Best Tankless Water Heater In 2018 – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide
There is a plethora of reasons you should start using a tankless water heater. For starters, these tanks are energy efficient and economical. In fact, if you live in a secluded area where space isn’t much of a luxury, a tankless water heater could very well be your only option to getting hot water without spending too much.
But, despite all the rage, the question remains, which is the best tankless heater for the money since options keep hitting the market, thick and fast. Even then, getting one that suits your needs doesn’t have to be confusing. Our tankless water heater reviews will set you on the right path to spending your money on a model that matters. We’ve even thrown in a comprehensive buyer’s guide at the tail-end of this piece. That way, there isn’t second-guessing.
And oh, just before we start, it’s essential to mention that we’ve based our list on features, capacity, temperature rise, flow rate, user feedback, and cost.
Table of Contents
- 5. Rheem RTGH-95DVLN – Best for Saving on Heating Bills
- 4. Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Tankless Water Heater – Best for Small Apartments
- 3. SioGreen IR260 POU – Best for Budget
- 2. Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus – Best for Hot Showers, Always
- 1. Ecosmart ECO 36 – Best for Limited Spaces
- Buying Guide For Tankless Water Heater
- Bottom Line
5. Rheem RTGH-95DVLN – Best for Saving on Heating Bills
We kick off our best water heater reviews with this model by Rheem. Indeed, this is a high-end unit but before you get wowed by its price tag, there’s so much that this heater can do, you’ll feel it’s a steal. For starters, Rheem has been perfecting the art of churning out world-class heaters for over nine decades. Their products are synonymous with excellence and reliability, and so is the RTGH-95DVLN.
For starter, this tankless heater is super energy efficient. It features a stainless steel condensing heat exchanger that cuts consumption of energy by up to 94%. What does that tell you? Well, it simply means that you’ll save (a lot) on your water heating bills. And that’s not even the best part.
This model boasts a flow rate of 9.5 gallons per minute- the best by any tankless heater on the market. With such an output, this unit can serve up to four bathrooms conveniently. It is, thus, an ideal choice for larger homesteads with a lot of water to heat. Plus, due to the high flow rate, you can count on it for a constant water flow even when the temps plunge. Sure, you might experience slight delays if you reside in cold areas, but this unit can survive temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The stellar resilience makes it a great pick for regions with an altitude of 9840 ft. above sea level.
The other highlight that makes this heater stand out is the integrated intelligent electronic controls. The built-in self-diagnostic system constantly checks the heater’s functions from inside. It then warns you of any malfunctions and faults promptly. By extension, this means that there’s virtually zero chance of accidents while using the RTGH-95DVLN!
Apart from letting you cut down on power costs, this heater enables you to use your water economically. It heats water on demand. Other than that, it regulates the flow of water automatically, helping you save more than 1100 gallons of water per year. Moreover, it sports the brand-exclusive low-NOx system that gives you the flexibility of mounting it anywhere (indoors or outdoors) without stainless steel vents.
First-class performance is the name of the game with the RTGH-95DVLN. In addition to its astounding abilities, it touts a hot-start programming function that ensures the water temperature stays constant during on and off operations. And then there’s the EZ link technology that allows you to connect an extra tankless heater when there’s a higher than usual demand of hot water. Note – you’ll need a modular controller to use this cable though.
- Compact lightweight design
- Easy to install
- Saves you tons of money power costs
- Easy to read digital displays
4. Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Tankless Water Heater – Best for Small Apartments
The T-KJr2-IN-NG is arguably the best tankless water heater in this roundup if you live in a rented condo or studio apartment. While it is the smallest model in the Takagi line-up, it packs enough juice to guarantee hot water at the press of a button. First, this unit has a flow rate of 6.6 gallons per minute. Sure, this may not be the highest you can get, but it is enough for the needs of a family of two to three. It can service up to two bathrooms.
Well, it is the only tankless heater on this list with inlet and outlet thermistors. These ensure that the water’s temps remain constant from the time you press the ‘‘On’’ button up to when you switch off your heater. In simpler terms, you’ll never have to deal with overheating or instances where the water is just too ‘cold” for your needs. All you got to do is to set your preferred heating temperature right before you start to use the heater.
The 140,000 BTU of this tank further enhances its performance and reliability. With this level of output, you can rest assured that the T-KJr2-IN-NG will provide hot or warm water at any time. Again, this is a big win since you don’t have to wait (even for a second) for the water to get heated.
How about the ability to save energy costs? The T-KJr2-IN-NG is the only natural gas heater in our picks. Theoretically, gas-run heaters use a gas burner (as opposed to a heating element) to heat the water. In essence, this translates to less operation cost and faster heating rates. Besides, you don’t necessarily need electricity to have it working, so that’s still an advantage.
Durability is a primary concern when scouting for the best tankless water heaters. Of course, you want a top performing model, but at the same time, you’re better off with one that can offer you years of service with minimal or no repairs. The T-KJr2-IN-NG has a stainless tell body, so its toughness isn’t in question.
The fact that this is a gas-run heater must have got you thinking about harmful emissions, right? That shouldn’t be a cause for concern as it has an air-fuel ratio sensor to keep emissions and pollutants in check. We bet that you’ll love the anti-freeze feature if you reside in cold locations – it works to ensure your heater works optimally when the weather becomes chilly.
In a jiffy, the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG is a top rated tankless water heater that has excellent performance despite its small size. It is indeed a smart, hot water solution that you’ll appreciate having in your home.
- Excellent temperature range
- Good flow rate
- Reasonably priced
- Can fit in any part of the house
- Requires a vent to install
3. SioGreen IR260 POU – Best for Budget
Don’t have a lot of money to splurge on a high-end model? Fret not – the SioGreen IR260 POU has got you covered! Without a doubt best the best tankless water heater if you’re on a tight budget, this unit is ideal for kitchenettes, powder rooms, garages, pool house, patio sinks, RVs, and boats.
It is worth noting at this point that this heater isn’t for use with a shower head unless your water comes from an underground inlet at a temperature not less than 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moving on, the IR260 POU is the only tankless heater on the market that uses infrared heating technology. Unlike the electrical models that have heating elements, this one uses quartz tubes to create far infrared energy to heat the water. Indeed, this feature is quite innovative, but it’s not what makes this heater a hit with homeowners.
Once you’ve installed this unit, you’ll never have to worry about its maintenance. Yes, think of it as a “mount and forget” kind of water heater. You see, the fact that the SioGreen IR260 POU doesn’t use electricity means that’s there’s no requirement for routine flushing to keep it working. In other words, this technology takes away the need to replace heating elements every so often. The result is that you’ll save more money and time.
Hard water can be a great inconvenience if you’re trying to wash your hands or cook. The IR260 POU eliminates this problem by ensuring that there are no lime deposits along your water pipes. Without water sitting, this heater undertakes to minimize the risk of algae and bacteria accumulating in your water to keep you safe. Regarding of safety, this tankless water heater interior isn’t prone to corrosion. After all, it generates heat without direct contact with metal.
The SioGreen IR260 POU has a flow rate of 3.6 gallons per minutes. It is for this reason (the relatively slow GPM) we insist that you’ll leverage on its ability if you don’t use a lot of hot water in your home. And the best part is that you’re firmly in charge of how fast it heats the water using the four manual power levels. More specifically, you can fiddle with the current from 10 to 30 amperes depending on your needs.
So yes, the SioGreen IR260 POU may be an inexpensive pick, but its five-star functionality places it high up with the best of them. In fact, the infrared heating technology combined with the no-maintenance design makes this the best-in-class tankless heater.
- Unrivaled durability
- Space-saving design
- Saves more water
- Low flow rate
2. Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Plus – Best for Hot Showers, Always
At times, you just want to get into your bathroom for a long, sensual hot shower after a hard day’s work. With the Tempra Plus in your home, showers will always be hot. This unit, same as any other in the Tempra series, heats water instantly and continues to keep it a constant temperature even when the flow rate keeps fluctuating. So, as long as the electricity is running, there will be hot water in your bathroom.
The Tempra 24 has two flow rates – an industry first. You can adjust flow rate from 0.5 to 5 gallons per minutes. Needless to say, the higher the flow rate, the more energy the heater consumes. At the maximum flow rate (5 gallons per minute) you’ll have enough hot water to serve up two bathrooms and a kitchenette. And so you may know, the higher flow rate requires 240 volts of power while the lower one 208 volts.
Never mind if the Tempra 24 isn’t powerful enough for your needs. You can always opt for the 29 or 26 plus models for more juice.
This tankless water heater isn’t the smallest of models on the market. However, it doesn’t require venting, which means that you can mount it anywhere within your premise. No venting also translates to easy, straightforward installation. By now, you must be wondering if this unit will help you save some money. Sure, it will bring down your electricity bill by up to 20%, and that’s quite commendable more so if you use hot water more often in your home.
As stated before, overheating is a major complaint in most tankless water heater reviews that we’ve come across. You can sigh with relief when it comes to the Tempra 24. It has a microprocessor that automatically monitors the hotness or coldness of the incoming water. The microprocessor then signals the system to heat the water at a specific temp to prevent overheating and by extension, scalding.
To sum up, there’s every indication that the Tempra 24 Plus is a handy tankless heater that will get the job done. If for nothing else, it boasts the same functionality and German technology that has placed Stiebel on the map for over eight decades.
- Digital display
- Dial type temperature control
- Highly energy efficient
- Robust design
- Super quiet operation
- Relatively expensive
1. Ecosmart ECO 36 – Best for Limited Spaces
If you thought that the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG is compact, wait until you hear the size of the Ecosmart ECO 36. With dimensions of 17 by 19 by 3.8 inches, this is the smallest model in this roundup. Obviously, it is the best tankless heater for small spaces. Even more intriguing is the fact that this heater is 99% smaller in comparison to its closest competitor.
The trimness aside, the ECO 36 is as energy efficient as they come. It uses the brand closed modulation system to give you a mind-bending 99.8% energy efficiency. Do you know what this means? We’re talking about cutting down your water heating bills by up to 50%! Now that’s quite phenomenal, isn’t it?
You see, the ECO 36’s heating system adjusts to the water flow automatically. What this means is that it will use a single element for heating when the flow is low and three elements for higher water flow. Think of it this way; you’ll spend less energy (read money) to heat water for hand wash in comparison to taking a long shower in the bathroom, for instance.
Plus, you can set the heating temperature from 80 to 140 depending on your needs in convenient 1-degree increments.
The ECO 36 inlet can handle water with a temperature as low as -37 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is essential to note that at this temperature, you’ll only enjoy a flow rate of 2.7 gallons per minute and the water heated to105 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, in “normal” temperatures, the total water flow stands at 6.6 gallons per minute. What we are trying to say here is that unless you live in extremely cold areas, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy the ECO 36’s optimal output.
Ecosmart, the makers of the ECO 36 has put so much trust in the quality and reliability of their product that they’ve attached a lifetime warranty to it. That alone is enough to tell you that the manufacturer is willing to stand behind the quality of their product and what it can do. For you as a homeowner, the warranty translates to value for your money.
By and large, the ECO 36 is an excellent tankless heater if you’re tired of paying high water heating bills every month. Besides, with a water flow of 6.6 gallons, it is will indeed meet the needs of a mid-sized household.
- Amazingly small
- Outstanding temperature control
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to read display
- Can’t keep temps constant when demand for hot water is high
Buying Guide For Tankless Water Heater
What’s the tank’s flow rate?
At the very beginning of this article, we mentioned that one the factors we’ve used as a benchmark of our reviews are the flow rate. Let’s now expound on what it is all about. As the name suggests, the flow rate is the amount of water that passes through a heater while being heated. We measure flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM).
In essence, the flow rate of a particular model is the amount of water it can heat per minute. Of course, the higher the flow rate, the better. When scouting for the best tankless heater, you should always pay close attention to the minimum and maximum flow rate. Most models on the market have a minimum flow range of anywhere between 0.1 to 0.9 gallons per minute. The maximum flow rate varies from1 to 9 gallons per minute.
A heater’s flow rate has to be enough to meet the demand of hot water in your home. Failure to this, you’ll have to deal with cold water when the flow is more than your tankless heater can handle. Below is a list to help you determine the flow rate what works best for your household requirements.
• Shower Head 2.0 GPM
• Kitchen Sink 1.0 – 2.0 GPM
• Washing Machine 1.0 – 1.5 GPM
• Bath Tub 4.0 GPM
• Dishwasher 1.0 – 2.0 GPM
• Bathroom Sink 0.5 – 1.5 GPM
What’s the temperature rise in your house?
You have to determine the temperature rise of the incoming water to your premises and your preferred temperature coming out. In most cases, the temperature of the incoming water will be about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and the maximum output temp is typically 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, most tankless water heaters can accommodate this range. In fact, some may exceed the upper limit.
Note – the incoming temperature may vary depending on where you live or the season.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure about the minimum and maximum temperature rise. Almost every other model on the market provides this information; all you need to do is to be keen.
Which installation style best suits your needs?
There are two types of installation – the point of use or the whole house installation. Your specific needs determine for which type you opt. The most important thing here is that the tankless water heater that you choose should support your preferred installation style. A point of use model is relatively cheaper. However, it is less powerful so it won’t support whole house installation.
Would you rather use an electrical or gas model?
You’re better off with an electric tankless water heater if you want energy efficiency. However, be ready to part with a significant amount of operation and maintenance. A gas heater, on the other hand, has a higher initial cost, but it less expensive to maintain and operate. While both models will heat water as per your needs, the primary difference lies in installation.
You’ll require ventilation to get rid of the exhaust with a gas option. Essentially, this means that installing tankless gas heaters is relatively time-consuming. As for most electric options, installation is super easy. In fact, you can mount most electric tankless water heaters anywhere within your household.
Tankless water heaters are fast replacing tanked heaters, and it’s not difficult to figure out why this is the case. And there’s every probability that your quest for in-depth tankless water heater reviews brought you here. While there are many options on the market, we trust the five models we’ve reviewed here represent the best of both worlds whether you want an electric or gas model
We hope that, now, choosing the best tankless water heater is only a click away!