In this article, we look at the top gas tankless water heater reviews. We will check out the best hot water options available, 50 gallon, 40 gallon and natural heaters.
For people living in cold regions, hot water is a necessity. Likewise, some simply prefer a hot bath over a cold one to start their day. Regardless, what’s important is a reliable source of hot water — and a gas-powered water heater might just be the answer.
Water heaters aren’t unusual to find in households, but finding the right one varies from one person to another. These appliances differ in price, construction, and in features. To help you out, we’ve gathered five of the best gas water heaters available in the market.
Gas Water Heater Reviews 2018
Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP Propane Indoor Tankless Water Heater
Our first top pick comes from Takagi — and it’s a small model packing quite a bit of power. The T-KJr2-IN-LP heater weighs a mere 38 pounds, but it has a maximum British Thermal Unit (BTU) of 140,000. The recovery rate is impressive, especially when comparing it to 100-gallon storage tank heaters sporting a BTU of about 90,000.
The compact design makes the Takagi heater suitable for use in houses and apartments having up to two bathrooms. Simply mount the machine on a wall — you can even use it for underfloor heating during the colder months. The maximum 6.6 GPM guarantees a steady flow of hot water in a couple of outlets. Still, the flow rate understandably decreases by more than 50 percent to just 3.0 during the coldest months.
Moreover, the inclusion of both inlet and outlet thermistors is commendable. These features help maintain the gas heater by displaying both the temperature and the energy output. Do note that it can only run using propane gas.
- Remote control for conveniently adjusting the preferred water temperature
- Impressive 140,000 BTU and 6.6 GPM
- Energy Factor (EF) at about 0.80 proves its stellar energy efficiency
- The heating process is immediately discontinued once the temperature goes past the limit
- Built with protection from freezing and electrical surges
- No labor or parts warranty
- 10-year product warranty falls below the usual industry duration lasting up to 15 years
The Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP is a smart and energy efficient choice if you want to save on space. The recovery rate is impressive for its type, and the safety features work well. You can install this on your own using the detailed manual, but the best option is to hire a professional since an erroneous assembly can make the Takagi gas water heater unqualified for the warranty.
Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater
Our second pick is another tankless model. The stark difference between the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP and this Rinnai Water Heater is the latter’s maximum BTU of 199,000. Plus, this will work whether you use natural gas or propane. It weighs 61.7 pound, which is double that of the Takagi model. Still, its dimensions resembling more or less a suitcase ensure that indoor installation won’t be a hassle.
Rinna acknowledges the environmental harm of using gas-powered appliances, so the company reduced emissions and utilized recyclable components. Wasted energy is prevented not only because of the tankless characteristic but also because of the electronic ignition. Thus, you don’t have to worry about a constantly burning pilot light.
Sensors located inside effectively identify any passing cold water. Likewise, burners activate the heat exchange in order for the water to reach the preferred temperatures before it goes out of the heater pipes. Both residential and commercial models have warranties, but the latter understandably has a shorter duration.
- Energy efficiency is assured with an Energy Factor going as high as 0.96
- 12-year residential warranty, 5-year parts warranty, and a one-year labor warranty
- Significantly low amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions
- Minimal noise during heating operations
- Savings on maintenance since every part is replaceable
- Occasional but minor delays of water flowing through the tap
- Maintenance must be done by Rinnai-certified workers to keep the warranty valid
The Rinnai RUC98iN is a prime example of what a tankless gas what heater can do. There’s a good balance between size and power — enough for large houses. Water temperatures can reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit, with the commercial variant going even further at 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Lastly, you can pick between concentric or PVC vents.
Excel Tankless Gas Water Heater
For people who like camping, boating, or traveling in an RV, there’s this model. Unlike other water heaters, the Excel doesn’t require a pump to reach 20 psi to operate. A mere 2 psi will get this tankless model working, although the pressure can go as high as 120 psi. This low-pressure activation is made possible by the magnetic flow sensor. Still, two batteries are included to serve as a backup.
In addition, this only weighs 12 pounds, making it one of the lightest gas water heaters out there. The contemporary design complements the standard mobile home or studio apartment. This is built without the need for any vents whatsoever, so installation can be done without spending more on flues and tubes.
Instead, the Energy Star-certified Excel Heater contains an Oxygen Depletion Safety (ODS) pilot light. If any sort of gas is released into the air, the machine gets shut off to prevent the severe reduction of available oxygen.
- Control knob allows for slowing down the flow rate to accommodate cold water measuring 40 degrees Fahrenheit
- Oxygen-free pure copper material promotes thermal efficiency and durability
- ODS pilot light guarantees around 20 percent reduction in gas expenses
- Comes with a gas line adapter for those who already have a gas line
- Best used for a single outlet despite being capable of multiple points
- Included batteries are not rechargeable
The Excel Tankless Gas Water Heater is arguably one of the best models for people in the outdoors or in RVs — and it’s a good option for a secondary heating appliance in a small house or apartment. We like the addition of backup batteries, but it would’ve been better if they were rechargeable. Still, the fact that this works without a flue makes installation in various areas easier.
Camplux 5L 1.32 GPM Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater
The fourth gas water heater is as portable as the Excel model — both even have backup batteries and the ODS technology for a safe indoor installation. One slight difference is that it needs 2.5 psi instead of 2.0 to work. Second, the maximum psi is 10 points lower at 110. There are also individual knobs for convenient flow rate and temperature adjustments.
Furthermore, the Camplux 5L 1.32 Heater has a foldable handle for an easier outdoor installation. The average GPM is 1.32, which is just enough for single-outlet use. What’s special about the Camplux Water Heater is how it can be implemented on a modified water system. In particular, a 12-volt water pump would pose no problems in performance.
- Capable of heating water up to 114.8 degrees Fahrenheit or as low as 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Protection against fire and freezing for outdoor adaptability
- Package includes shower hose, garden hose, and accessories needed for installation
- Plastic-coated wires for safe handling
- Negligible noise output
- Heating performance is considerably affected by the higher the altitude you are in
- A possibility of minor leaks when traversing rough terrain
The Camplux 5L 1.32 Water Heater is a noteworthy contender for being the best outdoor or mobile model. As a word of caution, however, installation should be done with utmost precision — the heater could catch fire if the gasket, adapter, and the regulator are improperly placed.
Still, it’s reassuring to note that the propane gas for this heater has an approval from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Lastly, you can always get a storage tank if you’d like to store heated water on the road.
Takagi T-K4-IN-LP Propane Indoor Tankless Water Heater
Finally, here’s a second Takagi water heater. The T-K4 IN-LP model is considerably bigger and more powerful, but both feature thermistors for detecting the water temperature moving in and out. An internal freeze is also prevented with a protection system that works once the temperature goes below 36.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Likewise, the maximum BTU is 190,000 — a full 50,000 more than the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP variant. The Energy Factor remains more or less the same at 0.82. On the other hand, the maximum GPM clocks in at 8.0. Such a high flow rate enables the water heater to serve multiple outlets with relative ease.
Thus, owners of four-bathroom properties and those with medium-sized homes in need of radiant floor heating will appreciate this two-pipe heater. Homes in colder regions should just settle for up to three outlets at the same time, however.
- Computer chip automatically shuts down the heater once it detects a problem
- Self-diagnosis feature with a red LED indicator for easier maintenance
- Provides a 15-year residential warranty and a 10-year commercial warranty
- Vent-free installation reduces overall expenses
- Flame and water flow sensors for consistency in operations
- Limited to indoor installation
- The package doesn’t include a pressure relief valve
If you have a sizable property, this is the best gas water heater for you. A model with a 190,000 maximum BTU and an 8.0 GPM ensures a quick provision of hot water across multiple outlets. Moreover, Takagi clearly prioritized safety through sensors that malfunction, freezing, and excessive heat. As a bonus, there’s a remote control for conveniently adjusting the water temperature.
Why Choose a Gas Water Heater
There are various types, but water heaters are commonly powered by electricity, gas, or a combination of both. So, why pick the gas-powered variant? We have to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each type to find an answer.
Great Size Range
A hybrid water heater usually has a size range of 50 to 80 gallons. In this aspect, both electric and gas-powered types are better with their ranges going from 30 to 100 gallons. Thus, there should be a gas water heater perfectly sized for a small studio apartment or a sprawling suburban house.
A Balance of Cost and Efficiency
The electric type is the most affordable option while hybrids have the highest price tags. However, gas water heaters are more efficient compared to the electric type. Likewise, it’s cheaper than a hybrid. A high-end electric heater offers more efficiency than cheaper models, but a regular gas type can already reduce utility expenses by a hundred dollars.
Plus, gas is still a more affordable option than electricity in most cases. In other words, the front end cost of a gas model is decent — and it does well in terms of energy efficiency. To know the specific numbers on annual operating costs and efficiency, you just have to check the yellow tag featuring EnergyGuide label.
Speedy Recovery Time
On a related note, a gas water heater can do the job twice or even thrice as fast as a conventional electric model. If an electric type can heat 40 gallons of water in an hour, the gas-powered heater will accomplish 80 gallons. When you combine the fast heating time with the cheap cost of gas, you can end up with thousands of dollars in annual savings compared to using an electric model.
Of course, there are disadvantages to take into consideration. In some cases, installation costs can be higher than those of electric models. Second, there is always the risk of a gas-powered appliance malfunctioning and causing extensive damage.
Like with any household appliance, proper maintenance is necessary. The lifespan of electric and gas models are quite similar — ranging from eight to 13 years — but you can expect 20 years if you choose a tankless model regardless if it’s powered by electricity or gas.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Gas Water Heater
If you’ve decided on acquiring a gas-powered heater, you must be aware of certain characteristics. The following factors will aid you in finding the right model for your budget and property.
Differentiating water heaters isn’t only based on power source. These heaters come in many forms.
Storage Tank Water Heater
The most common type is the storage tank, which is characterized by an insulated tank. Some models use liquid propane while others rely on natural gas. Both of these types are more energy efficient and affordable than an electric model.
Tankless Gas Water Heater
Otherwise known as an on-demand heater, this one doesn’t store any of the water. Instead, it wholly focuses on heating up the water through several pipes in the machine. Tankless models are significantly more energy efficient than storage tanks.
However, a tankless gas heater isn’t ideal for people in need of a lot of hot water as fast as possible. The flow rate of the typical model results to more or less 3.5 gallons every minute whether you’re using natural gas or liquid propane — making this impractical if hot water is needed in at least two occasions at a time. Still, this limitation isn’t an issue if you just want a relatively slow yet steady provision of hot water.
Utility Gas Water Heater
Also known as a point-of-use heater, this type opts for a small tank instead of becoming tankless. The tank can contain as little as 2.5 gallons and as much as 19 gallons. Due to these amounts, a utility water heater is usually chosen for use in outbuildings, secondary bathrooms, and even garages.
Mobile Home Gas Water Heater
As its name implies, such a heater is specifically designed for mobile homes. Remember to check the measurements since the average mobile home entrance isn’t as big as the door opening of a regular house.
The location is of utmost importance when choosing a model of this type. Get a sealed combustion heater if you will place the machine in an area where outside access is impossible.
A sealed combustion heater has a pipe to take in air from the outside. The air is then used to burn the natural gas or liquid propane. Moreover, any of the exhaust substances are sent outside using the second pipe — ensuring that the water-heating process doesn’t affect the air in your mobile home.
If you intend to get a heater with a storage tank, you must consider the number of people. A family of two to four people should have between 30 to 40 gallons in the heater tank. For households with five or more people, the minimum capacity should be 50 gallons.
3) Flow Rate
The flow rate should be in accordance with the household size and the average demand for hot water on any given day. If multiple people require hot water at the same time, the recovery rate must be high enough.
Always check the label for the GPM, which stands for gallons per minute. The GPM should be at least 4.0 if you have a tub. Kitchen sinks and washing machines can go with just 2.0 GPM. A shower would require 3.0 GPM. If hot water is needed in the tub and kitchen sink, the gas heater must have at least 6.0 GPM.
And there you have it — five of the best gas water heaters you won’t regret buying. There’s always a model that will work out for you. Some are ideal for small apartments while others are designed for outdoor use or mid-sized residential properties. Whatever the case, it’s important to be informed and look into the performance and safety of a gas-powered heater.