Many recreation vehicles (RVs) come with a small storage water heater; typically the tank is about 6 gallons. The obvious problem with that is that 6 gallons doesn’t last very long. The other problem is the recycle time – it takes additional hours to heat up another tank of water.
Problem: You may not even be able to complete a single shower with hot water, let alone leaving hot water for others to shower.
Solution: A Tankless water heater in your RV can solve the problem of limited hot water, and eliminate recycle time to heat up water.
Why a tankless water heater is a good choice for a RV?
An on-demand water heater is more efficient and convenient than a storage tank water heater. You will be using less resources (propane or electricity) to make hot water with a tankless system:
- It provides on-demand hot water with minimum wait time.
- It can heat water either with LPG or with electricity or even both at the same time.
- It uses less space. A tankless system consumes much less valuable space on your RV.
- Lighter. Tankless RV and is about one third lighter. It is especially helpful when you climb those steep hills.
- It is often more efficient and cheaper to operate than storage tank water heaters.
Our top pick LPG and Electric tankless water heaters for RV:
Bosch Tronic 3000T Electric Tankless Water Heater
Model: Bosch Tronic 3000T electric tankless water heater.
Installation type: On-demand electric water heater for point of use or RV.
Flow rate: Low-medium-demand 4 GPM, suitable for two sinks or a small cabin.
Dimension: 13.75″ W x 13.75″ H x 13.5″ D
Weight: 17.4 lbs.
Wattage: 1440 watts.
Bulb voltage: 120 volts.
This Tronic 3000T electric tankless runs on the smart and efficient thermo-technology made famous by Bosch. Yes, this point-of-use unit is 98% energy efficient and no stand-by loss. And, it has an excellent temperature regulating mechanism to prevent scalding and thermal shock.
Why choose a Bosch Tronic 3000T? Here are the top features and benefits:
- Mounting location. This unit can be wall or floor mounted, and, the brackets are included.
- Ultra-compact and lightweight. A simple and attractive design at any visible location.
- Easy to install. 36-37” cord plugs into a 120V outlet – a convenient independent installation.
- Two great applications. It can be installed directly at the sink to provide hot water by tapping into the cold water line. Or, it can be used as an in-line with a larger hot water source.
- Energy saving with 98% thermal efficiency. This thermostatic unit will switch the elements on and off to maintain a constant outlet temperature.
- Easy to maintain – this tank has premium glass-lined material for durability and longevity.
- Safety. This unit has a temperature pressure relief valve.
- Use Teflon tape for sealing pipe threads. Do NOT use pipe dope.
- After the unit has been plumbed in and before you wire it, flush it with water to remove any debris.
- If you are installing this unit to supply a sink, we recommend that you use a faucet aerator.
This Bosch Tronic 3000T electric tankless water heater (view on Amazon) has been on our best seller list for under-sink tankless, and electric tankless for RV since 2015. This thermostatic unit wins in its simple design, easy to manage temperature range, safety and durability. This energy-saving and space-saving Bosch is a great choice in your point-of-use application.Note: This Bosch 3000T is available in flow rate of 2.5 GPM, 4.0 GPM or 7.0 GPM.
Eccotemp i12-LP 4.0 GPM Propane Tankless Water Heater
Model: Eccotemp i12-LP Propane Tankless Water Heater
Type: On-demand LPG Tankless water heater for an RV or small cabin/home applications
Flow rate: 4 GPM. It can supply two low-flow shower heads simultaneously
Demand type: Low-medium-demand, most suitable for an RV or cabin/cottage
The Eccotemp i12-LP Water Heater is a great whole home LPG powered tankless water heater for a smaller home or RV. It also comes in a natural gas model, but here we focus on the LPG model that would be suitable for RVs or other locations (like vacation cabins, cottages, and smaller homes) that do not have natural gas service. This unit has a rated 4 GPM flow capacity; Hot water capacity range: 0.6 – 4.8 GPM (depending on temperature). The maximum / minimum gas consumption rate while operating is 25,000 – 80,000 BTUs.
Why choose an Eccotemp i12-LP? Here are the top features and benefits:
- Sleek black tempered glass styling
- LED temperature display that shows output temperature and GPM flow
- Fully automatic temperature controls
- Energy saving mode, uses only 2 watts while idle
- Child locking technology
- This model also offers a 35-40 degree Fahrenheit temperature rise when operating at a flow rate of 3 GPM and a 77-degree Fahrenheit temperature rise at 1.5 GPM
- Comes with a horizontal stainless steel vent kit, ready to install
- 110-volt UL listed power cord for the internal exhaust fan and digital display
The Eccotemp i12-LPG Tankless Water Heater (view on Amazon) has the flow rate to support a cabin or small house, so it clearly has more than enough capacity for an RV. You should be aware that it requires a very small amount of 110V power while it is operating even in stand-by mode. This heater is designed to mount on an outside wall and vent directly behind the unit and through the wall; make sure that have a 110V power supply and can vent the unit as directed.
Eccotemp L10 2.6 GPM Portable Tankless Water Heater
Model: Eccotemp L10 2.6 GPM Portable Tankless Water Heater
Demand type: Low-demand LPG Tankless water heater for an RV or small home applications
Flow rate: 2.6 GPM.
Demand type: Low-medium-demand, most suitable for an RV or cabin/cottage
Whether you’re RVing with the family, camping, spending a day at the lake, or lounging around the pool, sometimes a nice hot shower is what you want. With this Eccotemp L10 tankless propane water heater, simply attach a garden hose and a propane tank and you are guaranteed to enjoy the luxury of instant and endless hot water anywhere. The Eccotemp L10 is perfect for your RV, campsite, cabin, or anywhere around the house. Wash your car (or your horse!), wash your boat, or take a hot shower–and the Eccotemp L10 will help make your daily tasks much easier. You can also add the Eccotemp L10 to a pressure washer for an even better cleaning. The ideal operating range for the Eccotemp L10 is 20-80 PSI. It is compatible with 12 volt pumps and works perfectly with the EccoFlo Pump & Strainer.
Why choose an Eccotemp i12-LP? Here are the top features and benefits:
- Lightweight, easy to carry, and compact, making it great tankless water heater for RVs, camping, off-grid use, washing your pets and outdoor showers.
- Runs on any standard LPG tank, including a 20 lb. portable Liquid Propane tank.
- No pilot light–2 “D” cell batteries power an electronic ignition, making it ideal for off-grid use.
- Features a safety shut off that is activated when the unit runs longer than 20 minutes or is tilted more than 45 degrees in either direction.
- Low 20 PSI activation pressure.
- Includes: gas regulator and hose, showerhead, garden hose adapter, & output water quick connect.
- May be permanently attached to water source or it is easy to connect to any standard garden hose.
- Rated at 2.6 GPM of hot water output.
- Operational temperature range of 50° – 140°F.
The Eccotemp L10 2.6 GPM Portable Tankless Water Heater (view on Amazon) is a super portable solution for your RV, campsite, poolside, or just around the house. Powering the electronic ignition via D-cell batteries and connections to standard garden hoses and propane tanks make this a truly portable propane tankless water heater.
Camplux BD158 1.58GPM outdoor propane gas tankless water heater
Model: Camplux BD158 1.58GPM outdoor propane gas tankless water heater
Demand type: Low demand, most suitable for camp sites or outdoor hot water application
Dimension: 11.61″ x 4.33″ x 17.32″
Weight: 15.9 pounds
Flow rate: 1.58 GPM.
Voltage: 3 volts
Water pressure: 2.8 – 110 PSI
Max power output: 41,000 btu/hour
Camping with our family and pets is one of the best experiences in life! We all appreciate a hot shower after a fun day of trekking. And, your pet too would appreciate a hot water shower after a long hike.
So, what do you need to make hot water showers available at your campsite? You just need a tank of propane, a garden water hose (to connect to your water supply) and this Camplux BD158, you are in business. If you are off-grid and have no electricity – no worries. Because, this Camplux does not require a pilot light – it uses two D cell batteries for the ignition.
Tip: : This Camplux system also works great on modified water systems such as a 12 volt pump. Reference 12V water pump model – Camplux JK-3206 (View on Amazon) .
This Camplux BD158 model has a flow rate of 1.58 GPM – sufficient on-demand rate for showering your pets or your boat. The ideal operating range for this CAMPLUX tankless is 2.8 – 110.0 PSI. This unit has CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certification, anti-freezing protection, oxygen depletion safety shutoff protection, and it is energy efficient.
Why choose Camplux 1.58GPM outdoor propane tankless water heater? Here are the top features and benefits:
- Portable and light weight
- Runs on liquid propane
- No pilot light – uses two D cell batteries to power an electronic ignition. Note: each D battery gives you 1.5 volts. Since you add these two batteries in “series”, you have 3.0 volts.
- Low PSI activation pressure – it can function with 2.8 PSI of water pressure.
- Flow rate of 1.58 GPM – sufficient on-demand rate for campsite applications such as outdoor showers or washing your pets, boats, etc.
- It comes with gas regulator and hose, showerhead, garden hose adapter, and output water quick connect.
- Safety features: auto shut-off after 20 minutes, anti-freezing protection, and oxygen depletion safety shutoff protection.
- 1-year limited warranty by manufacturer
This Camplux BD158 1.58GPM outdoor LPG tankless water heater (view on Amazon) is portable and light-weight – a great tankless solution at campsite, a small cabin or any outdoor washing applications. We also like its sleek design, especially the stainless foldable handle – easy to carry and beautiful to look at.
Its functionalities are on-point: low PSI activation, no pilot light needed, auto safety shut-off and anti-freeze protection. Flow-rate of 1.58 GPM – good enough for outdoor showers or washing your boat. We also like that it includes a gas regulator and hose, shower-head and garden hose adapter.
Girard 2GWHAM LPG Tankless Water Heater
Model: Girard 2GWHAM LPG Tankless Water Heater.
Type: On-demand LPG Tankless water heater for an RV or small cabin/home applications.
Flow rate: Low-medium-demand 1.5 GPM variable. Microprocessor controls the temperature of the heated water and monitors the incoming water temperature and flow rate.
Dimension: 17.80 x 14.60 x 14.50 Inches
Weight: 10 lbs.
Girard is leader in the RV Industry’s Green Technology movement. This Girard unit is designed to conserve your RV’s LPG and water.
This model offers top-of-the-line functionality and efficiency. It is Easy to operate, durable and recyclable.
This 2GWHAM features an onboard micro-processor that:
- Monitors the flow rate.
- Manage the temperature of the incoming cold water and outgoing hot water.
- Maintain your preferred, comfortable water temperature at a constant, steady flow. This is an important safety feature, as the water temperature can be set at a safe but comfortable level for all, including children.
This Girard has a state-of-the-art digital controller. It is mounted on the interior wall, shows the operating status and allows for temperature setting from 95°F to 124°F.
Why choose a Girard 2GWHAM LPG? Here are the top features and benefits:
- Design specifically for RV use.
- Microprocessor control of water temperature.
- Fully automatic digital temperature controls.
- Regulates the burner to maintain the set hot water temperature.
- 42,000 BTUs which provides the optimum performance for an RV’s plumbing.
- Frugal 12V power requirements, less than 3A.
- Anti-freeze cycle protects the unit from freezing.
- Generally, no special LPG lines are needed.
The Girard 2GWHAM LPG Tankless Water Heater (view on Amazon) is built specifically for RV use. It has a good flow rate to supports an RV’s hot water needs. Although the unit heats water with LPG, you should be aware that it requires 3A of 12-volt power. This heater’s small size is designed to fit into the small tank water heater space of an RV.
You should know that it generally requires the purchase of an appropriately sized outer door. As always, double check that you have the space and appropriate LPG and electric connections.
Precision Temp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater
Model: Precision Temp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater.
Installation: Wall Vented.
Type: On-demand LPG Tankless water heater for RVs, trailers, tiny houses, cabins.
Dimension: 13.5″ W x 13.5″ D x 14.25″ H
Weight: 32 lb.
Flow rate: 1 GPM optima.
Demand type: Low demand, most suitable for an RV or a small cottage.
The Precision Temp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater is designed to be an easy replacement water heater for a small tank or tankless water heater in an RV.
It is powered by propane or LPG, and it requires about 1.5 A of electrical power as well.
Tip: During the winter month, use 3 amps when the cold weather protection is activated.
This tankless RV water heater is made to install easily and to vent through the side wall. This unit takes about half as much space as a 10 gallon tank, so it generally fits with little or no modification in most RVs.
Why choose a Precision Temp RV-550 ? Here are the top features and benefits:
- Endless hot water in your RV on-demand.
- Designed specifically for RVs, it can easily be retrofitted to your RV.
- Vent through the sidewall as is usual with RVs.
- Takes only half the space and weighs one third as much as a typical 10-gallon storage tank water heater.
- Energy saving – no pilot light.
- VariFlame technology control system is reliable and proven and provides true automatic gas modulation. This means that it self-adjusts the gas usage based on variations in water flow and incoming water temperatures.
- 55,000 BTUs (largest among competitors)
- Optimal flow 1 GPM.
- Built-in freeze protection for four-season use
Tip: In order for this unit to function in the cold winter months, your 12 volt and gas supply must remain on. Why? This allows the electric elements to protect the system when it is at freezing temperature.
The Precision Temp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater (view on Amazon) will easily support the hot water needs of your RV. It comes with your choice of white painted, black painted, or unpainted aluminum door. Installation is a breeze for most RV retrofits or other trailer or tiny house installations. If you are retrofitting this unit, check the size and water and LPG fittings. Requires 12 volt power; can use a 110v to 12v converter.
FAQ: Is a tankless water heater more expensive than a tank water heater for a RV?
Let’s look at an example here: if you opt for a larger 10 gallon hot water storage tank water heater on your RV, a typical cost might be about $800. For another $200 you could choose a propane tankless hot water heater. So, a tankless water heater is about 25% more expansive than a tank water heater.
However, it is cheaper to operate a tankless, and it is faster to heat up hot waters when you need it.
- With an RV, you could either spend time in campgrounds with RV hookups or in areas far from hookups. Some RV tankless water heaters can be operated from electricity (if a hookup is available) or from the LPG tank on your RV.
- The obvious advantage of an electrical tankless heater is that your water heating capacity is not limited by the size of your LPG tank. So you can preserve the LPG you have for more remote locations.
- Conversely, an LPG tankless water heater for your RV allows you to have hot water in even the most remote location.
- In fact, some tankless RV water heaters can operate on both fuels simultaneously to provide rapid heating and a higher hot water flow rate.
Checklist for a RV Tankless water heater:
Considerations when choosing a RV tankless water heater include the size of your water tank, whether you can have endless water through the hookup at your parking site, and whether the electrical service provided through your hookup has sufficient capacity to power your electrical tankless heater.
Here’s a helpful checklist to consider before purchasing an on-demand water heater for a RV:
- Gas or Electric.
- Input Water Temperatures.
- Warranty and Service.
The most important choice is whether to use gas (LPG) or electricity to heat your water. That will primarily depend on how you use your RV and what sources you have available. The likely choice will be LPG (Propane or Butane) so you can take your ability to heat water with you.
Will the tankless RV water heater fit the space you have available?
If you are replacing an existing water heater, your new tankless water heater should vent in the same position as your existing heater. Changing the vent position is possible but can involve expensive and time-consuming modifications to your RV.
Ideally you would like to find a tankless water heater that is compatible with existing water and LPG fittings. While a wide range of adapters are available, you can save substantial time and frustration by purchasing a tankless RV water heater that closely matches the fittings already in your RV.
How much hot water do you use? In general, 1.5 GPM for your shower head; 0.5 GPM for hand sink. So, match up the capacity of the system to your needs.
Colder water entering your water heater will require greater heating capacity to achieve desired output temperatures. Where is your water storage tank? What is the ambient temperature where you usually park?
Now that you’ve narrowed the field to those tankless water heaters that are compatible with your RV and your needs, pay particular attention to the quality of the appliance. Read our reviews and others. Select materials that resist corrosion and will not “burn out” with use.
Prices can vary substantially. In general. plan for about $200 for a 2.0 GPM tankless and $350 for a 3 GPM unit.
Depending on your usage, warranty length and what is covered can be important. Also, how easily can you get any required service as you travel.
Tip: When you install your new tankless RV water heater, assemble your tools, observe all safety precautions (especially with LPG), and install your endless hot water supply for your RV!
Recap: top-rated on-demand water heaters for RV
|Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Tronic 3000...||$400.00 $192.39||View on Amazon|
|Eccotemp i12-LP water heater, 4 GPM, Black||$490.00 $369.00||View on Amazon|
|CAMPLUX ENJOY OUTDOOR LIFE BD158 1.58GPM Outdoor...||$189.99||View on Amazon|
|GIRARD 2GWHAM Tankless Water Heater||$719.70 $614.41||View on Amazon|
|PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater - Wall...||$1,245.00||View on Amazon|
With a tank of propane, a garden water hose to connect to your water supply, and two D cell batteries, you are ready to provide hot water to your family and pets at your campsite!
Check out our Tankless water heaters for home use