Choosing the Best Electric and Gas Tankless Water Heaters Guide

A Review of Top 10 Best-Selling Choices in the Market

Tankless water heaters are designed to supply hot water on demand – but only as hot water is needed. They don’t have the energy losses found in standard stored water heaters. This amounts to significant savings as the heater does not have to constantly reheat water. So when do you need a tankless water heater? Read on to find out.

How On Demand Water Heaters Work

It works by directly heating from the tap. Cold water travels through a heating element inside the heater and gets heated as it flows. It allows tankless water heaters to deliver a steady supply of hot water.

  • You will never have to wait for hot water in the tank
  • You will never run out of hot water

Unfortunately, the heating element can only heat so much water. The stronger the flow, the less the heater can keep up –this is something you have to bear in mind when choosing a heater. A typical tankless water heater can heat water at around 2 – 4 gallons (7.6 – 15 liters) per minute. Gas-fired heaters are capable of handling higher flow rates. However, you need to know that ever larger gas-fired models can still struggle to supply enough hot water in certain usage scenarios (multiple users). Taking a shower while having a dishwasher on can stress the limit of the heating power of a tankless water heater. To remedy this, you can install multiple tankless heaters for different parts of the house ensuring that the heater never gets overtaxed.

Pros and Cons

For households that use around 43 gallons of heated water daily, tankless heaters can save your around 25% - 35% on energy usage. For homes that have high demands (more than 86 gallons per day), you can achieve around 7% - 15% energy efficiency. The more tankless heaters you install (one every hot water outlet) you can reach higher energy savings of around 30%-50%. A typical household can save a minimum of $100 per year switching to tankless water heaters.

Initially, tankless water heaters are more expensive than a traditional storage water heater, but tankless will last longer and have lower operating costs throughout its lifetime. This, in time, will offset the higher purchase price. High-quality tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of 15-20 years. Most also have universal fixtures that you can easily find spare parts for them.

What enables tankless water heater to avoid inefficiencies found in standard storage water heaters is their ability to heat on demand. However, all the savings can be offset if they have a burning pilot light which will create a constant energy loss.

Heating and Civilization

Mankind stepped out of the dark ages when it discovered fire. Fire, and our capability to harness it made us unique among mammals. Our entire civilization hinges on it.

Now, in the age of advanced technology, heating is a part of our daily lives. Can you imagine living without access to a warm shower? It’s just can’t be done. Unless you’re one of those survivalist folks, there’s just no reason to.

Now, you’ve got plenty of water heaters to choose from. What we’ve compiled here is a list of tankless water heaters. Why tankless? For one, it cuts down on energy costs. Why heat gallons of water only to have it sit unused. It’s relatively diminutive size also lends well to installation in smaller bathrooms. Though you need to route power (preferably with a separate breaker) and you need to create new water lines to make it work, it’s reasonably cheap compared to a full sized water heater.

We have scoured the internet for the best performing, best priced tankless water heaters. We tested each one of them over a period of 3 weeks. You can see our results below:

Heres the List of the Best on demand GAS and Electric water heaters

#1 Rheem 9.5 GPM Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater

The new direct and on-demand tankless water heater is starting to make its way into more homes in North America. The technology is not new and it's consistently used in Europe. The name Rheem is amongst the most popular names on the market today.

In our opinion this model is amongst the top 2 best tankless water heaters. Every one of its features screams top-quality however it is priced accordingly. Our favorites aspects of the RTGH-95DVLN are the heat condensing body made out of stainless steel and that prevents corrosion, the gadget remote control which allows you to control temperatures digitally, and the main feature of the brand, the EZ-link wire which allows you to connect to units for higher capacity.

Besides its high-altitude performance, that allows this unit to perform admirably until almost 9000 feet, the freezing protection feature is a huge advantage. The Rheem tankless water heater can perform till -30F. With a 0.94 energy factor this model is extremely efficient. Its interior self-diagnostic system will warn you if the unit is not performing to standards.

PROS

  • High altitude performance
  • Remote control
  • EZ-Wire
  • Freezing Protection
  • Self-Diagnostic System

CONS

  • Price $1,400

#2 Takagi Indoor Tankless Water Heater - Natural Gas

Tankless water heaters are becoming popular since they can save you money because you don't end up heating hundreds of gallons that just sit in the tank while you're at work. An efficient unit will save you a considerable amount of cash, but the market is home to a wide variety of different models, and it's important to choose the one that best suits your family's hot water needs.

This particular model is extremely efficient with 140,000 BTUs and can handle a flow of over 6 gallons per minute, which is more than adequate to service multiple running showers. Given that is gas fed it requires ventilation, which can be either vertical or horizontal. The Takagi has an energy factor of 0.83 that makes it a top ten contender in our best tankless water heater reviews.

One of the main concerns for new owners will always be installation costs.  The fact that you need electrical work done on top of plumbing means that the installation of a tankless water heater will cost more than the installation of a regular water tank. The Takagi, also requires 120 V power supply. It also comes with the 10 year warranty for the heating element and five years on parts with the added catch that it has to be installed by a registered professional.

PROS

  • Good flow 6.6 GPM
  • Vertical and horizontal venting
  • ​140,000 BTU
  • 0.83 energy factor
  • Price $530
  • Warranty 10 years with 5 years on parts

CONS

  • Has to be installed by registered professional

#3 EcoSmart ECO Electric Tankless Water Heater w/ Self Modulating Technology

EcoSmart electric tankless water heater is equipped with self-modulating flow sensor technology that regulates the amount of energy required to heat the current flow of water being used. This Smart Technology electric tankless water heater is configured for climates where incoming water temperature can reach as low as 37F. The ECO 27 is capable of heating nearly 3 GPM at this temperature. This tankless water heater is the largest electric tankless water heater available with Self-Modulating Technology. These models are well suited for homes in the Northern U.S. and Canada and in the southern U.S. that have large Roman-style or Jacuzzi tubs and that have generally more demanding water usage needs.

Because it is electrical, the running costs will be generally higher than a gas model. Though not Energy Star Qualified, the ECO 27 boasts a 99.8 percent efficiency rating, high enough to cut energy costs by around 50 percent.

PROS

  • Average flow 3.35 GPM
  • Small size
  • ​Price $400
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS

#4 Rheem RTE 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 4 GPM

An electrical tankless water heater works through a system of internal sensors and heat exchangers rather than firing up a live flame. This is great for homeowners who don’t want to deal with complicated ventilation systems. One drawback of electric heating units is that they might not meet all of your hot water needs if you live in a large home or require “simultaneous usage” of hot water appliances. In fact, the RTE 13 is what’s called a “point of use” unit, meaning they should be installed directly at the sink where you want the hot water. You may have to install several of these units around the house to fulfill all of your needs.

The tankless water heater Rheem RTE 13 can comfortably offer water as hot as 100F. This is excellent news for residential buyers who never need showers that fiery! Washing clothes or dishes might be a point of concern, but it should be noted that 100F is more than enough to kill germs and bacteria. In terms of flow, customers do report that your gallons per minute rate will depend on how hot you want your water. The higher the temperature demands, the less your GPM. So that’s something to consider if flow rate is a deciding factor in your purchase. In better news, flow delays are quite small with Rheem. This isn’t a unit where you have to wait 60+ seconds for water to come flowing out of the tap. You’ll get hot water instantly and for as long as you require it.

PROS

  • Average flow 4 GPM
  • Small size
  • Price $350

CONS

  • 1-year warranty for parts

#5 Eccotemp High Capacity Propane Tankless Water Heater

One of the options for gas water heaters is the propane option. This is particularly good for locations that don't have actual connection to a gas line. This could be the case have a ranch or a chalet.

This particular model from Eccotemp offers continuous hot water for up to 3.4 gallons per minute. This should be enough for running one shower and a dishwasher at the same time however it's much lower then some of the best tankless water heaters. The LED display shows you up to date error messages as well as current water temperatures. From here you can manually control the water heater.

The activation flow is rated at 0.93 gallons per minute, which is fairly high yet you can always turn the hot water full on and then reduce the flow. For maximum efficiency you can reduce the temperature to 90F giving you the highest cost savings. For the users that enjoy hot steamy showers you can set this unit up at 140F and enjoy your relaxing shower.

PROS

  • Average flow 3.6 GPM
  • Small size
  • Price $250

CONS

  • 2-year warranty for parts

#6 Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus Electric Whole House Water Heater

The Stiebel line of tankless water heaters is well known for their precise temperature control much better than most other electrical tankless water heaters. This particular model although electric, is one of the most efficient once however is still affected by low-flow. With only 2.65 gallons per minute at 70F, it's just not hot enough to manage two showers at the same time. On our list of best tankless water heaters is some ways down compared to gas rivals.

Three years warranty is higher than most average for this line of products. The fact that it takes less space than a hot water tank and presents economies of more than 30% on water heating bills still make this Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus a great purchase.

Though there are many new features available in most of the heaters available in the market today, one of the major feature that is expected out of a tankless water heater is safety. It is not unheard of for people to get electrocuted (very rarely though) You truly need to make sure the work gets done properly by experts. This is something you want done right. 

PROS

  • Average flow 3.6 GPM
  • Small size
  • ​Price 450$
  • 3-year warranty

CONS

#7 Camplux 10L Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater and Shower

It's always nice to take a hot shower where coming back from a long hike or a fun ride through the woods. It is not always possible to have hot water in remote areas and locations, until now that is. The Camplux 10L Outdoor 2.64GPM tankless water heater is perfect for those remote locations where no gas lines or powerlines are available. If you have a hideaway cabin in the woods that is only powered by a generator and yet you still want to have the luxury of hot water this model is perfect.

The first feature that will attract you to this tankless water heater is the price. At under $200 is by far the most economical solution for your needs. However you can't expect the same performance as in models that are 10 times the price. The Camplux 10L has a maximum power output of 68,000 BTU per hour and a maximum waterflow of 2.64 GPM. This is more than enough to guarantee a hot shower after a long hike, yet insufficient to run concurrently with a washing machine.

The other great feature of this model is the 12 V water pump which allows you to connect this unit directly to a garden hose. This is the main reason why we consider this model amongst the best tankless water heaters. When you compare price versus performance the Camplux brings a huge bang value for the buck.

PROS

  • Price 180$
  • Small size
  • 12V water pump
  • 3-year warranty
  • Portable
  • Propane powered

CONS

  • Low flow 2.6 GPM

#8 Supergreen Infrared Electric Tankless Water Heater

You don't always need the most performance water heater on the market for every application. Sometimes you just simply need a little source of hot water for an outdoor location or even a Jacuzzi. A point of use unit is a great option for efficiently keeping up water where no large flows are required. With an almost 99% efficiency it can definitely be the perfect solution.

The Supergreen IR260 POU infrared electric tankless water heater weighs only 5 pounds and can be easily installed under any sink. With a 1.5 GPM flow it is adequate for handwashing, a dishwasher, a Jacuzzi, and even an outdoor shower. However, it is definitely insufficient for a full home shower.

Even if it has to be professionally installed, it does not require any special circuit breakers  as you only need a 25-30 amp unit. The parts heating elements can last you for many years and since there aren't what any moving parts you should not have many troubles with this unit. On our list of best tankless water heaters, we definitely can't write this unit very high compared to the full-size units that could heat up an entire house, however as a specialty device it can definitely be extremely useful.

PROS

  • Price $240
  • Small size
  • ​2-year warranty
  • ​Electric
  • Low amps

CONS

  • Low flow 2.6 GPM

#9 BOSCH Tronic Electric Tankless Water Heater

Ultra compact and lightweight, the point-of-use tankless water heaters were designed to provide an endless supply of hot water for a kitchen or a bathroom sink. It can be used both in commercial and residential applications. The usual advantages include 99 % efficiency with minimal stand-by loss. Most models come equipped with high and low kW settings and can be mounted horizontally or vertically.

The Bosch Tronic 3000 US7 point of use electric tankless water heater is 240 volt, 7.2KW and gets hard wired into a 30 amp breaker. The US 7 is the direct replacement for the older Powerstream Pro RP7P. The Bosch US 7 has a low to high switch that enables either 1 or 2 elements to be activated depending on the output temperature you are trying to achieve. The US 7 is good for a point of use sink with lower flows.

The main advantage of this unit is the low price compared to the high quality usually associated with Bosch since this unit usually retails for under $200. However its main disadvantage is that it has to be wired directly on a separate circuit with this 30 amp breaker. With a 98% efficiency and will dramatically decrease your costs for water heating.

PROS

  • Price 180$
  • Small size
  • 5-year warranty
  • ​Electric
  • Low amps

CONS

  • Low flow 1.5 GPM

#10 PowerStar Electric Tankless Under Sink Water Heater

Bosch is probably one of the best known brands boasting great quality good prices an excellent warranty. At the time of this review Bosch has replace the PowerStar model with the US9. However you can still find this version at many retailers and probably for a discounted price.

Just like all the other point of use units the PowerStar will deliver hot water for just one sink. At 9.5 kW it is more than enough even for filling your Jacuzz. Just make sure it is installed with its own dedicated circuit and indoors away from cold environments.

This tankless water heater has great efficiency which is at 99%. It does require 240 V our however it could also operate on 220 V losing only 10% efficiency. It is very easy to install and a great space saver in small apartments or small constructions. It's main advantage being made by Bosch, is that it comes with a 5-year warranty.

PROS

  • Price 150$
  • Small size
  • 5-year warranty
  • Electric

CONS

  • Low flow 1.5 GPM

Tankless Water Installation

Proper installation is necessary to ensure that you reap the benefits of running a tankless water heater.

  • Fuel Type
  • Climate
  • Building code
  • Safety codes

This may be something that requires a professional plumber or a heating contractor.

Dos:

  • Always request written cost estimates
  • Look for References
  • ​Check local Yelp or better business bureau
  • See if they can acquire the requisite construction permits

If you do resolve to install your heater yourself, always read the manual front and back. Inquire what permits you need to get. Check your local fire inspector (for gas powered heaters) you do not want to be slapped with a citation for violating safety codes.

You must also never forget to do routine maintenance to ensure that you can keep your tankless water heater operating without a hitch for a long time

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