GUIDE REVIEW Water Heaters

10 Best Tankless Water Heaters Review and Comparison 2017

If you are looking to get a new tankless water heater you have come to the right place. Why, you might be wondering? Well, because it’s one of our favorite things to talk about.

We know, we’re an exciting bunch over here but all jokes about how boring we are aside, you’re lucky we don’t get out much. Otherwise, you would be looking to get a water heater and no guide to help you and then where would you be? We don’t know but wherever it is, it would likely be full of cold shower. So, you’re welcome.

Here is a guide to help you through the time-consuming, and often stressful, the process of buying an expensive addition to your home. If you are on the lookout for the best darn tankless water heater on the market, we are here to help you find it.

10 Best Tankless Water Heaters

Comparison of the 10 Best Tankless Water Heaters on the Market

Brand Voltage Flow Rate Price
Rinnai RUC98iN 120 Volts 9.8 GPM Check Price
Westinghouse Residential 240 Volts 11.0 GPM Check Price
Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus 208/240 Volts 4.0 - 4.5 GPM Check Price
SuperGreen IR8000 220 Volts 4.6 GPM Check Price
Ecosmart ECO 36 240 Volts 3-8 GPM Check Price
EcoSmart ECO 27 240 Volts 3 – 6 GPM Check Price
Eccotemp i12-NG 120 Volts 3 GPM Check Price
Supergreen IR260 240 Volts 3 GPM Check Price
Ecosmart ECO MINI 120 Volts 2.5 GPM Check Price
BOSCH T 7-Gallon Mini-Tank 120V Check Price

Benefits of Buying the Best Water Heater

What is the best anyway? Well, there are a lot of ways you could try to break down all the things that can come together to make any product the best. But, for now, let’s start with some basics and discuss the benefits of a high-quality water heater.

No More Cold Showers: Well, not unless that’s what you are going for that is. But, if you get a good water heater with a big enough tank for your family size you will never have to worry about those cold mornings just because you were to slow on the draw and ended up last in the shower.

Lower Energy Costs: Increasing the efficiency of your water heater can save you a small fortune in the long run. Heating water runs a household about twenty percent of its monthly cost, so image how great it would be to diminish that figure.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Water Heater

A water tank can be a big expense and before you get in too deep, here are some factors to consider before you buy a new water heater.

What is Your Budget?: This one is pretty basic as it’s usually something you have to consider when it comes to buying any new product. First, you will need to figure out the budget you have to work with and decide what features are a priority to meet the needs of your family.

Ideally, you should be able to get everything you want, but if you can’t afford the latest and greatest, it is a good idea to organize your preferences on a list of importance.

Be sure to get familiar with the products so you can weigh the pros and cons of each option before you start looking. This will make it easier if you have to choose between options because you already know where your priorities lay and what you can afford

Storage Space: Yes, checking to see if you actually have the space to fit the heater you want is really important. Even if you are just getting a standard size you should double check to see if you have the space to accommodate it. But, never fear as there are other size options if you can’t fit a regular heater.

Different Types of Water Heaters: There are a few different types of water heaters to consider when looking to buy. Each one comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

BOSCH T 7-Gallon Electric Mini-Tank under Sink Water Heater
  • Storage Tank Water Heater

This is likely to be one type of water heater you are already familiar with as it is likely the one you currently have. It is the most popular of water tanks and are pretty simple to understand. Basically, this type of heater has a reservoir that heats up water and stores it for later use.

When the hot water is being used from the top of the tank cold water will enter at the bottom to ensure the tank is always full. This can use quite a bit of energy as the water is still being heated even when it isn’t being used.

This is known as standby loss and many modern storage water heaters have measures in place to reduce the amount of energy used to keep water heated. The amount of water that is stored is dependent on how many gallons your tank can hold at one time.

Depending on the size of your family you will have to go with a bigger heater so no one gets stuck in the cold during their morning showers. For one or two people, you should only need about thirty gallons, if your family size is four or greater you may need anywhere from fifty to eighty depending on your typical shower times.

 tankless water heater process
  • Tankless Water Heater

Also sometimes referred to as On-Demand water heaters and this type of heater does as the name suggests; heats water as you need it. Due to this style of heating you won’t need a water tank to store anything as it uses heated coils in order to heat the water and they are often more energy efficient.

They come with several types of fueling options such as electric, propane, and gas. Commonly these types of water heaters can generate up to three gallons of water per minute, limiting the amount of hot water you are able to get at a time.

  • Utility Water Heater

Or called point-of-use in some circles, this type of water heater uses a very small tank to preheat water much like the storage water heater units. These types of heaters are typically used for businesses and not usually for use in a home.

The only exception to this is when a home may have an extra bathroom that is located far from the main heater and the homeowner may still want to have hot water, though this is not a problem in the average household.

Fuel Source: The fuel source needed to run your water heater can make a big difference in the cost of using your heater. There are three basic options when it comes to the type of fuel you can use for your water heater and each one comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

If you use gas or propane fuel system for you water heater there are a few things to know about them. The benefit to gas being that you are likely to save more money than you would with an electric due to the higher rate of efficiency, however it does come with a small disadvantage.

In order for the pilot to burn it needs air circulation, meaning you can’t keep a lot cluttered around it and certainly nothing combustible. Also, you are likely to save more money than you would with an electric due to the higher rate of efficiency. Although, you aren’t stuck with gas if you don’t want to be. Another option you may want to consider is an electric water heater.

With electric you are likely to have higher water temperatures and can range in size from thirty gallons to upwards of eighty, so you can have lots of hot water at your disposal as well. And lastly there is still another option which is a hybrid. The upfront cost is higher than with electric heaters or gas, though they are the most efficient systems you can get. This will give you long term benefits and lower costs over time.

Quick Tips Before Buying the Water Heater

Because we are just feeling so helpful today, here are some additional tips to keep in mind before you make your final decision.

  • Do your research

Don’t get us wrong; it’s great that you trust us so much, but we can’t know everything about your individual situation. Although, on the bright side if you are reading this guide to begin with you’re already doing it right. Make sure you are very familiar with the terminology as well as all the options so when the time comes you are able to make an informed decision.

  • Does your home have hard water or do you use water softeners?

This actually makes a difference in the life of your heater, meaning two things. One being your current water heater might not have as much time left as you think it should because (two) hard water is, well… hard on your water heater. There is typically more sediment that can build up in the water heater and the wear caused by minerals in the water.

  • Be prepared

Don’t just wait until your water heater craps out to start looking for a new one. There are a lot of factors that can go into the heater failing and if that happens before you are ready to replace the heater you might have really cold problem on your hands. Don’t let a dead water heater rain on your parade and make sure you are prepared for the unexpected. Worst case scenario you over prepared, best case scenario you will have an emergency plan and have already done at least a little research.

  • Hire a professional to install your water heater

Plain and simple, don’t cut corners with this one. Otherwise you run the risk of ending up with a big mess on your hands, possible water damage to your house, and still having a non-functioning water heater. It’s simply not worth the risk for the sake of saving a few dollars.

  • Determine fuel efficiency

If you’ve been wondering just what an Energy Factor is then we’re here to help. Basically, it is a way to measure the fuel efficiency of the water heater. This number represents recovery efficiency or the efficiency of the fuel source to maintain the temperature of the water (how much fuel/energy is used to maintain or generate hot water). This also takes standby loss into consideration as well and the higher the number, the more efficient the machine is.

What is the Best Tankless Water Heater?

Well, now that we’ve gotten to know each other a little better how would you like to hear our recommendations for the best tankless water heaters? Whether you want to hear it or not that is the direction this guide is going, so you’d better brace yourself.

Rinnai RUC98iN Tankless Water Heater

First up on our list we have the Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater for your consideration. If you are looking to get away from the common storage device and save a little energy, this might be the water heater for you.

  • Tankless water heater
  • Uses natural gas
  • Compact design to save space
  • Low emissions
  • Save up to .95 energy factor
  • Heats water up to 140 degrees

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The Breakdown of Features

This is a tankless water heater, so the water is heated up on-demand with each use using natural gas. Rinnai has designed this heater to be as small as possible without losing any functionality in order to fit in tighter spaces. It produces low emissions and has an energy factor of .95, which is fairly high. It can heat water up to one-hundred and forty degrees in ideal conditions and will not have a problem with two or more faucets being used at the same time.

Rinnai RUC98iN Tankless Water Heater

The Advantages of the Water Heater

The biggest advantage this efficiency factor that usually comes with tankless water heaters. Since the water heater doesn’t have to waste energy keeping the reservoir of water warm you can easily save on energy costs. Additionally, since it heats water on-demand you can take long showers without having to worry about the water running cold on you half way through. This is a great product to add to a large household with lots of people using hot water daily, or if you simply want to save some money on your energy bill.

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

The biggest downside to this heater is the initial cost. Though Rinnai is a reliable manufacturer and worth the expense it might be a bit on the pricey side in the event of an emergency that you weren’t prepared for. There are cheaper options if you need to replace your water heater unexpectedly, though with a high energy factor this water heater will allow you to save in the long run. It really just comes down to your budget.

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Westinghouse Residential High-Efficiency Electric Water Heater

Next on our list we decided to change things up with this electric storage water heater, brought to you by Westinghouse.

  • Storage water heater
  • .90 energy factor
  • Stainless steel
  • Electric
  • Temperature control option

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The Breakdown of Features

For this entry, we chose the Westinghouse Residential High-Efficiency Electric Water Heater. You can see it is an electric storage heater with a .90 energy factor. It is made from stainless steel for durability and also features a temperature control option to keep the water temperature right where you want if to maximize efficiency. The steel used is 316L, which for those who don’t know is marine grade steel, design for use in the unforgiving conditions found in coastal regions, so you know it means business.

Westinghouse Residential High-Efficiency Electric Water Heater

The Advantages of the Water Heater

Though the energy factor isn’t quite as high as our previous entry, we would still like to take a moment and note that it is very high for this type of water heater. Storage heaters tend to require more energy, but Westinghouse has perfected this model to the point of giving a tankless heater a run for its money. You will also notice a significant decrease in initial cost, meaning if you are looking for something right away this could be the perfect quick buy. It also comes with a temperature control option to give better savings and more control over the energy your heater uses. And finally, you know it is a quality product made with stainless steel and so it will be resistant to corrosion and highly durable.

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

The only disadvantage with this water heater is since it is tankless it will have lower energy efficiency, though even sill the energy factor of this heater is very high for its type. Also, it has a lower upfront cost than most tankless heaters and might be just the thing you need if you find yourself in a pinch.

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Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus Electric Tankless Water Heater

Next up we have another tankless contender, only this time it is brought to us by Stiebel. The Tempra 29 Electric Water Heater comes from a familiar name in home heating and is known for its reliability.

  • Tankless water heater
  • Electric
  • Temperature control
  • Compact design to fit in smaller places
  • No venting needed
  • Control over water flow

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The Breakdown of Features

This water heater features a tankless on-demand water heating system with temperature controls and a compact design. It also features no need for venting and an option to control the pressure and water flow throughout your home.

The Advantages of the Water Heater

The primary advantage with this particular unit that we haven’t seen on this list before is twofold. We are already familiar with the advantage of a tankless water heater and the ability to control the temperatures when electricity is used to heat the water. However, since this is electric and not gas then it doesn’t need any kind of venting in order to function, nor do you have to worry about combustibles being kept too close, which will likely put your mind at greater easy. The other feature we have yet to see is the ability to control water flow to particular appliances throughout your home by using the flow control module.

Stiebel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

The only downside with deciding on this model is that there doesn’t seem to be any energy factor listed by the manufacturer. It is both electric and tankless so we would assume the energy consumption is low, though we would rest our minds easier with a statement by the company. Stiebel does state that you can save from ten to twenty percent on energy costs, though that is typical of any tankless heater.

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SuperGreen IR8000 Infrared Electric Tankless Water Heater

Manufactured by SuperGreen, the IR8000 is a tankless electric water heater that boasts a number of attractive features for a decent price. These features include the following:

  • Coilless technology
  • Quartz heating elements
  • 99% energy efficiency (thermal)
  • No direct contact

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The Breakdown of the Features

With 99% thermal energy efficiency, we also have to mention that there’s no corrosion possible, the elimination of calcium deposits, no metallic, and no maintenance required. Along with this, the quartz heating element ensures and promises longevity of the SuperGreen IR8000 electric tankless water heater. Beyond this, the max is 5.6 GPM, and the region inlet is 77F – the aforementioned allows for a commercial grade of tankless water heater for optimal results.

The Advantages of the Tankless Water Heater

One of the advantages of this product includes the quartz heating elements we mentioned. Of course, with any product, the goal is to do even research and spend just the right amount of money to ensure longevity long after the product is purchased. Because of the heating elements of quartz, this ensures durability and a long lasting tankless water heater. Being recycled, this is an eco-friendly option for your home.

SuperGreen IR8000 Infrared Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Disadvantages of the Tankless Water Heater

Unfortunately, there is a disadvantage to this product. Depending on the brand, some people enjoy having a water heater with a tank, than one without. While this is usually a decision that’s made before purchasing, it doesn’t affect the performance of the product unless you’re super nitpicky about every aspect. We have to say that the tankless option is a great go-to for those who are on a budget.

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Ecosmart ECO 36 36kw 240V Electric Tankless Water Heater

Our next contender is the Ecosmart ECO 36 36kw 240V Electric Tankless Water Heater and it proves big things can come in small packages. Features of the aforementioned include the following:

  • Tankless water heater.
  • Electric.
  • Temperature control.
  • Compact design.
  • Components made with copper and stainless steel.

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The Breakdown of Features

Once again, we see a tankless water heater that uses electricity as its fuel source, so you already know there will be some energy savings. It features temperature control and an extremely compact design that can really fit anywhere. The internal components are fashioned from both copper and stainless steel for years of easy use.

The Advantages of the Water Heater

The main advantage of this unit is its size. Now, I know we’ve talked about so compact designs on this list before but it doesn’t get any smaller than this. Seriously, we’ve seen fuse boxes bigger than this thing. But don’t let its small stature fool you, it can heat things up in your home with the best of them. If space if a top priority for you then this might be the tankless heater you are looking for.

Ecosmart ECO 36 36kw 240V Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

The downside to going with the Ecosmart ECO 36 36kw 240V Electric Tankless Water Heater is that it needs to be specially installed and it is likely that there will have to be some rewiring which can be costly. On the bright side the upfront cost of this unit is extremely low, so the money you save with this water heater can be invested into the cost of installation.

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EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater

Here we have another tankless water heater by Ecosmart, making it the first (and only) brand to appear twice on our list. Features of the EcoSmart include the following:

  • Tankless water heater.
  • Electric.
  • Temperature control.
  • Larger than the 36kw.
  • Components made with copper and stainless steel.

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The Breakdown of Features

Going radically in a different direction from its sister in the previous entry the EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater is one of the biggest you can get for this brand. Apart from that it still comes with all the same features as its much more compact relative, featuring temperature controls and durable materials.

The Advantages of the Water Heater

If size matters, then this is the giant you want from Ecosmart. The main advantage this water heater has to offer is size. Though it is larger than the 36kw model it is still a very compact water heater.

EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

The aforementioned model comes with many of the same advantages as the 36kw model it comes with the same disadvantages as well as you will likely have to get it specially installed and rewired.

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Eccotemp i12-NG Indoor Tankless Heater

If you are in the market for a super small, low price appliance for your small home then the Eccotemp might be just the thing you need. If you’re curious about the features, continue reading.

  • Tankless water heater.
  • Uses natural gas.
  • Temperature controls.
  • Compact design.

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The Breakdown of Features

This tankless heater uses natural gas and comes with fully automated temperature controls. It is on the lower end of the financial spectrum and designed for smaller homes. Because of this is has a compact design like the Ecosmart and the price makes it a contender.Eccotemp i12-NG Indoor Tankless Heater

The Advantages of the Water Heater

The biggest advantage this tank has to offer is the price. If you own a small home or trailer and don’t need a standard size heater (or can’t fit one) then this is probably the device you are looking for.

 

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

Unfortunately, the downside to this water heater is that it really wouldn’t work in a larger home and is ideal for something very small. Fortunately, if you have a small home you don’t need to shell out the extra money for anything any larger than this, so the upfront savings with the energy savings could be a real plus.

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Supergreen IR260 POU Infrared Electric Tankless Water Heater

Next on our list we have the perfect addition to your business or small office. The Supergreen IR260 POU is designed for simple tasks like heating water in a sink to wash your hands.

  • Tankless water heater.
  • Electric styled water heater
  • Uses quartz instead of coil.

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The Breakdown of Features

Once again, we see a compact tankless water heater that runs off electricity to give you some serious savings. Instead of using a metal coil it uses the high conductivity found in quartz for a long-lasting product that will heat your water quickly every time.

Supergreen IR260 POU Infrared Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Advantages of the Water Heater

The biggest advantage this unit has to offer is that it is the bare minimum of what you need to give your business a steady flow of hot water. Additionally, Supergreen has captured the high conductivity of quartz to heat the water with electricity, rather than a metal coil. Quartz is significantly harder to corrode and doesn’t rust, unlike the metal coils often used for these products.

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

This unit is not designed for use in a home at all, making it ideal for your small office. While this is both an advantage and a disadvantage, for those who aren’t looking for one for a small office (in a corporate building), we suggest looking elsewhere.

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Ecosmart ECO MINI 2.5-Gallon 120V Water Heater

Once again, we see Ecosmart popping up on our list, only this time it is a completely different type then we’ve seen from this company before. Features of the aforementioned include the following:

  • Storage water heater.
  • Holds 2.5 gallons.
  • Easy installation.
  • Pressure-release valve included.

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The Breakdown of Features

The prices just keep on dropping, and this EcosmartMini is no exception. It is a storage water heater so you will be increasing your standby energy loss in order to keep the water warm. However, the small tank should diminish that loss significantly. This water heater is very easy to install and comes with a pressure release valve.

The aforementioned tank holds 2.5 gallons at one time, and provides optimal storage as a water heater. With easy installation and a pressure release valve included, you’re all set to go and use once you get this water tank in your house.Ecosmart ECO MINI 2.5-Gallon 120V Water Heater

The capacity is attractive in comparison with other models on the market from competitors, and we believe this is a great choice for the average 2-3 person household. Those that have larger families may want a larger capacity, but this one will suffice.

The Advantages of the Water Heater

The biggest advantage this water heater has over the other small heaters is how easy it is to install. We know we mentioned earlier that you always want to get a professional to install your heater, but if there is an exception to that rule this would be it. Simply hook it up to your water line under your sink and you are good to go. No rewiring or recirculation required, just quick and easy hot water.

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

The downside to this heater, like many mini heaters, is that the tank is too small to heat large amounts of water, and with only a two-and-a-half-gallon tank you will only be able to use this for sinks and not showers.

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BOSCH T 7-Gallon Electric Mini-Tank under Sink Water Heater

Last on our list we have this BOSCH T 7 Gallon Mini Tank Water Heater. Features of the aforementioned include the following:

  • Storage water heater.
  • 7-gallon tank.
  • Electric.
  • Comes with wall brackets.

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The Breakdown of Features

Bring up the end of the list we have one more mini heater. The Bosch mini heater has a seven-gallon reservoir and runs off electricity. It also includes the brackets if you choose to hang it on the wall, though it can be floor mounted as well.

BOSCH T 7-Gallon Electric Mini-Tank under Sink Water Heater

The Advantages of the Water Heater

Again, one of the biggest advantages to this mini heater is how easy it is to install and the size of the tank. It can easily be installed under your sink or mounted on the wall as the unit includes the brackets to do so. This is ideal for smaller spaces like an office or small business, however with the seven-gallon tank you could hook it up to a small low-pressure shower as well, though you may want to keep them short.

The Disadvantages of the Water Heater

The only disadvantage with this water heater is that, like many mini heaters, you would not want to use it for the main hot water supply in your home. However, if you have a sauna with a shower or a small office in need of clean hands this would be a perfect addition to either of those environments.

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The Final Thought

Though we have had a lot of fun here today, it is time to bring our list to an end and decide which the best water heater is. Of course, a lot of this comes down to personal preference and specific needs we are going to go with the first one we discussed; the Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater due to its high functionality and high energy factor. If you are looking for the best water heater (tankless) to heat your whole home with a large family, this is the one you want to go with. And even if your household isn’t that big, welcome to the world of the hour shower.

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