Did you know that water heating constitutes about 20 percent of the monthly energy bill in your home? This being the case, choosing an efficient water heater can save you money on your monthly energy bills.
For instance, the EcoSmart Eco11 tankless heater can improve energy efficiency in your home by up to 60 percent. This is a great way to save on energy bills, isn’t it?
While choosing the right heater for your home, it is advisable to choose one that offers the ideal temperature rise for a given flow rate. Additionally, there are several other things that you need to consider to arrive at the right decision.
After reading our review, you’ll see how choosing the right water heater requires much more than just the cost consideration.
If you are looking for the best tankless heater for your home, see our review of the top 10 heaters in this detailed guide.
Best Tankless Water Heaters 2018
|Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series|
|EcoSmart ECO 11|
|EcoSmart ECO 27|
|Titan SCR2 N-120|
|Eccotemp L10 Portable|
1. Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series – Best Overall Tankless Water Heater
Featuring a compact design, the Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series is ideal for both commercial and residential application. The sleek tankless water heater measures 10” thick, 26” high and weighs about 61.7 pounds.
The controls, including temperature, power, and gas controls, for this unit are located at the lower lip, on the front-side panel. The RUC98iN Ultra Series also features a digital display, making it easy to use.
One of the fascinating things about this model is the temperature-lock feature. This allows you to lock the temperature of water flowing from the init; hence prevent any unauthorized calibration of temperature settings. Although the RUC98iN Ultra Series is comparatively heavier and bigger, it is also more powerful, as compared to many other tankless heaters.
With an efficiency factor (EF) of 0.95, it is one of the most efficient propane/natural gas tankless water heaters today. Additionally, this product has an Energy Star certification. This is a guarantee that the heater is environmentally friendly and saves on energy consumption.
Why the Rinnai RUC98iN Is Our Top Pick
With regards to venting options, the RUC98iN can use the twin-pipe or the concentric PVC venting systems. The RUC98iN has also been proven to be compliant with current nitrogen oxide emission standards.
The Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series water heater has a gas burning rate of between 15,200 and 199,000 BTU. Similarly, the range of hot water flow rate for this heater is also wide, between 0.26 and 9.8 GPM. The heater features a comparatively low activation flow rate of 0.4 GPM.
Such capabilities are an indication that the heater can be used for various applications. For instance, you can use this tankless water on various showerheads, faucets and even in multi-bathroom homes. Regardless of the application, this heater will give you an uninterrupted flow of hot water.
2. Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG – Best Commercial Tankless Water HeaterAre you looking for an efficient tankless water heater capable of heating water instantly at a higher flow rate? If so, you should consider the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG water heater.
Just like the other Takagi water heaters, the T-KJr2-IN-NG is the sleek, compact water heating solution you need in your home. The unit is powered by natural gas and has a gas burning rate of between 19500 and 140,000 BTU. Such a high capacity makes the T-KJr2-IN-NG a very capable heater. As a matter of fact the unit offers an almost instantaneous heating experience.
You will also like the 6.6 GPM flow rate offered by this indoor water heater. Unlike several other tankless heaters in its range, the T-KJr2-IN-NG guarantees you a steady supply of hot water.
Some of the aspects that make this heater a preferred model today are energy efficiency and reliable performance. With this unit, you do not need to buy multiple water heaters for various points in your home; it can deliver hot water for about 3 different points in your home.
More on the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Water Heater
Based on professional reviews, the heating performance of the T-KJr2-IN-NG may be compared to that of a 40-gallon tank heater. The unit may be installed under a sink or on a wall and is capable of delivering about 200 gallons of hot water in an hour.
This makes it the perfect on-demand water heating solution for residential and commercial applications. The T-KJr2-IN-NG is also one of the lightest models by the manufacturer, weighing about 38 pounds.
With regards to energy efficiency, this unit delivers up to the promise. The gas-powered water heater features an efficiency factor of between 0.81 and 0.83. This is really impressive, bearing in mind that it is a gas-powered tankless water heater. You will also find this model relatively versatile.
In addition to meeting on-demand water heating needs in your home, it may also be used for radiant floor heating.
3. Rheem RTG-64XLN – Best Value for Your MoneyThe Rheem RTG-64XLN has a lower flow rate, as compared to the other tankless water heaters reviewed above. However, it is rated one of the best gas tankless water heaters today for a reason. To begin with, the unit is designed to conform to Ultra Low NOx burner standards.
In this regard, the RTG-64XLN meets SCAQMD regulations on nitrogen oxide emissions. This not only makes the heater safe for use in the house; it also makes it eco-friendly. Additionally, the unit features Smart technology that is designed for enhanced safety and performance.
While still on the safety features of the RTG-64XLN, the inbuilt self-diagnostic program used in this appliance will fascinate you. This program will display various maintenance codes on its digital controller, whenever something is wrong with your heater.
To help you figure out the problem, this water heater comes with a manual. In this manual, you will find a detailed explanation of the various maintenance codes that may be displayed by the heater. This makes maintenance and troubleshooting a lot easier.
Ever imagined controlling the temperature of hot water in your bathroom from the comfort of your sitting room? Yes, Rheem has introduced remote control for tankless water heaters.
With this feature, you can regulate various aspects of the heater from a distance. This makes this Rheem water heater a cool Smart product in the industry. Are you tight on space in your home? You don’t need to worry; the RTG-64XLN requires minimal installation space.
Further Reviewing the Rheem RTG-64XLN Water Heater
Measuring 10 x 26 x 14 inches, this water heater will not require much installation space. Actually, you will be glad to learn that the Rheem RTG-64XLN only needs 1/5th of the space a traditional heater would require. Again, this heater can support up to 3 different faucets in the house at the same time.
This means that you can have a continuous supply of hot water for three different people at the same time in your home. Even with such a high demand for hot water in the house, this heater is sure to meet the need with a 6.4 GPM flow rate.
4. EcoSmart ECO 11 – Best Electric Tankless Water HeaterAre you looking forward to saving a considerable amount of money on your monthly energy bills? You should consider buying the EcoSmart Eco 11 tankless water heater today. Improved energy efficiency is among the strong selling points of this electric water heater.
In this regard, the Eco 11 can reduce energy consumption in your home by up to 60 percent. Even with such a high efficiency, this heater can heat up to 2 gallons of water every minute. This is a satisfactory performance for such an affordable unit.
As such, the Eco 11 water heater can support the shower head and sink faucet at the same time. You will also love the advanced technology used in this gadget. The heater applies a self-modulating technology, allowing it to adjust according to your specific hot water needs. Additionally, the unit is equipped with a digital control feature. This feature allows you to regulate water temperate, in increments of one degree.
Why We Love The EcoSmart ECO 11
The Eco 11 weighs about 6.5 pounds, making it one of the lightest portable tankless heaters in the industry today. Additionally, it features a compact design, measuring 12 x 9.5 x 4 inches. As such, it does not require much installation space.
The manufacturer has backed the performance and durability of this product with a lifetime warranty. The Eco 11 may be the only convenience gadget you are missing in your home; thanks to its convenience features and an innovative technology.
5. Takagi T-KJr2-OS-NG – Best Medium Demand HeaterBeing one of the smallest units by the Takagi water heaters manufacturer, the T-KJr2-OS-NG is suited for residential apartments. Just like other products by this renowned manufacturer, the T-KJr2-OS-NG features a compact design, measuring 13.8″ W x 6.7″ D x 20.5″ H.
It runs on natural gas and is capable of delivering 6.6 gallons of hot water per minute. Although the product runs on gas, it is environmentally friendly and highly efficient on energy.
The Takagi T-KJr2-OS-NG has an efficiency factor rating of 0.82, which is comparatively high for a gas heater. Additionally, the heater has an Energy Star certification. This makes the T-KJr2-OS-NG hazard free and risk free to use inside your home.
The 6.6 GPM flow rate offered by this heater makes it ideal for a medium-sized home. As such, this product can comfortably support the heating needs of up to 6 people in one house.
More on the Takagi T-KJr2-OS-NG Heater
In addition to the reliable performance, this unit is equipped with an array of convenience and safety features. One such feature is the freeze protection. This comes in handy during the cold season, protecting the unit against damage by freezing temperatures.
While this unit can offer uninterrupted heating for a home with 2 bathrooms, it may also be used for radiant heating. This makes it a really versatile gadget. The manufacturer has also backed this product with a 12-year warranty for the heat exchanger and a 5-year warranty for the other components.
6. Rinnai RL75iN – Best High-Demand HeaterThe sleek Rinnai RL75iN modern tankless water heater is not just beautiful; it boasts of a horde of performance and efficiency features. One of the striking aspects of this unit is its relatively high BTUs.
While most of the tankless water heaters within this price range have a BTU of about 80, 000, the RL75In delivers up to 180,000 BTUs. This, coupled with an array of other features, make it one of the best water heaters for the price.
This heater is equipped with a digital controller, which features an indicator for error codes. This indicator will notify you whenever something is wrong with your tankless water heater.
Additionally, the unit comes with an illustrative manual. You may use this manual to troubleshoot any error code it brings up. This makes it easier to maintain and troubleshoot your water heater.
The digital controller makes it easier for you to calibrate and control the heater. In this regard, you can regulate the temperature of the water to between 98°F and 140°F for residential application and between 98°F and 160°F for commercial applications.
To top it all, the Rinnai RL75iN water heater is relatively efficient. As a matter of fact, it has an efficiency factor of 0.82, which is high for a gas tankless water heater.
Further Reviewing the Rinnai RL75iN
The heater has several certifications for efficiency as well as environmental friendliness. For instance, the model meets the various regulations on NOx emissions in Texas and California. However, the comparatively-high efficiency of the product does not compromise its flow rate.
The RL75iN tankless heater has been proven to deliver a flow rate of 7.5 gallons per minute. As a result, the heater can meet the water heating requirements of a home with two to three bathrooms. As you can see, this is the right choice for homeowners looking forward to saving energy and money.
Owing to their solid design, their water heaters are also very durable. This is why the manufacturer offers a 12-year warranty on these heaters.
7. EcoSmart ECO 27 – Best Whole House Water HeaterThe EcoSmart Eco 27 tankless water heater is rated one of the best whole-house water heater by many experts today. To begin with, this model features Smart technology, is durable and highly reliable.
Another striking aspect about this unit is that it requires minimal maintenance. To top it all, the Eco 27 boasts of an array of efficiency and convenience features.
This models lives up to the promise of providing endless hot to your home, even during the cold winter days. However, you need to know that the efficiency and flow rate offered by this model will depend on your climate.
Basically, it is best suited for places where the incoming water is warmer than 37 degrees. As such, the efficiency and flow rate offered by the Eco 27 increases with an increase in the temperature of the incoming water.
This is probably why it does not have an Energy Star certification. However, the model can achieve an efficiency of 99.8 percent. This is only possible when the heater is used in the right climate. The maximum flow rate you can achieve with the Eco 27 is 6.5 gallons per minute.
More on the EcoSmart ECO 27
What you will certainly love about this tankless heater model is its user friendliness. EcoSmart Eco 27 features a digital control panel that is comparatively easy to use. Through this panel, you can adjust the temperature to your desired level, in increments of 1 degree. When functioning at its optimal capacity, the Eco 27 can feed up to 4 bathrooms with hot water continuously.
This is to say that you can run the tankless water heater for several applications simultaneously. Overall, the EcoSmart ECO 27 is an excellent choice for any homeowner.
8. Rinnai V65IN – Best Condensing Tankless Water HeaterIf you have one or two bathrooms in your home, you should get a powerful, efficient water heater with low NOx emissions. One such tankless water heater is the Rinnai V65iN.
With a maximum BTU of 150,000, an energy factor rating of 0.82 and a flow rate of 6.6 GPM, this unit will surely meet your water heating needs. Additionally, the unit is easy to install and does not require much installation space. You will also love the range of features offered by the V65iN model.
In addition to being an energy efficient model, the V65iN is also eco-friendly, something you must be looking for in a water heater. Despite the fact that it runs on gas, it is designed to contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment.
In this regard, the model meets the various NOx emission standards. This being the case, you can rest assured that the tankless water heater will not be a health hazard in your home.
Although this is a reliable and relatively durable model, it will require maintenance and replacement of parts from time to time. Unlike some heaters within this price range, replacement parts for the Rinnai V65iN are readily available.
Actually, availability and compatibility with replacement parts is not a problem for all Rinnai tankless water heaters. For instance, the V65iN model is compatible with the various digital controllers by the manufacturer.
9. Titan SCR2 N-120 – Cost Saving Tankless Water HeaterAre you working on a limited budget, but need a tankless water heater you can rely on? Try the Titan SCR2 N-120; you will thank me later. This water heater is ideal for a medium-sized home with one or two bathrooms.
With a flow rate of 4 GPM, the SCR2 N-120 will come in handy as a whole-house water heating solution. Since this heater is meant for use in comparatively smaller homes, it does not require much installation space.
You will be surprised to find out that the unit is about 50 times smaller than traditional water heaters. In this regard, the Titan SCR2 N-120 will only occupy 20 cubic feet in your home.
This unit is also lightweight, weighing about 7.3 pounds. As a replacement unit, the SCR2 N-120 will free up some space that was previously occupied by a heater. Usability is another aspect that makes this unit popular among homeowners today.
Why the Titan SCR2 Is A Popular Unit
The unit features a digital temperature control panel. This, along with its thermostat and flow control valve, makes it easier to control the unit. The digital display also features Red and Amber lights to notify you when the unit is on and when it is on standby mode.
The SCR2 N-120 model is not only affordable to buy; it will also save you money on monthly energy bills. In this regard, the heater features a self-modulating flow sensor and innovative technology. As such, the tankless water heater can save you up to 50 percent on water heating energy costs.
10. Eccotemp L10 – Best Portable Tankless Water HeaterDo you love camping, but do not want to bathe in cold water? Well, get yourself the Eccotemp L10 tankless water heater. This portable camping, hot water solution will give you the experience of using hot water in your bathroom or kitchen, whenever you are out camping.
In this regard, the L10 is exclusively designed for outdoor use. As such, you do not need gas or electricity to operate the tankless water heater. Instead, it runs on dual D cell batteries. Really innovative, isn’t it?
While this is the case, the water heater still delivers a satisfactory performance. For instance, the unit will comfortably deliver 2.6 gallons of hot water, between 80°F and 150°F, every minute. This should be enough to cater for your hot water needs when you are away from home, right?
Again, their units do not to be installed, which is the case with conventional water heaters. When you are not out camping, you may also use your L10 as a ‘point of use’ water heater.
Overall, the Eccotemp L10 is a great portable choice among tankless water heaters.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Tankless Water Heater
Are you looking for the most efficient water heater replacement option today? Well, you should consider buying a tankless water heater.
The various tankless heater models available today are considered to be some of the most efficient water heaters today.
However, these units require a sizeable amount of upfront investment. As a result, you need to ensure that you buy the best unit for your home.
Different homes have varying water heating needs. As a result, a heater that works for one home may not be the right one for your home. Basically, the best tankless water heater today is the one that meets the heating requirements in your home.
If you would like to buy the best tankless water heater today, here are some aspects to consider:
1. Energy Source
One of the main considerations you have to make while shopping for a water heater is the source of energy.
Based on their source of energy, modern heaters may be categorized into two; Gas and Electric tankless water heaters. So, which of these should you opt for?
- Gas/Propane Tankless Water Heaters
These are the tankless water heaters that are powered by propane or natural gas. As compared to the electric heaters, these are comparatively less efficient on energy.
If you would like to have a gas heater installed in your home, you have to ensure that the unit is properly ventilated. Since these units require additional ventilation, they are considered to be more expensive to buy and install.
However, there are some propane tankless water heaters that feature an impressive energy factor today. If you still want to buy a gas heater, you should invest in the models reviewed above. Having tested the various models in the market today, the ones reviewed in this guide are some of the best.
- Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Most of the tankless water heaters today are powered by electricity. The various electric water heater models are renowned for their exceptional efficiency. Again, electric water heaters will offer you more flexibility when it comes to installation. As compared to gas water heaters, these units do not require additional ventilation.
As such, electric tankless water heaters are comparatively affordable. While some electric water heaters may be less powerful, as compared to propane tankless heaters, they may be installed anywhere in your home.
2. Water Heater Type
Tankless water heaters are referred to as ‘On-Demand’ water heaters for a reason. They are some of the most popular types of water heaters today.
If you would like to buy a heater that is efficient on energy and more flexible, you should buy a tankless water heater.
However, you need to choose the right type of tankless heater for your home from the three main types, as described below:
- Condensing Tankless Water Heaters
The various condensing eater heater models in the market today are second generation tankless heaters. In this regard, these models have a second heat exchanger. The second heat exchanger on these heaters re-uses the heat from its exhaust to heat water further.
This makes the condensing heaters some of the most efficient tankless water heaters today. As a matter of fact, the secondary heat exchanger improves the efficiency of these units by up to 94 percent.
- Non-condensing Tankless Water Heaters
These are the first generation tankless water heaters. With regards to their functioning, these units use a heat exchanger to heat water on-demand. As a result, they have a comparatively low efficiency, as compared to the condensing heaters.
However, there are some non-condensing water heaters that have an Efficiency Factor (EF) of up to 82-.85, some of which have been reviewed above.
The non-condensing models have been in production for decades now, hence are more reliable; less likely to have manufacturing defects. However, these units will require expensive venting systems. This is because they produce hot exhaust. The efficiency of these units has been proven to decrease with an increase in short draws of hot water.
- Condensing Hybrid Water Heaters
These are the third generation of tankless water heaters, first produced in the United States. These units are distinctive in that they feature a small holding tank (of between 1 and 2 gallons). The small tank in these units holds hot water; hence eliminating reduced efficiency associated with short draws.
As a result, condensing hybrid water heaters have a comparatively high efficiency rating. As a matter of fact, some of these units are known to have an efficiency factor of up to 92-.96.
This technology has also solved the ‘cold water sandwich’ and pressure fluctuation problems; commonly associated with the first and second generation tankless water heaters. However, the technology is still new and only a few manufacturers produce these units.
Although some of the non-condensing models are relatively reliable, you need to consider the warranty offered while buying them.
3. Flow Rate and Temperature Rise
This is the amount of water that can flow through the heater while being heated. The flow rate in tankless water heaters is expressed in Gallons per Minute (GPM).
The temperature rise, on the other hand, is the increase in temperature that is required in the unit, to heat the incoming water up to the desired temperature.
With regards to the flow rate of a thankless water heater, there are several things that you should consider.
- Activation/Minimum Flow Rate
This is the minimum rate of flow of water through the tankless water heater that is required to activate the heating component. The activation rate for most tankless water heater models today is between 0.1 and 0.9 GPM.
- Maximum Flow Rate
This is the maximum amount of water that can flow through your tankless heater whilst being heated.
Basically, the flow rate in tankless water heaters is affected by the temperature rise. For instance, a lower temperature rise will be required, if the incoming water is relatively hot. In such a case, the unit can achieve a higher flow rate because of the low temperature rise required.
If the temperature rise in your preferred model cannot keep up with the flow rate, you are going to have irregular heating. This is something you must avoid while shopping for the right tankless water heater for your home.
4. Energy Efficiency
In a bid to save more on your monthly energy bills and adhere to the current efficiency standards, you must consider the efficiency of these units. To know how efficient your preferred tankless heater is, you should check the Energy Factor rating on the unit.
Basically, the EF rating is an expression of how efficient the heater is as converting energy into heat. This expression also factors in the amount of heat lost during storage.
Whenever possible, you should choose a water heater with a higher EF rating. The higher the EF, the more efficient the tankless water heater is. As mentioned earlier in this guide, electric tankless water heaters have a higher efficiency factor rating, as compared to gas heaters.
This is one of the commonly ignored, yet important, considerations when shopping for the right tankless water heater. Do you really have to test a water heater to know how good it is?
Well, this is not necessary; there are various certifications that can help you know certain aspects of the unit at once. For instance, such certifications show the proficient design, energy efficiency as well as safety of the tankless eater heater.
In this regard, here are some of the certifications you need to consider:
- Canadian Standards Association (CSA) – This body tests various products, including tankless water heaters, for the performance and safety of their electronic an electrical components. A tankless water heater with a CSA certification has passed the rigorous standards imposed by this body.
- Underwriters Laboratories Inc (UL) – This is an independent body that develops testing procedures and standards for electrical heating appliances, including tankless water heaters. Heaters with this certification have been tested and proven to be safe by this body.
- South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) – This certification is only awarded to water heaters with a NOx output that is lower than 20 ppm or 14 ng/J.
- Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) – This certification shows that the unit meets the various requirements by the AHRI on energy efficiency, eco-friendliness and improved productivity.
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – This is a certification for the design of the tankless water heaters.
- ENERGY STAR® – This is a renowned government-backed sign, meant to help consumers protect the environment and save money. As such, the tankless water heaters with this symbol are of the required efficiency standards.
6. Safety Features
Some of the leading tankless water heater manufacturers today offer additional safety features on their products.
While this is the case, there are certain safety features that are basic on any heater model. For instance, you need to look for the NOx certification, probably by SCAQMD, when buying a gas water heater.
Such a certification is a guarantee that the unit produces acceptable amounts of nitrogen oxide, hence is safe. Other safety features you should consider while choosing the right tankless water heater include:
- Temperature Lock – This feature will prevent anyone from altering the water temperature accidentally.
- Manual Hi-limit reset feature for temperature
- Inbuilt Freeze protection
- Overheat cut-off fuse
- Flame Sensor
Final Verdict on the Best Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters have been in use for decades now and many homes are already reaping the benefits offered by these units.
For instance, homeowners are already saving a considerable amount of money on their energy bills every month simply because they bought an efficient tankless water heater.
Again, most traditional units are not that efficient on fuel and may be producing toxic levels of NOx gases.
When shopping for a new tankless water heater, one should consider aspects like safety features, certifications, efficiency, flow rate and temperature rise, type of water heater, and the source of power.
After researching this topic tirelessly, we rate the Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra series as the best tankless water heater.
The initial cost of buying a tankless water heater may be a bit high, but it’s definitely a long term investment. Make the right by getting a modern tankless water heater, as you’ll save in the long run.