Camping is such a fun experience. You can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, a slow pace, watch the squirrels and birds, and get some hiking in. What a great retreat from the city. But, wait a minute. With nature, comes a lot of creepy, crawly insects and biting bugs. If the weather isn’t perfect, you’re too hot, or too cold, or wet. If there aren’t facilities where you’re staying, you’re pooping in the woods and going without a shower for days. Hmmm.
You come up with a brilliant idea! You’ve taken the plunge and purchased an RV for your experiences. Instead of trying to fit everything in a small tent, you’ll have your own room in the RV – along with a real bed. You can be in the middle of nature at will, but it will be like you’re in the comfort of your own home. That’s a nice middle ground.
However, no home is complete without hot water. One of reasons you like the idea of an RV is that you like the concept of a shower. You also want to eat well and you may want to wash some dishes without feeling like you’ve just dipped your hands into ice. In this case, you will need a water heater –tankless water heaters being the best choice for RVs.
Model Product Image Prize Rating Price Heating Capacity Max Temperature
Camplux 5L 1.32 GPM Portable Tankless Water Heater Best Value 4.5 $ 1.32 GPM 114.8
Ecotemp FVI-12-LP Tankless Water Heater Largest Heating Capacity 4.7 $$$ 3.6 GPM 120
Excel Tankless Gas WaterHeater Best Energy-Saver 4.4 $$$ 1.6 GPM 115
PrecisionTemp RV-550 TanklessWaterHeater Best Compact Unit 4.6 $$$$ 1.5 GPM 120
Best Tankless Water Heaters for RVs
If you are looking for good water heaters for RVs, then you certainly don’t want to exclude this one. This portable water heater was made by a company that specializes in camping – which is why you would find value in this product.
One advantage of this product is that it does not take a lot of energy to operate – making it perfect for an RV owner that likes to take his or her life outdoors. You will only need to fill the gas tank, and you’ll be good to go.
The size of this water heater is fairly compact, meaning that you can easily install it inside and outside the RV. Plus, not only does it have flame failure protection, but it also has an anti-freezing feature.
This unit can heat up a total of 1.32 gallons of water per minute, which is even enough for the average small flat. The max temperature is 114.8 degrees Fahrenheit (146 degrees Celsius), which is just enough for you to have that nice, warm shower after a long day.
If you are looking for something with a slightly bigger capacity, then this unit is just the right thing for you. With the ability to heat up to 3.6 gallons of water per minute, you will be able to take a decent shower.
The heating of this unit activates only when you actually use the hot water – which means there will not be any standstill processes of water being heated up inside a tank. This way, you will be able to save on gas and the warm water will be running for a far longer time.
The max temperature will be dependent on the water temperature. This unit has the ability to raise the water temperature by 55 degrees – which means that if you use it in the summer, you will have higher temperatures than if you use it in the winter. The maximum temperature that you can get with this unit is around 120 degrees during summer time.
However, it is worthy to note that this unit features its own LED screen where you can see the temperature – and control it. This way, you won’t be stepping into a shower that is way too hot or way too cold for you. Comfort at its best!
If you are on the lookout for a tankless water heater that will save you on energy and water while not limiting on the capacity, then you might want to consider this model. With a 1.6GPM water flow and heating capacity, it will be more than enough for you to have that hot shower that you have been dreaming of.
Plus, considering that you can adjust the water flow yourself, you can arrange it so that you can take your shower while your spouse (or camping mate) is washing the dishes, for example.
This unit features a magnetic flow sensor for the water, meaning that you won’t be consuming too much – not too little. Plus, thanks to its beautiful and compact design, you can install it anywhere you want – and it won’t prove to be a space-consuming eyesore.
Some users have mentioned that the installation instructions are not as clear as they might have wished them to be – but at the same time, it can be fairly intuitive, provided you have the basic knowledge. If not, you’ll be stranded in the woods with no hot water. But we’re sure this won’t happen to you…
If you want a compact unit that can work for a lengthy amount of time, you might want to give this unit a try. The PrecisionTemp has a 1.5 GPM flow and capacity – but it also has a 20lbs propane tank that can handle up to 940 gallons of water. It’s enough for a weekend out camping and even more. So, you can let your boss know that you’ll be missing work this Monday. You’ll be taking a shower in the woods instead!
This model is among the tankless water heaters for RVs that are highly compact and easily manageable – meaning that it will not take up a lot of space in your RV. It’s quite lightweight compared to other vehicles and thanks to its anti-freezing technology, you may even install it outside.
This unit has a quiet operation – meaning that it will not disturb your nature-time with industrial noises. It may be more expensive – but the fact that it can deliver fairly warm water on limited propane consumption makes it worth almost every cent.
How Tankless Water Heaters for RVs Work
A tankless water heater, also referred to as an instantaneous or demand-type water heater, will only provide water as you need it. You won’t have to deal with standby energy losses like storage water heaters do. In return, this can help you save a fair amount of money.
Simply stated, the tankless water heater will heat the water right away, without putting it through a storage tank. Therefore, when you turn on the hot water tap, cold water will start going from the pipe, into the heater – and then down the tap.
Tankless water heaters for RVs can work on either electric elements or gas burners. Since they are connected directly to a main supply of water, they will provide a constant flow of water. The only downside is that you will have to be connected to a water line – which is why you will have to opt for a camping site that provides these facilities.
Key Aspects to Consider When Buying a Tankless Water Heater
Before you dive into the world of the 21st-century water heaters, there are a couple of things that you might want to consider. Each choice can be crucial depending on your camping accommodations and preferences, which is why you might want to make a calculated purchase. Here are some of those key factors:
- Water Usage
- Gas or Electric
- BTU Capacity
- Energy Efficiency
Before purchasing tankless water heaters, you should have an average idea of how much water you plan to consume. This may or may not include your toilet, as it does not use hot water (unless you go for a heated toilet; if you do, it means that you’re too comfortable for camping). Still, these are the units that generally use hot water:
- Bathtub: Uses 2 – 4 gallons of water per minute
- Kitchen sink: Uses 1 – 1 ½ gallon of water per minute
- Shower: Uses 1 ½ – 3 gallons of water per minute
- Dishwasher: Uses 1 – 3 gallons of water per minute
When you choose your RV water heater, think about how many of these appliances you have – and how often do you plan on using them.
With tankless water heaters, however, the more appropriate question would be “how many of these appliances do you plan on using at the same time?” Tankless water heaters may not depend on water from a reservoir – but they do have a specific amount of water that they can heat up per minute.
Depending on the model, good tankless water heaters for RVs can provide anything from two to six gallons of water every minute – so you need to have everything water-consuming in your RV in mind.
One of the perks of buying tankless water heaters for RVs is that you no longer have to waste storage space. You can use that space to place whatever else you want in your RV. However, in the event that you end up camping somewhere in the middle of the woods, with no water connections, then that water heater is next to useless.
If your RV has its own water source, then this makes things easier. Generally, you can install the water heater outside of the RV – but you may also install it in the RV, depending on its size.
If you are worried that the cold temperatures will freeze your unit, you may also go for anti-freezing kits that can be attached to the heater.
You should also ensure that the location is appropriate, on the grounds that certain units may have specific regulation when it comes to their ventilation. Some units may be more appropriate for indoor use, while others may be better functioning in outdoor environments.
Gas or Electric
Depending on where you plan on going camping – or the amenities that your RV already has – you may want to make the choice between a gas and an electric water heater. Your camping location will determine whether gas will be the most price-friendly option or if you should go for electric ones.
Tankless water heaters for RVs that are powered by gas are generally less expensive than the electric ones, and they come with a higher flow rate. Plus, considering that they work on gas, not electricity, you won’t need to hook them up to a battery or a power source.
Some gas tankless water heaters also feature an electric hookup, offering you more flexibility. Gas heaters are easier to connect compared to electric units, and they are generally stronger when it comes to their heating properties – but the electric versions can be used for a longer time – therefore, offering continuity.
This is because you will not have to stop midway to refill the propane tank when the gas runs out – and as a result, you can use the shower and other appliances without worrying about a “deadline”.
BTU stands for British Thermal Capacity – and it refers to the unit’s heating capacity. Depending on the area that you are planning to travel to, you may want to give this some serious consideration.
For instance, if you are going to a place where the water is generally very cold, the heater will not be able to completely heat the water. As a result, you will only end up with lukewarm water.
A product that hovers between 30,000 and 50,000 BTU every hour might not match the heat you get at home. However, you should not be disappointed in the event that it’s one or two degrees down.
This should be obvious, but you should also carefully consider the size of the water heater. If you have a very small trailer, then big tankless water heaters for RVs might not be a good solution for you. They will provide a fair amount of warm water – but if they are too big to fit in their design space, then it will look weird. It will be like having an RV attached to a water heater and not the other way around.
If possible, you might want to go for a more lightweight unit – since RVs are generally not very spacious. It will also depend on how many utilities you plan on using. For example, if you plan on using the shower, the kitchen sink, and the washer at the same time, then you might want to buy a bigger unit.
Good tankless water heaters for RVs will not only use less water when it comes to savings, but they will also use less fuel. We live in a time where we have to be energy-smart in order to help our planet – so a water heater that consumes everything, all the way to the money in your wallet, is not a good idea.
Technically speaking, tankless water heaters for RVs are the eco-friendly solution, since they won’t have to heat up the entire tank. Therefore, less energy will be used – and you will be able to save a bit on your budget.
You don’t have to blast your entire budget on a water heater. Having said that, you should not skimp on the price either – because there’s a reason why some units are fairly expensive.
Premium water heaters will be able to heat up more water at the same time. Therefore, you will be able to use more units. Furthermore, a more expensive unit will probably not leave you with lukewarm water that will make you not want to step into the shower.
With that being said, you should expect to pay somewhere around $500 and $1,000 for a decent water heater. You may come across even more expensive options with more premium features – but this will depend entirely on your budget.
Tankless water heaters for RVs are great. They can make your family members stop fighting over shower time, they can lower your bills – or they can simply make your daily life more energy efficient.
Needless to say, a tankless water heater is a must-have on every camping trip. You may be out in the wild, but this doesn’t mean you have to stink like a skunk (although skunks are cute…). Hopefully, our guide allowed you to find a suitable choice for your RV so that you can enjoy your camping trip.