Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters For RVs

A water heater can give your RV one of the most essential "comforts of home." Hot showers and hot water in the kitchen sink are vital features for RV owners.

The best electric tankless water heater for your RV provides hot water on demand without taking up too much room. Since the heater uses electricity, you do not have to worry about carrying propane or natural gas in your RV.

Here is what you need to know when seeking the best tankless electric water heater for an RV.

What is an Electric Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater can heat your water, and it can do so on-demand, so you don't have to worry about having a separate storage tank.

The best electric tankless water heater for an RV, you can enjoy the luxury of a hot shower whenever you want, provided you have a source of electricity.

Hot water is vital if you want to have a liveable RV. However, a standard tank water heater takes up both space and energy. You either have to heat the entire tank before using it or reheat the water repeatedly so that it is ready on demand.

Depending on the size of the storage tank and the amount of water you use, you might finish all the water before you've had the chance to take a full shower.

With a tankless water heater, you do not have to contend with these drawbacks.

How does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

A tankless water heater heats the water passing through it instantly.

The water gets pumped to the water heater via a pipe. Then, it gets heated as it passes through, either with a gas burner or a powerful electric heating element. Some models can heat up to five gallons per minute, which is a high enough flow rate for a shower.

What Types of Tankless Water Heater are There?

Tankless water heaters come in two varieties: gas and electric.

Gas

A gas-powered tankless water heater runs on propane or, less commonly, kerosene or gas. It requires a gas source and pipe to move the gas to the unit. You also need a flue to release the exhaust caused by the burning gas.

These units are not as environmentally-friendly as electric heaters. Also, they tend to be less efficient. Also, they can be much more complicated to install if you do not have a propane system already in your RV.

Electric

Electric water heaters are the most popular type of water heaters for RVs. They are environmentally friendly, since they do not emit greenhouse gases, and also quite efficient.

Moreover, they are pretty easy to install since they operate on electricity. If you want to be even more efficient, you can easily connect the water heater to a solar panel, battery, or other power generators.

What to Consider When Finding the Best Electric Tankless Water Heater

There are a few factors you should consider when you're out shopping for the best electric tankless water heater for an RV:

How Much Space Do You Have?

Your heater should fit in the section of your RV where you intend to install it. In an RV, space is a valuable resource, and so any added appliance should be measured appropriately.

Get the exact dimensions of your space and compare them with the dimensions of the tankless water heater you intend to install.

Since you are using an electric water heater, you also need to make sure that you have a power source that you can easily connect to the unit.

How Energy Efficient is the Heater?

On the whole, tankless water heaters are more efficient than standard ones because they eliminate standby loss, which occurs when you have to reheat water in the tank.

However, some heaters are still going to be more efficient than others. The best tankless electric water heaters for an RV have Energy Star certification. This accreditation means that they have passed efficiency tests and consume less energy than standard models.

The Flow Rate of the Water Heater

The flow rate of a tankless water heater is the volume of water that flows out of it in a unit of time. You usually measure the flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM). Some tankless heaters will deliver as little as 0.5 GPM, while others will provide five GPM. For you to shower comfortably, you need a minimum flow rate of 2.5 GPM.

Your Water Consumption

Water consumption is related to the flow rate. Your consumption level will determine the necessary flow rate. For example, the average RV shower uses three GPM, while a bathtub or toilet might require four GPM. Water consumption could be an issue if you often use the kitchen sink and shower at the same time.

The Heating Capacity of the Water Heater

The heating capacity of a water heater gets measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTUs, the higher the heating capacity. 30,000 BTUs will provide enough heating for a shower, though some units offer 8,000-15,000 BTUs, which may or may not be sufficient depending on your water usage habits.

Safety Features

The best electric tankless water heater for an RV should be able to cut off the heating if it stays on too long to prevent the water from hitting the boiling point. Also, it should have surge protection and work with variable currents.

Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for RVs Product Reviews

Here are our choices for the best electric tankless water heaters.

Best Electric Tankless Water Heater for an RV Overall

These two units are the best options overall.

PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater – Wall Vented

This PrecisionTemp model is ideal for a variety of settings, including RVs, trailers, tiny homes, cabins, and cottages. It can use both electricity and gas, and so is a hybrid water heater.

During regular operation, it will use about 1.5 amperes and 3 amperes, which is quite efficient. Even when it operates on propane, it is efficient, using up to 50% less propane than an equivalent standard water heater.

The heater comes with in-built freeze protection so you can use it in any season. Also, with 55,000 BTUs of heating power, it can deliver as much hot water as you could need in an RV.

Pros

  • It's a versatile water heater that you can use in a variety of settings
  • It functions all weather conditions
  • It has a high heating capacity

Cons

  • The heater needs a constant supply of power or gas for the anti-freeze system to operate properly
  • It may have more power than you need

EcoSmart ECO Electric Tankless Water Heater

This electric water heater is portable and versatile, so it is perfect for an RV.

The tankless heater has a battery-powered ignition and manual temperature control. This feature lets you choose the right temperature for your needs. At up to 75,000 BTU, you will always have enough water for your needs. This unit might be too large for some people's needs, though.

Pros

  • This heater is very versatile
  • It has a high heating capacity
  • A flow rate of 3.0 GPM is enough for most users
  • The EcoSmart is exceptionally efficient

Cons

  • The heating capacity is more than some people need
  • The heaters have some reliability questions.

Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters for an RV Under $250

Here are our two top choices for electric tankless water heaters under $250.

Thermoflow Electric Tankless Water Heater

This compact (five lb) unit has a digital display and offers a flow rate that is between 0.6 and 2.88 gallons. You can use the digital display to set the temperature to between 32 and 140 degrees. This 12 kW, 240-volt heater is just over one foot tall, and less than five inches deep, so it can fit in most RVs.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Digital temperature controls
  • Up to 2.88 gallons per minute of on-demand hot water
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Lacks pressure control features
  • Breakers and wire not included

ECOTOUCH 9KW 240V on-Demand Instant Hot Water Heater

The EcoTouch 9kW increases the water temperature by 40 degrees, and it has a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, which is modest, but great for people who value efficiency. The real advantage of the EcoTouch 9kW is its safety features. It has leak protection, over temperature protection, and separate casing for water and electric lines.

Pros

  • Extra safety features
  • High level of efficiency
  • Separate water and electric lines

Cons

  • At 16 lbs, it is on the heavy side.
  • Modest flow rate
  • Not ideal for cold weather travel

Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters for an RV Under $150

Here are the best options for electric tankless water heaters under $150.

Bosch Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Bosch Electric Tankless Water Heater is a compact model that is ideal for small spaces. It can increase the temperature of water by 45 degrees at a rate of 1.8 gallons per minute. This performance makes it ideal for use in an RV shower or sink. The thermal efficiency is 98%, which will help you operate it with the minimum amount of energy.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Very low energy consumption
  • EnergyStar certified
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Modest flow rate
  • Only one-year warranty on components (except for heating element)

Ariston Aures Slim-Multi 10.5 kW

This small tankless water heater comes with a six-year warranty against leaks and a two-year parts warranty. It has low, medium, and high settings, so you can adjust it to use the minimum amount of energy to meet your water heatings needs.

Despite its small size (it's less than one foot wide and 3.5 inches deep), it has a flow rate of more than two gallons per minute.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Good flow rate for its size
  • Multiple setting
  • Six-year leak warranty

Cons

  • Flow rate may not meet a large family’s needs
  • Limited warranty on parts
  • Requires a 240 volt connection

Conclusion

While all of the tankless water heaters on this list are excellent, we preferred the PrecisionTemp Tankless Water Heater above the rest. It offers lots of versatility, a high flow rate, powerful heating capacity, and temperature control.

That said, a different water heater may be the best choice for you if you have specific needs. The best electric tankless water heater for an RV is the one that best meets your heating, water consumption, and size needs.

Any of the tankless water heaters on our list will provide reliability and give you all the comforts of home in your RV shower.