In the market for a propane tankless water heater?
Going for a tankless water heater is an excellent choice – you save space, save energy, and save money on your utility bills. It’s a no-brainer.
You can put it just about anywhere, you can save up to about 30% on your energy costs, you get instant hot water without having to wait for it to heat up, and you never run out of hot water. A perfect option for the environmentally conscious.
And if you’re a rural dweller, camper, or are off-grid, propane is often the only type of gas available, and natural gas is not an option.
There are plenty of propane tankless water heaters out on the market at the moment – so much so it can be tricky to know just which one to get. But don’t worry – that’s where we come in. We’ve been checking them out, and after much deliberation, we were able to handpick our top 5 favorites, which we’ll be showing you very shortly.
The initial cost goes into the hundreds, so it pays to come to articles like this to get the best value for your money. And just to give you the heads up, these reviews showcase both water heaters for the home and water heaters for RV and seasonal vacation homes. All of them have something great to offer and come from the top brands in the industry.
And after that, we’ve also got a handy buying guide for you, which you can use as a checklist to make sure that you’ve thought of everything before you buy. Then we’re going to top that off with a section where we tackle some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject. Need installation help? The best local plumbers are just a few clicks away!
Here’s a quick summary before we dive into more detailed reviews.
- Rinnai RL75IP Propane Tankless Hot Water Heater – A top pick for homes, supplying hot water for up to 5 fixtures at once.
- Camplux 5L Outdoor Portable Water Heater – Perfect for camping with it’s small size and portability.
- GASLAND BE158 Outdoor Portable Tankless Water Heater – Suited for camping with a slightly higher flow rate.
- Ridgeyard Propane Tankless Water Heater – Great for homes running 2-3 outlets at the same time.
- Rinnai V53DeP Propane Tankless Water Heater – Suitable for smaller homes and cabins with one bathroom.
Top 5 tankless propane water heaters reviewed
This tankless water heater comes from the number one best selling brand for water heaters in North America, Rinnai.
This may be one of the more expensive propane tankless water heaters in our top 5 picks, but it offers the best water flow, coming in at a whopping 7.5 GPM.
We’ll talk more about water flow and GPM in our buying guide, but for now, it suffices to say that this particular model of water heater is powerful enough to serve even large houses with several occupants. You could comfortably have two showers running simultaneously, AND have hot water-using appliances at work at the same time, such as a dishwasher or a clothes washer.
But it’s worth noting at this point that the actual flow rate depends on the groundwater temperature in your particular area. For more information on this please refer to the map on the product’s Amazon page.
Similarly, this water heater also offers plenty of power output, coming in at 180,000 BTUs. (More on power output and BTUs in our buying guide).
But the stand out feature of this water heater is how you can operate it from your smartphone, thanks to the Control-R 2.0 mobile app. Through this, you can schedule and time your water heating as you see fit, and you can put it into vacation mode if you’re not going to be there for a while.
There are various warranties available on the device, 12 years on the heat exchanger, 1 year for any labor carried out, and 5 years for parts.
And you needn’t be put off by the large price, because you can pay in interest-free instalments upon approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card.
Please note there are several different types and models of this water heater on the Amazon page (such as indoor or outdoor units), so if you decide to buy, please ensure that you have selected the one you want.
- Great best-selling brand
- Very impressive water flow
- Plenty of power output
- Good warranties available
- Option to pay in installments
- Premium product at a premium price
This is quite possibly the best option for those who love to go camping, or who like to go off-grid and back to nature. It’s a small outdoor water heater with a handle on top so you can place it on a hook out of the way.
Its power output is very modest, at just 28,000 BTU (more on BTUs in our buying guide later). But on the plus side, this means it doesn’t need a whole lot of power to operate. All it needs is two D-cell batteries. Or alternatively, you can plug it into a standard power outlet.
It has a flow rate of 1.2 GPM, which isn’t quite enough to run a clothes washer, but it can handle a dishwasher, or two faucets running at once.
And if your campsite has no external showering facilities, then you can adapt this water heater by pairing it with a 12-volt water pump, and this will noticeably increase the water pressure.
And when you’re shopping for camping necessities, you don’t want to find yourself parting with just as much cash as you would for your house. And the price of this water heater reflects that sentiment and is available at a fraction of the price of water heaters designed for the home.
- Very affordable price
- Great for going off-grid
- Decent flow rate
- No electricity required
- Doesn’t allow enough hot water for a power shower without a water pump
Here’s another great option for vacation lovers. It’s compact, lightweight, and easy to install.
In fact, it’s so portable that you could even take it to the beach with a shower kit and use it to wash off all the sand.
It throws out a power output of a nice 41,000 BTU per hour, so you get instant hot water when you need it.
And the water flow comes in at the decent rate of 1.58 GPM (more on water flow and GPM in our buying guide). It’s more than enough to have two faucets running at the same time. And you can adjust the heat and the water flow as you see fit.
This water heater uses energy-saving tech, so you use less propane, and save yourself a little money because the propane is going further.
It’s CSA approved, which means that it meets both Canadian and US safety standards. The safety features include overheating protection, anti-freezing protection, and a flame failure device.
We were also impressed with the company’s after-sales service – very professional. It’s no wonder that Gasland has become a best-selling brand.
Even though it’s available at a very affordable price, you can opt to pay in interest-free installments upon approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card.
- A great choice for campers
- Energy-efficient technology
- Very affordable price – a bargain
- Good water flow, at 1.58 GPM
- CSA approved safety features
- Occasionally customers have struggled with the instruction manual
This is a very affordable propane tankless water heater, and has a fantastic flow rate, coming in at 3.2 GPM. That’s enough hot water flow to run a power shower AND have a clothes washer running at the same time.
It’s quite big and bulky, and so is far better suited to providing water heating at home rather than in your RV or off camping on vacation somewhere.
It’s a good choice for homes that don’t already have a shower fitted since it comes with a showerhead and kit that you can hook up to your bathroom faucets.
It’s very energy efficient and energy saving, and has several different safety features, such as a 20-minute timer protection, over water pressure protection, and overheating protection.
You can also toggle it between Winter and Summer mode, which helps with how it operates through the seasons.
In addition to the propane, you will also need two 1.5 volt batteries to run it, since it doesn’t need to be hooked up to your electricity, but this type of battery is very easy to get hold of.
You won’t need a professional to come and install it for you – there are Youtube videos that explain how to install it (please see the Amazon page for more details).
It comes with a 2-year warranty for parts, which is reassuring.
- Comes with a shower kit
- Impressive 3.2 GPM water flow
- Lots of safety features
- 2-year warranty for parts
- Big and bulky
- Power output (BTUs) not disclosed
This is another water heater from the top well-established brand, Rinnai.
This propane tankless water heater is designed for outdoor installation, so it’s a good option for smaller homes and cabins where there’s no room to install the water heater indoors.
However, it’s not already insulated, so it can only be installed and used where the weather is reasonably good and temperatures stay above freezing.
It can heat water at a rate of 120,000 BTUs (which we’ll explain later in our buying guide), which is a rather modest rate. But it can easily provide enough heat for a one-bathroom home.
Its flow rate is 5.3 GPM (again more on that in our buying guide). And this is pretty good because it means that you can have one person enjoying a shower, and still have some other fixtures and appliances running at the same time, such as a clothes washer or a dishwasher.
It’s a good choice for vacation homes because it can be drained and shut down during the Winter.
Please note there are several different types and models of water heater on the Amazon page, so if you decide to buy, please ensure that you have selected the one you want.
- Great for vacation homes
- Impressive flow rate
- Great power output
- Can be installed outdoors
- It’s a little pricey compared to the water heaters aimed at campers
Propane Tankless Water Heater Buying Guide
Indoor vs Outdoor Water Heater
Most homeowners tend to go for an indoor propane water heater. This is because, in areas where temperatures can dip below freezing, this can reduce the water heater’s efficiency. And if you decide to go for an indoor water heater, you must ensure that it’s properly ventilated.
But if space is at a premium you may prefer to get an outdoor water heater. If you do decide to go for an outdoor one, it must be sufficiently insulated and protected from the cold. In either case, we recommend only using professionals for water heater installations.
Tankless water heaters are rated by the number of gallons of hot water they produce per minute (GPM).
In order to determine how many GPM your water heater can provide, you need to consider the GPM rate of the fixtures and appliances your family uses.
A kitchen faucet uses 0.5 GPM, while a dishwasher uses 1.0 GPM, a clothes washer uses 1.5 GPM, and a shower uses 2.5 GPM. And if you ever have several of these running at the same time, you will have to add up the total, and you should also add on another 0.5 GPM, to err on the side of caution.
One of the specs you see on propane tankless water heaters is the BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU is a measure of the energy needed to increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Generally speaking, a home with just one bathroom typically needs a maximum of 140,000 BTU, a home with two bathrooms will need a maximum of about 190,000 BTUs, and a large home with three bathrooms will need a maximum of about 380,000 BTUs.
Usually, propane tankless water heaters are a fairly expensive appliance, costing hundreds and hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands for the top end ones.
Sometimes you can get propane tankless water heaters for under $250, and while many of these are very good in some circumstances they aren’t usually adequate for heating enough water for an entire household and are more suited to RVs and camping.
However, each of the water heaters in our top 5 picks offers really good value for money.
Now that we’ve covered some of the main specs, perhaps you can start to see how different specs make for different uses. If you’re looking for a water heater for your vacation time, you need an entirely different water to tackle a large home.
Whether you take your vacations in a cabin in the woods, or in your RV, or even a tent, you can make good use of either the Camplux Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater or the GASLAND BE158.
Or if you need one for your home, then we recommend our number 1 pick, the Rinnai RL75IP, or the Rinnai V53DeP depending on the GPM needed.
Some tankless water heater brands are better than others. With Rinnai being a very good brand for tankless water heaters designed to serve the entire household, and with Camplux being one of the best brands out there for taking on vacation. And Gasland is also one of the top brands out there too.
You’ll find all three of these great brands in our top 5 picks. The Rinnai brand is so good we included them twice!
Customer Ratings and Reviews
When you’re shopping for anything online, it is well worth taking a look at any customer ratings and reviews you might find. Ratings give you an at-a-glance picture of just how well-received a product is by genuine customers. Telling you whether it’s worth the money and if it lived up to their expectations.
Sometimes customer reviews can also provide really valuable advice on using the products too.
Answers to your most frequently asked questions
Are propane tankless water heaters worth it?
Propane tankless water heaters can be well worth it if you get a good price and can be assured that you‘ve got good value for money.
The most affordable household propane tankless water heater in our top 5 picks, is our number 5 pick, the Rinnai V53DeP.
The most affordable portable propane tankless water heater in our top 5 picks, is our number 2 pick, the Camplux Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater
What is the downside of a tankless water heater?
We’re going to level with you here, and be honest and say that tankless water heaters do have some drawbacks. One of the most common complaints about such heaters is that the heated water can show inconsistent temperatures.
This may not be such a big deal if you’re just filling up a kettle, but if you want to take a shower, it can be really annoying.
How much propane does a tankless water heater use?
Now, this is a somewhat tricky question to answer. Propane can give out 91,500 BTUs per gallon per hour. But the thing is, some tankless water heaters, such as ones aimed at vacationers, aren’t designed to match that. The amount of propane required depends on the energy-efficiency of the water heater. To estimate the amount of propane your tankless water heater might use:
- Take the BTU rating of your heater. For example, let’s use 180,000 BTUs/hr.
- Multiply by the heater’s efficiency. If it’s 90% efficient, then: 180,000 BTUs x 0.90 = 162,000 BTUs/hr.
- Estimate how long you’ll use the heater each day. Let’s say 1 hour/day.
- Calculate the total BTUs used in a day: 162,000 BTUs x 1 hour = 162,000 BTUs/day.
- Now, to find out how many gallons of propane this is: 162,000 BTUs ÷ 91,500 BTUs/gallon = 1.77 gallons of propane per day.
Keep in mind that this is a simplified example. Your actual consumption may vary based on the aforementioned factors like the temperature of incoming water, the desired temperature of the output water, and the specific model and usage patterns.