Our team spent hundreds of hours analyzing and testing the best propane tankless water heaters and you have every reason to trust the recommendations shared below. As a policy, we never accept free product from the manufacturers; we purchase all products using our own money. As such, our reviews are honest and accurate; you can rest assured that each of the propane water heaters mentioned here passed a stringent test where we compared factors like maintenance, gas consumption, freeze protection, installation costs, and so on. Not to mention that we consulted independent professionals like plumbers and engineers to hear their take on their experience with propane tankless water heaters. Seeing that there are so many brands in the market, it’s only prudent that you acquaint yourself with a thing or two about some of the leading products out there.
What should you consider before buying a propane tankless water heater?
Forget about all the sweet marketing language. Truth is that all these water heaters require regular maintenance; it’s just the frequency that varies. The hotter the water, the more the maintenance. Heat energy inside the heater separates calcium from water and with time, scale deposits form on the wall or on the shower head. Preferably, get a water heater that comes with internal software to help you monitor the scale deposit levels. If this technology is absent in the product you’re using, schedule annual maintenance with a professional plumber just to be on the safe side.
Your propane tankless water heater needs propane or natural gas to power the circuitry and fire up the burners. Some can still guarantee you a hot shower even when power abruptly goes off. It all depends on the gallons of water the tank can hold, and what was remaining before the power went off. A standard tankless water heater can hold up to 50 gallons of Hot water, meaning that even after a power blackout you can still have a hot shower or two.
- Freeze protection:
These can be put either indoors or outdoors. While indoor models may be safe from freezing, they take up much space. If you decide to go for an outdoor heater, make sure that power is always on when it’s freezing or during low temperatures so that the internal electric heater can function.
Some of these are notoriously noisy even when placed outdoors. Others produce harmful fumes and have to be strictly installed outdoors. A good water heater is one that’s energy efficient and doesn’t make so much noise.
Quick Tip: Limescale deposition in your tankless water heater is often dependent on how hard or soft your water is. Investing in a water softener is a smart way to keep the scale deposits low thus enhancing the efficiency of the unit.
Takagi T-KJr2-IN-LP Indoor Tankless Water Heater
Takagi T-K Junior 2 indoor tankless water heater is the smallest unit in the Takagi family. It’s available in natural gas and LP configurations, very ideal for an apartment or small home with one or two bathrooms. The fact that the T-KJr2 can be wall mounted means it’ll help you create more free space in your basement, utility room, and so on. You can also place it under the stairs, in a closet; it’s compact and powerful nature makes it very flexible to install and use.
Pros: small and powerful, very ideal for installing in confined spaces.
Cons: not recommendable for a large home with multiple hot water needs.
Eccotemp FVI-12 Liquid Propane High Capacity
If you’re looking for an affordable tankless water heater that has a sleek, modern design, and with enhanced power ventilation for safety and efficiency, then this is the heater for you. It Costs just around $ 205.74 on Amazon and with that, you get a fully digital temperature display that allows you to actively monitor the changes as the water temperature rises. A quiet, almost instant tankless water heater, it ‘sips’ propane rather than gulp it (as is common with most competitors).
Pros: Super effective, and delivers unlimited hot water within 5 seconds.
Cons: Heat exchanger tubing is extremely prone to pinhole water leaks.
Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series
The Rinnai RUC98iN is the perfect pick if you’re looking to upgrade to a more effective and somewhat luxurious gas tankless water heater. It comes with condensing technology that doubles its efficiency and lowers the energy consumption. This is one heater that guarantees you of unlimited hot water on demand even when using multiple showers and a dishwasher simultaneously.
Pros: 96% energy saving efficiency, extremely informative manual.
Cons: be ready to wait for up to 50 seconds at the faucet before the hot water turns up.
MAREY Gas Tankless Water Heater
This is an awesome and extremely affordable propane tankless water heater that won’t disappoint. It heats up within seconds thanks to the smart electric ignition technology, and gas is only consumed when water is flowing. An outstanding feature about this unit is that even with low water pressure, it works extremely efficiently.
Pros; it’s small, light; you can adjust the water temperature without consuming any additional energy.
Cons; water can either be scorching hot or plain cold. Poor Customer Care service in case system breaks down.
Rheem RTG-84XLP 8.4 GPM Tankless Propane Water Heater
It’s one of the best outdoor models, has an innovative and robust design. Being light and compact means that you can transport and install it anywhere you wish. One of the main selling points of this unit is its extremely low Nox emissions; negligible amounts of gases are released. The many positive reviews of this product on Amazon only serve to reinforce what we realized only too well during testing; it’s a light propane water heater designed to last and serve you for as long as possible.
Pros; very easy to transport and install, needs minimal maintenance like flushing.
Cons; it’s only usable for outdoor installation. Although the fumes released are almost negligible, they are harmful to the environment and humans; no wonder the manufacturer emphasizes on using it outdoor.
Why should you trust us?
Like we mentioned earlier, we don’t accept any free products as we believe this may compromise our ability to offer you an honest, unbiased review. Our goal is to provide you with reliable, accurate purchasing advice so that you’re able to buy the best product. If your tankless water heater is working fine, you don’t need to worry. But if you’re experiencing constant breakdowns, failure to heat the water to desired temperatures, and rising power bills; then an upgrade of propane will come in handy. A poorly installed heater won’t just lead to inefficiency; it’s also a safety hazard.
Common problems and troubleshooting tips:
- No hot water or water not hot enough:
Any of these two can be as frustrating as it is annoying. Often, lack of hot water is caused by the pilot light being snuffed out and thus lack of ignition on the burner. A thermocouple malfunction may be responsible for water not being hot enough. Read your heater’s instruction manual to see how to relight the pilot, feel free to contact the manufacturer if the warranty is still valid
- Black or rusty water color:
As your tankless water heater ages, don’t be surprised to see some black or rusty coloration of the water coming out of your faucet. This is caused by anode rods dissolving in water; they’re made from either aluminum or magnesium. Usually, the rods have a lifespan of 5 years after which they should be replaced in order to prevent their disintegration and rusting of the tank.
- Sediment in the water heater:
Minerals found in the water will settle at the bottom of your propane water heater as time goes by. The sediment takes up space in your tank and interrupts the heating efficiency as the sediment has to be heated first, before the water above is heated; this means more energy consumption. Flushing the water tank at least once a year will help rid the tank of sediment before it has accumulated to problematic levels.
- Pipe leaks:
Inlet pipes carry cold water to the heater while outlet pipes carry hot water out of the heater to the shower head of faucet. Most of the leaking tends to happen at the nipples, which is where the pipes enter into the tank. Open the valve and drain down water into a sink, then use a pipe wrench to tighten the nipple. Pipe dope or Teflon tape can be used to seal any gaps between the pipe and the tank to prevent any further leaking.
Feel free to check out other posts we’ve done on frequently asked questions (FAQs) pertaining to propane tankless water heaters. Armed with that knowledge, you’re assured of making an informed decision when purchasing your next water heater.