Energy costs are on a continuous upward trend, and it is only reasonable for you to look for a way of minimizing your bills as much as possible. Every home needs a constant supply of hot water, or at least, an on-demand delivery of hot water. Tankless water heaters provide you with hot water whenever needed, eliminating the need to always have a tank full of hot water that will add to your energy costs. Tankless water heaters are either electric-powered or operate on propane or natural gas. They also come in different sizes and capacity to suit your specific needs.
What are the advantages & disadvantages of a tankless water heater?
Just like any other appliance, tankless water heaters have their benefits and downsides.
- Reduced energy costs because they only operate when needed. You may even be able to save up to 50% of your water heating costs.
- A continuous supply of hot water. Tankless water heaters heat up water on demand and will run as long as you need them to.
- Their compact size saves on space
- They conserve water because you do not have to let it run as you wait for it to reach a remote faucet and heat up.
- Most units can operate using remote control.
- They have a longer life compared to conventional tanked water heaters.
- Some tankless water heaters cannot supply hot water to simultaneous users.
- Whole house electric tankless water heaters may use up a lot of electricity to heat up water to your desired temperature.
- They require outdoor venting.
- Some units which are not self-modulating may result in unpleasant temperature fluctuations.
Given the many benefits that tankless water heaters provide, here is a review of six of the best LPG (propane) tankless water heaters for 2018.
1. Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP Propane Tankless Water Heater
The Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP is one of the most popular cheap tankless water heaters available. This propane water heater is ideal for households whose demand for hot water is not very large. This particular model is the smallest unit by the manufacturer and is intended for use in residential areas such as small apartments.
The model uses direct venting and gas intake is at a minimum 19,500 BTU and a maximum of 140,000 BTU. The water heater has maximum flow rate is 6.6 gallons per minute and can serve several showers simultaneously. For colder climates, the flow rate may be slightly lower because the incoming water can be freezing.
Its small size makes it ideal for households with limited space, and it requires minimal effort in maintenance. It can serve several showers simultaneously, and temperature can be adjusted manually or remotely. The unit is also relatively quiet for a propane water heater. Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP uses inlet and outlet thermostats to monitor temperature regularly.
- Easy and quick installation
- Small and discreet
- Manual and remote control available
- Easy maintenance
- Not ideal for large households
2. Camplux Outdoor Propane Tankless Water Heater
The Camplux 5L is one of the best propane tankless water heaters and comes at an amazingly low price. It may be the best deal for you if you love traveling and usually find yourself in places where to water supply is an issue.
It is compact and lightweight and has a folding handle making it perfect for outdoor use. If you are out camping, and there is no electricity, this water heater will still serve you well as it comes with 2 D Cell batteries ignition.
This unit has a maximum flow rate of 1.32 gallons per minute and water temperature ranges between 46.4℉（8℃）and 114.8℉ (46℃). It also has an oxygen depletion sensor, and you can, therefore, install it indoors provided there is proper ventilation. It only requires 2.5 PSI water pressure to operate making it ideal even when water pressure is very low.
- Easy to set up and use
- Compact and lightweight design
- Flame failure device
- Anti-freezing protection
- Oxygen depletion sensor
- Slow supply of hot water especially where there are multiple users.
- Cannot be used to heat drinking water
- May result in a gas leak if the gasket is not put into the adapter
3. Eccotemp L10 Propane Tankless Water Heater
The Eccotemp L10 is another tankless water heater that is perfect for outdoor use. It is, however, designed for a more permanent outdoor setup and would be great for use in your lake house, summer cottage or just about any place that you require hot water.
This unit requires 74, 500 BTU’s of power and supplies hot water at the rate of 2.65 gallons per minute. It has a temperature range of 80-150℉ and supports water pressure with a range of 25-80 PSI. For easy plumbing, this unit comes with 0.5-inch NPT fittings.
The Eccotemp L10 features a 79% energy efficiency rate and has an automatic set-off timer to help you save on power or energy when the heater is not in use. It also allows for manual water temperature control to suit your desired water temperature.
- Setting up and maintenance is easy
- Very portable
- Can use electricity or battery power
- 20-minute automatic safety shutoff timer
- Great for outdoor use
- May not function well where water pressure is very low
4. Rinnai RL94iP Propane Tankless Water Heater
If you are looking for a larger water heater for residential or commercial use, then the Rinnai RL94iP Propane Tankless Water Heater would be an excellent choice. This tankless water heater allows you to use up to five outlets simultaneously without running out of hot water. This feature makes it an ideal whole house electric tankless water heater where demand for hot water is high.
The Rinnai RL94iP supplies hot water at the rate of 9.4 gallons per minute, and you do not need to worry about a sudden cold water surprise just because someone else is using the sink. It allows you to preset water temperature to your preferred level and will not deviate from the set temperature. For residential use, temperature settings are between 98°F and 140°F while for commercial use, temperature settings are between 98°F and 185°F.
Even though the appliance is relatively large, its compact size allows you to save on some space. It uses a concentric venting system to vent directly to the outside, and can either use natural gas or propane. It features an energy factor of 83% and allows you to make energy savings of up to 40%.
- Energy savings of up to 40%
- Ideal for residential and commercial use
- Utilizes 10,300 – 199,000 BTUs
- Not fabric
- Prepackaged isolation valves
- Saves on space
- Requires professional installation to avoid violating the warranty
5. Marey Gas 10L Tankless Water Heater
The Marey Gas 10L Digital Panel is a gas only tankless water heater and operation does not require electricity. If you are in an area where power outages are common, then the gas vs. electric tankless water heater question has its answer right here. This water heater features an auto ignition and heats up quickly to supply you with endless amounts of hot water. Installation is simple and optimizes energy efficiency at a range of 54% to 87%.
The unit features adjustable water control and has knobs and a digital panel which shows the temperature of the out-coming water. The Marey Gas Tankless Water Heater has anti-freezing protection to ensure that it continues to operate even when the incoming water is below freezing point. There is an anti-combustion and gas pressure safety protection feature included for added safety. The unit can operate on either liquid propane or natural gas.
The auto-ignition is powered by D-cell batteries which you will have to acquire separately. It operates at between 3.6 – 145.0 PSI and will still heat your water even where the incoming pressure is pretty low. It supplies hot water at a maximum flow rate of 3.1 gallons per minute. Turning the faucet on activates the water flow and you can go ahead and enjoy a long, hot shower.
- Rustproof, with no water leakages
- Easy installation
- Digital temperature control
- Has a five-year warranty which becomes invalid if you do not register within 30 days of purchase
6. EZ 101 Propane Tankless Water Heater
For the lovers of adventure, the EZ 101 Tankless Water Heater may be your perfect choice as it is one of the best propane tankless water heaters for outdoor use. It is a battery powered unit which is specially made for outdoor use because it utilizes the surrounding air for its air intake, therefore, cannot be used indoors. EZ 101 will also use a standard propane tank, adding to its convenience.
It is easily portable as it only weighs 14 LBS. If you are planning a camping trip or a hunting trip in an extremely remote area, you may want to include it in your list of must-haves. It uses a battery powered ignition that requires you to purchase 2 “D” cell batteries as they are not included in the package.
- Packaging includes a showerhead with a hose
- Low price tag
- Attractive design
- Not ideal for indoor use
It’s never easy deciding which water heater to buy. Making the decision will involve evaluating specific features, weighing the costs and benefits of the different models available and choosing the one that you feel will serve your needs well. With the information provided in this article, and if you are still stuck on the electric vs. propane tankless water heater debate, then you can use this information to help you make an informed decision.