Homes all over the world rely on propane to provide the fuel that runs several of the appliances that relied upon every day. Until recently, finding a reliable and effective water heater that can use propane as the heating source has been difficult for many of these homeowners. But thankfully, the evolution of the propane tankless water heater has provided us with a great water heating source that is overall more efficient and cheaper to operate than other tankless or standard tank-style water heaters.
If you are someone who lives off-the-grid or spends a lot of time in rural areas, you most likely have dealt with the challenges I described above. But fear not, you are in luck. Companies all over the globe have been perfecting the propane tankless water heater, and you now have numerous options to choose the best propane tankless water heater for you and your specific situation.
There are numerous subtle differences between the best models but do not worry, we will break down our 5 favorite propane tankless water heaters within this article. Additionally, there is a very handy buying guide in this article that will help point you toward the best propane-driven water heater for you.
Best Propane Tankless Water Heater Reviews
1. Rinnai V75iP Propane Tankless Hot Water Heater
The Rinnai system is the top propane tankless system on our list for several reasons. For the price you are paying, you are getting one of the most reliable propane tankless water heaters on the market.
The tankless unit ensures that you are getting immediate hot water when a hot water valve is open. Another benefit of the tankless unit is the endless hot water supply. You can run up to three valves at the same time with the Rinnai system, and you will not run out of hot water.
The mobile phone application that runs the entire unit is one of the most convenient features of the system. From anywhere that has phone service or WiFi, you can change the temperature of the water, the system mode, or even set it on vacation mode. All these features will save you money in the long-run and are great adds for an already effective water heating system.
Why We Love It
- There is virtually no wait for the hot water to be delivered when a valve is opened.
- The flow rate is very impressive for a unit at this price point.
- We were very impressed with the lower operating costs associated with this unit. That points to better efficiency and natural gas working together to achieve this.
- The unit is extremely compact, which made installation easy for even the smallest spaces.
Keep In Mind
The required isolation valves are not included and must be purchased separately.
2. Thermomate Propane Tankless Water Heater For Outdoor
This tankless gas water heater is loaded with durable features that allow it to run efficiently and effectively when outdoors. When compared to other propane water heaters that are designed to be installed outdoors, this system has a higher maximum BTU rating and an impressive 4.23 GPM flow rate.
You usually do not see this kind of flow rate with outdoor models.
Another feature that is nice is the low amount of water pressure needed to make the system run and distribute hot water.
Many times, tankless water heaters require a decent amount of water pressure to run effectively but the thermometer propane tankless water heater only needs 0.7 PSI to operate at its peak.
Several safety features are included as well that allow homeowners to sleep tight, knowing that their water heater will not run a leak or damage anything within your home.
Our favorite feature is the automatic flame shutoff function that will kill any flame if the system overheats.
Why We Love It
- The kit of items includes everything you need to install and use the unit.
- There are several safety features included with the thermometer system that will ensure that the unit is operationally safe and will not cause you or your home any harm.
- The main burner is made from stainless steel, which helps with durability and energy efficiency.
- There is no limit to the amount of hot water. This unit can produce; it heats water as it goes through the system.
Keep In Mind
The customer service options and helpline leave a lot to be desired.
3. Camplux 10L Propane Tankless Water Heater
When it comes to off-the-grid environments, finding a reliable hot water source can be extremely difficult. But the Camplux propane tankless water heater is designed to be an off-grid water heater that works well in any environment.
The 120-Volt standard plug makes installation easy since most homes or RVs already have numerous 120-Volt electrical outlets available throughout the home. The slower water flow rate is a result of the 120-Volt electrical plug, but when it comes to off-grid environments, finding a faster flowing propane water heater is virtually impossible.
The unit itself is extremely durable, and all the connectors to external pipes, including vent piping, are made from metal.
We always look for this when determining which water heater is best for a specific client because we have seen numerous issues with plastic connectors. The LED-Display is simple but easy to read, and the dials are similar. They are not fancy by any means, but they are reliable and simple.
Why We Love It
- The dials that allow you to adjust temperature are simple but work effectively.
- It uses a standard 120-Volt electrical outlet that makes installation easier and more affordable.
- All the water fittings and gas line connectors are made from brass, which we love for durability reasons.
- You can choose between an eco-mode or a normal mode to allow the system to dictate how much energy you are expending.
Keep In Mind
We found that the venting pipe connection was an odd size, and there are no adapters available to allow for different sized pipes.
4. Eccotemp L10 Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater
The Eccotemp propane tankless water heater is perfect for those of you on-the-go and enjoys having a hot water resource wherever your adventures take you.
Right out of the box, you will notice how lightweight the system is; you will want to bring it with you everywhere! This propane driven tankless water is one of the simplest to install, and our favorite part is that every component you need to install the system is included with it. This may seem like a small victory, but this is a rarity when it comes to many water heater applications.
Because of its small stature, the Eccotemp L10 can be used in many more ways than a traditional tankless water heater. Propane tanks are easy to come by and come in all different sizes.
Therefore, you can find one that works well with this water heater and use it on-the-go, all around the farm, or out in the driveway while you are washing down all your toys. The flow rate is great for a few faucets or showers, and it does a great job with washing cars, boats, and everything in-between.
Why We Love It
- The installation process is simple; it can be done in less than 15 minutes.
- It comes with a chrome showerhead and stainless-steel hose that seem to be of good quality.
- The temperature controls are simple but work efficiently and effectively.
- There is no wait for hot water with this system; the tankless design allows for instant hot water.
Keep In Mind
We have noticed that the customer service leaves a lot to be desired.
5. Eccotemp I12-LP Tankless Water Heater
The Eccotemp tankless water heater is one of the more sleek and modern looking tankless water heaters we have ever seen. It is all black and is covered with tempered glass that causes the LED display to be clearer than much other tankless water heater’s displays.
The controls on this tankless water heater are easy to use and respond right away to even the slightest adjustments. We love how energy efficient the system is as well. Because there is no pilot light, the system is efficient and safer.
The water fittings are the right size for many homes and are simple to connect to your home’s main water supply. The response time to the water being heated up is almost instant.
This will save water in the long term, and because this is a tankless water heater, it will provide endless hot water. The electronic ignition switch is a simple design but works right away and is one of our favorite features.
Why We Love It
- The 110-Volt plug makes it a breeze to install it virtually anywhere in your home.
- The water fittings are ½-inch, which is the standard across most homes, and this made it easy to install.
- We love the modern and sleek look of this unit. It is jet black and looks sharp on the wall.
Keep In Mind
The maximum elevation is slightly lower than we expected.
What is a Propane Tankless Water Heater?
A propane tankless water heater is an alternative fuel source to supply your home, cabin or RV with hot water. Instead of running on expensive electricity or sometimes difficult to find natural gas, there are several alternatives that now work with propane instead of the more traditional energy sources.
Everything else works the same as any other tankless water, but instead of plugging it in or connecting it to your city gas line, it connects to a propane water supply of your choice. The flexibility of the propane style tankless water heater allows you to enjoy the benefits of hot water in an off-grid environment like a campground or a cabin in the woods.
Features of a Propane Tankless Water Heater
There are numerous features that make propane tankless water heaters a great installation decision for many homes around the world. Many people assume that propane water heaters are less effective and efficient, but this is simply not the case. There are two things we love about them.
Array Of Sizes
One of the things that make tankless propane water heaters so popular is the wide variety of sizes and overall choices you will have when deciding the best propane tankless water heater for you. Because propane is often associated with more rural areas, propane water heaters are widely available in smaller, more efficient packages that will save you money and energy.
Many propane tankless water heaters come in smaller, more compact sizes that allow you to bring your hot water with you, wherever your adventure may take you. Do not be fooled though; they still can put out endless hot water that can keep up with multiple faucets or valves running simultaneously.
Safety And Durability
Propane is considered by many experts to be an environmentally friendly fuel source and is approved by the EPA as an alternative energy source. It is a non-toxic fuel source and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in any way.
Because the fuel source that your tankless water heater is relying on is propane, you can expect your unit to last much longer than comparable electric or natural gas water heaters. On average, propane tankless water heaters will last up to 10 years more than their competition.
Lastly, propane tanks are nearly tamper-proof. They are dozens of times more puncture resistant than gasoline tanks and even in the unlikely event that the tank does spring a leak, remember, propane is non-toxic. This allows homeowners peace of mind that their fuel source cannot cause lingering health effects.
Benefits of Propane Tankless Water Heater
In addition to the standard features listed above, there are also some additional benefits that you should be aware of regarding propane tankless water heaters. The overall cost savings and the additional efficiency of the propane fuel are just a few of our favorite benefits of the propane tankless water heater.
Operational And Long-Term Cost Savings
Propane is an extremely cheap fuel source, and because of this, you will notice that your total energy costs for the month will be significantly less than if you were to use a standard electric or natural gas water heater.
If you are used to running an electric tankless water heater, you will see roughly a 30% decrease in your energy costs and about a 25% decrease when compared to other fuel sources like oil. These calculations include the total cost of installation and equipment as well so you will not have to break the bank to afford a reliable, propane tankless water heater.
When it comes to long-term water costs in terms of repair and maintenance, you may be surprised to find out that propane wins out once again. Due to their smaller capacity and overall size, they can be cheaper to fix and maintain.
You will have the option of choosing a 120-Volt tankless water heater from most companies that produce a propane tankless water heater. This will save on electrician-based installation costs because many larger tankless water heaters will require a 240-Volt chord that requires a double-breaker outlet. These are not usually available within the home.
Improved Efficiency And Experience
One of the greatest benefits of propane is that it works quickly. In-fact, propane water heaters can heat twice as much water per hour than comparable electric water heaters. This means that you can get by with a smaller propane tank that will last a long time and you will save on energy costs even more so due to this feature.
Not only is propane a quick-acting fuel source, but it is also nearly twice as efficient as alternative water heater fuel sources. On average, propane appliances boast an energy rating of at least 90% and sometimes even more than that. Given propane’s improved efficiency and its ability to heat water quickly with a limited amount of fuel, it is no wonder why so many folks are turning to them for their fuel source needs.
Propane vs Electric Water Heaters
This is one of the most common questions we get regarding propane water heaters. Electric heaters are common, but nearly everyone who is upgrading their water heater wants to know the differences between these two water heating types.
Most notably, they want to know which one is better for them. Overall, you will have nearly the same experience with water delivery, but there are some other factors that are important to consider. There are benefits to both, but we are confident that you will see that propane makes a solid case for the better choice.
Propane Tankless Water Heaters
Efficiency and Operating Costs
The operational costs and efficiency ratings associated with propane water heaters will almost always outweigh the costs of operating an electric water heater. On average, you will save $70-80 per year in operational costs on your utility bill. This assessment considers propane cost as well, so once we get over that initial cost, you will save even more in the long run.
When it comes to the efficiency rating, you will see that electric and propane tankless water heaters are close to one another, but propane tankless water heaters will slightly edge out the electric model.
Electric Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless electric water heaters will have a cheaper up-front price tag than propane or natural gas water heaters. Simply put, there are fewer components to the electric style than the propane water heater, making it a cheaper up-front cost.
The propane and natural gas tankless water heaters require the gas to be vented and, in some cases, require a fan to expel these gasses. Electric water heaters do not require this because the internal components heat the water with an exchanger rather than a fuel source like propane.
How to Choose the Best Propane Water Heater
When determining the best propane water heater for you, the temperature should play a large role in the decision. Some propane water heaters are only rated up to certain temperatures, and this is largely dictated by the BTU-rating of the unit. This rating refers to the temperature increase that the water heater can accomplish and the higher the BTU-rating, the better the heating capabilities.
Another factor that comes into play regarding temperature is the groundwater temperature rating. Depending on where you live, that will dictate the groundwater temperature. Northern and colder climates will have lower ground temperatures and the lower that temperature is, the more work your water heater must do to heat the water up to your temperature setting.
There are several units that have a minimum groundwater rating and you will want to ensure that if you are living in a colder environment that the unit you choose is capable of heating your water source.
One of the most popular aspects of the propane water heater is the physical size of the unit. Propane tankless water heaters are much smaller than other traditional water heaters and because of this, they are easily installed into small spaces or homes. Additionally, because of their small size, they can also be mobile and be brought with you in several situations.
When it comes to choosing the perfect propane tankless water heater, you will want to choose one that fits in the space you wish to install it. This is one of the most common mistakes homeowners make and you will want to make sure you do not make the same mistake.
Often, they just assume that the unit they choose will fit their space, but you must ensure that your tankless propane unit will fit in an area close to an outlet and on the main water supply.
When determining the propane tankless water heater that is right for you, the flow rate should be one of the most important factors in your decision making. Flow rate with a tankless unit is measured by Gallons-Per-Minute (GPM.)
This refers to the maximum amount of hot water that the system can produce per minute. The first thing that you need to determine is the number of faucets and showers that will be relying on this water heater. Propane water heaters come in tons of different sizes and choosing the best one for you will start with how much water you will rely on daily. The higher the GPM, the more hot water it can distribute simultaneously.
With so many options available in terms of flow rate, propane water heaters will allow you to choose the perfect size for your situation. It is important to remember that the higher the GPM rating, the more expensive the unit will be.
If you are looking for a mobile unit to handle a few gallons of water per day in a rural area, propane tankless water heaters will come in lower GPM ratings that will be much cheaper and affordable than any other option.
Propane water heaters are among the most energy-efficient water heaters on the market today. You should be able to find plenty of options that are Energy Star rated and will be among the most efficient appliances within your home.
One thing that helps their energy efficiency is the wide array of 110-Volt options that are on the market. If you are among the folks that are looking for a water heater to be used in rural areas or out on an adventure, you will find that several 110-Volt propane water heaters will be extremely energy efficient and easy to bring with you.
This is one of the most important aspects of the propane tankless water heater. The safer a unit is, the more peace of mind a homeowner will have. There are several safety features that you will need to look out for that can provide you with this valuable peace of mind.
If for some reason the pilot light or main burner was to go out unexpectedly, many units will automatically shut off the propane supply on their own. This is an extremely important safety feature that we never suggest going without.
If the propane gas supply continues to run, you will have issues with excess gas being built-up and you will run out of propane. One thing to remember though with propane is that it is a non-toxic gas, therefore the effects of this issue will not be nearly as bad as a natural gas model.
This safety feature is especially important for those of you in colder climates. If your unit freezes, it will be destroyed, so this is the last thing you want to have happened. Anti-Freeze protection will allow your unit to avoid freezing on the outside using a combination of internal heating and a drain plug that will allow any excess water to be discharged to avoid any freezing issues.
Over Heating Protection
Another important feature is the overheating protection function. If for some reason, your unit is running hot, which occurs more often in warmer environments, then many units will be able to shut off automatically when the water or the heating unit gets to a specific temperature.
This temperature is usually around 185 Degrees Fahrenheit. By shutting off the unit from overheating, you are also relieving any pressure that could cause further issues.
How to install a propane tankless water heater
Installing a propane tankless water heater is a simple process, but there are several aspects of the process that are important to consider. The first step (before deciding on the best water heater for you) is to determine where it will be placed if you are going to be installing this within your home.
If you are going to be using this in a rural area or on camping trips, then this is less important. From there, you will need to identify the water inlet and outlet valves, the propane gas line connections, and the venting pipe connections.
Start with the water line connections. You will need to attach the cold-water line to the inlet valve on the propane tankless water heater, and then a water line from the outlet valve to the main water line again.
This is a simple process but can be made easy by flexible steel hosing. Some smaller units that are designed for rural areas will not have an actual outlet water line that needs connecting back to a pipe but rather a hose or faucet that will deliver the hot water directly.
Once the water lines are secured, then we should move onto the venting pipe. If you are installing your propane tankless water heater outdoors, you may not have to deal with this. If you are installing it indoors, you will need to ensure that the venting pipe is attached to the water heater securely.
Venting is an important aspect of any install. Lastly, connect the propane gas line to the unit to provide the heating fuel and you are good to go! This is another important aspect of the install because if you have any leaks or issues with the connection, you will have issues with excess gas and problems with heating the water adequately.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answered
Are propane tankless water heaters worth it?
Absolutely! There are so many aspects of the propane tankless water heaters when you consider the flexible options, the low operating costs, and the safety features. Another thing that makes it a good call is the cleaner, better fuel source that comes with propane.
Is it cheaper to heat with propane or electricity?
Propane is much cheaper to operate than electricity. Due to the high demand of power needed to heat the water with the electric model, the energy costs are much higher.
What are the disadvantages or propane?
While there are not a ton of disadvantages, the biggest one would have to be the more expensive up-front costs associated with it. There are several factors that lead to them being more expensive than other versions of the tankless water heaters. There are more components with the need for venting and gas connection pipes which add to the up-front costs associated with propane water heaters.
Can a propane tank explode from the heat?
In theory, yes, they can. But they must be exposed to extreme heat like a fire, for example. The heat from the outdoor elements would not be enough to rupture the propane tank, however. It would take a massive amount of heat to make this happen, but it technically can happen with ridiculous amounts of heat.
Is it OK to leave a propane tank in the sun?
Propane tanks are designed to be reflective, so they do not retain excess heat from the sun, and they are loaded with other safety features to relieve pressure. They do not fill the propane tank all the way to allow for propane gas expansion, and they also feature safety relief valves that will release any excess pressure build-up if it reaches a certain PSI.
What is the exact temperature that a propane tank can withstand?
Roughly 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes a ton of heat for the actual propane tank to over-pressurize and explodes. This rating does not refer to the valves on the tank or anything outside of the actual tank itself.
Propane tankless water heaters are quickly becoming one of the most common water heating choices for people all over the globe. The adaptable nature of these water heaters allows them to be installed in unique places and can be used in off-grid environments and in homes to handle several faucets and valves.
When it comes to determining the best propane tankless water heater for you and your family, there are several factors that are important to consider. Luckily, there are dozens of quality options available that will suit your needs.
By using our buying guide and the in-depth reviews provided, we are confident that you have all the information you need to determine which option is best for you. With the versatility of propane and the ever-evolving technology that comes with the water heater industry, there was never a better time to make the switch to propane.
We appreciate you reading this article and we wish you all the success in the world in your search for the best propane tankless water heater for you and your family. We are confident that you have all the information you need to ensure you have a quality water heater that works for you.