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.
How Much Do RV Tankless Water Heaters Cost?
Retail prices for the models we are featuring range from just under $540 to nearly $800. You may have to purchase an access door for the unit separately, however. Some models come with a door and others don’t, and they cost another $30 to $40. 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.
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 also want to know and accept that you can expect a 10-20 second delay in hot water delivery when you turn on the tap. If that bothers you, then a tankless water heater may not be for you. Most consumers report this is not a true disadvantage but just something to become accustomed to as a new user.
You’ll want to consider the size of your current water heater before buying a tankless. As most are designed to replace the existing water heater and would need to fit the space.
Also, you’ll buy the access door separately, so you’ll want to carefully measure the length and width of your outside compartment before ordering the door.
Consider as well the number of appliances you may wish to use at one time. This is a less critical consideration for RVers than for sticks-and-bricks homeowners since RVers usually have only one bathroom. They also typically use a single appliance at one time and are more conservative about water use in general. But it’s still a factor when considering an RV tankless water heater.
For RVers in particular, the smaller, less expensive portable tankless water heaters are the best options. But consider which type of tankless water heater is best for your application.
Have a look at the display to be sure it’s one which you can easily see and operate. Some are more “user-friendly” than others!
Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters for Your RV
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 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. (And besides showers, it’s great for washing dishes without worrying whether you’ll be able to rinse off all that soap.)
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. Towing less weight can mean savings on gas or diesel, of course.
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’s our recommendation:
Furrion Tankless RV Gas Water Heater
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.
- 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...
Don’t Take Our Word for It
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. Took a couple hours to make sure it was done right and correctly and run control wires through the wall. Turned switch on for old unit from electric to propane and BAM. Unit kicks on as soon as I turn hot water on, takes just a few seconds to warm up. As soon as I turn the hot off, the flame kicks off and its cools down. I now have taken 2 very comfortable long showers and I don’t have to turn the water off to lather up! Im 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 doubt that I will recommend Furrion.”
If the Furrion doesn’t fit the bill for you, don’t worry! Here are some additional tankless water heater options for you to consider.
RecPro RV Tankless Water Heater
- 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....
No more waiting for the water tank to warm up or running out of warm water halfway through your shower. Just turn on the faucet for a steady stream of hot water.
A forced exhaust structure that keeps the air safe and clean and a dust net keeps out dirt. It’s a compact unit, just 15 in tall, 15 in wide, and 14.3 in deep.
Girard Tankless RV Water Heater
- Regulates the burner to maintain the set hot water temperature.Freeze protection - designed for winter Use
- 42,000 BTUs which provides the optimum performance for an RV's plumbing
Endless hot water and easy to operate: just turn on the hot water and add cold water to the desired temperature. The on-board 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.
Suburban On Demand RV Water Heater
- package height : 58.42 cm
- package length : 40.64 cm
Say goodbye to waiting for water to reheat in a conventional tank. 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.
RVing Doesn’t Have to Mean “Roughin’ It”
For full-time RVers or RVers with large families, the benefits of an RV tankless water heater 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 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API