and steady temperatures. It costs a bit more than others on this list but has some valuable features for the added price, including VibrationSmart technology.
- Works down to 32 degrees (F)
- Intelligent control technology
- Includes two-year warranty
- Liquid propane can be hard to find
- More expensive
Our #4 Rated Pick: RecPro RV Tankless Water Heater
Best for Ease of Use
The RecPro runs off of gas and is easy to use – it even includes a remote! The forced exhaust structure keeps the air safe and clean. There is also a dust net to make sure no dirt gets into the heater.
- Very efficient
- Easy to install or replace
- Maintains set temperature well
- Higher cost
- Best results take adjustments
- Not great for multiple faucets at once
Our #5 Rated Pick:Ecotemp Tankless Water Heater
Not only is the Ecotemp heater efficient, but it also has a modern, sleek design with simple-to-use LED controls. Automated options, no pilot light, temperature controls, and child locks add to power savings.
- Reduced energy consumption
- Easy LED controls
- Convenient installation
- Water passes through a bit slowly
- Venting not ideal for some setups
Concluding Thoughts on Tankless RV Water Heaters
If your RV didn’t come with a tankless water heater and you are considering upgrading, be sure to do your research. It is important to pick the best tankless RV water heater for your specific rig, water needs, and budget.
You will also want to keep installation costs in mind if you are not particularly handy or are choosing a water heater that involves a little more expertise to install correctly. Safety should be your top priority, especially for a device that will be bouncing around down the road.
RV Tankless Water Heater FAQ
How does a tankless water heater work in an RV?
When you turn on one of the faucets in your RV to use hot water, the cold water will flow through your tankless water heater. The device’s heating element (propane or electric) will then heat up your water to the desired temperature you have set.
This process is instantaneous and sends hot water to the open tap – whether in the shower or a faucet. There may just be a few seconds delay.
Can you boondock with a tankless water heater?
Tankless water heaters can be a great option when boondocking in your RV because of how energy efficient they are. This is especially true when using a model that requires minimal propane for usage and no pilot light. Tankless RV water heaters can also help with the all-important conservation of water since the hot water is ready on-demand.
Can I replace my RV water heater with a tankless?
Many tankless RV water heaters are specifically designed to fit into the same place as your standard unit. Brands know these will be replacements and try to make the process easy. Some options even offer additional front door sizes in case adjustments are needed.
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