Best Tankless Water Heaters for Saving Money and Hot Water
Are you considering switching from a storage tank water heater to a tankless one? Do you know what the differences are between the two? Are you aware of the many fantastic benefits that tankless water heaters offer? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. Our Tankless Water Heaters Buying Guide will provide you with an expert list of the best tankless water heaters on the market, tankless water heater reviews, reasons for buying them and how to choose the best tankless water heater for you.
What is a tankless water heater?
A water heater is a device that heats water above its current temperature, and is commonly used in homes or businesses for many purposes like cooking, showering, appliances, dishes and washing your hands. Traditionally, water heaters came with a large storage tank to hold and heat the water when users desired hot water. Typically, these large tanks hold 20 to 100 gallons of water, require a separate storage space due to their size, and are tasked with keeping the stored water warm even when nobody is using the warm water.
Tankless water heaters are simpler than traditional water heaters because they don’t require a large tank to store and heat the water. Instead, the water is warmed up as it passes through, on its way to your tap, appliance or shower. The water is heated up by “warmers,” which can be in the form of a gas burning object or an electrical component.
The water heating process for these different water tanks is quite fascinating. However, we won’t lose you in the science, but rather highlight the reasons why you should switch to a tankless water heater and how to choose the best one for your home or business.
6 Reasons to buy a Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters were popular in Europe and Asia before catching on in the United States over the last decade. The first American made tankless water heater was reportedly created in the 1890’s. Since then, this device has been dissected and redesigned to provide consumers with the best water heating solutions possible. Through the evolution of tankless water heaters, consumers are now experiencing many wonderful benefits that aren’t available with traditional storage water heaters. The following is a list of benefits and reasons why you should buy one today:
- Endless Water: Unlike storage tanks that only heat the water that’s stored within the tank, tankless water heaters continuously heat an endless flow of water that passes through the unit. However, keep in mind, just like any other type of water heating device, even tankless water heaters have a maximum capacity of water flow that can be heated at once.
- Heat Water On Demand: Tank water heaters only heat up the water that is currently stored in the tank. If you use all of the water within the tank then you will have to wait until it can heat up more water, which means that you might not get hot/warm water when needed. Tankless water heaters warm up the water once it passes through the unit, on its way to your tap, shower, etc.
- Eco-Friendly: Like many other fields, water heating technology has also made a deliberate effort to “go green.” There are several manufacturers that have succeeded in this endeavor as many tankless water heaters have become more eco-friendly by reducing carbon emissions.
- Reduce Energy Consumption: With tank water heaters, the unit is running around the clock to keep the water warm, which costs money. Tankless water heaters reduce energy consumption because they’re only heating up the water when needed, which means less energy demands.
- Lower Your Bills: Whether it’s gas or electric, a tankless water heater requires less energy to heat your water. Because of this reduction in energy consumption, you are directly lowering your energy bills. Some sources report that you can save from 10 to 35% on your bills, which translates into a savings in the range of a few hundred bucks to a grand per year.
- Requires Less Space: Tank water heaters require a storage space or closet for usage. Typically, this storage space is outside of an apartment or condo, in the basement of a home, or in a closet on the first floor. With a tankless water heater, you can position the unit almost anywhere. These units are small enough to fit in a closet, in a cupboard, on the wall indoors or outdoors, and on any floor of the home.
Top 10 Tankless Water Heaters
After thoroughly examining dozens of tankless water heaters and pouring through thousands of consumer opinions, we’ve compiled our list of the best tankless water heaters on the market today. Check out our tankless water heater reviews and see which one works best for you:
EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater Editor Rating:The EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater is designed to be used in homes that are located in colder climates, or those with a generally high demand for hot water such as jacuzzis. It has all the great qualities you might look for in a tankless water heater - efficiency, looks, safety, and a low-maintenance build that will last you for years.
The EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater has the following key features:Powerful machine: This water heater pumps out a whopping 6 gallons of hot water per minute, making it suitable for up to 4 showers and a sink, or even jacuzzis. It works even in the coldest of climates, allowing the user to modulate the temperature between 80F and 140F, right down to the degree.Sophisticated design: Not only does this water heater look good with its beautiful design and digital display, it also has a build constituting copper and stainless steel, which makes it low maintenance, durable, as well as long-lasting. It can be wall-mounted to save space.Smart and eco-friendly: As the name suggests, this water heater is self-modulating, in that it only switches on when hot water is required, saving energy as well as money.
- Made out of copper and stainless steel
- Looks good; can be wall mounted
- Lets users set temps between 80F and 140F down to the degree
- Up to four showers and a sink simultaneously
- 5 gpm flow rate
- Self-modulating; uses less energy
- Thermal auto-protection
- Requires 0.75″ NPT pipe fittings to work optimally
- Necessitates a 240v electrical system
Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus 24 kW Editor Rating:A great option for the lower budget range, the StiebelEltronTempraPlus 24 kW is an efficient tank that will quickly replace any tank water heater as it saves a fair amount of energy (and money), takes up less space, and provides continuous hot water supply relative to a conventional water heater with a tank.
The Stiebel Eltron Tempra Plus 24 kW Tankless Water Heater has the following key features:Easy installation: Its installation is a lot easier than installing a conventional water heater or even a gas-powered tankless heater. It also does not require a vent that leads outdoors, making it a breeze to set up.Consistent temperature: This water heater has a dial that can be used by the consumer to control the temperature. Once a temperature is set, the water heater ensures that the temperature remains consistent. Because it only has a maximum electric power draw of 1440 watts, it slows down the flow of water if it’s cold outside. This means that the water output is sometimes reduced quite a bit, but the temperature remains consistent.
Sleek build: The unit takes up a lot less space than a regular tank water heater and looks good with a grey surface and takes up very little space.
- 80-140 F temperature control
- Easy installation
- Does not need a vent
- Calibrates water output automatically
- Takes up little space
- Not suitable for high-flow outputs
- Does not have an Energy Star certification and consumes more electricity than some other tankless water heaters
Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Indoor Tankless Water Heater Editor Rating:The Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Indoor Tankless Water Heater is a water heater that can pump out up to 6.6 gallons of water per minute, making it suitable for small households that require multiple outputs to be running at once.
The Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Indoor Tankless Water Heater has the following key features:Seamless water supply: With a 6.6 GPM max flow rate, this water heater supplies water to multiple outputs with ease. The machine features both inlet and outlet thermistors to ensure consistent temperatures.Runs on natural gas: This heater runs on natural gas of up to 140,000 BTU inputs with an energy factor of 0.81-0.83. But this means that set up can be a bit complicated as it also requires a venting to be done. However, it’s worth it because it works very well and has an Energy Star certification.Compact: One of the smallest water heaters in the market, it has dimensions of 20.3″ x 13.8″ x 6.7″ and its controller is wall-mounted so it’s neatly merged into the décor of the room or tucked away safely somewhere out of sight.
- 6 GPM max flow rate
- Good for small households
- Consistent temperatures via inlet and outlet thermistors
- Energy factor of 0.81-0.83
- Energy Star certification
- Runs on propane as well as natural gas
- Compact design
- Wall mounted controller
- Installation may be a bit tedious, but it’s worth it
Chronomite SR-20L/240 HTR Editor Rating:The Chronomite SR-20L/240 HTR is meant for under-the-sink mounting where it can be easily tucked away to supply up to 1 gallon per minute of water to sinks, faucets, and low requirement showers. It is very easy to install and has a microprocessor built into it that will regulate water temperature.
The Chronomite SR-20L/240 HTR has the following key features:Easy installation: Can be installed very easily without professional help; only needs to be mounted and connected to water and electricity lines. This makes it ideal for a placement under the sink or near faucets/showers which happen to be located far from a bigger water heater.Works within seconds: As soon as the Chronomite is switched on, it immediately begins to supply warm water to the output areas. It is perhaps one of the fastest tankless water heaters in terms of just how quickly it begins to deliver the goods.Microprocessor: There is a built-in microprocessor that is used to make sure the water output is at the right temperature, preset by the user. However, if the temperature is turned up too much, the water flow rate might drop as low as 0.35 gallons per minute.
- 5 to 1 gallons per minute
- Easy installations
- Fits easily under the sink
- Horizontal mounting
- Begins supplying warm water immediately after turning it on
- Low flow rate at higher temp raises
Eccotemp FVI-12-NG High Capacity Gas Tankless Water Heater Editor Rating:With separate controls for gas and water, the Eccotemp FVI-12-NG High Capacity Gas Tankless Water Heater is great for small apartments that require hot water in one bathroom only. The vent kit and most of the parts are included in the price, and each of them has a two-year warranty.
The Eccotemp FVI-12-NG High Capacity Gas Tankless Water Heater has the following key features:
Sleek body: weighs only 20 lbs and sticks out 4″ from the wall. It has a pleasant white body with a metal door and two separate dials. Unlike many other tankless water heaters, the vent kit is included, though an additional pressure relief valve must be installed on the outside wall for the vent kit.
Gas & Electricity powered: The two dials on the machine are to modulate water temperature and the other for gas pressure. This water heater uses very little electricity – only for the digital display and the exhaust fan. The actual heating process is entirely gas powered.Great minimum flow rate: It stands above average for the minimum flow rate at 0.9 gpm. However, max flow rate is 4.8 gpm and drops to 2.3 if water is heated by 77 F.Warranty: This tankless water heater comes with a two year warranty, not just for the body but for all the parts included with it.
- 2 year warranty for all parts
- Can handle up to 74,000 Btu
- High minimum flow rate (0.9 gpm)
- Vent kit included
- Small and flat design
- Unsuitable for cold areas or multiple bathrooms
- Requires additional pressure relief valve
Rheem RTE 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater Editor Rating:The Rheem RTE 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater is a great unit for single point-of-use heating, bringing hot water to a shop, RV, yacht, or even a small apartment. With an Energy Star certification, users can be assured that it is an eco-friendly option that saves them both power and money.
The Rheem RTE 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater has the following key features:
Eco-friendly: This tankless water heater calibrates the amount of electricity it consumes even during usage. It activates at a water pressure as low as 0.4 gpm and goes up to 4 gpm in ideal conditions, providing hot water to up to 3 outputs that are located close to the heater.Neat finish: The box has a pretty gray metallic finish to it, with a dial to control temperature at 9 settings. There are also LEDs that indicate the heating status (standby or active.)
Easy installation: Installation is a piece of cake as the water heater can be deployed without even opening the box using the 0.5 inch water piping connections on either side.
- Pretty gray metal finish
- Easy installation
- LEDs showing heating status
- Thermostat dial
- Activates at 0.4 gpm
- Max output 4 gpm – showerhead and bathtub, depending on the initial temperature of the input water.
- Energy star certification
- Requires 240v and 60 amps energy supply, though this is typical of many good tankless water heaters
Noritz NRC661-DV-NG Editor Rating:Highly durable, safe, and efficient, the Noritz NRC661-DV-NG is a fantastic option for those looking for a gas and electricity powered tankless water heater. Generating up to 6.6 gpm in the right conditions, and safety features such as lightning protection, freeze protection, and overheating protection, it is a great option for any climate.
The Noritz NRC661-DV-NG has the following key features:
Temperature control: Temperature can be adjusted on the heater itself, but a remote can also be purchased separately which has a digital display. There is a temperature control lock that is built into the box, delivering hot water at 6.6 gpm in ideal conditions.Safe: There are plenty of features in this water heater which make it very safe. This includes a flame sensor, lightning protection, and freeze protection. It also detects if the condensation is filled excessively and if the device is overheating.Electricity and Gas consumption: Energy Star certified, this water heater has low nitrogen and oxide emissions, and consumes 15,000 to 120,000 BTU per hour, using either propane or natural gas at 93% efficiency. Though it does have a higher electricity consumption to power the safety features, it also can be linked up to a backup battery kit to ensure hot water even during power outages or remote use.
- 93% efficiency on both natural gas as well as propane
- Consumes 15,000 to 120,000 BTU per hour
- Up to 6.6 gpm in warm climates
- Low nitrogen oxide emissions
- Can be vented if using indoors
- Energy Star certified
- Can be hooked up to a backup unit
- Only 3 temperature settings are possible on the unit; requires the remote purchase for 6 additional settings.
Rinnai RL75iN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater Editor Rating:One of the more powerful water tankless heaters, the Rinnai RL75iN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater is ideal for large houses or for industrial usage, as it can supply hot water to up to 3 shower heads consistently. It draws electricity during activity and is energy star certified, providing up to 7.5 gpm of hot water.
The Rinnai RL75iN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater has the following key features:
Heavy duty: Though this tank looks bigger than most other tankless water heaters, it is also that much more powerful, with a wide burn rate of 10.300 to 180,000 BTU. It provides a flow rate that goes up to 7.5 gpm. However, with efficiency comes complex installation, which may require the help of a professional technician if you are not very handy.Venting: There are multiple venting options for this tank through PVCs that are concentric or twin.Electricity and Gas use: Drawing 2 watts in standby, 64 watts during activity, and up to 146 in winter to ensure it does not freeze, there are various modalities of electricity consumption. It is Energy Star certified and complies with NO emission standards with a great thermal efficiency of 82%Temperature lock: Users can lock the temperature of the water heater such that those without
- Highly efficient
- Energy Star certified
- 12-year warranty on the heat exchanger
- 5-year warranty on parts
- Sleek design
- Temperature lock
- Can supply hot water to up to 3 showers at once
- 83% Thermal efficiency
- Complex installation
Bosch Them 520 HN NG Editor Rating:The most unique feature of the Bosch Them 520 HN NG is its ability to run without electricity, using the patented Bosch hydropower technology, which utilizes water to ignite the burner. This is done through a turbine which draws energy from flowing water. Despite this technology, it has a great minimum flow rate of 0.5 gpm, and saves users a lot of money on electricity in the long run.
The Bosch Them 520 HN NG has the following key features:
Ignition: Rather than using electricity like other Natural Gas tankless water heaters, this one uses the patented Bosch hydropower technology to activate, making it usable without electricity whether in power outages or in places where electricity is limited such as an RV, thus saving on electricity expenses.Great flow rates: This tank provides its maximum temperature at a minimum flow rate of 0.5 gpm. It can give a maximum flow rate of up to 5.2 gpm when there is a demand for an increase of 35 F between the input and output water temperature. At a 55 F demand, its flow rate drops down to a respectable 3.4 gpmAppearance: The box looks great with a gray metallic finish and a metal door, along with dials that lets users tinker with the gas pressure as well as water temperature. However, there are plastic components inside the tank, which are prone to freezing at low temperatures, thus making it unsuitable for such climates.
- Runs on natural gas
- Ideal for the entire house
- Uses hydropower for activation
- Great minimum flow rate at 0.5 gpm
- Up to 5.2 gpm at a 35 F demand increase
- 4 gpm at 55 F demand increase
- Only two temperature settings (high and low)
- Unsuitable for very cold climates
Marey Gas 5L Editor Rating:The Marey Gas 5L is a small, handy, and effective water heater which is easy to install whether it is for an under-the-sink purpose in a home, or in an RV/cabin. It requires only an electric pulse to begin working, which is provided by an electric pulse from two D-cell batteries, thus omitting the need for an electric input and making it highly portable. The flow rate is 0.5 gpm to 2 gpm, and works great in warmer climates.
The Marey Gas 5L has the following key features:
Small and portable: With dimensions of 17″ x 12″ x 5″ and weighing just 11 lbs, this device is easy to carry and install, requiring the standard 0.5 NPT connections that are already in place.No electricity required: Although there is an electric pulse that kickstarts the heating, this pulse is provided by two D-cell batteries (which need to be purchased separately with the unit) and this makes it great for use in environments where electricity is not available, or simply to save on electric bills.Safety first: This water heater comes equipped with plenty of features that make it safe such as auto-ignition, anti-dry combustion, and protection from excessive pressure, heat, and flameouts. In case of any of these occur, it will automatically cut off from the gas supply. However, there is no protection for freezing, making it unsuitable for very cold climates where the water supply has a very low temperature
- Easy installation
- Light and portable (11 lbs)
- Does not require electricity
- Gas is used up only during water flow
- Will not rust
- Functions at low water pressure levels
- Requires two D-cell batteries to work
- Low maximum flow rate of 2 gpm, but this is expected from a portable device such as this one
How to choose the best tankless water heater
Now that we’ve laid out the reasons why you should get one, it’s time to start considering the factors that will help you to choose the best tankless water heater for you. Keep in mind, tankless water heaters have a higher initial investment than a tank water heater. However, they do end up saving you more money in the long run.
Energy Source: Tankless water heaters are most commonly fueled by electricity, natural gas and propane. The first thing you should consider is the energy source. This typically comes down to what fuel source hook-ups you have available. If your home only has gas hook-ups then you need to look for gas fueled tankless water heaters. Gas tankless water heaters also have vents that require ample space for exhaust. This most likely means that you will need to place the water heater in a location where the exhaust can escape through the roof or the walls.
If you are going with an electric heater, then you need to factor in things like an outlet with enough voltage, that your home or workplace can support the increased consumption, and the need for the tankless water heater having its own circuit.
Size: Not only do you have to consider where you are going to install the tankless unit, but you also have to make sure that there’s enough space for vents and pipes. Additionally, the size of the tankless water heater can also directly impact its flow rate, which translates into how much hot water you will have access to throughout the home. It’s up to you to decide if you want a tankless water heater for the entire home, a few water heaters for various locations within the home, or one unit directly connected to a specific device like a sink or shower.
Flow Rate and Heat Output: Yes, this is some of the “technical” stuff that even the average or uninformed shopper needs to learn and/or understand. Typically, all water heaters measure the heat output in BTUs (British Thermal Units) or KWs (kilowatts). This aspect of a tankless water heater applies to how fast the unit can heat up the water to your desired level and it is directly connected to how much water flows through.
A tankless water heater measures the volume of water flow in GPM (gallons per minute). Most appliances, taps and shower heads detail what the GPM is. This is important because, if you are wanting to run multiple appliances like a washing machine and dishwasher at the same time as you are taking a shower, then your GPM will be higher. This increased demand will require the tankless water heater to heat up a larger flow rate to your desired temperature. In order to meet this higher volume, you will need a tankless water heater that is big enough and powerful enough to handle it.
Where You Live : This might sound funny at first, but your geographical region plays a part in which water heater to get. The EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) has a handy map that details the average water temperature throughout the United States by region. This map is a good starting point for determining how much you have to raise the temperature of your water flow by. For example, California has an average groundwater temperature of 60 degree Fahrenheit, which means you will have to heat it up 60 more degrees to get the water flow to the recommended water heater temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you will need to choose a tankless water heater that’s powerful enough to heat up your water temperature quick enough to meet your hot water demands.
Safe and Certified: Start by looking for tankless water heaters that have an Energy Star certification. This certification is government backed and it’s a symbol that means the unit is energy efficient, which protects the environment by reduces harmful emissions and lowers our bills.
Take a look at what safety features are available with each water heater. For example, in gas tankless water heaters, what safety measures are in place to protect from gas leakage. This also leads into the Warranty. Choose a unit that’s made by a company who stands by their product. A 20 year warranty is much better than a 10 year warranty. Additionally, ask the salesperson what’s included in the warranty. For example, will it include parts, labor, total replacement?
If you really want to ensure safety, then check customer reviews for the specific models you are interested in and see if anyone has reported issues with the unit, warranty or company.
Additional Features : This could include a wide range of features that may come with base models or require upgrades. Decide which features are important to you and which are just a luxury. For example, how hard is it to shut off the gas or to adjust the water temperature? Is it just a simple knob/valve or is there something more complex. Is any of the unit fully automated? If yes, then you need to decide if you have the time and capacity to learn what and how the automation works.
Installation: Unlike other home devices like a fridge or washer and dryer, most tankless water heaters require professional installation especially if you have to connect to a gas source for fuel. Additionally, proper ventilation, location to water sources, electrical outlets, circuits and other factors need to be properly addressed. A professional can ensure that your unit will be properly installed, which not only will meet your water demands, but it will also ensure that your unit meets any conditions of the warranty. If you are experienced with installing water heaters, then it’s clear that you know what you are doing. However, for the majority of us, it’s best that we leave the installation to the professionals and enjoy the peace of mind knowing that everything will run smoothly.
Tankless water heaters require you to put in the effort of learning about which unit is the best for your home. Fortunately, we have provided you with a Buying Guide that not only teaches you about which factors to consider, but also teaches you about all of the great benefits that tankless water heaters offer. Lastly, we have provided you with the best tankless water heaters to choose from and some tips to really lower your water heating utility bills even after you purchase a tankless water heater. In the end, your home, family and wallet will be thanking us.
9 Tips for Lowering Your Water Heating Bill
Tankless water heaters can only do so much, in regards to lowering your water heating costs. It’s important to realize that this unit won’t solve all of your problems, especially if you or your family carelessly consume hot water. In addition to purchasing a tankless water heater, we suggest that you follow these tips to help you save even more money on your utility bill:
- Start by reducing shower time. The longer you or your family takes showers, the more hot water you will consume and the more money you will have to pay to heat up the water.
- Don’t waste water. If you are doing dishes, don’t walk away while the hot water is running. This wasted water translates into wasted money.
- Fill up the dishwasher. These appliances are great for cleaning our dishware, utensils and other kitchen items, but they do require a large volume of hot water every time you use it. So, it’s best to fill up the dishwasher completely, and do one large load, than doing a few smaller loads. Also, consider upgrading to an energy efficient dish washer as they will use less energy and water.
- A good starting point for your water heater temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you lower this temperature, then you will lower your bill. According to the Department of Energy, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that you lower the temperature, you can save from 3% to 5% on your water heating bill.
- Try to always use cold (colder) water when doing your laundry. This will dramatically reduce a large volume of hot water usage each and every week. Also, try to rinse your cycles with cold water. While we are at it, have you considered upgrading to an energy efficient washing machine? These devices are said to be able to significantly reduce water consumption and save between $100 to $150 dollars per year on your energy bill.
- Fix any leaks that you may have with faucets, toilets and shower heads. These leaks can add up over time and cause potential water damage to the immediate vicinity.
- Current Federal regulations require low flow rate faucets and shower heads to be installed on anything after 1992. Make sure you have updated your devices to help reduce the amount of water flow that you consume.
- Speak to a professional about installing heat traps and insulating your hot water heater pipes. These options might cost you to hire a professional to do them, but it’s money well spent. They will end up saving you money in the long run.
- If you have an electric tankless water heater, then look into the option of a timer to turn off the water heater during peak hours or at night when nobody is going to really need hot water.
Tankless Water Heaters
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