Is An RV Tankless Water Heater Worth It? 5 Best For On Demand Hot Water

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Ah, hot water–one of the true luxuries we take for granted when we turn on the tap to wash hands or dishes or to take a nice, warm shower. But when we’re camping, we quickly gain an appreciation (or a deep longing!) for instantly available hot water; and here’s where the RV tankless water heater springs into action. 

Let’s take a look at this magical appliance that brings the power of ready hot water to anyone, on the grid or off. 

What Is an RV Tankless Water Heater? 

An RV tankless water heater is a freestanding unit that delivers hot water instantly on-demand, but only when you ask for it. The supply of instant, on-demand hot water is limitless for a single source if you’ve hooked up to city water, but of course, limited by the size of your water tank if you’re boondocking.

This small, more efficient heater works by heating water as it runs through the machine. While a tank storage water heater continually heats the water stored in the tank, a tankless model only heats the water when you turn on the tap. It doesn’t store any water, meaning you’ll save both space and fuel when you’re using hot water in your RV.

A black showerhead with running water. When you have an RV tankless water heater, you don't have to worry about running out of hot water when taking your shower.

How Much Do RV Tankless Water Heaters Cost?

Retail prices for RV tankless water heaters range between $400 and $1,000. Some models require you to buy additional pieces like access doors too. You can add on another $30 to $40 for those. The exact type of door you need varies according to the size and capacity of the water heater you are replacing.

The good news is they are fairly easy to install yourself, so there should be no additional costs for labor. Most heaters run on propane but are compatible with existing electric switches.

Benefits of an RV Tankless Water Heater

One of the biggest benefits is that there’s no waiting for the water to heat up. (Actually, there is a slight wait, but it’s only a few seconds.) Tankless water heaters are also less wasteful. You’re heating only the water you need rather than six to 10 gallons at a time. This uses less propane or electricity. It also means you won’t be paying to heat water that you end up not using.  

You also don’t have to wait for the water to be reheated after someone else has just taken a shower. This is known as “recovery time,” and there’s none of that with an RV tankless water heater.

Also, water from a tankless water heater won’t freeze you out by suddenly running cold. It stays hot as long as there’s a water supply. If you’re hooked up to water at a full-service campsite, you can keep on showering until you’re wrinkled and red.

Tankless water heaters take up less space, too. Some are less than half the size of the standard water heaters they can easily replace. They weigh a lot less, too, because there’s no tank full of water. Meaning, towing less weight can mean savings on gas or diesel.

Disadvantages of an RV Tankless Water Heater

While most people love their RV tankless water heater, they are some disadvantages you should be aware of. First, they can be expensive. If on demand hot water isn’t something you very much enjoy, the price might not be worth it for you.

Second, on demand hot heaters run on propane. While they are built to be efficient, you can still expect to use gallons of propane per month.

Lastly, even though RV tankless water heaters are advertised as “instant” or “on-demand” there is still a short wait for the hot water to get flowing. You can expect a 10-20 second delay in hot water delivery when you turn on the tap. Most consumers report this is not a true disadvantage but just something to become accustomed to as a new user.

What to Look for When Buying a Tankless Water Heater

First of all, consider the type of RVer who would benefit most from a tankless water heater. If you’re a full-timer or travel with a large family, you’ll benefit most from an RV tankless water heater. You’re more likely to use large amounts of hot water on-demand. 

You’ll want to consider the size of your current water heater before buying a tankless. Most are designed to replace the existing water heater and would need to fit the space. 

Also, as we mentioned before, you’ll need to buy the access door separately. So, you’ll want to carefully measure the length and width of your outside compartment before ordering the door.

Lastly, have a look at the displays to be sure it’s one that you can easily see and operate. Some are more “user-friendly” than others!

A man holding his outdoor shower head with water spraying on his hands. It hot because he has an RV tankless water heater.
An interior shot of an RV showing the bed and shower. They have on demand hot water because there is an RV tankless water heater installed.

The Best RV Tankless Water Heater on the Market Today

Now that you understand the benefits of owning an RV tankless water heater, you need to know where to start your search. Here are the highest-rated RV tankless water heaters on the market.

1. Furrion 2.4GPM Tankless RV Gas Water Heater 

Furrion 2.4GPM Tankless RV Gas Water Heater with White 16.14” x 16.14” Door - FWH09A-1-A
  • High Heating Power: 60K BTU heating power & a 2.4GPM capacity, Furrion RV Gas Water Heater will deliver hot water on...
  • Steady Temperatures: Furrion’s Vortex technology consistently mixes water to your desired temperature. Dual-sensors...

This Furrion Tankless RV Water Heater has high heating power and will deliver hot water instantly, even when the ambient temperature is 32ºF. If you’re concerned about safety, this water heater has two sensors to automatically shut off power if the water temperature exceeds safe limits.

Additionally, this model is the perfect size for replacing Suburban 4-6 gallon water heater models, making upgrading a breeze. It even has Furrion VibrationSmart technology, which protects it against rough roads. Lastly, it is covered by Furrion’s 2-year Warranty. 

With 4.5 stars on Amazon, it’s safe to say reviewers love the Furrion tankless water heaters. The reviews testify very positively to their quality and reliability. Below are just a few reviews from Amazon:

Chris P. said “This magical piece of equipment fit PERFECTLY in the existing cutout for my Suburban 6 gallon water heater. Everything fit exactly as it should have. I now have taken 2 very comfortable long showers and I don’t have to turn the water off to lather up! I’m beyond sold!

A user that goes by Jayhawkclint had this to add: “We have had both Atwood and Suburban tank and tankless heaters. Our last tankless was a 50k BTU that would make hot water but was sensitive to flow. This Furrion water heater makes all the other ones seem like gimmicks. It truly feels like a residential hot water shower. I wish we could have had this one years ago.

Lastly, user Roy J. kept his review short and sweet by saying: “If I ever need another tankless water heater or if asked to recommend a tankless water heater; it is without a doubt that I will recommend Furrion.”

2. RecPro RV Tankless Water Heater

RecPro RV Tankless Water Heater | On Demand Hot Water Heater | Gas Water Heater | Remote Control Included (Black)
  • No more waiting for the water tank to warm up or running out of warm water halfway through your shower. With this...
  • There is a forced exhaust structure that keeps the air safe and clean while and after entering the combustion chamber....

There’s no more waiting for the water tank to warm up with this RV on demand water heater. Just turn on the faucet for a steady stream of hot water.

This tankless water heater for your camper has a forced exhaust structure that keeps the air safe and clean. It even has a dust net that keeps out dirt. It’s a compact unit, just 15″ tall by 15″ wide, and 14.3″ deep. 

3. Girard Tankless RV Water Heater

GIRARD 2GWHAM Tankless Water Heater
  • Regulates The Burner To Maintain The Set Hot Water Temperature
  • Note: Water Heater Door Is Not Included And Must Be Ordered With Girard'S 2Gwham Water Heater

The Girard Tankless RV Hot Water Heater offers endless hot water and is easy to operate. Just turn on the hot water and add cold water to the desired temperature. The onboard microprocessor monitors the incoming cold water temperature, the flow rate, and the outgoing hot water temperature to maintain a constant, steady flow.

A wall-mounted digital controller shows the operating functions and allows for temperatures from 95°F to 124°F. Dimensions are 14.5 x 17.8 x 14.6 in.

Note: The door is not included and must be ordered separately.

4. Suburban On Demand RV Water Heater

SUBURBAN MFG Co Suburban Co 5286A Iw60 with H On Demand 60K Btu
  • package height : 58.42 cm
  • package length : 40.64 cm

Say goodbye to waiting for water to reheat in a conventional tank with this RV on demand water heater. With no storage tank, the Suburban On Demand RV Water Heater reduces weight and increases efficiency by only operating when the need for hot water arises.

Weighing just 36 lbs with the vent assembly, the tankless water heater comes with a freeze protection mechanism and direct spark ignition. This unit is 12.5 in by 12.5 in.

Note: The door and exhaust vent have to be purchased separately.

5. Fogatti Tankless RV Water Heater 

RV Tankless Water Heater, FOGATTI 2.9 GPM, 55000 BTU Hot Water Heater with 15 x 15 Inches White Door, Remote Control Included
  • The cutout size of water heater is 13 x 13 inches, with door size 15 x 15 inches. Higher heating capacity 55000 BTU and...
  • Fogatti tankless water heater has wide retrofit compatibility and can provide endless instant hot water for your RV life...

This tankless RV water heater is retrofitted for certain Suburban, Girard, Furrion, RecPro, and Dometic heaters, making replacement a breeze. This model has a heating capacity of 55,000 BTUs and 3.5 gallons per minute.

Lastly, it comes with a wall-mounted remote controller so you can control the water heater from inside your rig. If you have any problems with this unit, you’re covered by their 2-year warranty.

Pro Tip: When you’ve picked the one you want, it’s time to learn How to Install a Tankless Water Heater in Your RV.

Have The Comfort of Endless Hot Water With An RV Tankless Water Heater

For full-time RVers or RVers with large families, the benefits of a tankless water heater for your camper are clear. More efficient continuous delivery of limitless hot water on-demand is among the greatest luxuries campers can achieve. 

The best tankless water heater is the one that delivers all these advantages to you and your family reliably.

Now that you know what hot water heater is best, you’ll want to brush up on RV Water Filters: Revealing What You Need To Know.

Last update on 2022-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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